It is important to customize themes for unique brand representation. Some of the features that come with themes by default may not be needed for one reason or the other. Just like computer software usually come with additional programs, but customized to meet specific purpose at the point of installation.

The niche difference and core functionality intended for the site may warrant a twist in the general modification of a theme. I often say, blogging is about branding. If this is true, then you will have to customize your template to look unique and that is when the blog and the content you provide within your niche can really stand out from the crowd and people may look in your direction.

It is therefore necessary for template to be customizable. Majority of free WordPress templates may not be easy to customize especially the footer links. To gain trust and credibility in online business world and establish professional prowess, your entire template should look clean, neat, add value to audience and branded around you or your business as the case may be. How can we get this done

Remove unwanted features. Like I said, there are features that may not be necessary on templates and as such should be discarded. For instance, badges, calendar and meta data are needless although, this depend on your niche. A blog on event may consider calendar widget for audience easy reference. Also, author info should be replaced with about page and recent comments should be deleted. This do not really add value and it may alter the general outlook of the site.

Optimize template footer links. Another place where visitors should have access to major and foundational elements that make a site apart from the header is the footer. Why, That is the last point they will scroll to when they visit your blog. Help them to reach important things they might have overlooked or couldn’t see at first glance.

Understand that they have other things to do. The footer should contain the link to popular posts, recent posts, archive, RSS Feeds, email subscription, home page and a conspicuous contact info that includes links to social network connections like Facebook page, twitter and LinkedIn.

Content layout/ Site architecture. Most template have good content layout for content management purposes, but we have to arrange posts by category in a well structured format. Individual blog post should be archived into specific category for easy access and navigation. This is necessary for SEO and user experience reasons.

Keep category short but visible. A template that can itemize posts under category in reverse chronological order with installed site map plugin upon customization is better.

Recreate your blog header. The first point a typical webmaster would want to start customizing a theme is the header. All the features and text that usually come with a template by default are off bearing with what is needed. The first thing is changing the logo, the header picture, social network links, RSS Feeds and creating pages. The header must be branded to reflect the purpose and values of the blog.

Home page presentation. This is the landing page of your blog and with all modesty, it should represent both your brands and the purpose of the blog. What do you intend to blog about or what services do you want to offer the audience and prospective customers. All these should be stated clearly and concisely on the home page with links to detail information pages.

The design outlook must be distinct, unique and accurate with simple layout. A link to About and contact pages should be included. That is where visitors get brief but total package of the entire blog. Make it interesting and exciting enough to make visitors dig into your product or service.

Customize 404 error page (Broken links). Many a time we forget that there are broken links within our directories or it could be links that come from other site Backlinks to a post that has been deleted. Broken links could occur in diverse ways. When it thus happen, it is not professional to greet visitor with a default 404 error page they are use to.

Customizing it with images and text that indicate how else you love to assist them locate the file they look for may sound objective and reveals your sincere care about them. You may put your search box, popular posts and email address should they need further help. This would add value and trust to your site, putting you at vantage position for future business transactions.

Color combination. The combination of colors on a template should blend with site brand perspective and logo structure. This will definitely give the site a unique look if done properly. But we must choose our template colors carefully. There are harsh colors like dominant red, dark green, purple, pink or brown. These colors may be considered for widget header.

Blogging is synonymous to marketing where branding is essential. Be creative about it. There are online resources that can help facilitate this effort. ColorZilla is one of the add-on on Firefox and Google Chrome which effectively feature as color picker, eyedropper and has the capacity to analyze any color on web pages giving you the exact color code in RGB and HEX.

It can also help you generate and edit CSS images and conversions. Another resources you can explore on finding best colors suitable for your template is color schemer or WordPress color scheme development.

Logo structure. It is imperative to design a logo that speak the language of the entire blog, not just any image. The logo should carry behind it an experience that aligned with brand. So, be very creative when developing your site logo. It should mirror your brand, having all the features that can stand side by side with your niche. You may try cool text. It has the resources that can help you perfect and blend your logo to any form you like.

Plugin functionality. The overall functionality of a blog apart from the useful content it parade, is in the type of plugin installed. Plugins tend to further enhance the total user experience of a blog thereby creating magnetic attraction towards the site if carefully chosen in consonance with the purpose of the blog.

However, the following plugins may be considered for greater site performance. Akismet, DigThis, Google site maps generator, Custom Query, WP-Cache, WordPress database backup, Related posts, Jerome’s keywords, Sig2feed, Chunk URLs, Feed Smith.

Page formation. Another way to make visitors spend more time on site is by creatively name blog pages to carry one or two-word sales pitch tone, high enough to consistently earn a click. Make the colour conspicuous and inviting both on the visited and hover such that they blend with colours around them.

Create a favicon. Favicon is the icon you see that looks like small logo at the left side of the box of a browser when the address of a website that has it is displayed. Favicon help to further brand a site especially when bookmarked. I call this brand identification. There are lots of online favicon generating site where you can create one if you are overwhelmed creating it yourself on Photoshop or Ms Word.

It is my hope that you now have an idea of how to customize WordPress template. However, this should be an on-going thing, because blog is like building a house, where there is room for lots of customization from physical structures to interior decor. To continually and effectively customize themes, I would advise you learn HTML and CSS at W3Schools or Webmonkey.

This is where real customization takes place and with Firebug you cannot run into problem. Firebug is Firefox add-on that allows you inspect, monitor and edit CSS, HTML and JavaScript on any template. This will aid you to know where the code you want to edit is located. You can then log in to your admin back-end, find the code and edit it to reflect what you want on your template.

Contact us  should you need help or want us to build a sitefor you. We shall be glad to show case our expertise in delivering the exact package you want with added features that guarantee business growth because, your success is our passion.

Francis 'Toke

Creative Web Developer at Frandimore
Level headed individual, writing blog post for Frandimore when not engrossed on projects.
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