LESSON #36: Customizing WordPress

(Part 4 in a series of 4)

In the previous three lessons, I’ve been covering WordPress. We started off with by installing WordPress. Then we talked about the best way to configure WordPress. And then in the previous lesson we talked about WordPress themes and plugins.

Today we’re going to take it a step further and look at how to customize a theme to meet the needs of your business…

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

  • You can edit theme files online or offline. Either way, be sure to keep a backup of your theme offline.

  • The CSS Stylesheet is responsible for much of the look and feel of the site. Within this one file you can change fonts, colors, sizes, layouts, and have those changes instantly take effect throughout your entire site.

  • I prefer to edit files offline using Notepad++ (see Lesson #28 for basic HTML editing skills)

    See video for examples of…

    -Editing the colors, fonts, and other style in the CSS Stylesheet
    -Adding an AdSense ad to the sidebar
    -Editing the footer to take away a credit/footprint
    -Changing the graphics

    Action steps:

    1) If you’re not happy with the look or function of your WordPress site, customize it!

    Remember, if you need help there is a massive support forum at: http://wordpress.org/support/

    In the next lesson, I’ll be talking about making money with your blog.

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below 🙂 And if you’ve customized your WordPress theme, be sure to show it off to us!

    Have a great day!

  • 165 comments on “LESSON #36: Customizing WordPress

    1. Val

      Hi Eric,
      Fantastic lessons! My site is not created in WordPress, but I want to add a wordpress blog to the site. Can I customise the header of the blog so that it is the same as my existing web pages? Or is this advanced html?

      Thanks Eric.

      Reply
    2. Eric Post author

      Yes you can customize the header of WordPress to match the rest of your site. It is not very difficult, especially if you choose a WP theme with a similar sized header as the one on your site (then you can just swap out the WP header with yours). But if you did have trouble with it, you could probably have someone do it for you for under $10 on rentacoder.

      Reply
    3. Riccardo Parisio

      Thank You Eric, It works!

      I feel rather stupid having lost so much time…

      Anyway, you know, It’s the Journey that count, because it makes you a better person.

      Reply
    4. fon

      Hi Eric….
      Thank…..
      but,I speak english a bad.
      Thank Na…

      Reply
    5. Guy Thompson

      Eric

      Erics Tips is a great course and I’ve been following it for months, and have just gone back to the WordPress lessons as I wanted to build a set of static sales pages for affiliate products. But I can’t work out where the pages are stored so I can edit them. offline.

      Reply
    6. Eric Post author

      That’s one thing about wordpress… it’s not really possible to edit them offline. They are stored in your MySQL database.

      However, you could keep them as Word documents (or something) offline, and then paste them into WordPress when you’re creating/editing the pages.

      Reply
    7. Anzelyka

      Hi Eric!
      What would you recommend to keep your wordpress blog safe from hackers? I just recently posted my first wp blog sites, and found out a week later that they were both hacked and malicious code has been inserted in the script! I deleted them both, and now I have to figure out how to repost one of them from backup, and the other one…I will have to reconstruct… It is a major mess for me to deal with this! Is there any software, like McAfee or Ad-aware are for PC, that would protect wp blogs (or any web sites) from attacks?

      Reply
    8. Eric Post author

      Here is some information about securing WP installations:

      http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress

      http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/20-wordpress-security-plug-ins-and-tips-to-keep-hackers-away/

      Here are some plugins:

      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/antivirus/

      http://www.seoegghead.com/software/wordpress-firewall.seo

      While not specifically for WordPress, McAfee does have a service which will scan your site daily for hacker vulnerabilities:
      http://www.ericstips.com/mcafee

      The most important thing is to keep it updated with latest version.

      Also it is good to run regular backs of your MySQL database. This can be done easily with 1 click from within your Cpanel. You could even make a macro to do it for you using a program such as ours: http://pushbuttonmarketer.com

      Reply
    9. ogbete

      i really need part of the show course, i really want to design my blog , to add image to the blog and also heasder to it.

      Reply
    10. Dan

      Hi Eric,

      Your tips have been awesome! I think I have my blog optimized pretty good, but now I need to drive traffic to it, that’s the hard part. I know that the key is to get backlinks, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Is there any advice that you can give me? It would be great if you could email it to me. Thanks!

      Reply
    11. Eric Post author

      I will be covering web traffic in depth from lesson #72 through 85. Thanks

      Reply
    12. Dan

      Sounds great Eric! Do you know when approximately lesson 72 will start? Thanks!

      Reply
    13. Eric Post author

      It will be in May.

      Reply
    14. Johnny

      Hello Eric,

      After viewing your tutorials on the 5 ways to create a website, it looks like WP is more interesting to me.

      Recently I got all the files of a website downloaded to my HG reseller account. This website was from the previous host using the ASP/NET framework and cannot be replicated
      on the Linux hosting server.

      I was recomended to enagage a programmer to re-code this website.

