As part of the 2014 Partnership to Success course, we are advised to use OptimizePress 2 as the theme for our blog. OptimizePress 2 is available as a theme or a plugin for an existing theme. For the purposes of the training it is recommended that you use the theme version on a new blog.
One word of caution if you are on the P2S course – do not try this at home kids! All joking aside, I’m serious about that. Especially if you do not know what you are doing with editing files. The last thing you want is to break your blog.
The first impression you get is that the blog layout is clean and simple. It has a good use of white-space, pleasing typography and, one of the most important features for me, has a responsive layout. However the back-end is fairly primitive in the range of options available. What’s even worse is that OptimizePress 2 does not support the standard child theme feature of WordPress. At first glance, this does look like you are stuck with the default layout with only the ability to change colour, typography and the side which the sidebar is on. For a modern theme this lack of customisability appears to be woeful.
Luckily OptimizePress 2 does have three sub-themes to change the look of your blog. While they are similar in appearance, there is enough distinction between them to give a twist on the base layout. This gives you a hint on how to customise the appearance of your blog.
The Why of Changing OptimizePress 2 Blog Layout
Lets say for example you wanted to modify the layout in minor ways, but this involved editing the core files. As many of you know, editing core theme files is always a no-no. The simple reason is that one day an update will be released which is likely to wipe out your customisations. Because the different layouts are not that dissimilar to each other, it is possible for all blogs using OP2 theme to look pretty much like each other.
Just so you know, the first two customisations made here was to add a breadcrumb for single posts (fantastic for Google SEO) and change the meta (author and comments details) to include the date. I like to see when a blog post was made. This gives you an idea of how active a blog is when you first visit. It also means that you do not comment on a blog which is, for all intents and purposes, abandoned by its creator. I am willing to be proven wrong, but I do not think OptimizePress 2 allows for this.
The How of Customising OptimizePress 2 Blog Layout
To make safe changes to the OP2 blog layout, follow the simple steps outlined below.
Using either a FTP program (Filezilla for example) download the contents of the OP2 provided blog layout you are currently using into a directory on your computer. Change the name of this directory to 4. In your new directory, open up config.php in a text editor like Notepad. Do not use Word or Wordpad – they will add hidden characters to the files and stop them from working. Change the following lines from:
$config['name'] = __('Theme 3', OP_SN);
$config['name'] = __('New Theme Name', OP_SN);
And this from:
$config['description'] = __('Clean full width blog theme for the ultra minimal look', OP_SN);
$config['description'] = __('Your new theme description', OP_SN);
Once this is done, you now need to upload the entire directory to the wpcontent/themes/optimizePressTheme/themes/ directory at your host. In the OptimizePress 2 Blog Settings -> Themes tab, switch your blog to the newly uploaded theme.
I hope this helps, and if you have any questions about this process (but not programming your website) please feel free to post below.