Pick your WordPress theme Tutorial: Change the look and feel of your ECO13.me site

Where clothes make men, themes make websites. The look & feel of your WordPress site gets mostly decided by the theme you choose. But there is more to it.

In fact, WordPress themes are much more like cyborg suits. They are perfectly capable of adding rich functionality to your website.

Fundamentally, the WordPress Theme system is a way to “skin” your weblog. Yet, it is more than just a “skin.” Skinning your site implies that only the design is changed. WordPress Themes can provide much more control over the look and presentation of the material on your website.

– WordPress

ECO13.me docs - tutorial: WordPress themes - 00. Where clothes make men, themes make websites.Nonetheless, when choosing a theme, the style is most important. Anything else can be added later with plugins. So, it is recommended to pick your theme and to discover its features first. However, when you know that you want to use a specific plugin, it can it be useful to make sure it’s compatible.

In this tutorial you can find the way to the available themes at ECO13.me, you can find out how to activate a theme and how to add your own.

find your themetutorial

Picking a theme for your WordPress website is not easy. There are quite a few things to consider and the theme should reflect your identity and fit your needs smoothly. The fact that the number of WordPress themes you can choose from is H-U-G-E, does not necessarily make it any easier. In contrary. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So, let’s narrow this down a little.

free vs premium

The first consideration to make is the budget that you can spend. To that matter we can categorise themes roughly into four groups…

custom made themes

With a custom made theme you can make the theme fit your identity, rather than the other way around. If your budget allows it, this obviously can be a great choice. However do note that both the price and the quality can vary greatly. It is not necessarily so, but a cheap custom made theme, can be a worse choice than a free one. Alternatively, you can pick an awesome open source theme and hire a developer to make changes.

expensive themes

You can find a great number of beatific themes, with unique features, full support and much more. If this is what you need, then it will be worth the price.

cheap themes

It does not need to be expensive to be good though. When a theme is successful, a developer can lower the price. So, themes that can be used by many (blogs, portfolios, …), can be equally awesome and very affordable.

free themes

ECO13.me docs - tutorial: WordPress themes - 01. Free themes at the WordPress Theme Directory

Many developers release free themes: to promote their premium counterparts, or their skills, to support open source, … or for malicious reasons.

Free themes can be found anywhere on the web, but the only trusted source is the WordPress Theme Directory. If a ‘free theme’ is not available in the directory, it is likely that there is something fishy about it and not free after all.

It could be that the theme does not have an open license, that it does not meet the WordPress standards, …, or that it contains malicious code to abuse websites.

Currently the WordPress Theme Directory counts over 3000 free themes. While many are too ugly for use without shaking changes, others are awesome out of the box.

Especially if you are only just getting started with WordPress, it is recommended to start looking for a theme there. Discovering what they are capable of, can help to buy the perfect theme for you later.

choose wise

Some things to consider when reviewing a WordPress theme: date, rating and support forumWhen choosing a WordPress theme for use at ECO13.me, you should know that your theme must always be compatible with the latest WordPress version and that it must pass our security scans. The last should not be a problem, but unless a theme gets actively developed the first might become a problem over time.

So, when you choose a theme, verify whether you should expect updates and consider the cost.

When choosing a theme from the WordPress theme directory, you can take the following into account:

  • release date – If the last update was more than a year ago, it’s not a good sign.
  • version number – Brand new themes can be awesome and a great choice, but when the theme is a little outdated and it is the very first version, it might be the only release.
  • bad reviews – Negative reviews are not seldom the work of spoiled and ignorant people, but when the overall score is not good, and when there are many negative reviews, it is an indicator for trouble.
  • author(s) – When an author has 10 themes and only one is outdated, it is more likely that the theme gets updated than that it would be, if he had only one theme.
  • support – Take a look at the support forum. Is the author helpful? Or are there many questions left unanswered?

functionality

While most functions can be added with plugins, it is still useful to consider the theme features. Twenty Fifteen, for example, is perfect for a blog, but there are better ones for a portfolio, or a shop.