      Eric, may I ask is there an alternative do-it-yourself method to decode or any possibility using WP to tweak and modify this website.

      Looking forward for your advie and opinion.

      Johnny Pow

      Reply
    15. Eric Post author

      I doubt if there is a plugin or any easy way to recode the website from ASP.net to WordPress.

      If you were very familiar with WP, you could probably re-create the site yourself.

      But if you’re new to it and/or not real comfortable with HTML and PHP, then your best bet is probably to hire a programmer to rebuild the site in WP for you.

      I think it will be well worth it, and you will really appreciate the WP interface.

      However, I’m also not sure how complex your old site was. If it was very simple, you still may be able to do it on your own by creating the pages from your WP admin area.

      Reply
    16. Graham Price

      Hi Eric – Once again your teaching style is awesome, thankyou!

      Could You please advise Eric – are the same principles used when working with php scripting?

      Kindest Regards,

      Graham Price

      Reply
    17. Eric Post author

      Yes the same principles would apply to other PHP scripts. You can edit them in a text editor, and use some trial and error if you don’t know much of the coding. Here is a good site for learning PHP (and other stuff):
      http://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp

      Reply
    18. Shirley

      Hi there great video but it keeps stopping at 6:01 minutes in

      Reply
    19. Matt

      Eric,

      Firstly Thank you, for at least giving me some direction and no BS, I would of given in if i had not found your site. I am trying to enter this world and am starting with a simple landing page to get people to sign up. What is the best way to design this HTML, CSS styles or worpress landing page??? Does the way in which you write it affect traffic / SEO??? I really like the wordpress templetes however I notice no one seems to use them as landing pages, is there a reason why??

      Reply
    20. Eric Post author

      I cover squeeze pages in lessons #62-65.

      for most of my squeeze pages, I just use basic HTML as I show in those lessons.

      However, I think WordPress is great. There are some good WordPress squeeze page templates and other landing page templates.

      Yes the way you write it affects SEO. I’ll be covering that too.

      The reason a lot of people don’t use WP as landing pages, is because they don’t want a menu, navigation sidebar, etc. on their landing page. But there are WP templates to get around that.

      Also, when it comes to Google AdWords, it can be beneficial to have your landing page integrated into your WP blog. (See lesson #65, #73)

      Reply
    21. Joe Bradley

      Hi Eric

      Really enjoyed your instruction, especially the recent instruction on WordPress.

      Just a question about your theme for this site. Like you I prefer a minimalist theme. Is the theme you use on this site from WordPress.org and if so which one is it.

      Thanks

      Joe
      http://www.UnlimitedWebhostingService.com

      Reply
    22. Eric Post author

      the theme I modified for this site was called ‘silverlight’

      Reply
    23. fidel pavot

      HI, Eric great lesson, you gave a good explanation of the alternative ways to customamize wordpress in a very simple way to follow.thanks again for the lessons. by the way, Eric what was that program that you launched about traffic
      that one of your blogger mentioned.

      Reply
    24. leo

      Hi Eric! Thanks for sharing all of these free tips.. But I just have a question though, coz I usually using blogger for my blog post which is a wysiwyg editor. Now I am trying to use wordpress as per your advised. Im just having some difficulties on how I can upload my videos from camtasia to my blog post and how can I put some banner ads. Hope you can help me on how to do it.

      Keep it up Eric and more power to you!

      Reply
    25. Eric Post author

      In lesson #41 I show how to put video on your site. In WordPress, I recommend turning the visual editor OFF before posting any video embed code. Otherwise it will get messed up.

      Reply
    26. Doc Seth

      Hi Eric,

      Great stuff! WP used to seem like this big crazy mess of complicated code, but now I’m having a blast with my site!

      Make it a great day,

      ‘Doc Seth’
      ~husband, dad, full-time ‘Elevator’~

      Reply
    27. Bret

      Hey Eric, I have gone through your video training series several times and have really learned so much. Thanks. I have a question about putting a contact form on a wp site. What plugin would you recommend for this? Also, I want to put a contact form on a static web page, instead of providing an email address. what would be the best way to go about doing this?
      Thanks.
      Bret

      Reply
    28. RICH

      HI ERIC THANK YOU, FOR ALL YOUR HELP, I REALLY NEED IT, AS I AM DISABLED, AND TAKE CARE OF MY 87 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER, AND MY DISABLED MOTHER, I BELIEVE IN YOU GUYS, YOU SEEM LIKE THE REAL THING, THANKS AGAIN, RICH.

      Reply
    29. John Halsall

      Someone or something hss hacked into my wordpress blog, each time I try to go in a big rectangular red box comes up saying don’t open from web attack.

      How can I get in safely to take wordpress off my domain and start again, Thanks in advance for your help. John

      Reply
    30. Wilma

      Hi Eric,

      I’m following your lessons and trying to make a website for Amazon to sell products.I don’t know how to put content and reviews into the site.Can I please have instructions on how to put content.

