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WordPress: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 5. Choosing and Polishing Your WordPress Theme

Using the skills you picked up in the previous chapters, you can create a WordPress site and stuff it full of posts. However, your site will still come up short in the looks department. That’s because every WordPress site starts out looking a little drab, a little flat, and pretty much the same as anyone else’s freshly created WordPress site. If that sounds colossally boring to you (and it does to us), keep reading, because this chapter will show how to inject some serious style into your site.

The key to a good-looking WordPress site is its theme. Essentially, a theme is a set of files that controls how WordPress arranges and styles your content, transforming it from raw text in a database into beautiful web pages (just before sending them to someone who’s viewing your site).

Every WordPress site starts out using a standard but somewhat plain default theme called Twenty Eleven (WordPress names its themes after the year it releases them). To improve on the Twenty Eleven look—or the look of any other theme, for that matter—you have several options:

  • Tweak your theme settings. WordPress gives you a number of useful ways to personalize your theme. Depending on the theme, you may be able to alter its color scheme, change the header picture, and shift the layout.

  • Customize your widgets. Most WordPress themes include one or more sections you can customize, like a sidebar that you can stock with various links, for example. The sections ...

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