Also, when you have something specific in mind, that is not handled by the theme, it can be useful to know which plugins you will use to achieve your goal and to pick a theme that is specifically made for this purpose. F.ex. if you would want to use WooCommerce to craft your shop, you do not have to, but you could look for themes who specifically state to be compatible.

For the record: when the YET:13 theme would not be compatible be with a plugin, surely let us now. We will be happy to change that, if we can.

already available

Many free and a few premium themes are already available at ECO13.me. To find and try them, visit your site’s dashboard and click on “appearance” in the left side menu.

ECO13.me docs - tutorial: themes 02. find themes in the WordPress admin

ECO13.me docs - tutorial: themes 03. WordPress theme selection on hoverThe first in row is the theme that is active on your site.  When you hover over the others, three buttons appear:

  • Theme details to find a large image and the theme’s description.
  • Live preview to open the customizer and find out how the theme looks on your site.
  • Activate to choose the theme.

Do note that the live preview is not very accurate. The theme’s image may be a better indicator and for most themes you will need to look into the theme’s documentation and change some site settings to get the most out of it.

request a themetutorial

Choosing a theme that is already available is the easiest, but we love freedom and it is important to find the right theme for your needs and taste. That is why you are free to choose whichever theme you desire. If it is not available yet, we will be happy to add it.

if it is a free theme

When you would like to try a free theme that is not yet available, you can simply open a support ticket and request that we add it. You can find the link to support tickets in the ECO13.me menu in the toolbar.

if it is a premium theme

For premium themes you can also open a support ticket, but we still need to consider the procedure. We most likely will ask that you buy it from us, without charging you anything extra. This way we can be sure that you did not download a malicious version instead of buying it from the developer.

It is also possible, however, that you already own your theme, that you have one that is made for you, or that you made yourself. We will then most likely ask that you send it through email.

In both scenarios we may need to charge you for the extra work: keeping it up-to-date, uploading, security check… Yet we won’t until we decide otherwise.

more fun: ECO13.me+

ECO13.me - free premium: better than freemiumECO13.me would not be possible without open source. Obviously this gives great reason to support development. An awesome way to do this is through the purchase of premium counterparts of free open source themes and plugins. Once purchased these will become available to all members who support this initiative (= ECO13.me+ members).

That said, when you want to use a premium theme from a developer who supports open source, chance is huge that we add the theme to our shopping list. Members can then vote it up. More info is for later. The first aim is to successfully launch ECO13.me. The more success, the more we can shop. So, spread the word, please!

change your themecustom css

At ECO13.me theme customisations can be made on a per site basis through CSS. If “cool!” is not the first thought that crosses your mind, and you have found a perfect theme, “except that …”, surely let us know what you would like to change in the question corner. We will be happy to introduce you to the wonderful world of code!

If you are familiar with CSS, here is how to add custom CSS to your theme.

Modular Custom CSS plugin

modular-custom-cssIf your theme does not support custom CSS you can find and activate the Modular Custom CSS plugin in your site’s backyard > plugins. Once activated you will find a custom CSS frame in the Customizer with two text areas: one for the current theme and one for plugins.

The beauty of this plugin, compared to others, is that you can preview the changes (that’s what the Customizer is for) and that the CSS is specific to each theme. So you can switch themes without losing customisations.

Jetpack’s custom CSS

The WordPress.com plugin Jetpack also has a custom CSS module. It does not make use of the Customizer, but there is nonetheless an option to preview the changes. The CSS module has a couple more features. You can:

  • apply the CSS to your mobile theme,
  • change the content width,
  • choose to replace the existing theme’s stylesheet
  • and use CSS preprocessors LESS and Sass.YET:13 for WordPress - custom CSS in the Customizer

YET:13 and other

Some themes, like YET:13, support custom CSS. In YET:13 you can also add it in the Customizer > Code > Styles. In other themes this may be added in the settings. Naturally you do not need a custom CSS plugin when your theme supports it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *