WordPress Plugins... Themes...
When you started searching for WordPress tutorials, you may have wondered what plugins to use, and also what theme should be best for your site.
Because I'm a "Thrive Themes" annual member, I don't worry much about plugins and themes because I get all sorts of plugins and "Thrive Theme Builder" for free.
Normally, if you wanted to display some specific features...
For example, you want (1) a contact form, (2) fancy buttons, (3) tables, and (4) star ratings displayed on your site, you'd have to install 4 separate plugins. Most of them are available for free.
The problem is, plugins can slow down the site loading speed. So you should keep the number of active plugins as few as you can. If you install a plugin but you're not sure if you'll use it or not, you should keep it deactivated.
This visual page builder - Thrive Architect - is a plugin, and one of the reason I use it is, this one plugin has them all. (Not all but most of fancy features!) So I wouldn't have to look for other plugins.
So right now, you won't have to look for other plugins? You may wonder if you need something, please don't hesitate to ask!
You can also change a theme (in the left-hand menu... Appearances >>> Themes).
There are literally hundreds of free themes. I wouldn't change it at this stage though... You might want to experiment it, but once you change the theme, you'll need to edit all the settings (layout of each page, header/footer, image position, etc.)
The theme I use (installed on your site) is called Thrive Theme Builder.
Conventional WordPress themes - Pros & Cons
Each conventional WordPress theme is pre-made, so you don't have to worry about fundamental layouts, default font style/size, header/footer, etc. But it can be inflexible. You might discover that you can't display certain things in certain ways, then you'll have to look for another theme that allows you to do it.
Thrive Theme Builder Pros & Cons
Thrive Theme Builder on the other hand, is totally versatile. You can change anything from top to bottom. But it also means it's not ready-to-use for a beginner. You'll have to set everything up from top to bottom right from the beginning.
Anyway, the foundation is set now, so you may want to go in and give a little tweaks here & there.
How To Edit Theme Elements
First, go to Thrive Theme Builder - you'll find the menu towards the bottom.
Then go to Templates.
You'll see various templates here.
- 1. "Active Homepage" - homepage template (https://michaelgallagherwrites.com)
- 2. "Default Post" - Posts template
- "Default Audio Post" - Ignore
- "Default Video Post" - Ignore (because you don't have posts primarily for audio or video use)
- 3. "Default Page" - Pages template
- 4. "Default Error404" - This is for 404 page direct. Looks a bit boring right now, you could edit it later on.
- 4. "Default Blog" - it's a list page showing all your past blog posts, currently set at https://michaelgallagherwrites.com/meet-the-author/
- 5. "Default Archive" - it's also a list page showing your past bog posts, but specifically by category. https://michaelgallagherwrites.com/category/fabulous-friends/ should be edited here.
When you click each one, a new browser tab will open, allowing you to edit the template... It should look almost identical to Thrive Architect.
A lot of Thrive Theme users are actually very confused between these two, especially when they start out, so I'll clarify the difference just in case.
The Difference Between Thrive Architect and Thrive Theme Builder!
- Thrive Architect is a page builder, whereas
- Thrive Theme Builder is a theme builder!
It means that when you add/edit page/post content, you use Thrive Architect.
But when you want to edit/recreate the foundation of the website - including the underlining layout, theme colour, etc... Header, Footer, Sidebar, etc... Use Thrive Theme Builder. So you shouldn't have to touch Thrive Theme Builder once you're happy with the design.
Contact Me Form!
Right now, Contact Form is placed at the bottom of https://michaelgallagherwrites.com/meet-the-author/ This particular page was created using this template (as mentioned above)
The form is already there, but it's not working because your email address isn't set.
All you have to do is insert your email address there, and next time someone sends a message using this form, you should receive it.
Click this one, then the editor screen will open (new browser tab).
Scroll right down, and you'll find the contact form. Click anywhere in the form area.
Click "Add Connection"
Click "Compose Email"...
This is an internal email notification from your website to yourself, so
- Change the email address to your current active one. (same address twice "To" and "From")
- This is just a message to yourself, so you can edit it in any way you want.
Click Save and Apply.
Then Click to save that template as well (the green [Save Work] button at the bottom-left corner)
Open https://michaelgallagherwrites.com/meet-the-author/ and try sending a message...You should receive a notification instantly (I hope!)