In my previous blog, I gave some basics of CSS tags and styles, now I would like to concentrate on the initial clean-ups you would need to perform on any downloaded WordPress Themes.
CleanUp, CleanUp, CleanUp – The first and foremost step will be to remove unwanted stuff promoting and advertising the theme designer and his websites. The header will have stuff like ‘WordPress Theme Designed by XXXX’ or ‘Powered by XXXX’, you need to remove these and make your header more impressive and relevant to the content of your website or blog.
The 2nd step of Clean-Up will be to visit the footer section and provide your CopyRight or related stuff in the footer.php file. Usually you will find only one footer file in most of the WordPress themes that are available.
Banners & Logos – It is not a mandate that your website should have a banner of any sort, most of the professional blog sites have simple header files with relevant text and some advertising space instead of a banner or unwanted images. A punch-line for your website would be a good thing to add as your second header line. (Note: All changes done to the headers should be done uniformly across all the header PHP files).
Meta Tags and Description – While we are still modifying the Header files, it would also be convenient to add your Meta tags in the <head> section of the file. Note that your meta tags should be related to your content and should always represent what your website is all about. These Meta tags are used for the search engine bots to index your page and bring them up on the SERP. Below is an example of how to specify them:
Content vs Excerpts – Usually all your posts will be displayed on your home page one below the other and you can configure to display the 5 or 8 latest ones in your WordPress Admin. Apart from this, I would also recommend you to use Excerpts of your posts instead of the entire post on your home page. When writing a post, you see an Excerpt section below the body of the post, you can write a small brief of your post in there to be displayed. Once you do this, you will also need to modify your home.php file as below:
This setting will display the Excerpt on your home page with a “Continue Reading–>” link to your entire post right below it. This will make your home page crisp and clean to the visitors.
Subscribe to RSS – You might have seen this link on every other WordPress theme and might be wondering ‘What is RSS anyway?’. Well, RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and it is a way to access the content of your blog or your website via XML format instead of having to visit your site via the browser. There are a number of Feed Readers available and if your website is RSS enabled, then it can be read by any of these applications. So why use RSS? Here is why –
There is no need for you to visit the blog or website to read the latest articles and thus saves time.
You can subscribe to any number of RSS feeds and thus have all your favorite blogs and articles in one place and organize them into their respective categories.
The Feed Readers are generally faster than your website or blogs as it brings in only the content.
You can access your RSS feed via smart phones, stand alone RSS feed readers, MyYahoo, MyGoogle etc or even get them delivered to you email.
How to get your website RSS enabled – Now that you know what this RSS is about, you can easily get your website RSS enabled. Just register with ‘Google FeedBurner’ and submit your website URL. It will provide you a unique feedburner ID which you can add to the URL link of the RSS Feed on your WP Theme. You can also select from the various “Chicklets” that feedburner provides and just copy and paste the code to your theme in the right place. Also do activate the Email Subscriptions to those readers who prefer to get your feed delivered to their emails.
Hope you found these tips useful and will help you in your initial redesign of the WordPress Theme. Share your thoughts and ideas below.