Using a WordPress Child Theme

Thanks to my business colleague Paul McNeese, who through OPA Author Services provides services that every self-publishing author or small publisher will need in order to transform a manuscript into a printed book, I recently worked on a robust – and fun – author project. For Karyn Rashoff, M.S., I created a website, an announcement e-newsletter, and a one-sheet for the launching of her first book “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”

WordPress Child ThemeChoosing to use WordPress’ TwentyTwelve default theme, I created a child theme. A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme. It allows you to modify, or add to the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override within.

I think one of the best reasons for using a child theme is that if you modify an existing theme and then it is updated, your changes will be lost! With a child theme, you can go ahead and update the parent theme and still keep your changes.

In the case of Karyn’s website, I created a child theme to modify such things as the:

  • site title and subtitle’s font family and font size
  • amount of white space between the subtitle and nav menu, and between the bottom of the header image and the top of the page content
  • sidebar titles’ font size and font color
  • font color on links, and on page and post titles.

To learn more about WordPress child themes, including how to create your own, visit wordpress.org.

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