After installing WordPress, you need to choose a theme which is the look and layout of the site. WordPress has many free themes, so it’s a matter of personal taste choosing which theme you want for your site.
As far as I have been able to tell, there are no themes that really help out musicians in particular. Even though the theme claims otherwise, the only difference I’ve seen with themes tailored for musicians is they provide a default picture of a guitar or something. Not really helpful. Plug-ins and widgets are what make the blog useful for musicians, so worry about layout first when it comes to themes.
What I looked for in a theme is the sidebar options and the ability to customize the header and background. The more sidebar options, the more I like the theme. I chose one with two sidebars, one on either side of the main posts. I chose this option so I could have important info like my next gig on one side and a music player on the other.
I might change my mind on this though. It looks slightly cluttered. Fortunately, WordPress allows you to change themes extremely easily.
Choosing and Installing a Theme
You can find a small number of themes right on your site. Go to Appearance and Themes. You’ll see two tabs, “Manage Themes” and “Install Themes”. Choose the “Install” tab.
You can search for terms or choose the many options on the first “search” page, but I’ve had little luck with that. I just look at the Featured, Newest, and Recently Updated for themes. Otherwise, Google is a much better search engine for WordPress themes. Or you could also try WordPress.org and search for themes there.
You can install as many themes as you want, so have at it. Download a few that you find interesting. You can download them without actually making it your site’s theme.
From the “Manage Themes” tab, you can choose which theme you want. Be warned about changing your themes, your “widgets” will get moved to the “Inactive” section if you’ve done any customization. (More on widgets later.)
Header and Background
The first thing you’ll notice is the horribly, ugly picture that is your default header. To change this, you’ll need to go to the Appearance section and choose the “Header” sub-section. Here you can change the picture. You can throw any picture you want here, but you’ll need a photo editor to get the exact dimensions and look you want.
Like the header, you can choose background images or colors for your layout. Play around with this as it can lend more “pop” to your layout.
The options let you choose the general layout, like having two sidebars. The number of sidebars you want is dependent on the type of widgets you choose and how much you want on your front page. The general opinion on web design is to have the most important elements on your home page. So, for a musician or band, it would be the shows and the music.
Honestly, I want something like MySpace without all the flashy crap. I want to see a band’s genre, hear their music, and known when they are playing next. That was the best thing about MySpace band pages, easy access to the band’s music.
Pages can be used in 2 ways: the main menu items or drop-down menus.
The main menu items let you create pages that are not part of your main blog. These pages can host your shows, music, contact info, or whatever you want. Simply publishing a new page will create a new menu item.
To create a drop-down menu item, create a page that is a child of another page. For instance, create a page called “Parent”. Then create a page called “Child”. Set “Child’s” parent to “Parent”. Then when you hover the mouse over the “Parent” menu, the “Child” menu will drop down underneath it.
In the next post, I will discuss Widgets and Plug-ins. The fun stuff!!!