Tag Archives: WordPress

Adding background image to WordPress site

Experimenting with WordPress backgrounds

NOTE: This post originated as an email to a friend and WordPress user

I finally got around to testing background images on one of my blogs, and as it turns out I rather like the effect. Perhaps I’ll soon follow suit with some of the other blogs. I know that you have loads of high-resolution images you could use as backgrounds for your sites.

Although the current background image — a rather blurry photo of a sky full of cirrus clouds at sunset — isn’t the highest quality photo, it should suffice at least as a test to demonstrate the visual effect of a static background image.

My monitor is currently set to a fairly high resolultion (1600px width), so I chose a 1600px-wide image as my first test background image.

View or modify the resolution settings of your monitor by right-clicking on any blank area on the desktop, then selecting Screen Resolution from the context menu.

From the WordPress Dashboard, just go to Appearance -- Background. I set this background image to Center, No Tiling, and to be Static so that the image stays in the same place even when you scroll down the page.

Here’s what it looks like:

Documentaries: How corporations, consumerism, other mechanisms work against democracy, greater good (Another Day, Another Digression)

Testing WordPress themes: ‘Stylesheet is missing’ error

public domain artworkWe at Nashville SEO & Web Content manage dozens of blogs for clients, many on rather low budgets — so we are constantly on the lookout for the very best free WordPress themes we can find. I am investing significant time and effort this evening in the testing of dozens of free WordPress themes collected from various sites over the last few months.

One of the most common problems users encounter when testing new WordPress themes is the missing stylesheet. When this happens, the theme is listed at the bottom of the Manage Themes page (under Appearance -- Themes in the WordPress administration backend) in a list of “Broken Themes” with the description, “Stylesheet is missing”.

This issue is explained very well in the knowledgebase of Envato’s support section under “My WordPress Theme isn’t working, what should I do” in the section called “Common ‘Broken Theme’ and ‘Stylesheet Missing’ WordPress Issues”.

Luckily, this issue is almost always due to a very simple circumstance which is easily corrected. In a nutshell, many zips (compressed files & folders) contain an extra directory (folder) layer which often tricks WordPress into believing the style sheet isn’t there, when it really is there. It’s just buried too deeply within the theme folders.

For instance, let us suppose you downloaded a WordPress theme called Brown. The zip file you downloaded is called brown-ver-1. When you unzip the brown-ver-1 folder, you see that it contains a folder called brown. Inside the brown folder are the actual files comprising the WordPress theme. You must get rid of that extra layer before you upload the theme to WordPress for testing. That is, when you open the final package there should not be an extra directory layer before you see the style.css file and all the other files that make up the applicable WordPress theme.

Correct: brown — style.css
Incorrect: brown-ver-1 — brown — style.css

Exactly how one corrects the issue depends on which method is being used to upload new themes to the WordPress installation on the web server.

The two main methods are:

1. Using WordPress upload process
2. Using an FTP client

I strongly prefer to use an FTP client to move files back and forth between my system and the web server. I cannot imagine taking the extra time to use the built-in WordPress uploading process. The two categories of uploads on which much time can be saved with an FTP client are images and themes.

Results of testing: Will finish this later

Successful themes
These themes look great and work well as soon as they are activated; they require little or no implementation time.

  • DailyPost 1.0.5 by wplook

Themes requiring setup

  • Business lite 3.1.19 by CyberChimps WordPress Themes
  • BizWay 1.5 by InkThemes.com

Themes failing preview

  • Yasmin 1.0.0

Resources: Testing WordPress themes: ‘Stylesheet is missing’ error

This post was started on Sunday, September 09, 2012

Free XHTML/CSS templates, free WordPress themes (Aug 2012)

structureHere’s another batch of documented research results — this time, from well over two hours of searching for high-quality, free WordPress themes and CSS/XHTML layouts today. I was rather impressed with some of the surprisingly good themes and layouts.

However, with HTML5 out, those who still prefer XHTML layouts must be more discriminating; most of the latest non-WordPress layouts are HTML5 – and from what I know so far, I still prefer XHTML to HTML5.

I scored more free responsive WordPress themes with real potential today than anything else. (NOTE: Responsive designs are those which do not break down even with major, device-dependent changes to a site’s display width — meaning a single design will work on a variety of devices, from a large monitor to a small-screened smartphone.)

