Picking a theme you love is the first step; customizing it is the second step. There are many ways to inject more “you” into your site, from uploading custom headers to adding an upgrade that allows custom colors, fonts, and more.
Custom header, anyone?
Many themes allow you to upload a custom header. Headers can be anything from a favorite photo to a slick, graphically designed banner.
Not sure what we mean by “header”? Check out this example — on the left is the standard homepage for the Sela theme, and on the right is an example of how Stephanie at Ellie and Ace has added a custom header with a bit of style and panache:
Not sure where to get good images? Here’s a list of places you can get good quality images for free:
When you’re ready to make your own header, check out our overview on Pablo and Canva (two free image editors you can use to create headers) and our primers on creating blog header images with Canva or with PicMonkey.
Note: not every theme supports custom headers — if your theme doesn’t you can always pick one that does.
Got your header image? Great, it’s time to upload it. Go to My Sites → Customize → Header Image. You’ll be able to browse your computer to find the file, then click Add new image:
If your image isn’t the right size or dimension, you’ll get to crop it by dragging the dotted box around until the section of the image you want to use is highlighted.
When you’re happy with it, click Crop Image. You’ll see a preview of your new header on the right-hand side of the Customizer. If you’re satisfied, click Save & Publish:
Custom fonts and colors
If all this customization just isn’t scratching your blogular itch, you can upgrade your blog to the Premium plan at any time and get access to custom fonts, custom colors (and, if you’re feeling confident, custom CSS). To buy the upgrade, go to My Sites → Upgrades. You also have access to a selection of fonts on the free plan.
Once that’s done, go to My Sites → Customize to begin experimenting with custom fonts, colors, and CSS:
From there you can browse and preview typefaces like Gentium Book Basic, Libre Baskerville, Merriweather, and Ubuntu. (We offer over 30 free Google Fonts!)
To pick your fancy new fonts, go to My Sites → Customize → Fonts. You can choose two fonts: one for headings (think post and page titles, widget titles, and headlines inside posts and pages), and one for body text. To pick a font, click on one of the default font names to see all the available fonts. Keep your eye on the live preview on the right-hand side of the screen to see how your site will look with its fancy new fonts.
Once you’re happy with the way everything looks, click on Save & Publish. It may take a few minutes for the changes to be seen on your blog, although typically it’s faster. You can come back at any time to play with your fonts some more as long as your have an active upgrade.
You can have a lot of fun with custom fonts. We encourage you to experiment, but offer a few guidelines:
- Size matters — make sure all your fonts are readable on-screen.
- Fonts have feeling and emotion. Some are strong and bold, others are delicate, elegant, or whimsical. Think about matching the feelings of your fonts to your blog’s personality.
- Readability is always key, so save the more embellished options for your title and headers, and pick something cleaner for regular body text.
We also interviewed some WordPressers who’ve done an exceptional job using fonts to personalize their blogs; you can benefit from their wisdom.
You can do a good deal of customizing with headers, and custom colors adds another level of personalization by letting you change the overall color scheme of your blog. You can view and apply color palette suggestions and background patterns or create your own unique color palette for your site. Score!
To begin experimenting with your site’s color scheme go to My Sites → Customize → Colors & Backgrounds. You’ll see individual color options, suggested palettes, and available background patterns.
If you’re not sure where to start, pick a new featured palette. The individual circles will change to reflect the colors in that palette, and you can hover over them to see what they’re assigned to — your background, post titles, link and visited links colors, and more.
Next up, learn all about creating posts and pages, working with images and other media, and creating menus to help readers get around your site. Head to Get Published.