WordPress is often marketed as a quick and easy way for people to create their own website. But I know from managing people’s WordPress websites that many business owners get confused with the technical side of setting up WordPress templates and themes. There’s a lot of talk about HTML, PHP, CSS and confusing abbreviations which don’t mean a lot to many people!
So how customizable are WordPress Templates?
Template files are used to build the basic framework of your WordPress site. They include blog pages, web pages and sidebars, and can be found under Appearance > Editor on the WordPress dashboard. The essential template files are as follows:
index.php – this is the main template file for your WordPress site
header.php – sets up the header layout
footer.php – sets up the footer layout
page.php – for creating WordPress pages
single.php – for creating WordPress posts
sidebar.php – sets up the sidebar layout
style.css – the stylesheet that creates the design and formatting of your WordPress site.
Other WordPress templates can be added to these basic files such as search forms, contact pages, archive posts and blog comments.
Don’t edit these files unless you understand HTML, PHP and CSS code as you can easily break your website if you mess up the code on the templates. Instead choose a theme with an extensive theme options dashboard so you can easily update and amend the look and feel of your site without having to edit the template files themselves.
Most theme dashboards will enable you to set the font and colour scheme of the site, add a logo to the header and help you to set up the home page layout at the very least. Plugins can also add additional functionality on your site, whether you want to add custom sidebars, picture galleries, or a home page slider.
So it’s good to know what WordPress templates do and how they structure your site, but don’t customise them unless you fully understand how to edit HTML, PHP and CSS code. Instead, use plugins and theme options to set up and design your website in the way that you want.
We can help you to get your website up and running the right way. Check out our Website Design Services to find out how you can get a website that will promote your services in the best way and attract people who want to do business with you.
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