The award for best new resource site found today goes to Fresh Design Web, where many wonderful free WordPress themes were found and downloaded from pages like 36 Best Free WordPress Themes with Responsive Layout.

I noticed many other resource collections with real potential for the WordPress blogger with an eye for freebies; more on those later, perhaps.

(Where does all the time go?)

Resources: Best free XHTML/CSS templates 2012

Favorite individual designers offering freebies

The web designers in this section deserve special recognition for making FREE quality CSS/XHTML layouts available to everyone for many years. Many thanks to all of you; your offerings helped me learn web development in the early 2000s.

Free WordPress theme collections

Free WordPress theme designers

Possibly good free responsive WP themes
Possibly good free responsive WP themes
Possibly good free responsive WP themes

Possible sources for free XHTML/CSS templates

CSS Templates Market
not very promising

This post was started on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Finding the best free WordPress themes in 2012

The list below (“Resources“) contains some great places to look for nice, new – and best of all, FREE — WordPress themes.

logo: WordPressWhen choosing from amongst WordPress themes, I strongly recommend choosing at least five or ten of your favorite themes. WordPress themes can be rather unpredictable, and only a portion of these themes actually appear as advertised without requiring substantial additional setup work. It has been my experience that more than half of the WordPress themes I test do not look anything like the model or example site indicated the theme would look, which probably means that more work is required in order to configure the theme to an operational or usable level.

When this happens, I immediately remove that theme from the running and move on to the next choice.

Resources: Best free WordPress themes 2012

Resources: Other WordPress theme links

This section contains links to timely and interesting resources about WordPress themes — but not free themes.

Useful WordPress Tools, Themes And Plugins (Mar 2012) – Smashing Magazine
Best Newspaper Themes For WordPress – Smashing Magazine


Monthly roundups: Free WordPress themes

Free WordPress themes: 2011 collections

Free WordPress themes: 2010 collections

Testing new WordPress themes

To be edited and posted later
logo: WordPressIf you wish to test new WordPress themes yourself, it’s not hard. You must have an FTP account to your web host & know how to use it (Purpose: To transfer files from your local hard drive to your web hosting server). You must find the WordPress themes you’d like to test, download files for the WordPress themes you’d like to test, unzip the files, then upload them to your web host, then test them by logging in and choosing Appearance – Themes from the main WordPress menu. [ read more ]

Issues with WordPress themes

After you have downloaded and tested a few new WordPress themes to see how they look skinning (as the new skin on) your existing WordPress blog, you will quickly learn that some WordPress themes do not always appear or behave as one might expect. [ read more ]

This post was started on April 2, 2012.
This post was updated on Sunday, August 05, 2012.

Logging in as WordPress admin; WordPress back-end

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

Learning where to go to login

It will soon become second nature for you to login to your WordPress site — even without using a “Log in” link to take you to the official WordPress login page; however, you definitely need to be familiar with the term “URL” (aka “URI”).

URL/URI: Web address

logo: WordPressIn case you did not already know this, the address line on your browser is the line near the top of your web browser which displays the address of the web page you are on. These internet addresses are also known as URLs or URIs, so whenever you see URL or URI it just means “web address” or “link”[1].

All one needs to do in order to login to his or her WordPress site is to append the URL with “/wp-admin”.

For example, let’s say your hosted domain is www.stiles.com. As a second assumption, let’s say your WordPress installation is not in the root directory, but rather, in a directory or folder called blog. (So far, we have www.stiles.com/blog .)

If stiles.com/blog already appears in the address line of your browser, then – if you want to login – simply type in /wp-admin ; this will force the browser to move from its current page to the wp-admin directory. (FYI, wp-admin is the name of the folder or directory in which the admin screens are located.) Even though you still have not designated the exact login page, WordPress knows that only administrators or other power users are allowed to see what’s in the wp-admin directory, so – as the lingo goes — the user is “challenged” with a login screen.

The other main way for a WordPress user to go to a login screen is to click on a link that’s already been set up to take the user to the WordPress login screen (or general admin area). As it so happens, many WordPress themes include this link by default. If you see a section of WordPress links called "META," then you’re likely to see a "Log in" link right under it. (If the user is already logged in, then the first link under META will be "Site Admin" instead of "Log in".)

[1] URL, URI

In computing, a uniform resource locator (URL) is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource. A URL is technically a type of uniform resource identifier (URI) but in many technical documents and verbal discussions URL is often used as a synonym for URI.

Resources: Logging in as WordPress admin