I’ve set up more Genesis child themes than I care to remember but whenever I install a new theme… I read the setup instructions over in the StudioPress download area before I do anything else.
I don’t know who produces the setup information, but it’s clear, concise and makes setting up a child theme a real pleasure.
The detailed instructions vary from theme to theme, but for this general overview I’ve used the Lifestyle Pro child theme as a guide.
When you purchase a StudioPress child theme, you’ll be given access to the StudioPress download area.
This area contains all the themes you’ve purchased plus comprehensive setup instructions for each theme including screenshots and any HTML code used in the demo site.
The setup instructions also give details of plugin settings used on the demo site.
#1 General setup information
The setup information always starts with basic but important information which includes:
- Pre-Installation Setup – compatibility details covering which versions of WordPress and Genesis you’ll need.
- Plugins required – a summary, with links, of all the plugins that are used on the demo site.
- Theme Installation – gives a link to a StudioPress article, which explains how to install a Genesis child theme.
- How to Import Demo Content – gives a link to a StudioPress article, which explains how to import the demo content used in the demo site.
Please note that in order to use a child theme, you need to have the Genesis parent theme installed in the wp-content/themes directory on your server.
#2 How to configure the Genesis theme settings
When you install a Genesis theme a new section called “Genesis” appears on the left hand side of your dashboard. This area gives you access to your Genesis theme settings, which you access via Genesis > Theme Settings.
From the Genesis theme settings you can configure elements such as Colour Style, Default Layout, Breadcrumbs and Content Archives. A screenshot of the Content Archives settings is shown below:
#3 Configuring the WordPress custom settings
The next section covers all the things you can configure using WordPress native functions and includes:
- How to Configure the Site Title Header Text – the site title and description for your site can be set by navigating to Settings > General.
- How to Use a Custom Header Image – add your own header image via Appearance > Header menu in your WordPress admin panel.
- How to Use a Background Image or Colour – add your own background image or colour via Appearance > Background in your WordPress admin panel and select image or colour.
The screenshot below shows you how to configure your site title and tagline and… it even reminds you to save your changes.
#4 Configure your navigation and navigation extras
Next up is how to configure your Navigation Menus and that little bit to the right of the main menu: the Navigation Extras.
The menus are set up using WordPress custom menus as shown in the screenshot below:
To add the Date to the right side of the primary navigation, set a menu to be used in the Primary Navigation location then go to Genesis > Theme Settings and under the Navigation area select “Today’s date” in the Primary Navigation Extras dropdown menu.
#5 How to configure your theme’s widget areas
The latest Genesis child themes make extensive use of widget areas to populate your Home Page, Primary Sidebar and Footer. All you have to do is drag the widgets into the widget areas, configure the widgets and you’re all done.
Although the various widget areas have meaningful names, the screenshot below identifies the homepage widget areas so that you know exactly which area you’re dealing with.
Lifestyle Pro and many other Genesis child themes use the Genesis Featured Posts widget to populate the homepage. It’s a fabulously useful and versatile widget, but it can be tricky to configure the first time you work with it.
No problem, the configuration of the Featured Posts widget is shown in screenshots like the one below for the Home – Top widget area.
Once the main content of your homepage is sorted it’s time to turn to the Primary Sidebar area. The widgets used in this area are shown in the screenshot below:
You’ll also find screenshots for the settings of the plugins used like this one for the Simple Social Icons plugin:
#6 Setting up a blog page
If you use a widgetised homepage you may decide you want a general blog style page to display elsewhere on your site. These are the instructions for creating a standard blog page:
- Navigate to Pages > Add New in your WordPress Admin Panel.
- Create a New Page and call it “Blog”
- In the right sidebar of the Page edit screen select the Blog option in the template dropdown menu.
- Leave the Content of this page blank, it will not be displayed when using the Blog page template.
- Hit the big blue Publish button to publish the page.
Once the blog page has been published you can add it to any of the custom menus you’ve created.
The screenshot below shows the steps required to set up your blog page:
Awesome instructions that make setup a delight
Although I’m using the Lifestyle Pro theme in this example, whichever StudioPress theme you choose the setup instructions are just as well laid out and comprehensive.
No more struggling through your theme setup in a vain attempt to get it to look like the demo site. Just open your dashboard in one tab and the StudioPress setup instructions in another tab and work your way from top to bottom. A perfect result every time and absolutely no coding skills required.
Like I said at the beginning “….whenever I install a new theme… I read the setup instructions over in the StudioPress download area.” – and now you know why!
All the screenshots used in this post are from the StudioPress download area for the Lifestyle Pro Genesis child theme.