Second post of WordPress Guide Series, Dissection of WordPress Theme will address the second most important aspect of working with your WordPress blog – the look and feel of your blog.

WordPress theme is what controls that aspect and while we can use one of the freely available themes a little tweak done in right place can go long way toward creating a unique look. And that is exactly what we will discuss in this post – what files are responsible for what aspect of your WordPress blog look …

Obviously I have no way to cover everything and depending on the designer – you theme can be quite different from what I describe here but many basics still should follow the general guidelines and this guide should help you to get orientation.

To address the widest range of themes I will use in this tutorial WordPress Default theme based on Kubrick. But first lets have a look at the structure of the theme and what is where…

1. WordPress Theme Images Location

Generally defined in style.css file, to which we will get in a just a bit, it is commonly stored in folder images. Yeah, I know … not much of a mistery here but hey, it works Laughing. I have outlined in image below three things:

  • Full path to the images folder
  • images folder and how you will see it in directory structure
  • images within the folder that are part of the theme

wordpress-theme1.jpg

2. WordPress Theme Files Location

Once again I want to provide a screenshot of what theme directory looks like. And as you notice below images folder is also located within the theme folder itself. Once again I wanted to outline 3 important facts:

  • full path to the theme (can be different based on where your blog installed)
  • how the theme folder looks like in directory structure
  • files that are part of the theme…

wordpress-theme2.jpg

Now that you know where your files are I want to discuss some of the most important files that generally used during customization without digging too much into code. How to do the customization we will discuss in next post as it will require quite a bit more writing Smile

  1. style.css – this is the file where you layout, colors and text formating is defined. Perhaps the most important file for modifying your theme but make sure you save a good copy before digging into this one. Editing this single file can drastically change look of your blog and in many cases can be the only file you need to edit.
  2. header.php – WordPress Default theme allows you to define your own header image without much editing but majority of the other themes will require that you edit this file in order to change the header look on your blog.
  3. footer.php – this is what responcible for the text and information at the bottom of your blog. Author credits also located there but what many seem to ignore is that it can also be used to add link to your link exchange page and meet requirement for majority of manual exchanges Wink
  4. sidebar.php – if you are using widgets (and I do hope you do to save yourself some grief of messing with php code) you shouldn’t need to edit this file for basic options but you should know that it is responcible for providing code that creates your sidebar and allows you to place widgets in it.
  5. single.php – generates your single post view and if you know what you are doing, you can edit this one to add some additional interactivity or subscription options for your RSS Feed just as I do on my blog.
  6. page.php – same as single.php but this one generates your full page view.
  7. 404.php – an opportunity overlooked by way too many. This is a template of the page that is presented to visitors who arrive through a wrong link to your blog or sent to a page that no longer exist. This one file can provide you with an opportunity to guide your visitors deeper into your blog and present them with other important information. I will discuss how in my next tutorial.
  8. index.php – I saved the most important file for last. This file creates your blog home page and if you know what you are doing you can make some big changes here but knowledge is required as this one is filled with quite a bit of important code.

I didn’t cover other files simply because majority of people will not touch them and generally shouldn’t.

This overview concludes our second tutorial and I hope you like it and can only suggest that you stay tuned for next one, where I will discuss on how you can modify your theme to fit your needs without going too far into codding aspect of it. Subscribe to my Full Text RSS Feed to ensure you don’t miss it.

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