You need to make a Child Theme

If you are going to do any type of coding change on your WordPress website, you're going to need a child theme. There are a couple of reasons to use a child theme, but the most important one is so that when you update your theme,(which happens from time to time), the code changes that you may have made are preserved.  There are also multiple ways to create a child theme, but I'm going to introduce you to the BEST way that I've found so far for non-techy folks.

Some examples of when you might need to create a child theme

  1. You have a developer who needs to make coding edits to various template files - You NEVER want them to edit your main theme directly.
  2. You need to add some code to the header (maybe google analytics code), and your theme doesn't include a box to insert the code
  3. You want to change your theme's css without using an additional plugin.

Enter the Child Theme Configurator Plugin

The first step is to install the child theme configurator plugin to your site.  This is a 5 star plugin with over 100,000 active installs.

Create Child Themes using this Plugin

Child theme configurator is the quickest way to get a child theme up and running.

Step 1:  Log into The Dashboard

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Step 2: Choose Child Theme Configurator from the "add plugins" screen

Child Theme Configurator Plugin

Step 3:  Activate the Child Theme Configurator

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Step 4:  Go to Tools > Child Themes

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Step 5:  You'll see the screen below - click "Analyze"

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Step 6:  Customize child theme name and description. It isn't necessary to change the settings here unless you want a unique title and description.

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Step 7: Click the Checkbox and button in sections 8 & 9 - This is the most important step

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Step 8: Click the "files" tab and choose the files you want to include in your child theme.  For instance, if you know you'll need to edit the header.php file then you'll want to add it to your theme.

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Now if you look in Appearance >> Themes you'll see your brand new child theme.  This is by far the easiest way to create child themes without having to edit stylesheets, and FTP files to your server.

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Recap:

In about 5 minutes or less you have a bonafide child theme that you can use to make file changes.  You've been able to add all of the files that you'll need to edit, and can add files in the future in case you need to make more extensive coding changes.  Let us know how you've been able to use the plugin for your own projects.


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