      Thank you,

      Reply
    31. Eric Post author

      WordPress is ideal for this. You can post your content using the standard “post” feature. Lesson #34 covers this. You can get banners and links for the products from within your amazon affiliate account.

      Reply
    32. Darryl

      Eric

      The lessons are great, I have a website using wordpress, but only one problem, I can not view the site LIVE! The host panel shows up when I type my domain name in…did I miss how to launch somewhere, I review all the videos up to including installing and still when I type in my domain name I’m sent to host panel … help please!

      thanks

      Reply
    33. Micah

      Hello Darryl,

      Your site should be live after the Domain Name Server information has propagated throughout the internet.

      When DNS records have been changed it takes about 24 hours for the changes to propagate and take effect. Only after that you will be able to see the result of the DNS changes you have made.

      If after 24 hours the DNS change has not taken effect yet, you can try clearing your browser’s cache, if you still can’t see your website.

      Reply
    34. Virginia

      Some of this stuff I have known for a while…it’s making money with it that isn’t sinking in. Can’t wait! You are very thorough, and very clear! Thanks so much!

      Reply
    35. Lewis Hathorn

      Good Evening, Eric:
      I am requesting that you send the supplement to
      Lesson #36, which had to do with something on a
      Membership website. I am unable to find this
      supplement, and I must have deleted the link to
      it by mistake. I was impressed by your article
      on Gary Ambrose relative to a membership site.
      I had already done research on Mr. Ambrose, who
      came out with an hour-long video dealing with
      membership sites. Anyway, I would appreciate
      yyou sending me the supplement to membership
      sites. Thank you.

      Reply
    36. Micah

      Hello Lewis,

      Here is the link to Eric’s lesson called, How to Build a Membership Website:
      http://www.ericstips.com/tips/lesson32/

      Is this what you were looking for? It has everything you’ll need to get going with a membership website!

      Reply
    37. Mark

      Thanks, Eric, great instructions.

      Mark

      Reply
    38. Richard

      Hi Eric, Working my way through your great course.I am still with you, getting a little more technical now. Editing CSS Style sheets,here’s some recent info of 2013, windows recommends, http://www.freetextpad.com/
      Seems like a pretty good & Free editor, well worth a look. Thank’s for all the help.

      Reply
    39. mike

      hi eric great information iam about to set up my website and i will be using what i have learned
      learning all the technical stuff know .
      look forward to the next tips
      thanks for the knowledge .

      Reply
    40. Ben Bazelman

      Hi Eric:
      I am making my way through Eric’S Tips. A big HELP to someone just Learning. Somehow I Missed No. 37. If you could resend it to me I would appreciate it. Thanks A lot!!!

      Reply
    41. Ken Klug

      Is there a downside to using the Hostgator site builder instead of WordPress? The Hostgator rep suggested their new one called Weebly which has been getting good feedback. This is probably a new alternative since you made your Erik’s Tips. Would I be locked into using Hostgator as my hosting company and later regret using them?

      Reply
    42. Eric Post author

      WordPress is a better long-term platform. I would also recommend WordPress over Weebly. No, you would not be locked into using Hostgator. It is possible to move to another host in the future. That’s another reason why WP is better than their site builder. WP can easily be transferred to any host, but their site builder would not.

      Reply
    43. Jorge Garcia

      Eric Thanks for the lesson, study and practice and practice to achieve a broader knowledge of all applications is the solution for me , a question do you know any specific course for the use of word press that you recommend me best wishes your friend Jorge

      Reply
      1. Eric Post author

        In addition to my lessons, there is so much free training on WordPress available in the web that you most likely would not need to invest in any WP course unless you need to learn something very specialized or technical in nature.

        You can find a lot of helpful stuff on the WordPress site: http://wordpress.org/support/
        And if there’s something you want to see demonstrated in a video, just search for it on YouTube and most likely you will find a video demonstrating it.

        Reply
    44. Bill

      I have Adobe to open up files,but it does not open all of them.What else do I need to open up the files that Adobe does not and does it cost anything? Thanks From Texas

      Reply
      1. Micah

        Hello Bill,

        Adobe is used for opening .PDF files. Do you do what kind of files you wish to open? We can help you find the software needed to open that file type!

        Reply
    45. ann riley

      Eric,

      I am looking into a product by Anthony Morrison (Fast Traffic Sniper).
      I have been following your Eric’s Tips for a couple months and am making progress. But I need to make some money soon. Fast Traffic ic supposed to choose videos from Youtube , Vimeo and others to place an ad before the video starts. The platform they are using has a $1000.00 deposit as the beginning marketing budget.
      Can you help me with making a decicsion?

      Reply
      1. Micah

        Hello Ann,

        Thanks for pointing out the product. We are unfamiliar with Fast Traffic Sniper.

        If Eric feels that it would benefit his readers at this stage, he’ll be sure to do a review.

        Reply

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