Support » Themes and Templates » choosing a theme – what’s easiest to add or change?

  • Hi,

    In selecting a theme to use, I’m unsure on what basis to decide between existing themes. None are exactly what I want. If I choose one theme, and then change or add things, what is easiest to add or change? I would like 3 columns – should I look only at 3-column blogs, or find one that has other features that I like and change the number of columns?

    Or would it be better to use an existing 3-column theme and add other features, like forums, links, eventually a newsletter, RSS, etc? I’m a writer with no web design experience (but I do have a 15-year old son!)

    thanks for any advice, and I hope I’m not asking too much?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • What’s easiest always depends on what you know how to change. If you know CSS ( Stylesheets ), you could select a theme that’s closest to your taste and then change colors and fonts to your liking.

    If you want to move things around, adding or removing calendars, link lists as the Blogroll, you have to go into the theme’s template files ( index.php, single.php, etc. ).

    In that case I’d think that getting a three column theme, where the main divisions are the ones you like ( overall structure ) and as simple as possible.

    That way the overall solution is there and what you have to do, is to add move or remove features in the php pages and only tune fonts and colors in the style.css file.

    Greetings to your son!


    In my experience the most difficult thing to change if you are new to web-design is the main structure of the page. If you want three columns, then I would definitely suggest looking for something that already has those three columns.

    It is very easy to change spacing, fonts, colours etc. Also, you can hunt for features on other themes that you like and incorporate them into your own concoction.

    I spent a few sleepless nights trying to hack a two-column theme to make a three-column theme, and everything went haywire (the reason, I discovered belatedly, was that I had chosen to base my project on a theme where the author had not been particularly faithful to the WordPress Loop). I scrapped the whole thing and started fresh with the template pages from the ‘Classic’ theme. I redid all of the CSS, starting with the three column structure and then modifying from there. I got what I wanted, but next time I am going to the WordPress Codex and reading EVERYTHING about Blog Design and Layout before I even start.

    Ugh… I’m babbling!

    Right. If you can’t find an appropriate theme to use as a starting point I could send you the three-column thingy I made… just be warned: it has not been prepared for public release (being my first attempt, it was done in a caffeine daze without sufficient preparation, documentation, or sleep).

    my email is xiao3ka1gmail<dot>com

    Kat, the Twat

    Go to my testblog and in the sidebar select the Vesuvius.
    It’s a simple 3 column (similar to Classic mentioned above, but 3 col); and you can modify the colours, add/delete stuff etc.
    (scrolling down you can see a post about it, too)

    moshu: that’s beautiful with the different 3 column layouts and references to good information on CSS and other stuff.

    I admit I don’t really know anything yet … but my son explained what CSS is… and I’m both playing with my site (not yet online) and reading parts of the Codex. My goal is to write, not learn to design web pages, so I hoped I could get a workable layout and go from there.

    Thanks, Moshu, I will download and try Vesuvius.
    I like the Chocolate and Zucchini blog (which is not a downloadable theme and is in Movable Type!) and would like something close to that. I like the understated color scheme, 3-column layout, picture in the top middle of the text, and it seeems to have all the features I could need.

    sibylle: please look through all of the themes available at There are around 400 of them, you should be able to fine a “starting point”….

    Me again.

    I downloaded Vesuvius and tried to load it.

    It says:Broken themes

    The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template.
    Name Description
    Vesuvius – 1.5.1 Template is missing.

    Maybe it doesn’t recognize something?

    You need to make sure that when you upload a theme to the themes folder in wp-content, you have a “top-level” folder of the theme name, and within it you have a graphics or images folder, and some *.php files, and style.css. Sometimes themes unpack into several layers of folders….


    I checked the contents of the folder for Vesuvius.

    It contains the following files:
    vesuvius Folder

    I tried downloading Dark Maple to see if it would work. I got the following error message:

    “The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template.
    Name Description
    Dark Maple Template is missing.
    Vesuvius – 1.5.1 Template is missing.”

    I then checked my working themes (WP Classic, WP Default, Plain Vanilla) and saw no file or folder called “template”. I’m not sure what to try next? I managed to download and try several themes, Plain Vanilla, Dixie Belle, lightCMS 1.0, but none gave me the result or appearance I wanted.

    What else should I try? thanks for your help.

    Hmmm… images should be a subfolder with the vesbg1.gif in it.
    And the “template” is the index file.

    The images folder does have the vesbg1.gif in it,
    and both Maple and Vesuvius have index.php files.
    But presentation – themes tells me that the themes are incomplete and specifically that the “Template is missing”.

    I’m on a Mac G4, using OSX; would that make a difference?

    Hmmm. Did you open any of the files before upload?

    There was something about Macs screwing up the line ends… only if I could find it in this forum 🙁

    Is there anything of that nature at tamba2 I wonder? I have ZERO knowledge of macs….

    No, I didn’t open the files. I put the complete Vesuvius and Maple folders, unopened, as is, into the WP – contents /themes folder.


    I found this thread:

    Absolutely no idea whether it is relevant to your problem, but it does talk about Macs screwing up the line ends…

    Kat, the Twat

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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