Posted on May 04 2014 by Rob C. in Blog
One of the great parts of using WordPress is the fact that you can alter the appearance of your website. The amount of changes that you can make will depend on the WordPress theme that you are using and there are times when your theme will prevent you from making the changes that you wish to make. When you find yourself in a situation where you want to make changes to your WordPress website and are unable to thanks the theme you use, you may decide to modify your WordPress theme. If this is the case, you have several choices. Keep reading to learn more about options for changing the look of your WordPress website.
Using Your WordPress Theme Customization Options
Obviously, the first place you should start, when changing the appearance your website, is with the customization options made available by the WordPress theme that you are using. From your WordPress dashboard, there is a section labeled Appearance. Under the sub-section labeled Customize, you will find all of the customization options that are available through your WordPress theme. If the areas you wish to change are not listed here, then you will need to consider one of the following methods.
Creating a WordPress Child Theme
A WordPress child Theme contains files which will override specific files of your current WordPress theme. This is useful for making changes without altering the actual WordPress themes. Creating a child theme is relatively easy and is often quicker and safer than editing the files of your WordPress theme. At the most basic form, a WordPress child theme simply contains a single style sheet. Within this stylesheet, you can add any CSS you wish to include and have it override the CSS of your parent theme. When using a WordPress Child theme, you do not need to worry about losing your changes when updating your parent theme. WordPress.org contains detailed instructions for creating a child theme.
Modifying the Files of Your WordPress Theme
If you are using a free theme, there are times when you may want to modify the files of your WordPress theme instead of going through the process of creating a child theme. For example, if you only wish to make a few small changes to the styling of your WordPress website, it is quicker to edit the style sheet of your WordPress theme than to create a child theme. The same is true of adding functions and altering the layout. When editing the core files of your WordPress theme, you need to be aware that your changes may be lost when you update your WordPress theme.
Which Method is Safer?
While modifying the files of your WordPress theme is quick and easy, creating a child theme is not a difficult process. Additionally, when using a child theme, you are simply overriding styling, layout, or functions of your parent theme. These changes will remain in effect when you update your WordPress parent theme. In the end, creating a child theme is the safest method; though, the decision is yours to make. Weigh your options and choose the method that suits your needs.