Changing WordPress Themes

Now that I’ve dived in and am revising my blog, I might as well write about the process. The first step was to change the theme from “Spring Loaded,” which was so old that WordPress had retired it, but let me keep using it, to “Exford.”

This promised to be an easy process. I went in and after experimenting with a few themes, I used Try and Switch to set up my site. Or that’s what I thought would happen. I got things looking the way I wanted, switching to the static home page, but I realized there were features from “Exford” that my site didn’t have that I would have to add in later. What I didn’t realize is that when I chose this theme, my current home page would be replaced with the actual content of the Exford page. All the images and even the text of the sample page was carried over onto my live blog.

I realize that the idea is probably that I could then simply replace their content with my content, but there was a lot more to that page than I wanted. So I ended up deleting it and replacing it with text I had written for the new page. I was also glad I hadn’t spent a lot more time on that page before switching themes!

When I did add in my cover image, I couldn’t get it to look like the one from their example. It took me a long time to find the setting that allowed my cover image to be full width, something I discovered by trial and error, when I noticed that the cover block had an “change alignment” setting and that’s where I changed it to “full width.” This is in the main block settings that pop up when you select the block.

I was also didn’t like where the text was on the cover image. You can set it to top, middle, or bottom, but I wanted it to be a little lower than the vertical center so that it worked well with my image. There is a darker area, and the center is on the border of this area, so the white text was partially in shadow (good for showing it) and partially in light (not so good). I tried using the return key to move it down, but learned that shift-return (line feed) worked better.

Of course, this would all be much easier if I wasn’t making the change to WordPress’s brand-new block editor at the same time I’m changing themes. That was one reason I did it. My old theme, besides being old-fashioned and a little ugly, wasn’t compatible with a lot of new features. But learning how to work with blocks at the same time that I’m restructuring my whole blog is a little daunting. On the other hand, it’s a good incentive to make the change, and I can do a lot with the new blocks and the new theme to make a livelier website to host my blog. I expect I’ll keep writing about my successes and my trials for awhile.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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