Theme and plugins

Theme

Choosing a theme is most likely the first big choice for the WordPress page, and it can have a far-reaching consequences. Though, changing a theme takes just a few seconds, so a new look to our site can be introduced rather quickly. It all depends on how much did we alter the default settings.

Anyway, choosing a theme is very simple. Just go to Appearance -> Themes, choose ‘Add new’ option and search for the theme you need.

theme browse

There are multiple themes that could be interesting and to your liking. One may browse through the popular an new themes, for a slightly more options use ‘Feature Filter’.

Once you find a theme that suits you, click ‘install’. This will download an unpack the theme to your server (to the place where your page is hosted). This action does not activate the theme yet, so you can download many themes without worrying that your current page and work will change. To activate a theme, choose the ‘activate’ option, which can be done right after installing, or in the Appearance -> Themes tab.

There are also some themes that are not available through the official theme browser. Those themes’ files need to be directly copied to your server. The theme used in this site, Moesia used to be such a theme, but now it is easily accessible through the browser.

Plugins

Plugins are additions that make your life easier nad your page better. Why creating something from a scratch, if somebody (and usually quite a few of those somebody’s) already created it, and what is more, shares it for free. True, quite often the plugins provide just the basics, with payment options for the fireworks, but still those basic can be enough.It is not necessary to install all the plugins at the beginning, just grab them when the need comes.

To install a plugin, just go to ‘Plugins’ in the menu. The procedure is similar with the themes, you need to install and activate the plugin in order to use it.

There are a few plugins I would recommend (which are used on this site), though you should be easily able to find a substitution:

  • Page Builder (by SiteOrigin, for example)

Page Builder lets you add multiple rows to your page. Each of the row may contain a separate element – a widget like button, post entry, image, video, simple page, or another page builder page within. This way it is easy to put the elements in different places on the view. This plugin is a must when creating a so-called ‘one page’ site. Such site has a few pages/elements one below another, so the user just scrolls down to see all of the content. In a more classical approach each page is separate, and user needs to navigate via links/buttons to different content.

There are some WordPress themes especially suited for such a ‘one page’ site, for example the already mentioned Moesia. My page actually uses both approaches: the welcome page is ‘one page’, but the details are on separate pages which are linked from the main page and the menu.

  • Advanced editors (Black Studio TinyMCE Widget and TinyMCE advanced)

Advanced editors give you more options for formating and displaying text while writing post or pages. Compare the ‘bare’ text options with the ‘upgraded version’.

simplePost

versus

pluginPost

Note: on the first image a ‘Toolbar Toogle’ button is circled. This button shows/hides the toolbar below (in case you don’t see it). You can also press Shift-Alt-Z to switch this button on and off.

  • Jetpack by WordPress.com

Provides a bunch of useful functionalities from WordPress.com and simplifies managing of the site. One of those functionalities is, for example, extra types of galleries that you can create (which will be briefly covered in different post).

  • Spell checker

Some spell checker will come in handy in order to avoid misspellings and annoying errors. You can find a spell checker plugin in WordPress, but I found it easier to use the spell checker add-on from the browser, actually. Just go to add-ons in your browser or search for ‘spell checker firefox/explorer/etc’ and follow the (usually) simple instructions.