How to customise a WordPress website: Part 2

Adding content

I’ve got the framework of the website largely as I want it although there’s still some styling to be done. It’s time to start adding the really important part of any website – the content.

Before adding any posts, go to the left-hand pane under the dashboard and click on Settings/Media. Under Images size, uncheck the box for crop thumbnails to exact dimensions and change the thumbnail height to 250px. If you keep the box checked, your thumbnails will be cropped into squares with only a section of the pic showing.

If you forget to uncheck the box for crop thumbnails then you can go back in later and change it but this will not have any effect on the thumbnails that have already been posted. You can get round this by downloading and activating one of the several Regenerate Thumbnails plug-ins that are available but it’s easier if you remember to do it before publishing posts.

I have a collection of book covers and blurbs organised to use as content. I’m going to use five of these as blog posts so these will show up in the main body area underneath the slider.

Add your posts and pictures from Posts/Add New, make sure you’ve selected the Blog category for each post and hit the Publish button.

This is an example of how the new posts look on the site but they still have the byline and category tag.

As you can see, there’s still some clutter with the byline and category tag so I’ll go back to Graphene Options/Display and seek out the Posts option as shown earlier. I don’t want bylines on these posts and I’m also going to hide the post categories and tag, as shown in the screen shot below.

You can show or hide categories, tags and bylines with the Posts display options.

Saving these options brings up the posts showing clutter-free, as in the screen shot below.


Customising the slider

Graphene comes complete with a slider at the top of the page, which is a great feature to have out of the box in a free WordPress theme.

I’m going to set up a new category called Featured and then add posts in this category. I’m not going to add the Featured category to the nav menu as I’ll just let the slider be a standalone feature. I’ve added three posts with pictures to this Featured category.

To show these posts in the slider, go to Appearance/Graphene Theme Options/General and open Slider Options. The third choice is Show posts from categories. Check this button and in the box called Categories to display select Featured.

In the box below entitled Exclude categories from posts listing, select Everywhere and for Slider display style select Full post content.

You have a few choices for slider animation and speed. My selections are Horizontal slide, 7000 ms for slider speed and 400ms for transition speed but try out some variations and see what you like. You can also extend the slider width to the full width of the site but I’m going to keep it above the main body width.

The important thing to change here, for my site at least, is the slider height as the default doesn’t give much space so I’ve made the slider height 350px.

Setting the Slider options, including what categories to show and height of the slider.

I’ve added three Featured posts with pictures and the screen show below shows how the slider is starting to look. The posts slide in one after another on a loop. You can see it in operation at

There are a few points to explain on the text styling of the slider posts. I haven’t put a heading on these posts as the heading would have gone across the top and I want to keep the text together beside the picture. In the WordPress visual text editor, I’ve styled the text as Heading 1 in red for the book title, Heading 2 in blue for the name of the author and the body text in Heading 2 style, keeping the text in black.

We’ve got most of the website customised now. It just remains to deal with the sidebar, footer widget area and footer and a few finer points which I’ll do in Part 3 of this article which you can find here.

Part 1 of this article on How to build a website with a quality free WordPress template

Part 3 of this article on How to build a website with a quality free WordPress template