Why WordPress Can’t Customise Your Theme and What to Do About It

WordPress can't customise theme

WordPress: The go-to CMS for easy website creation and management. Empowering over 40% of websites globally with its unmatched flexibility and customisation features.

Theme customisation is an essential aspect of creating a unique and personalised website using WordPress. A theme is a collection of files that determine the overall design and layout of a website. Customising a theme allows users to modify various elements such as colours, fonts, layouts, and more to match their brand or personal preferences.

Limitations of WordPress Theme Customisation

While WordPress offers a wide range of customisation options, there are certain limitations to theme customisation. These limitations can vary depending on the theme being used and the user’s technical skills.

One limitation is that not all themes allow for extensive customisation. Some themes may have limited options for modifying certain elements, such as the header or footer. In such cases, users may need to rely on additional plugins or custom coding to achieve their desired customisation.

Another limitation is that certain aspects of a theme cannot be customised without modifying the theme’s code directly. For example, if a user wants to change the layout of a specific page template, they may need to edit the PHP files associated with that template. This requires some knowledge of coding and can be challenging for users without technical expertise.

Understanding the Structure of WordPress Themes

To effectively customise a WordPress theme, it is important to understand its structure. A typical WordPress theme consists of several files and directories that work together to create the website’s design and functionality.

The main file in a WordPress theme is the style.css file, which contains the CSS code that defines the visual appearance of the website. This file also includes information about the theme, such as its name, author, and version.

Other important files in a WordPress theme include the header.php, footer.php, and index.php files. The header.php file contains the code for the website’s header section, while the footer.php file contains the code for the footer section. The index.php file is the main template file that determines the layout of the website’s homepage.

In addition to these core files, a WordPress theme may also include template files for specific pages or post types, as well as directories for images, JavaScript files, and other assets.

What You Can and Can’t Customise in WordPress Themes

When it comes to customising a WordPress theme, there are certain elements that can be easily modified and others that require more advanced techniques.

Elements that can be customised include:

1. Colours: Most themes allow users to change the colour scheme of their website using a built-in colour picker or custom CSS.

2. Fonts: Users can typically choose from a variety of fonts for headings, body text, and other elements. Some themes may also support Google Fonts or other external font libraries.

3. Layout: Many themes offer different layout options, such as full-width or boxed layouts. Users can choose the layout that best suits their needs.

4. Widgets: WordPress themes often include widget areas where users can add various content blocks, such as a sidebar or footer widgets.

5. Menus: Users can create custom menus and choose where they want them to appear on their website.

On the other hand, there are certain elements that cannot be easily customised without modifying the theme’s code:

1. Structural Changes: Making structural changes to a theme, such as adding or removing sections, usually requires editing the theme’s PHP files.

2. Functionality: Customising the functionality of a theme, such as adding new features or modifying existing ones, often requires custom coding or using plugins.

3. Design Elements: Some design elements, such as the overall layout or the placement of specific elements, may be difficult to modify without advanced coding skills.

Why Some WordPress Themes Are Harder to Customise Than Others

Not all WordPress themes are created equal when it comes to customisation. Some themes are more difficult to customise than others due to various factors.

One factor that affects customisation difficulty is the complexity of the theme’s code. Themes with clean and well-organised code are generally easier to customise because it is easier to locate and modify specific elements. On the other hand, themes with messy or poorly documented code can make customisation more challenging.

Another factor is the level of flexibility built into the theme. Some themes are designed to be highly customisable, with extensive options for modifying various elements. These themes often include a user-friendly interface for making changes without touching any code. However, other themes may have limited customisation options, making it more difficult to achieve specific design or functionality goals.

The availability of support and documentation also plays a role in customisation difficulty. Themes that come with comprehensive documentation and active support forums can make it easier for users to find answers to their customisation questions and troubleshoot any issues they encounter.

The Role of WordPress Plugins in Theme Customisation

WordPress plugins can be a powerful tool for customising a WordPress theme. Plugins are add-ons that extend the functionality of a WordPress website without modifying the theme’s code.

There are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory, covering a wide range of functionalities. Some popular plugins for theme customisation include:

1. Page Builders: Page builder plugins allow users to create custom layouts and designs using a drag-and-drop interface. These plugins often include pre-designed templates and modules that can be easily customised.

2. Custom CSS Plugins: Custom CSS plugins allow users to add custom CSS code to their website without modifying the theme’s files directly. This can be useful for making small design tweaks or overriding default styles.

3. Custom Fields Plugins: Custom fields plugins enable users to add additional fields to their posts, pages, or custom post types. This can be useful for adding custom data or meta information to a theme.

4. Social Media Plugins: Social media plugins allow users to add social sharing buttons, social media feeds, or other social media-related features to their website.

Plugins can greatly enhance the customisation options available in a WordPress theme and provide additional functionality without the need for custom coding.

Common Issues with WordPress Theme Customisation

While theme customisation can be a rewarding process, it is not without its challenges. There are several common issues that users may encounter during the customisation process.

One common issue is compatibility problems between the theme and plugins. Some plugins may not work well with certain themes, resulting in layout issues or conflicts. It is important to choose plugins that are compatible with the theme being used and to test them thoroughly before deploying them on a live website.

Another issue is the loss of customisation changes when updating a theme. If a user has made customisations directly to the theme’s files, those changes may be overwritten when a new version of the theme is installed. To avoid this, it is recommended to use child themes or custom CSS plugins to make modifications that are not affected by theme updates.

Troubleshooting issues during customisation can also be challenging, especially for users without technical expertise. It is important to have a backup of the website before making any major changes and to seek help from support forums or professional developers if needed.

Alternative Options for Customising Your WordPress Theme

In addition to using plugins and custom coding, there are alternative options for customising a WordPress theme.

One option is to use pre-designed templates or themes that offer extensive customisation options out of the box. These templates often come with built-in options for modifying colours, fonts, layouts, and more, allowing users to create a unique website without the need for custom coding.

Another option is to hire a professional designer or developer to customise the theme. This can be a good choice for users who have specific design or functionality requirements that cannot be achieved through existing customisation options. A professional developer can create custom code or modify the theme’s files to meet the user’s needs.

There are also online marketplaces where users can purchase premium themes that offer advanced customisation options and additional features. These themes are often created by professional designers and developers and come with dedicated support and documentation.

Hiring a Professional WordPress Developer for Customisation

Hiring a professional WordPress developer can be a great option for users who want to customise their theme but lack the technical skills or time to do it themselves. A professional developer can provide expertise, save time, and ensure that the customisation is done correctly.

When hiring a WordPress developer, it is important to consider their experience and portfolio. Look for developers who have experience working with WordPress themes and have a portfolio that showcases their previous work. It is also important to communicate clearly about the customisation requirements and expectations to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

To find a qualified developer, users can ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues, search online job boards or freelance platforms, or reach out to local web development agencies. It is recommended to interview multiple candidates and ask for references before making a final decision.

Making the Most of Your WordPress Theme Customisation

Customising a WordPress theme allows users to create a unique and personalised website that reflects their brand or personal style. While there are limitations to theme customisation, there are also many options and tools available to help users achieve their desired design and functionality.

Understanding the structure of WordPress themes, knowing what can and cannot be customised, and being aware of common issues can help users navigate the customisation process more effectively. Additionally, considering alternative options such as using plugins or hiring a professional developer can provide additional flexibility and expertise.

By making the most of theme customisation in WordPress, users can create a website that stands out from the crowd and meets their specific needs and goals. Whether it’s a personal blog, an e-commerce site, or a corporate website, WordPress offers the flexibility and customisation options to bring any vision to life.