You may have noticed the new look to the Northwest website this month. Over the past several months I have been testing a number of new possibilities for our site in order to make it more friendly to navigate, more functional in terms of accessing the information and resources we provide here and hopefully more aesthetically pleasing. I did this by adding some "plugins" and changing the "theme" we were using in WordPress. I have already written a couple of articles on what a church can use for their web site and this is another to continue discussing the web publishing platform – WordPress.
One of the exciting features of using a platform like WordPress for any web site is how customizable WordPress is. WordPress has been designed so that third parties can provide add-on features to make a website look just the way one wants it and do exactly what one wants it to do. This is done through "themes" and "plugins". Here are some ideas for your site:
There are hundreds of themes that have been developed for WordPress by third parties. Many of them are free to use or to customize to your own liking. If you are interested, the WordPress website features a page where you can view or download and test hundreds of themes in virtually any configuration one can imagine. (click here to go to that site). Most of these themes require very little additional customization other than to change some graphics or logos etc.
Some themes, however, provide a greater extensibility to WordPress itself – offering the web developer many more options for customization. One of these is a theme called K2. This is what I use here on the Northwest. site. Here are some of the advantages of using K2: (view the K2 "About" page)
- One can develop one’s own style. The K2 theme provides a way to style the site without having to tamper with any of the original coding.
- K2 comes with its own sidebar manager which I am using here. It allows for considerable flexibility. A number of other plugins provide sidebar modules that work well in the K2 sidebar system.
- K2 comes with prepackaged support for a number of popular plugins.
- On the K2 "About" page there is a whole list of features that I won’t duplicate here.
Here are a few links to sites with resources to work with the K2 theme
- The main K2 site. From here you can download the K2 theme.
- The K2 support forum
- The K2 documentation wiki (lots of good information here)
In an upcoming article I will tackle the subject of WordPress and plugins.