If you have moved beyond the basics in WordPress and want to customize everything from your dashboard to log in screen to length of post excerpts, here are some great sites to help you get more from your blog or website.
The best developers, from applications to template themes, all have one thing in common: they never assume they know it all and are always on the lookout for new, fresh ways to accomplish more with less.
Want to create your own WordPress theme from scratch? This site talks you through every step from which files are needed. You will need PhotoShop or a similar application to create image files. Visit ThemeTation
If you are not quiet ready for soloing it on template development, try Artisteer Theme Generator. This affordable package allows you to create templates on screen using a variety of WYSIWYG tools, including the ability to add flash. Artisteer's code is a little top-heavy and might not do as well for page speed as other sites. Your template will look awesome, but you might want to run Google's Page Speed Checker when done to get recommendations for cleaning up unnecessary CSS.
Susan Gunelius authors the Guide site on About.com for bloggers. Because WordPress is so popular for blogs (and websites) she spends a great deal of time reviewing plugins and templates, as well as shares tips and practical advice for getting the most out of WordPress. Some of my favorites from Susan:
- Advanced Search Engine Optimization for Blogs: A great article that discusses advanced strategies and tips to help you do well in search engines.
- WP Maintenance Mode Plugin Review: Review of a plugin that can help you avoid taking your site down while working on it. Maintenance Mode is perfect when making heavy lifting changes or even database changes on a live site.
- 5 WordPress Plugins to Analyze Your Website Visitors: Think Google Analytics does it all? Susan uncovered a WordPress plugin contact form that gives you demographics about your visitors including the keywords used that lead folks to your contact form!
Susan also encourages others to share their design stories and tips. If you modified a template or created your own, share your WordPress design story and website.
Rich with beginner tips, this website also contains a wealth of ideas for the moderate-level to advance WordPress designer. Here are just a few things you will learn in 25+ Extremely Useful Tips for WordPress Functions:
- Add a Custom Dashboard Logo
- Add Custom Dashboard Widgets in WordPress
- Change the Default Gravatar in WordPress
- Dynamic Copyright Date in WordPress Footer
- Rewrite Guest Author's Name with Custom Fields
- Allow Custom Navigation Menus in WordPress 3.0
- Remove Default Author Profile Fields in WordPress
- Add Author Profile Fields
- Register Sidebar Widgets
- Add Post Thumbnails to Your RSS Feeds
- Enable Adsense Shortcode
- Enable a Paypal Donate Shortcode
This is a fabulous site to glean ideas and ask questions. The blog's host, Don Campbell, is generous with his time, tips, and ideas. Here are just a few of my favorites from Don's website:
- Video - How to Create WordPress Child Themes
- How to Move WordPress to another directory or folder: A great article that talks you through moving a site within a domain without destroying your database and losing all your files.
- Keeping WordPress Secure: Chaging passwords is not enough to keep your site secure. Tips include why you should delete the initial "admin" login, only using trusted plugins, etc.
- Backing Up Your WordPress Site: Very few beginners (or even intermediate) WordPressers take time to backup their sites. Google "backup WordPress site" and you end up with complicated solutions that may not always work so well. Here's one that does.
You can read more WordPress tips in my interview with Don Campbell.