How to Change Your WordPress Theme: A Step-By-Step Guide

Change is exciting — but also a bit terrifying, right?! We know you work hard on your blog, and changing your WordPress theme is a big step, especially if you haven’t done it before. While the process is pretty straightforward, and we do our best to walk you through setup and how we’ve organized the different options, sometimes issues still arise and you may not know where to look for a solution. So today we’re sharing a step-by-step guide to changing your WordPress theme, complete with tips for fixing common errors (or avoiding them completely!), and getting your new theme to look just right. Let’s get started!

1. Put up a coming soon page.

While it’s tempting to set up your new theme in the Customizer and activate your changes when ready, we only recommend this in two instances: 1) for preview purposes only, when you want to see how a new theme looks on your site before you commit, or 2) when you want to make simple tweaks to your current theme. Instead of using the Customizer, we prefer to put up a coming soon page while setting up your new theme, which allows you to activate your new theme immediately and see exactly how it works on your site. So even before you install your new theme, we always recommend putting up a coming soon page first.

Why is this so important? For one thing, once you’ve installed your new theme, if something does go wrong, it’s much easier to troubleshoot when that  theme is actually active. The Customizer does a great job creating a preview for the front-end of your site, but it’s not great at showing you what’s happening in the WordPress admin area, nor does it give you an easy way to test for plugin conflicts. Furthermore, your new theme has to be active to properly resize thumbnails, which we’ll discuss later in this post! Finally, a coming soon page will give you peace of mind—you’ll feel a lot better about messing around with your new theme and admin area if you know your users can’t see all your tinkering! Keep reading “How to Change Your WordPress Theme: A Step-By-Step Guide”

The Ultimate Resource List for Blog Photography

Whether you’re a brand new blogger or have been at it for 10+ years, photography is one of the most essential blogging skills, and one you can continue learning about no matter how long you’ve been creating content! There are literally millions of posts out there covering photography essentials—understanding how a camera works, the Rule of Thirds, how to adjust your shutter and aperture. And yep, we’ve even linked to several below. But today, we thought we’d round up a deeper resource list focused specifically around the types of photos bloggers need for their sites. Whether you want to take a class, learn from seasoned blog pros, or get more insight into a specific blog photo style, our resource list has something for everyone! Check it out below:


Online Photography Classes

Taking a photography class is a great way to learn foundational skills and get inspired—plus, the inevitable “homework” will force you to get out there and practice! Jot down some notes, grab your camera, and go!

Nicole’s Classes // This online “school” for creatives has been around since the early 2010s. Nicole’s Classes offers coursework not only for creative programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, but also a series of photography classes that are perfect for beginners.

Skillshare // Skillshare is a well-known resource for online classes. They have literally THOUSANDS of classes all about photography. We recommend sorting by “popular” classes to find courses that have been tried and tested by other Skillshare community members.

Lifehacker  // No time for a multi-session online course? Check out this free guide from Lifehacker that dives into all the basics of photography.

A Beautiful Mess   // You might know the ABM girls from their super popular editing app, A Color Story. Check out this course on DSLR basics, offered through their ABM Courses program. They also have a Beyond the Basics course for intermediate users.

Shoot Fly Shoot // A new-to-us program which features multiple photography courses from successful wedding photographer Josh Moates and interior design photographer Kevin Palmer. For about $245, you can enroll in both the Photography 101 and 102 courses, which includes lifetime access to all the content!

 


Posts & Series from Your Favorite Bloggers

One of our favorite ways to learn is from fellow bloggers! The list below features individual posts and photography tip series from popular bloggers. Is there a blogger who published a photography post which was especially helpful for you? Comment at the bottom of this post, and we’ll add it to our list!

A Beautiful Mess

Gal Meets Glam

Jess Ann Kirby

Atlantic-Pacific (1, 2)

Damsel in Dior (1, 2)

Garance Dore

Camille Styles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

 


Specific Posts We Love

Across the Internet, near and far, photography posts abound. Here are some of our favorites, with a special focus on posts that are helpful for bloggers. Have an article you loved and think should be listed here? Comment with the link below!

 


Stock Photography Resources

When all else fails, a stock photo might tell the story you need. Here are our favorite resources:

Unsplash // By far our favorite resource, the Unsplash site has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Our favorite feature? Beyond their super specific search functionality (try typing in obscure terms like “black and white texture,” or broad ones like “girly,“), you can create a free account and build your own collections of photos. We use this feature to save photos that will work for our blogs, businesses, and client projects; we also recently used it to curate a holiday themed collection, free for our useres!

