Support » Themes and Templates » Where to start?

  • I am new to WordPress and to blogging. What is a good source to begin to learn how to customize my WP Blog? I don’t know CSS or PHP but I hate the default template and would like to customize. Where to begin for a complete newbie?

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  • If you are new in that you have no database of archives that you may otherwise worry about, then the best thing to do is just start altering code bit by bit.
    It looks daunting – it isn’t.
    There is always help here anyway. and so long as you can accept that along the way you *will* make mistakes, you *will* correct them, it will probably look worse before it looks better then all will be fine 🙂
    And enjoy doing it !

    A good place to start with some different WordPress styles:

    I agree with Podz. I’m not new to blogging, but I’m new to WordPress and CSS. I write about web logs but I can only dream of writing blogging software/programmes/plugins/hacks/etc. (for now ;-)).
    I think you should just start small and install WP first. Then, learn the admin controls, etc. Familiarise yourself with basic CSS and slowly tweak the templates (if you do not just want to copy off other standard templates; or just get another template you like and start tweaking from there).
    And then, yes, just come to forums such as this one for help. 🙂

    Where do I put the code to add a background image to the index.php page? (I have a whole lot more questions, but I figure if I can get that one answered, I may get a clue as to where to look for other things.)

    Depends where you want the image …. that’s the difficult answer.
    If you want it just on the very background, and not showing through anything, then add this tag
    background-image: url(”);
    to the body tag, and put the location of the picture in between the ”
    If you want it elsewhere, you’ll need to think if you want it to show through (and therefore have transparent boxes with your text in) or put it actually into the box you want imaged.
    This making sense ?
    If you could give us a link to your page, and explain where you want it to be, it’ll be easier to help – many pages have so many different layouts, and one person’s background could be another person’s div.

    Okay. 🙂
    Here’s where WordPress is —
    Here’s what I want it to look like —
    If I can just get a clue as to which file to start on out of the dozen or more, it would really help. I can’t find anything on the sites that are listed earlier in this topic. Seems like they all assume that the reader knows more than I do. (I’m really not completely inexperienced. I can program in Perl with the best of them and understand quite a bit of PHP.)

    That’s not so hard 🙂
    Follow the link I put above, and use a rap div to resize the content, then shift it over to the left by giving the rap div a left margin of 0
    #rap {
    margin: 0 200px 0 0px;
    border: dotted #000 1px;
    background: white;
    Reduce / increase the 200 to suit you.
    The large image is the header.
    The bar can be achieved with
    #tinfo {
    background-color: #fff;
    font-size: 12px;
    font-family: ‘lucida sans unicode’, verdana, sans-serif;
    padding: 20px 20px 20px 20px;
    adjust font sizes / padding to suit.
    and into index.php have
    <div id=”tinfo”> Here are my links</div>
    just under the header image.
    The menu being on the left and I hope enough info for you to alter the width on #content and #menu are also in the above link.

    Okay. Well, thanks. I guess I’m going to have to find a translator. “rap div”?
    Or maybe I’ll just forget the whole thing.
    Thanks for your input, though.

    okay … in index.php, there is a call like this:
    <div id=”rap”>
    Now ‘rap’ is not defined in your css, so nothing happens.
    If you define it – like I did above – it will cause your page to look something closer to the one you want.
    Please look at the link above – I’m sure it will help.

    @ Deni, Hi. I just had a look at your blog and the testing you are doing. So far so good. Welcome to Word Press. From your question and your work on the index file so far I understand you to need a little bit of a steer on the CSS. This is easy for you so do not worry. Unless you want to start hacking you only need to go near two files. Those are index.php and wp-layout.css. Index is just like html with all the php calls cleverly threaded through it. All styling (including positioning of images for example) is done in the CSS. (in wp-layout.css) That is where to look. Now CSS type styles are not really a lot different from things like font etc. They just use slightly different syntax in some cases.Postioning can be tricky for a beginner.
    Just a thought: Why not just get used to altering colors, fonts, borders etc using the standard index layout until you are really comfortable with it ? In the meantime you can hack up a mock up to practice any layout changes you may want. Welcome to Word Press and Good luck.

    Thanks for all your help. I’m beginning to get a little bit of a clue as to what’s going on.

    Also do not be shy. If you can post a url, it gives the guys a fighting chance of helping you. A lot of us develop *live* for a brief period. Who cares if there are hiccoughs.

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