This is the second post in the Creating a Class Blog challenge – an open and free professional development series for educators.
In this challenge, you will:
- Learn how to change your blog’s theme
- See how you can add widgets to sidebars
- Customize your blog’s header
- Create a custom menu
- Change your blog’s background
Changing your blog’s look and feel is the ultimate way to personalize your blog.
You may have already completed some of the steps below – and you won’t really need to do everything outlined. Your theme and look is something you can constantly change and improve over time.
Here is a complete overview of the main things you can do to customize your blog:
Changing your theme
Every newly created blog has the same default theme (as shown below). This is what visitors to your blog see.
We already have several good resources on choosing and changing theme.
- What to consider when choosing your blog’s theme
- Here is a complete overview of all themes available which makes it easier to find one that meets your needs
- Here is step-by-step directions on how to change themes
Adding widgets to sidebars
When you first create a blog, several of the most common widgets are already on your blog.
Widgets are tools that you can use to add, arrange and display content in your blog sidebars. Common content displayed in blog sidebars include blogroll, tag clouds, categories and monthly archives.
But there are a bunch of additional widgets available – and many plugins also add specific widgets as well.
Changing header image
In many themes, you will see a “Header” link which lets you add an image at the top of your blog.
You can add your own image header in 4 quick steps:
1. Create you image using your favorite image editor. You can find the image size (length and width in pixels) at the “Header” link on your current theme, or on the theme overview post here.
2. Go to Appearance > Header
3.Click on Choose file, browse for the image on your computer and then click on Open.
- Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used for image headers.
- For best results we recommend you resize the image to the exact dimensions recommended for that theme before uploading by using an image editing program.
4. Your image will upload and if it isn’t the exact dimensions you’ll need to select the area you want to crop and then click Crop and Publish.
5. Your new image header should appear immediately on your blog. However if it doesn’t try clearing your web browser cache by holding the Ctrl key and pressing F5.
NEW! Creating a custom menu
Custom menus are a new feature of Edublogs – they allow you to really take control of the top navigation bar of your blog.
You may not need to make a custom menu, as in most themes, pages are automatically added to your menu – but they are great if you want to add categories to your menu, or outside links to places away from your blog.
Here are some important links for custom menus:
NEW! Changing the background
Custom background images are also new to Edublogs.
On many themes, much like custom header images, you can add images to your blog’s dashboard.
We even have some great pre-loaded images you can choose from under Appearance > Preset Background
Or you can upload your own by going to Appearance > Background
From here you should start really using your blog before making many major additional changes to your theme.
As you get more familiar with your blog, you will discover things you want to change over time.
Leave a comment with a link to your blog or with any questions you may have!