So you've been following my step-by-step directions and have learned how to set up a WordPress blog, write your first post, and have started making money using affiliate links with ShareaSale and Commission Junction. Now you're ready to start making your blog look prettier and more user-friendly! How you ultimately decide to brand your blog is up to you and will evolve as you grow. Right now, let's focus on getting you started on your blog design path by showing you how to add custom titles to your blog's sidebar (plus FREEBIES to help you get started)!
How To Download Your Free Titles:
- Download one (or more) of the FREE title images files below. I have them organized into zip file by color and then there is also an option to download them all.
- Save the files to your computer. I save mine in a folder entitled “Blog Headers” but you do your thing.
- Extract the files from the zip folder(s). On my PC, I just right click on the zip files and select “Extract Here”. The files will automatically save unzipped in that location.
Big Fat Tip: Take a moment to organize your titles how ever works for you. I like to save mine with each set of titles in individual folders labeled by theme.
How To Add A Title Image To Your Media Library:
Log in to your WordPress blog (you should have received your log in information in your WordPress introduction email but, just in case, the URL is usually http://www.yourURLhere.com/wp-login.php). Click on “Media” once you are logged in. It can be found on the top left side of your blogging dashboard. Click on “Upload Files”. You'll have the option to either drag and drop an image directly from your computer or use the Upload Tool to find it in your files. The cool thing about WordPress is that it hosts all your images for you (so, no messing with third party photo hosts and extra coding).
Big Fat Tip: Take a moment to label each title image – it will help you stay organized and find the images easily later on.
How To Add Widgets to Your Sidebar:
WordPress designed widgets to add content and features to your blog's sidebar. Some default widgets are: categories, tag cloud, search, and social media but there are so, so many to choose from. Widgets make customizing your blog very easy.
To install a widget into the sidebar, click “Appearance” and then “Customize” in the dashboard. In Theme Customizer, click the “Widget” menu to access to the Widget Customize Screen. Click the down arrow of the widget area to see a list of existing widgets. Next, click on the “Add a Widget” button at the bottom of the sidebar. You'll see a list of available widgets and from there, can click the widget you want to add.
To rearrange the widgets in your sidebar, drag and drop the widgets into the order you want (or click the “Reorder” link and click up arrow and down to move each widget). Click “Done” after the arrange operation. To customize the Widget features, click the down arrow in the right to expand the Widget's interface. To remove the widget, click the down arrow in the right to expand the Widget's interface then click the “Remove” button.
Big Fat Tip: Keep your first widgets simple and try to get them to multitask (for example, add your email subscription link and email contact information your social media widget to save space).
How To Add Your Titles to Your Sidebar Widgets:
To add your title image to a widget in your sidebar, click “Appearance” and then “Customize” in the WordPress Administration Screens. In Theme Customizer, click the “Widget” menu to access to the Widget Customize Screen. Find the Text Widget in your list of widgets and click the down arrow to the right of the Text Widget title. Replace the Text Widget Title text with this code:
<img src=”Paste The Blog Sidebar Header File URL Here” />
You will literally copy and paste that code into your existing Text Widget title space and then replace the highlighted yellow part with the direct URL to each individual title image. To find each URL, simply click on “Media” on the top left side of your blogging dashboard. Go to “Edit Media”, where you will see the image file URL on the right side of the screen. You need to copy this URL and paste it into your Text Widget HTML code. After you've replaced the Text Widget title text with this URL, your final img tag will look something like this:
<img src="http://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/your-blog-sidebar-header.jpg" />
Click on the "Save" button to save your widget and then preview your website.
Big Fat Tip: Keep a file on your computer with all the HTML coding for the files handy. It will ultimately save you a ton of time.
Be sure to share your blog's URL so I can see your custom sidebar titles!