Your theme is what controls the look and appearance of your blog; this is what people see when they visit your blog.
Every newly created blog has the same default theme. The last thing you want is to look like all the other blogs.
Here’s an example of the look of a newly created blog:
Here’s an example of a blog using a customised theme:
You can change your theme as often as you like!
Change Theme Video
Using the Customizer
It is really easy to change your theme using the customizer.
The customizer is designed to make it easier for you to customize your theme and see the results in real time without having to visit your blog. You can customize any theme, including Edublogs Pro Only themes, before you activate it.
Here is how you do it:
1. Go to Appearance > Themes.
2. Click on ‘Live Preview‘ on the theme you want to use.
Hovering your mouse over a theme brings up theme action menus including the Live Preview link.
Or if you want to customize your current theme, click on ‘Customize‘ under the active theme.
4. This loads the customizer. Now all you do is work through the control panels on the left to customize the theme to preview the theme changes in real time before activating it on your blog.
5. Once you’re happy with the changes you click ‘Save & Publish’.
Things to check after changing to a new theme
When you change a theme, nearly everything comes with you. Changing your theme doesn’t affect your content in posts, pages, media, blogroll.
However, there are a few things you’ll want to check afterward:
- Widgets – each theme supports different widget locations. If the new theme has less widget areas some of the widgets used previously may be moved to the Inactive Widget area. The best option is to place these widgets back in your desired widget area after activating the theme using Appearance > Widgets.
- Custom menus – activating a new theme doesn’t automatically apply your custom menu because each theme supports different custom menus. You’ll need to reassign your custom menus to the locations you want them in the new theme. You can do this using the Navigation control on the Customizer or using Appearance > Menu. You can learn more about custom menus here.
- Featured Images – some themes like Magazino, Hueman, Gridster Lite use featured images for special features such as slideshows, post thumbnails and images attached to featured posts. If a featured image isn’t set these themes display a default image where the featured image would appear. A featured image is added using the Featured Image module under Page attributes on the post editor.
What to be aware of with a new theme
Most Edublogs themes are now mobile friendly themes. This is an important change for those that are used to older themes because mobile friendly themes work and behave a little differently than older themes.
Mobile-ready themes, also known as responsive themes, are designed to optimize the layout of your site based on which device some one is using to view your blog. If you view a non-responsive theme on a phone it automatically zooms out so that your entire blog can be seen. This means your readers need to zoom in to read your content.
Responsive themes are designed to ensure that the important content like your blog title, post titles and post content can be easily ready on smaller screens without needing to zoom.
Responsive themes feel like a huge change when you’re used to non-responsive themes because responsive theme layout changes as the device size changes. The font size may also be larger than what you are used to with non-responsive themes.
With a responsive theme, the sidebars move below the post content area and the top navigation changes or minimizes to improve reading on smaller screen.
Layout doesn’t change on a non-responsive theme as these older themes that are designed to be viewed on desktop computers aren’t optimized for smaller devices.
While it might feel like a big change for you, it isn’t for your readers. Most websites now use responsive theme designs or a mobile solution that changes the look of the website when viewed on a mobile device.
The options available in the Customizer depend on the theme.
Most themes have the following Customizer controls:
- Site Title – change Site title and tagline
- Header – add a header image
- Colors – change header text color and background color
- Navigation – select which custom menus to use on the site
- Widgets – add, remove and modify widgets in the designated widget areas
- Static Front page – used to set a static front page
- Featured Content – customize which tag is used for featured content such as posts sliders if the theme supports it
Change Site Title & Tagline
Used to change the site title and tagline on your blog. Not all themes display taglines. The site title and tagline are normally displayed in or near the header area of your blog and the site title is also used when visitors bookmark your blog in their web browser.
If you want to remove the blog title (and the tagline if your theme displays the tagline) you uncheck ‘Display Header Text’under Site Title & Tagline section of the Customizer and then click Save & Publish.
This is a handy option if your blog title and tagline are displayed over the top of your custom image header and interfere with the look you are trying to achieve.
Change Theme Colors
‘Colors’ controls the color of the header text and background color. Which options are included depends on the theme. Not all themes allow you to change the header text color. Changes to header text color take time and you need to wait for the page to refresh to view the change.
Upload Custom Header Image
The Header Image allows you to upload your own custom header image and/or a select a default header image. If you don’t see the Header Image section in the Customizer it means the theme doesn’t support these options.
Using a custom header image
Uploading your own custom header image is one of the best ways of giving your blog your own personal touch.
- Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used for header images.
- For best results we recommend you crop and re-size the image to the exact dimensions recommended for the theme before uploading by using an image editing program (refer to recommended dimensions in the Header section in the Customizer).
Uploading your own custom header image is as simple as:
1. Click on Add new image in the header image section of the customizer.
2. Choose an image from your media library or upload a new image from your computer.
- Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used for image headers.
- For best results we recommend you re-size the image to the exact dimensions recommended for the theme before uploading by using an image editing program.
3. Click on Select and Crop.
4. Click on Crop image.
5. Your new header image should appear in your blog preview window.
6. Click Save & Publish on the Customizer to activate the new header on your blog.
Using a Default Header Image
Many themes also include a selection of default header images. This is a good option if you don‘t want to upload your own image and you prefer to use one of the default header images or display a random default header image on each page.
If your theme includes default header images you’ll normally find them underneath the option to upload your own custom header image.
1. Click on the default image you want to use for your header image or click on ‘Randomize selected headers” if you would like to randomize the default header images displayed.
2. Your new header image should appear in your blog preview window.
3. Click Save & Publish on the Customizer to activate the new header on your blog.
Upload Custom Background Image
Many themes allow you to upload an image to your blog’s background. A background image is another great way of adding that personal touch to your blog.
1. Go to Appearance > Customize in your dashboard.
Or click on ‘Customize‘ under the active theme.
2. Click on Background Image in the Customizer.
- If you don’t see the Background Header section in the Customizer it means the theme doesn’t support this option.
3. Click on Add new image.
4. Choose an image from your media library or upload a new image from your computer.
- Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used.
5. Click on Choose Image.
Once you have selected an image the background image options will appear:
- Background repeat: controls if the background image is repeated. Choice are:
- No Repeat -background image is only displayed once on the page.
- Tile – background image is tiled horizontally and vertically.
- Tile horizontally – the background image only repeats horizontally.
- Tiled vertically – the background image only repeats vertically.
- Background position: allows you to control the position of the background image. Options are left, center and right.
- Background attachment: determines if you want the image to scroll with the content or to remain ‘fixed’ in place when a reader scrolls down the page.
For best results we recommend you use Tile, left and Scroll.
6. Your new background image should appear in your blog preview window.
7. Click Save & Publish on the Customizer to activate the new background on your blog.
Using a Static Front page
By default, your home page is your blog post page however you can change this so your homepage is a static front page and your posts are sent to a different page on your blog.
Most class blogs use a blog post page for their homepage and use ‘Your Latest Posts’ for the front page displays.
Other Theme Options
Some themes have extensive theme customization options which aren’t supported by the customizer.
These types of themes add a theme option menu item under Appearance once the theme is activated. To do more extensive customization you need to go to Appearance > Theme Options.
Uploading Custom themes
Due to how our infrastructure is designed, we are unable to support the uploading of custom themes unless you are using an CampusPress network.
This means you can’t upload any themes to your Edublogs.org blog even if they are available in the WordPress.org repository.
However, many of our Premium themes have customization options to change the colors, fonts and layouts. Most of our themes enable you to upload custom backgrounds and header images.
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 documentation for more information.