Choosing your theme

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Your blog theme controls the visual layout and appearance of your blog.

Edublogs provides over 170 themes for you to choose including:

  1. Themes that can’t be altered and are “use as is”.
  2. Themes that are “extremely customizable”  allowing to change font types, font color and background color.

Every newly created blog has the same default theme which you can easily change using the Appearance > Themes area of your blog’s administration panel.

Here’s an example of the look of a newly created blog:

The Edublogs Default theme

Here’s an example of a class blog using a customised theme:

Customize theme

The WPMU Dixi Theme

Almost all Edublogs themes include ability to:

  1. Upload custom image headers.
  2. Add a background image.
  3. Display comments on pages.

Features worth considering when choosing a blog theme include:

Theme Layout

Blog themes normally include a:

  1. Header -  the area at the top of a blog where the blog title, graphics, and possibly navigational links appear.
  2. A content area – for your posts or page.  Posts are where you normally publish the latest update or new article on a blog.   They are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the page.
  3. Sidebar area - for your widgets

Themes come in several standard layouts:

  • Single column with no sidebar (widgets are located at the bottom of the blog)
  • Two Column – normally a wide column for content and narrower sidebar
  • Three Column – with sidebars side-by-side on one side of the blog or either side of the wider content column
  • Four Column – one content column and three sidebars. The content column is often the same width as the other columns. This type of layout tends to be cluttered looking and less suited to reading lengthy content.

Two or three column are the most commonly used layouts.

When considering layout you need to think about which side(s) do you prefer the sidebar to be located? Also make sure you check out the width of the blog and the post area.

Blog Title

The blog title is displayed in the title bar of a web browser and in the header of most themes.

Your blog title is one of the first things a reader sees when visiting your blog.  Choose a name that reflects the purpose of your class blog and your students can relate to.

You change your title as follows:

1.  Go to Settings > General.

General Settings page

2.  Change the Site Title.

Site Title

3.  Click Save Changes.

Click Save Changes

Tagline

The concept behind a blog tagline is to create a memorable phrase that sums up the tone and premise of a blog.

Ideally all blogs should have a tagline since they instantly tell first time readers what your blogs all about and whether you write posts in topic areas that interest them.

You change your tagline as follows:

1.  Go to Settings > General.

General Settings page

2.  Change the Tagline.

Add tagline

3.  Click Save Changes.

Click Save Changes

Custom Header Image

Being able to upload your own custom image header means you can add your “own personal touch” to your blog.

You can use a custom image header as a work around for blog themes that don’t include taglines.  All you need to do is add a tagline to your image header using an image editing tool.

Most themes allow you to upload a custom image header.

You  upload your own custom image header as follows:

1.  Go to Appearance > Header in your dashboard.

Header page

2.  Click on Choose file, browse for the image on your computer and then click on Open.

  • Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used for image headers.
  • For best results we recommend you resize the image to the exact dimensions recommended for that theme before uploading by using an image editing program.

3.  Next click Upload.

Upload header

4.  Your image will upload and if it isn’t the exact dimensions you’ll need to select the area you want to crop and then click Crop and Publish.

Crop

5.  Your new image header should appear immediately on your blog. However if it doesn’t try clearing your web browser cache by holding the Ctrl key and pressing F5.

Top Navigation

Some blog themes have links to pages hard coded into the navigation tabs at the top of the theme.

  • You can remove links to pages in the top navigation using a custom menu (via Appearance > Menu).
  • Add links to pages in your sidebar using the page widget (via Appearance > Widgets).

Color Scheme

When choosing your theme remember that if color scheme makes your content hard to read you will lose readers. So balance your personal preferences with readability since ultimately you want people to read your content.

Don’t just look at the overall color — remember to check closely the color of: the header; the background; post text and links; post titles; headings in posts; widget titles and links.

While most of the standard Edublogs themes color schemes can’t be altered i.e. “use as is” there are a few themes that allow you to change the theme’s color.

Customization options

Most of  themes don’t have extensive customization options and are “use as is”.

However, there are themes that are “extremely customizable”  allowing to change font types, font color and background color.

With these types of theme you normally customize them via their Appearance > Theme Options page.

Theme options

Editing themes

The Simpler CSS plugin enables you to modify the theme’s fonts, colors, border and backgrounds by adding custom stylesheets to your blog.  Refer to our editing CSS support page for more information.

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

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Posted in Appearance & Themes, Help