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Welcome to the third edition of WordPress Wednesday!! Previously covered topics include Categories vs. Tags and my Top 10 WordPress Plugins. I realized that in my “Top 10 WordPress Plugins” post I referred to the Genesis theme a couple times and had some questions about it and not knowing the difference between a parent and child theme so today I thought I would enlighten you!
The WordPress platform allows you to choose themes to customize your blog that are similar to templates on Blogger. There are literally thousands of themes to choose from but my favorite, and one of the most widely used, is Genesis Framework from StudioPress.
Genesis, while considered a framework, is essentially a “parent theme”. With Genesis you can either run it by itself or use it as a foundation to build on top of..kind of like building a house. First you lay the foundation and frame it (Genesis!) and then you customize it and make it pretty (child themes!).
Genesis, and other frameworks, are basically where all the functionality of your website resides. Each different framework has it’s own built-in CSS (fonts, colors, backgrounds, etc) and functionality (widgets, column width, etc). When you upload a parent theme or framework these things never change. In order the change the theme, customize it, and make it uniquely yours you need to install a child theme.
Child themes are WordPress themes that take functionality from the parent theme and then allow you to customize your website without losing all of those basic settings. Anything you customize in a child theme (font color and size, color of the background, logo) are all specific to that particular child theme and you can modify it as much as you want. However, if you were to delete that theme then all of those changes go with it but you wouldn’t lose all of the basic functions that were originally in the parent theme.
When choosing how to customize your WordPress website there are so many child themes options out there! It seems like all of my favorites come from StudioPress, Etsy, and Pretty Darn Cute. A few are independent themes but the majority are built on Genesis Framework and so they are considered child themes.
When working with parent/child themes it is always important to install the parent theme first and then the child theme after that. You want to think of it as “layering” them…like this lovely shot of expresso. First you have the shot (parent theme) and then you have the foam on top (child theme). You can’t have the foam before the shot…you can’t have the child theme before the parent theme.
If you don’t know what theme you are running and want to check all you have to do is go into your WordPress Dashboard and go to Appearance – Themes and see!
I really hope this post has been informative and not too technical or boring. My goal when creating this series is to give you a little bit more knowledge about your WordPress website. I know it’s a scary thing looking at your dashboard and not knowing what does what and how to fix your mistakes!
Do you use a parent and child theme??
What WordPress specific topics would you like me to cover??