RawPixel  // We got to know RawPixel because so many photos we liked on Unsplash were from this company! Turns out, they have their own website, chock full of amazing, free-to-use photos, videos, illustrations, and templates. In addition to the photos, there are some awesome resources here for artwork to use on Instagram, and in your blog collages.

Adobe Stock // This is among the more expensive options, but it’s such a big one, we thought it worth mentioning: Adobe offers a stock photo and video service, with over 100 million photos (incredible, right?). While it costs $29.99/mo, there are endless options to choose from with Adobe Stock, and we like that assets can be saved in your Adobe Creative Cloud account, making them easy to access if you’re already subscribing to one of their creative suite plans. We also like Adobe Stock if you need a resource for looping video on your blog or website.

Creative Market  // While Creative Market has a huge number of stock images for sale, it’s not our favorite resource just for this reason—with sites like Unsplash, there are lots of free stock photos out there. However, where Creative Market wins is their many product mockups, flat lays, and styled image bundles. You can create scenes with templates like this, or build portfolio tiles perfect for showcasing your work (we recently had a great time playing around with this one). Check out their products for flatlays too!

Styled Stock Society  // Our co-founder Lisa subscribes to this one! We love this as a resource for fun, feminine, brightly lit stock photos and flat lays for style bloggers. It’s also a great resource if you are a service-based business, and need professional looking stock photos for your site’s landing page. You can shop individual bundles, or become a member and access all new and old images.

Other resources to check out:

Pexels

Gratisography

StockVault

Death to Stock


Have a photography resource you want to share? Leave it in the comments below! Please note, while we’ve been lucky enough to try out many of the tips and services mentioned here, not all have been vetted by the <em>press team. If you’re have any questions about the services or tips above, don’t hesitate to check in with the specific vendor before investing your money in these resources!

Deck your blog for the holidays

Now that we’ve eaten all the turkey and pumpkin pie we can handle, we’re cranking up the holiday tunes and decking the halls. Of course, we can’t resist adding a bit of holiday cheer to our blogs as well! Today, we’re sharing a few ways you can deck your blog for the holidays.

1. Add some holiday red.

Our favorite way to add holiday cheer is to add a touch of red to highlight holiday content in the site navigation. First, create a new blog category for holiday content, or you can even create a special holiday page (we’ll get to that next!). Update your navigation menu with your new holiday category or page, then follow our help desk tutorial to change the navigation color to red.

If you have a variety of holiday content, like outfits, gift guides, recipes, and sale alerts, consider creating a parent category for holiday, with subcategories for those specific sub-categories. You can link to these subcategories in a dropdown menu under the holiday tab in your menu, so readers can easily find the content they need at the moment. Bonus points: Use our Grid plugin to display your holiday category posts in a grid, with your subcategories listed automatically in a filtering menu! Readers can even shop rewardStyle or ShopStyle widgets directly from your Grid page, using our Shop the Post plugin.

2. Create a special holiday page.

Did you know that you can apply templates from our Boutiques plugin to multiple pages? It’s the perfect way to create a special holiday page, without needing to edit your usual shop page. Simply add a new page, make sure the page permalink is /holiday or /holidayshop for easy sharing, and select one our Boutiques templates from the Page Attributes box. Save a draft, and our editing boxes will appear. Then, you can add up to 5 boutique widgets from rewardStyle or ShopStyle.

Each of our Boutiques templates includes a section for links to your favorite retailers — and this section is totally customizable! For your holiday page, we recommend linking to your holiday posts and/or categories instead, to give readers one place to access all of your holiday content. Our Instashop template includes a section at the top of the page for adding a shop widget and button linking to your Instagram profile, but this can be customized too. Use the widget code section to add a shopping widget of your favorite gifts, or write an intro for your holiday page, and use the button to link to the holiday category on your blog.

3. Update your photography

The easiest way to make your blog look extra festive is with holiday imagery! Try uploading holiday imagery to our Topics or Highlight widgets, and link the thumbnails to your holiday categories and subcategories, a holiday page, or even your favorite holiday posts. Or, you can simply use holiday imagery within your post content, for a dash of wintry goodness within your blog feed.

Our favorite resource for free stock photography is Unsplash, and they have a gorgeous collection of holiday images. We made a huge collection for you to choose from here. The good news: everything on Unsplash is free to use! You can download these images and integrate them into your content, or use them as inspiration to take your own holiday decor photos! For gift guides, try using a photo as your featured image, rather than your shopping collage, for a cleaner, and more festive look across your site.

 

How are you decking your blog for the holidays? Share with us in the comments below!