4 Easy Ways Non-Coders Can Add Personality to a WordPress Theme

4 Easy Ways Non-Coders Can Add Personality to a WordPress Theme

Reader Comments (33)

  1. A great list here, Pamela!

    One tool I can recommend is Pixlr.com – it’s a great (and free) way to create small, basic graphics (or even headers!) for your site without the need for PhotoShop. The key to creating any graphic is to keep it simple, and keep it on brand by using the colours and fonts from your site.

    • I agree, Gemma: pixlr is very powerful.

      I recommend the pixlr.com/editor tool, too: it has some pretty powerful tools that mirror what you find in Photoshop — and it’s free.

  2. Thanks Pamela, for this straight to the point post.

    I just installed the Generate Child theme of Genesis on my blog and I’ve been thinking for weeks how to make it look different…

    Your 4 points has opened my eyes to some facts and tips to actually accomplish that.


  3. Hi Pamela,

    I am guilty of using the generic Copyblogger Child Theme for Studio Press! Reading your tips though, I already have some ideas about how I can make my site have a unique appearance.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. Just like some new paint on your living room walls can really spruce things up! 🙂

    My fav on your list is # 2, with # 4 a close second.

    Not sure where everyone’s getting their images these days, but I used iStockPhoto.com for the past 5 years. Recently, though, someone turned me on to BigStockPhoto.com and they’re now my “go to” source for images.

    Great post, Pamela!

    • I started using BigStockPhoto.com images about a year ago — they’re larger than what you find on istockphoto.com, and since the trend in web design at the moment is to make everything oversized, the images work really well.

      Thanks for mentioning it, Mark!

      • Stocksy is quickly becoming one of my fav places for stock images. I love that they have stock images that don’t look like stock images. They’re fairly new, so their image library isn’t huge yet, but still worth a look. Especially if you’re readers/customers are somewhat non-mainstream.

  5. easy skimable text is important to engage people with your text.

    if the text is not skimable, you need to have a killer headline that makes me think this text is 100% what i want to read right now. but with great subheadings you get another chance, even if your headline didn’t hit the bullseye.

    an accent color is important to give your content meaning.

    if your visitors think that this text was the most awesome thing they ever read in their life, so what? (why did you write this text in the first place?) show them the next step with your accent color.

    having a great font and a great picture is the cherry on the top.

  6. Great post Pamela! While making content scan-able is great and, fonts do seem to help…IMAGES can truly capture the attention long enough to truly reel people in…

  7. Thanks for the helpful hints. I went to the Standout Color box link and downloaded it but the application won’t open. Have you tried it in awhile?
    Wondering if this in something on my end?

  8. I installed the Generate child theme with Studiopress. It rocks however I had to add my own email optin form as a plugin called Hybrid connect. It would be pretty cool if the generate box was more customizable like a big sign up box when you enter the website that its right there instead of lets say a light box.

    I have to say though you can’t go wrong with any Studiopress theme it is built to last.

  9. I play around with the coding a bit, but I find that subtle changes work the best.

    For example, flat design, soft shadows, careful use of color, are each ways to make your website standout. Hopefully I’m on track. 😉

  10. Great post! I always try to get a premium theme of sorts and add some customization to it to make it more unique. Once the blog makes good profit, I might have a custom theme created. I think your tips are very helpful though, especially using a different font.

  11. Hi Pamela,
    Your theme can be used by lot of people but a Site Logo, favicon, a catchy Tagline and the way you arrange widgets in your pages will always be remembered. Not sure how catchy my Tagline is 🙂 but its the best i have. Great post btw and +1 for the “Compelling Images”.

  12. Great post, Pam. For graphics and some cool WordPress plugins, you can’t beat the Envato Marketplace. Their picture site, PhotoDune has great stock photos for a dollar each which fit the standard blog page width (500-600px) perfectly. Their coding site, CodeCanyon, has some unique WordPress plugins that do some amazing things, especially if you run a photo or graphics rich site. If you are looking for some cool cartoon characters for your site, be sure to checkout ToonCharacters.com. These are great for sidebars, sales-pages, and Powerpoint presentations.

  13. You guys keep surprising me. You keep coming up with new info which helps me to improve our website in all areas. Marketing, writing and now even changing fonts.

    I learned so much from you in the past years I follow copyblogger. Thank you.

    • I am learning so much from Copyblogger, too. I’ve got the skimmable down. Today’s learning, Fonts! I’ve installed the plug in.

      Two of my favorites are the Genesis Responsive slider and Magic Action Box.

      Thanks, Pamela.

  14. I find that purchasing a good responsive theme just eliminates a lot of coding and makes it easy to customize the theme.

    The 1st thing I do is change the colors, find a way to add some social media profiles so readers can connect and also include sharing buttons to make it easy for the reader to share the content.

    Trying different fonts is a good tip, I also vouch for that. Another great post Pamela… Thnx 🙂

  15. I definitely agree with the add an accent color, as long as it’s used within reason. I’m a huge believer in simple design, yet I see so many people try and make every element on their site stand out. All that does is confuse the reader. An accent color that contrasts well with your design will make people focus on what you want them to. Great post Pamela.

    • I agree, Logan: if you use those accent colors too much, they become one of your branding colors. It defeats the purpose because they don’t stand out at all!

  16. You’ve made my weekend Pamela, I’ve got better with colours but I’ve been avoiding the whole how to change fonts as it did seem far more tricky than just entering a new colour code. Well until now that is!

    Thanks for the post, can’t wait to try it out 🙂

  17. I couldn’t agree more about the font styles or adding an accent colour to really distinguish yourself from those with similar WordPress themes.

    Sometimes it only takes half an hour of fiddling around playing with an existing theme to get a truly unique design.

  18. These are good ideas, but I would suggest picking an overall style for your site first. Then if you do all these things with that goal in mind, the impact will be greater than the sum of the individual parts.

    Like mine, I chose first to have a cheesy 50’s/newsy style, then created images and picked fonts and colors to reflect that. It turned out great, just because I focused a few elements in the same direction.

  19. Awesome post Pamela!

    I was actually wondering the other day how sites use custom fonts and we manage to see them as they are without having the fonts installed in our computers.

    Thanks to your insightful post I now know there are services to provide that feature. Cool. 🙂 I’m gonna check out some of these services.

  20. Number 4, yes, very important. I leave sites ASAP when all the text runs together. And, bullet points is definitely the way to go. Numbered lists also fade for me.

    Want buy buttons? MaxButtons is great, and it is free. Shape you buttons, give them different colors, highlights, and hover colors. There’s an upgraded version with minimal cost if you really want something swanky. Hyper-easy.

  21. Great article, it can definitely be hard to personalize web pages when you have no experience. It took me several years to learn WordPress before my site did not look like everyone else’s. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  22. My bit of advice: Remove everything. I took a totally minimalist approach to designing my site(http://garaughty.com) on WordPress meaning…

    – no header
    – no footer
    – no sidebar
    – etc…

    The images in the content area replace everything including social sharing plugins. This approach gives a very clean, easy to navigate look. Sites/blogs with tons of content could use the same design approach by including deeper sections of the site in drop down menus.

  23. Thank you for sharing these tips, Pamela. Will be of much use as I work with my new client on setting up their new WordPress blog. Not one bit a programmer here.

  24. Pamela, I am regular read of your blog. You always shared some serious info and secret. Wish I could know how you can make all this, research things and split testing if required.

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