Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link to a product in this post, and purchase it, I will receive a small commission that goes towards running this awesome blog, and supporting my awesome family!
Have you’ve ever bought a WordPress theme, and tried to customize it to your needs? People tell you that it’s easy, but if you’re like I was when I first started blogging, you want to punch those people in their competent faces. WordPress was so frustrating for me, that I actually dedicated a year to learning web design so that I wouldn’t have to put up with the hassles of trying to customize a WordPress theme. I’m stubborn like that.
But if you don’t have time to learn code because you have a life or something, here are 5 ways you can highly customize your WordPress blog without it.
The WP Easy Columns Plugin comes in really handy if you want to break your content up into- you guessed it- columns! Simply install the plugin, and the next time you go to write a post, you will see a new column icon in the post editor.
When you click on the icon, it will bring up a box that will let you choose the layout that you want to make with your columns.
You will see some weird looking code that has been inserted into your post. These are called short codes. Let’s say you decide to place 3 columns into a blog post. They will look like this from your text editor:
All you need to know is that you place your content in between the opening and closing short code. In the above example where I typed “Your content here!” would be where you place your images, text, or whatever it is that you are splitting up into columns! Pretty easy right?
Price: Free / Get It Now
Other column plugins I like: Lightweight Grid Columns
Easy Google Fonts Plugin – Have you ever found the perfect theme but desperately wanted to change the fonts? Without knowing how to code, this can be really hard to do. Unless you have the right plugin. I like the Easy Google Fonts plugin because it gives you access to every Google web font, and makes it super easy to implement those fonts where you want them to go.
Once you install the plugin, go to Settings > Google Fonts
You will see a screen that looks like this:
You will need a different font control for each font you want to use, so in the example above, I want all of my headings, post titles, and widget titles to be the same font. To make my paragraphs a different font, I will need to add a new Font control
You might need an API key from google to get started- but don’t panic. Here’s how you do it:
- Visit console.developers.google.com
- Create a new project
- Click APIs Under the APIs & auth menu
- Turn on Web Fonts Developer API
- Click Credentials under the APIs & auth menu
- Create a new browser key and leave the referrer box empty
- Copy and paste the google api key into the plugin admin screen (Log into your WordPress admin area, go to: Settings > Google Fonts and click the Advanced tab).
Now you need to add the CSS selectors that you want to edit. What are CSS selectors? They’re basically names for different elements on your site.
Your headings will be: h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6
Your links will be: a (yes, just a)
Beyond that, if you want to edit a specific item like post titles or widget titles, you may need to find the CSS selector for that specific element.
To do this, you’ll want to use a little tool called “Inspect Element”
In Google Chrome or Safari, all you need to do is right-click on the element you want to customize, and select “Inspect Element” from the dropdown menu. A screen will appear that looks like this:
The CSS selector for my post titles is: .entry-title
Add the selector to your CSS selector panel under the Google Fonts editor, and now you’ll be able to customize that specific font.
Finally- to change your fonts, go to Appearance > Customize > Typography and edit the fonts for specific elements from the dropdown menus.
Price: Free / Get It Now
3. Colors, Fonts, Backgrounds
If you want to customize more than fonts, the styles plugin might work for you. If your theme doesn’t already come with these customization options, then this plugin might do the trick for you.
Price: Free / Get it Now.
Let’s be honest- the standard WordPress galleries just don’t cut it. Especially when you want to show off your portfolio, or, well, just make a gallery on your blog that doesn’t look awful. So when I need to do this, I usually turn Final Tiles Grid Gallery from Code Canyon. Final Tiles Grid Gallery is a WordPress Plugin (I like the premium version for my portfolio, but the free version works just fine if you’re just making pretty collages.
The premium version offers a lot of customization, and allows you to create beautiful tiled galleries to showcase your work, or create posts that show off your favorite things. With the premium version, you can also add social media hover links over all images, so that when someone hovers on an image, they can immediately share it!
The plugin also comes with some pretty great Java Script hover effects, which add movement, visual interest, and interactivity to the page.
Price: Premium:$18.00 / Get it now.
5. Customizable Drag n’ Drop Theme
UPDATE: THE BLOG LOFT IS NOW USING THE DIVI THEME TOO! HOORAY!
If you want customization that doesn’t require code- Divi is the way to go. Divi is unique because it has a drag and drop page builder which makes the layout of every page highly customizable. No short codes, no code at all. A lot of themes claim to have “Drag and drop” capability, but Divi is the only one that I’ve used that actually works.
Not only are you able to drag and drop anything under the sun, but you can also create full-width layouts which are amazing for creating sales pages. Divi is also compatible with Woo commerce, so opening an online shop is as easy as it could possibly get with this theme.
I get lots of questions from people wanting to DIY their websites because they don’t have the budget to hire me as a designer. And I always recommend The Divi theme because as those of you who have learned WordPress know- WordPress has a bit of a learning curve and creating a custom website ain’t easy. Have you ever gone through ten different themes just to find the one that has everything you want? With the Divi theme, you’re able to start with a blank slate and get exactly what you want from scratch- without code.
Having a website, or online shop does’t require you to pay $10,000 anymore because of amazing developers who create themes like these- and I love that. If you’re in the market for a new theme that you want to be able to quickly customize without learning code- I recommend checking out the Divi theme for yourself. It will be the last one you’ll ever need.
Divi Theme / Price: $69/per year or $249 lifetime access to all of Elegant Theme’s Plugins & Themes / Get it now.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned at some point about blogging it’s this: Creating great content is only half the battle. Actually it’s more like 1/3 the battle, there’s also social media, but we’ll get to that in another post. The other half (or third) is making your blog, your shop, your content look halfway decent so that people will want to stay on your page, and read what you have to say! I’ve used these tools myself, and I can tell you that it makes blogging a whole lot easier.
[Tweet “Blogging: Creating Content is only half the battle. @MargoSDesign]
These are only 5 ways to customize your theme without code, if I missed something, I wanna hear it! Tell me in the comments below how you customize your blog without code!