Edit CSS in WordPress Themes
WordPress Themes greatly simplify the work of web developers. Rather than manually tailoring each design element, you can apply a ready-made set of properties. While this method is extremely convenient and time-saving, it limits the uniqueness of your website, since your chosen theme has most likely been used by other webmasters. Without making changes, your site will be a faceless clone that doesn’t engage visitors or entice them to stay and shop or read your content.
You can arrive at a happy medium between coding and using a mainstream design by editing CSS in WordPress to modify a ready-made theme. This approach is still time-efficient, but allows you to create a unique style that characterizes your brand.
If you’re a novice webmaster, the idea of coding may seem a bit daunting, and you may fear you will ruin your original design. But it is not difficult to edit CSS in WordPress. In this article, we will guide you through the basics and provide some simple solutions for customizing WordPress themes.
CSS in a Nutshell
If you compare your website to a building, HTML would be the framework and CSS would be the design. In web development, HTML describes what elements are available on the website, while CSS determines how they look. Begin by establishing the framework of your website with HTML and then use CSS to select the design elements that will give it a unique appearance.
If you plan to finish walls in your home, design prescriptions may look something like this:
- Color – yellow
- Stucco – Spanish
- Texture – combed
In CSS, you can place the individual properties in a design class and prescribe rules for the class:
In this case, .design would work as a selector. If you adjust specifications within the brackets in your CSS file, changes will apply to all the areas that use the .design selector, so you won’t need to rewrite all your code.
From this home design example, let’s shift to CSS specifications for text on a web page:
In this case, all the text on the page would be white. At the same time, H1 headers would be placed on a black background, while regular body paragraphs would appear on a blue background.
How to Customize WordPress Themes
Begin with a ready-made theme for your website’s exterior design. If you want blue walls instead of yellow, you need to customize your original prescriptions. The simplest way to do this is to use basic dev tools in your browser, but only you will see the changes. Other users will still see yellow. For permanent editing, use one of the following methods:
Change a Parent CSS File
You can edit CSS via the WordPress dashboard. Click “Appearance → Editor” in the left-side menu to access the file with design specifications. It contains all the styling rules applicable to your website. Adjust the necessary properties and save your changes. It’s that simple.
Create a Child Theme
While the above method is pretty straightforward, it only works for minor changes. If you adjust multiple features and dramatically transform an original theme, some edits can be difficult to reverse, because it will be hard to remember exactly what changes were made. In addition, if the creator of the original theme releases an update, not all of your edits will be retained in the new version.
It is safer to create a child theme and use it as an add-on to the parent theme. You can install and activate your specifications in the same way as the originals. The only difference is that there will be almost no code in a newly-created CSS file, since the basic features are inherited from the parent theme. The child theme is used exclusively for edits.
Browsers understand which design specifications are paramount because in CSS, rules applied later usually supersede earlier rules. If the child theme says your color scheme should be blue and the parent theme says it is yellow, it will be blue. All specifications of a child theme dominate parent properties. If you change your mind, you can revert to the parent theme without rewriting the code.
This method imposes order on web development work, since all customization remains at your fingertips. You don’t need to sort through code to find edited pieces. It is recommended to provide comments for your edits, so you will later recall what was done and why.
Use a Plugin
If you want to completely avoid coding, take advantage of special WordPress plugins. As with a child theme, plugins allow you to store your customized changes separately from the original theme, making them easy to adjust. The latest plugins have a straightforward interface and helpful hints that are very useful for beginners.
With so many great WordPress themes available on the Internet, manual coding of CSS for your entire website is a waste of time. A mainstream style may work for a newly-launched platform, but as your venture grows, you will probably want a more customized design for your branded website.
Changing the parent CSS file could create a mess that complicates further work. Use child themes or a plugin to gain better control over your edits. You will be able to create a great design for your online platform with a one-of-a-kind brand identity.
Once your platform’s design is appealing and user-friendly, your next step is to prepare it for SEO promotion. A winning marketing campaign will help you reach top positions in SERPs and attract a target audience that converts to loyal clients.