WordPress APPEARANCE – Full Guide

Appearance menus allow you to change how your site looks and behaves. Install a Theme and Customise it , Create Menus,  Activate Widgets and even give you acceass to the individual CSS and PHP files which make up your Theme.

Depending on the theme that your site is running, you may find that you may have a couple of different menu options. The reason for this is that a couple of the options under the Appearance section are theme based.

Below we will talk about the options that are available to everyone, regardless of the active theme.


Appearance >> Themes

First .

What is a Theme?

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together .  A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Actually you don’t have a site in wordpress without a theme. Let’s say wordpress is like an empty house, just walls, and a theme is all furniture, home appliances and decoration items.

In Themes section you can manage your Themes. That means you can install, preview, delete , activate, and update Themes.


wordpress appearance


Before you install a theme you should know that although all are called wordpress themes there are several types of themes and you should read the description carefully on each theme.


Types of Themes :

  • Free Themes – You’ll find thousands of free templates in the official WordPress theme deposit. Of course they are pretty simple, and many do not give support and updates.
  • Premium Themes – These are complex themes, usually with a static homepage and lots of features .
  • Custom Themes – They are made on demand and has a unique design, layout, and set of features that are made specifically for your business needs.
  • Child Themes – These themes doesn’t work without a parent theme . So when you read that the theme is a child you should know that you also need to have the parent theme too. The most popular child themes are Genesis Child themes . A Child Theme can be a Premium Theme.
  • Framework Themes – The parent theme . Refers to a code library that is used to facilitate development of a theme . Because it’s easier to develop a theme with a framework, developers use a framework to build a theme, but if you want to use their theme you need to have the framework too.
  • Starter theme – Only for developers because they are very very basic .
  • Page Builders –  Provide you with drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built components that can be customized .  WordPress page builders make it easier for users of all skill levels to create awesome websites. BUT if you ever uninstall the theme, all of your pages will turn into strange codes.

Choose wisely and think in the future if you want your site not to break after years of work .


Install a Theme

Now if you want to install a theme click  Add New .  You can install a free one by hovering over a theme and clicking Install then Activate or if you have one that you bought click Upload Theme and Install the .zip file and Activate. After your theme is active you have the Customise button so you can start editing your theme.


Delete a Theme

For a faster website is better if you delete the themes and plugin you don’t use. So, if you want to delete a theme, hover over the theme and click on Theme Details. Then you have Delete in the bottom-right of the page.


Appearance >> Customise

The Customise submenu opens the WordPress customizer, which is the place where you can modify different aspects of the active theme, like site name, menus , widgets and homepage settings. All these settings can be changed from this customizer and see the changes in real time. Once we have everything as we want it, we click on the Publish button and that’s it. The web will now reflect the changes you’ve made.

wordpress appearance

Of course you have the option for Site Identity and Homepage in Setting , Widgets and Menus in Appearance, but they all prefer to customize the theme here because you can see the changes you make in real time. Depending on the theme and plugins installed and activated, the options here will be different .

Important thing here >>  When you go to Widgets if you have the message : Your theme has  other widget areas, but this particular page doesn’t display them.  Let’s say your theme has a widget before blog posts on blog. You need to click on Blog (from your site demo on the right) to see the widget listed by widgets. If you are on homepage and your widgets for homepage doesn’t show off this means you didn’t set your homepage like a static page and a page for your posts.

A powerful feature is Additional Css, if you have any idea about Css you can add here snippets of code. These will overwrite your theme’s Css .


Appearance >> Widgets

Here we can also change the widgets that our website has. The active theme defines a series of sidebars or areas ( as you can see on the right) where you can include widgets. In those areas we can drag and drop the widgets we have available.

wordpress appearance

A bit about Widgets…

WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function.  There are many different types of widgets. WordPress by default comes with several widgets including categories, tag cloud, navigation menu, calendar, search, recent posts etc. If you drag the recent posts widget in a widget area, then it will contain a list of recent posts.

While the default WordPress widgets work just fine, you can easily extend the power of these widgets with some awesome plugins . Plugins often add their own widgets to give users more control over the display of plugin functions.


Appearance >> Menus

Custom Menus are a list of links that are usually displayed as the main navigation for your site.

WordPress provide you with a very easy drag-and-drop menu interface that allows you to create multi-levels menus with just a few clicks.

wordpress appearance

1.Create a new menu

Themes have “locations” that menus can be placed into. Click the Manage Locations tab at the top to view the theme’s menu locations. A menu must be assigned to a location in order for it to appear there. Select the correct menu for each location or click create a new menu if no menu has been created yet.

2.Add to Menu

On the left-hand side of the menu screen is a list of different link types ( Pages, Posts, Custom Links, Categories etc. ). You can choose one and add it as a link to the menu.

From the Categories menu, you can add a link to a page that contains the posts in a particular category. To do this you must have the category already created.

If you want to add a link that goes to any URL on your website or even another website in your menu, use Custom Links.

3.Organize your menu

The WordPress menu editor allows you to create multi-level menus using a simple ‘drag and drop’ interface. Drag menu items up or down to change their order of appearance in the menu. Drag menu items left or right in order to create sub-levels within your menu.

To make one menu item a subordinate of another, you need to position the ‘child’ underneath its ‘parent’ and then drag it slightly to the right.

Bonus >> Menu Widget

You can create a menu and show it in a widget area. Here are instructions for creating a widget menu.

  1.  Add a new menu, add items to it and save.
  2. Go to Appearance > Widgets and drag the Navigation Menu widget into a widget area.
  3. Configure the widget, select the name of the menu you’ve created.


Appearance >> Editor

Finally, you have the option to edit the code of the themes you have installed. On the right you will find the files of the active theme or the option to change the theme to be edited. This is often a very useful option for advanced developers who want to make changes quickly without requiring FTP access.

wordpress appearance

If you know nothing about HTML, CSS or PHP, I recommend that you don’t touch the PHP code of your themes. Incorrectly modifying any files within this section can cause your site to display incorrectly or at worst, not at all.


If you want to know more about WordPress, I have a full free tour that explains the features that WordPress has . Visit The Complete WordPress Tour For Beginners.





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