Answering a Blog Customization Question

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Today, Su asked a couple of questions on my blog customization:

You have customized your WordPress blog with some pretty cool and funky features—the background, etc. from TCBOTB. I am relatively new to WordPress and can’t seem to figure out how to incorporate the background or buttons into my blog. Can you advise me on the process? Also, how were you able to add the My Stats counter? (I’ve been looking around for one of those.)

Well I started responding and then ended up having so much to say that I might as well create a new post out of it…especially considering I am running a little slow on blog post ideas 😉

So, Su…thanks for sending in the question. And here’s hoping that I am able to help you a little bit with your blog

First up, the background:

The older WordPress themes (the one you are currently using) do not support adding custom backgrounds. You can only do that if you pay and upgrade to the CSS option.

If you want a custom background for free, change your blog theme to one that supports it. Some really cool ones out there that support custom backgrounds are:

  • Twenty Ten – A very neat, clean theme, which is very easy to set up.
  • Structure – A really attractive theme (especially the dark option), however a tad bit tricky to set up satisfactorily. I played around with it for a few days and regretfully decided that it was not for me. Still, exceptionally attractive.
  • And finally, we come to Bueno, which is my current favorite theme. It’s easy to set up, easy to customize, and generating questions regarding my blog, which I take as a compliment :).

There are a couple of other themes that also support backgrounds. Search for them using custom-background keyword in your WordPress themes dashboard. Once you have selected a theme, all you need to do is go to Appearances -> Background and then upload any background you like.

Some good sites to download background / header / button imagery are:

You will need to play around and experiment a bit with combinations of themes and backgrounds till you are satisfied with the overall effect.

Using Buttons or Widgets:

I haven’t really used any buttons in my blog, but I have used a lot of widgets, and I think that is what the question is all about.

My Stats Counter widget is something I love, I never changed it since the time I added it, which is saying something considering how dynamic my theme’s appearance usually is. I selected mine from Amazing Counter. Just click on Create a Free Counter and choose from the various options available there. Fill up the form and then follow their instructions. It is a fairly straight-forward procedure.

Regarding the other widgets, they are pretty basic stuff – the standard WordPress widgets.

To find the widgets available for your theme, go to Appearance > Widgets. See WordPress widgets for information on how to use all the different widgets they support. Bookmark it, it’s one useful site!

Well, I guess this should be enough to get WordPress newbies up and running.

Hope this post was useful!

  • Thanks for this post…it’s quite helpful…though I’m still trying to figure out how to download a background from Shabby blogs and use it on wordpress. Her installation instructions are for Blogger, and the images are tiny. Help please! (btw, I’ve also recently switched to Koi as my theme! Just noticed that you’re using the same theme!)

    • @peddlerofdreams: what you need to do is open up the photobucket page on which the image is uploaded, save it on to your comp, and then upload it to your blog.

      You cannot use the code they provide, you have to actually download the image.

      It works quite well. Try it and let me know how it goes

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  • Your theme customization works well with your blog focus. I have yet to take time to figure out a change to new theme. My other blog which is a company blog, http://wwww.thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com

    Did it take you a long time to find the theme design that you wanted?

    You should visit timethief’s blog on her wordpress theme related articles. She might appreciate a reference to your resources.

  • Su

    Nishita,

    I found this VERY helpful. I appreciate the time and energy you put into helping this tech-challenged blogger. Thank you 🙂

    I can’t wait to start playing around.

    🙂 Su

  • Isn’t it fun to see how each person customizes his/her blog? I love how ‘one’ theme becomes one thousand due to our individuality.

    I think this is a wonderfully helpful post, especially to those new to WordPress. And, I almost wish WordPress would stop coming up with new themes because I feel compelled to try every one. Just when I fell in love with Twenty Ten out came Paperpunch. 😉

    Yours is looking charming to say the least!

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