Wordpress: Customizing Your Museum Voices Site

Museum Voices blogs use a common site template, but you will have a some flexibility on how you would like your site to appear. The videos on this page will show you how to customize your site, including: adding widgets, changing the menus, picking background colors, uploading custom banners and more.

Please see the WordPress: Site Editing Basics video page to learn about creating posts, editing content and managing images and other media.

Videos on this page:

youtube controls tip

TIP: Having a hard time seeing the details? We recommend turning on the highest video quality possible and making the video full screen. Both of these controls are visible at the bottom right corner of the player after the video has been started.


Customizing your Museum Voices site colors and banners

Learn how to change the background/menu colors and upload new banners for your blog.

Topics covered:
0:00 - intro
0:35 - begin at the Dashboard
0:44 - finding the Customize Appearance menu
0:50 - begin: how to change the blog’s background (theme) color
1:45 - site menu colors will change to complement background color choice
2:10 - changing the title of a site
2:50 - the site URL never changes so links/media will not break
3:15 - saving customization settings and returning to the Dashboard
3:28 - visit site to verify colors have updated
3:36 - begin: how to add new banners
3:50 - where to find the banner manger in the Dashboard menu (Media > WP-Cycle)
4:15 - banner images MUST be cropped and optimized prior to uploading (size: 880px X 200 px @72 dpi)
5:15 - uploading new banner images
5:45 - keep file sizes under 100k, the smaller the better for best site performance
6:25 - limit the total number of banners to 8-10
7:12 - deleting a banner
7:25 - visit site to verify banners have updated

Download step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Customizing the side menu

The right-hand side menu of your site will automatically add new Pages. You can customize what Pages show up on the menu and the order they are displayed. You can also add menu items that link to other websites or show Posts from particular Categories.

Topics covered:
0:00 – intro
0:14 – difference between posts vs. pages reminder
0:35 – side menu only show pages on your site, not posts
0:55 – widgets are underneath menu and only deal with posts (edit those using Widgets menu)
1:28 – locating the Menus menu
1:48 – main Menu management screen (current menu on right, options on left)
1:58 – drag and drop to rearrange order
2:35 – adding more pages to the menu
2:24 – removing a page from the menu
3:00 – new pages are automatically added to your menu by default
3:24 – adding menu items from events calendar
3:42 – adding a menu link to another website
4:20 – adding post categories as a menu item
4:47 – save menu and view changes on site
5:20 – begin sub-menu tutorial
5:35 – menu items can either display a page OR show sub items (cannot do both)
5:55 – sub item setup example
7:18 – planning for sub items in advance
7:38 – making sub items using existing pages

Download step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Working with Widgets

Widgets add content and features to your WordPress posts. Examples are post categories, recent comments, tag clouds, search, and more. They are easy to add, remove and configure, and can be placed in the right sidebar or at the bottom of the page above the footer.

Topics covered:
0:00 – intro
0:12 – what are widgets?
0:22 – widgets only appear on posts, not pages
0:48 – where to find the Widgets menu
1:15 – widgets can be added to the right sidebar and above the site footer
1:35 – widgets in use on your site are listed on the right, organized by location
1:45 – click the down arrow to set/change widget options
2:22 – add new widgets by dragging from left column to right column
2:45 – difference between Calendar and Events List widgets
3:08 – adding widget to sidebar
3:32 – drag and drop to rearrange order of widgets
3:40 – adding widget to footer bar
4:20 – refresh browser to see changes reflected on site
4:58 – remove widgets by clicking delete or dragging back to left column
5:17 – widgets can be added to both locations 

Download step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Change your posts to display on a page other than your homepage

Typical Museum Voices sites are configured with blog posts showing on the homepage by default. You can change this so another Page is used as your homepage and you can show your posts on a different page on the site.

Topics covered:
0:00 – intro
0:40 – access Dashboard
0:45 – Go to Customize – Appearance
0:52 – “Static Front Page” setting is where this is set, but you need a Page with homepage content and a post placeholder Page first
1:30 – create new homepage Page (you can skip this if you already have a Page ready)
2:00 – create a new Page using the title you’d like for your new posts page and publish it (does not have any content other than a title)
2:50 – go to Customize – Appearance menu again
2:55 – under “Static Front Page” menu, select the “A static page” option and then the Pages you want to use for the “Front page” and the “Posts page”
3:12 – click Save & Publish button and view site to confirm changes.
3:43 – need to reconfigure menu if you have two “Home” pages
3:58 – go to Customize – Menus
4:20 – remove extra “Home” page (leave the one listed at the top with “Custom” to the right of it)
4:45 – Save menu and visit site to confirm changes.

Download step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Enable blogging on sites that do not have posts displayed by default

Faculty and staff profile sites are not configured to show blog posts by default. Follow these instructions to learn how to add a blogging feature (Posts) to your site.

Topics covered:
0:00 – intro
0:48 – access Dashboard
0:55 – prepare your first blog post in advance
1:05 – go to Customize – Appearance
1:20 – “Static Front Page” setting is where this is set, but you need a post placeholder page first
1:50 – create a new Page using the title you’d like for your new posts page and publish it (does not have any content other than a title)
3:00 – go to Customize – Appearance menu again
3:10 – under “Static Front Page” menu, select the Page you just created under the “Posts page” dropdown
3:35 – click Save & Publish button and view site to confirm changes.

Download step-by-step instructions (PDF)

(PDF instructions bonus: Includes how to set your Posts to display as your homepage instead of another page on your site.)