wordpress theme installation problemsThis is the part that can have you tearing your hair out! But it isn’t WordPress that’s difficult to setup. Just about anyone can setup a default WordPress site after watching a YouTube video or two or reading a “WordPress For Dummies” book, etc.

So what is the problem? The more eye-catching the theme, the more likely it is that the theme gets a bit “complicated”. Fact of Life: Very few (if any) complex themes are easy to setup.

In your “Admin” section (“Dashboard”), look for your theme’s name along the side menu or maybe even along the top. If it’s there, click, study and go for it. If not, go to Appearance/Themes, be sure your chosen theme is selected and click “Customize”. Hopefully, you now have something to work with.

Solution #1:

Grin & bear it and burn the midnight oil. Don’t expect much help from your theme source and especially don’t expect that help to be prompt. That’s just the way it is. (Yes, I am including the “big name” theme suppliers!)  Go back carefully, slowly through the menu options, making sure to try everything and not overlook anything.

If you just can’t get things the way you want via the menus, use your browser’s Developer add-ons to identify sections you want to customize. With Chrome, look for “More Tools / Developer tools”. Right-click the area you want to customize and use the accordion menu from “Inspect” to drill down until you find the name of the item you want to change. Then search through CSS files or images, depending on what you’re looking for.

You may find that your theme uses “.yaml” files.  That’s where many text labels and image names may be “hidden”.   I always download the site onto my local computer, then use a search tool that will look for words within any file.  So, if my browser’s “Inspect” tool shows me that the <div> or <span> tags holding the item I want to change is called something called “Flex-Slider-Header”, I search for that term among all the files within my theme folders, to find the file(s) I need to edit.

If it’s an image, upload your custom image to overwrite the placeholder image. If it’s a css file, you’ll probably find it within your theme’s css folder. Be sure and make a “Child Theme” before making direct changes to theme files. And, as always, making a backup of files and database before any heavy-duty changes, is always advisable.

We’ll cover how to do backups in an up-coming article.

Solution #2:

Hire someone just to get your WordPress template setup. Yes, I know this is supposed to be a DIY site, but honestly, some templates (many, actually) are just too difficult for non-developers to setup without undue time and effort. You may be able to find someone for as little as $100. Be sure to have a written agreement that spells out EXACTLY what you want and specifies a deadline. It should also spell out exactly what happens if things don’t go right or if the deadline passes. Consider a clause that gives you a training walk-through so you’ll know how to maintain the site. (Hint: Video that training!)

Solution #3:

Just use one of the built-in WordPress themes. They’re much easier than most of the others and there are zillions of YouTube video tutorials on how to set them up. After you’ve done one or two of those, you might want to setup a test site with an extra domain name (domains are only around $12 for a year), and practice that fancy theme in your spare time.