This week’s post is a guest post courtesy of High Caliber Code‘s, Jonathan Magee. He is a contract programmer and web developer, who I am lucky to have as my personal web admin and husband. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and Jonathan will lend his sage advice.
WordPress is the most widely used “content management system” or CMS for websites, holding a whopping 48% of the market share. According to BuiltWith (a usage statistic site) as of August 2015 there are over 16.3 million sites using WordPress. They show that as being 5% of the entire internet!
Generally CMSs are thought of as running blog type websites, but they can also be used to run e-commerce sites, build professional portfolios, etc. What you can do on a CMS based site is really only limited by your imagination.
WordPress.com offers free hosting services, and while it does include a handful of useful features, there are several things you just can’t do. Amongst these, one of the most handy, is the ability to customize your site. Their free sites allow you to change the way your site looks by picking one of the themes they have pre-loaded, but you can not upload other themes and you can not make customizations beyond what is included within a theme’s options.
In order to be able to truly make your site your own, you need to either sign up for their Premium version ($99 per year) or move to a different hosting company (there are many different options out there, and most of the larger hosts, like Dreamhost, Bluehost, and HostGator, offer the convenience of “one click installs” to get a WordPress site up and running). With very little work, either of these paths opens up several new features for you. One of the most popular that people are looking for is to have their own domain name like sasharoundtheclock.com versus having wordpress in the url, like sasharoundtheclock.wordpress.com. While that is a great feature, I’d like to spend a little more time talking about how they also give you the ability to fully customize your site!
Once you have the full customization ability, a little knowledge of CSS (or hiring the services of somebody who does) goes a long way. For those who feel comfortable messing around with it themselves, we are going to take a look at how to add something simple, yet oh so visually impactful. Borders! Adding a border around an image makes it stand out but also smooths the transition and stops it from feeling like it’s just floating on the page.
In your WordPress admin panel, click on Appearance -> Editor. Then on the right hand side of the page, find your css file.
If you are using a theme, there is more than likely already a section in the file for the styles of an image. If so, find it, if not add it.
I would recommend adding something like this:
border: 5px solid #ED702B;
(you can use a site like this to pick which color you want)
The first part creates a border automatically around all images on your site (this specifically is solid thin and orange, which is what we set up for Sasha’s site), while the second part gives you the ability to easily remove the border for those times where you just don’t want it (built in border or non-standard shaped image). To use it, you just have to add the noborder name to the class list of the image. Follow these simple steps to do that – After adding the image to your post, click the image, click edit, expand the advanced options section, and then type noborder into the Image CSS Class box.
There you have it. With just a couple minutes of work, you can make your website just a little more you!
This is just one example of the multitude of things you can do once you have graduated beyond the free sites offered by WordPress.com.
This post has been cross posted on the High Caliber Code site at http://www.highcalibercode.com/2015/08/18/make-wordpress-yours/.