How to Tailor WordPress Theme using Appearance > Customize

WordPress themes have the ability to make any site look unique. A number of websites are bound to look similar with WordPress being the most popular content management system. A lot of people use it and hence we come across sites that look exactly like ours. We all like to keep it distinct and have a unique website.

It is not possible for everyone to make their own unique custom theme. So, most of us use those that are provided by different websites. The official WordPress theme directory is an example of this. A large number of people use designs from this directory as they are all free. Chances are, your site doesn’t look unique at all if you have installed it from there. The best we can hope for is that a small number of websites use it.

Another way to get a sort of unique look is by purchasing paid themes. Those are available in sites such as ThemeForest. But still there will always be a number of people who have purchased a single product. Some design marketplaces allow us to make the theme unique to us. They take a large sum and stop the future sales of the product. But it isn’t affordable for many. The same story goes for commissioning someone to design a unique one for you.

Use Theme Appearance Customizer

The best way to make a WordPress site unique is with the help of original content and some touches on the theme. Choose your own headers, background, add your own images, text and logos to be one of a kind. Almost all modern WordPress themes have implemented the appearance customization option. This option is available from the Appearance > Customize menu. You might have seen it before.

Once in the customizer, you will see several options that can be changed. Options such as changing Site Title & Tagline, Header Images, Widgets and having a Static Front Page are common among all. But modern themes might introduce unique options such as changing Background Image, Navigation Menu, Logos and what not. The options are always different. Visit the Appearance > Customize option once you have activated the theme of your choice.

One awesome thing about it is that the changes can be previewed instantly on the website itself. Make a change, see the modifications instantly on the right and save if you are satisfied with it. The site preview that loads along with the customizer will reflect the changes instantly.

Customizing Appearance for Twenty Fifteen

Twenty fifteen is the default and popular WordPress theme. Most users stick to using it for their website. We have the same theme activated here till now. Let’s try to do some test customization and see how it affects the website.

WordPress Theme Appearance Customizer

Site Title & Taglines: Site title and tagline is seen on the far left side. It moves to the header for small screen displays. The change has to be made by every site owner to brand their website.

Colors: It allows us to choose between different color schemes. The default one is light and uses white and light grey color combinations. There are other pre-defined Base Color Schemes to choose from—dark, yellow, pink, purple and blue. The default one is the best one.

We can also select custom colors for the main background, header/sidebar background and header/sidebar text. Try various combinations to have a WordPress website with some unique colors.

Header Image: The image shows up in the side bar after it is uploaded. It appears in the top-header of small screens or in mobile displays. Drag your browser and make it smaller to see small screen previews. The recommended dimension is 954 x 1300 pixels. You are given an option to manually crop online if the image dimension doesn’t match.

Multiple images can be uploaded to display random headers. Highlight the Randomizing upload headers option for it to take effect. To remove an image, just hover over it and press the ‘X’. Click the Hide Image button to disable the feature.

Background image: It is used in the background of the entire page. It is seen in the visible background regions behind the text. The background picture remains static. It doesn’t scroll along with the page content.

Navigation: It allows you to select different menus to display below the header text and tagline. The primary menu is for navigation. The social links menu displays social icons. Create a menu linked to social networks for activating the social menu.

Widgets: In Twenty Fifteen, widgets are displayed at the end of the header. For large screen sizes it appears on the sidebar. The drag and drop Appearance > Widgets option and this option is the same. Use the one that you feel comfortable with.

Final Remarks

The Appearance > Customize option is very useful for quick and detailed tailoring of any WordPress Theme. Many designers are moving the options here. You will be visiting this section more often. We just saw how different elements of Twenty Fifteen can be customized with it. Other advanced themes will certainly have more options. I have seen it with most parallax and flat themes that are in fashion right now. Such modern designs use a static page for their homepage. It contains a number of widgets and a large header image along with a call-to-action button. Their options are mostly in the Theme Appearance Customizer.

The changes made here will stay even after the theme is upgraded. It’s not like modifying the files which is recommended to be done via child themes. The changes are permanent and can be modified easily. So, if you are looking for the correct place to modify the appearance of your theme then be sure to check the useful and instant Appearance > Customize option.