Have you downloaded one of our free themes already? Great! Now it’s time to find out what you can achieve with it, and how use the theme to its fullest.
We always try to make our themes as simple as possible, with an emphasis on keeping things straightforward. However, sometimes you just need a visual guide to get pointed in the right direction.
How to use our WordPress themes
First off, you should install and activate your new theme. If you have downloaded it from this site, all you need to do is use the WordPress Theme Installer:
- Go to Appearance > Themes.
- Click on Add New beside the page title.
- Click on Upload Theme, beside the page title.
- Select the ZIP file you have downloaded, and click on Install Now.
- Once the theme is installed, click on Activate.
That’s all! Once you activate the theme, you should be able to start adding content. Take a look at the following sections to see how the themes are structured.
Custom post types
In our themes, chances are you will find various types of special content throughout the layout: a main slider, column-based feature blocks, and so on. These types of content are managed through the use of custom post types. If you take a close look at the admin menu, you will see that a few new sections have been added right after activating the theme.
Custom post types work in the same manner as posts and pages: they are essentially a listing of posts, and each one of them has a title, a content area, and a featured image. In some cases, the custom post types added by the theme will also come with custom fields, which can be used to further customize their appearance.
While our premium themes have many different post types, free themes are usually limited to three: slides, features, and portfolios. Here is a breakdown of each one of them:
The slides section is where you can manage the main homepage slider that is so prevalent in most sites. Each post you create here correspond to a single slide, and you can add any number of them. Be mindful of the amount of slides you create though, as having too many can slow down your website.
When creating slides, make sure to keep the following things in mind:
- The title of the post may be displayed as the title of the slide
- The content of the post will be used as the caption of the slide, and you can use shortcodes in here.
- The featured image will be used as the background image of the slide. This image will always try to cover all the available space, so make sure to use a large one!
It is worth noting that premium themes give you more options to change the appearance of individual slides, such as changing the position of the textbox, or alternating between light and dark text.
I’m sure you have seen feature blocks before. They’re those little blocks of text accompanied by a title and an icon, and used in the homepage to deliver key bits of information. The features section works much like the slides; as you create them, the featured area will be populated automatically.
And like slides, the way you create them is similar:
- The title is used as the heading of the featured block
- The content is used as the main content block of the feature.
- The featured image is used in some themes, but most of the time only the icon will be used.
- The icon is set using the Featured Icon field.
Lastly, the portfolio is a custom post type that can be used for many different things. It is meant to act as a wildcard, and you can use it to create your page for Clients, Works, Ebooks, Projects… you name it. Unlike slides and features, each portfolio you create will have its own URL within your site, and they will not automatically show up anywhere unless you link to them.
Portfolio items make use of the title, content, and featured image much like the aforementioned content types, but you can also choose to mark each individual item as featured. This will make it show up in the homepage.
But what if you want to create a listing of your portfolio items on a specific page? Keep reading.
Special page templates
Besides adding your custom post types, you can also create pages with specific page templates.
Page templates add dynamic content to the standard layout of a page, so you can display stuff that changes as you add content in other areas of your site. For instance, you can use a submenu template to show all children pages of the current one.
The most common usage for these templates is creating your main portfolio listing. All you have to do is create an empty page with your preferred title, and use the corresponding template. Once you hit the publish button, the page will display all your portfolio items along with the portfolio categories filter.
You can also create your blog page this way, using the Blog template. While you can also change your Reading settings to do this, using a static page with the Blog template gives you more flexibility, as you can add content to the page at the same time.
The Theme Options page
Now it is time to visit the Theme Options page. To put it simply, in this page you will be able to configure everything related to the theme: from your site logo, to the sidebar layout, to the typography you wish to use. The theme options page is located in Appearance > Theme Options.
Here, you should add your own logo. Having your company logo instead of the theme’s is essential for your site. You can upload a high-resolution image and set the width of the logo to half of that size; this will make the logo much sharper on retina displays.
The finishing touches
You’re almost done! All that is left now is to go over the minor details of your site. Our themes are meant to work with most of the native features WordPress offers, so chances are you know the following already:
Set a header image for all pages except the homepage. This can be done in the Appearance > Header section, where you can upload an image to be used as a heading. Depending on the theme, the header image may be used either as a picture, or as a background for the page title.
Create custom navigation menus. Since our themes provide some advanced menu functionality, you should always create a custom menu in Appearance > Menus. It is highly recommended to create one for your main navigation, and a different one for your footer.
Set a background image. This can be done in Appearance > Background, and you can use any color or upload any image you want. Some themes support the use of a background image, especially the ones with a boxed layout.
Start creating great content
That’s it! Now your theme is fully configured and you are ready to start creating a kickass WordPress site.
Be aware that premium themes will give you many more options, such as multiple fonts, colors, better navigation menus, and so on. So if you are interested in seeing what they have to offer, check the Features page.