The eleven40 Pro Child Theme is a great option for a blog. The formatting is perfect to put a focus on your content. And as with most of these child theme, you can also set up a static homepage. This tutorial will help you understand more about this theme—what it can do and not do— and help you confidently use it without any unexpected surprises.
This tutorial you will help you to understand all the features this theme has to offer and to better clarifying what you can and cannot do easily by just looking at the demo. I will walk you through how to set up the homepage and your site to look just like the demo, but will also show you other options you have with this theme to customize it for a different look (without knowing code), by using its built-in features, some widgets and a few specific plugins
Please note in this overview I mention the limitations of this theme out-of-the box. At the bottom of this post you will find both free and premium plugins that will allow you further customization. Particularly the Genesis Design Palette Pro which gives you the ability to do a lot of font, color, and styling customizations without knowing code.
Here is a step by step guide to set up the eleven40 Pro child theme homepage as seen in the demo. If you want to see the flexibility of this theme, and what other customizations you may be able to do without knowing code, make sure and watch this video.
Note: if you are updated to the latest version of WordPress 4.1, you will find uploading your custom header is now located in the theme customizer. This video does not reflect that change, but the text and screenshot highlight below do.
Primary Sidebar widgets
The sidebar in the demo is using the text widget with custom code for the bio.
The signup form is using the Genesis eNews Extended widget. You can watch that tutorial here.
Now the Genesis Theme Settings
In your dashboard, go to Genesis > Theme Settings. Just follow these screenshots:
Note: any changes you make to the theme settings, always remember to click SAVE.
Here you can choose the color styles for this theme. As you will note, the colors only affect certain parts of the site. If you want to get further into customizing the theme’s colors, you will need to know and understand CSS. (Optional, the Design Pro Palette premium plugin will give you more options on your colors for the eleven40 Pro child theme.)
This theme gives you six layout options. 1. Content left, primary sidebar right. 2. Content right, primary sidebar left. 3. Content left, primary and secondary sidebar right. 4. Content right, primary and secondary sidebar left. 5. Content middle, secondary sidebar left, primary sidebar right. 6. Full page content, no sidebars.
The global default layout of your theme for the homepage and inside pages is the one selected below. Simply click that thumbnail and save to set it. But keep in mind, you don’t have to use that layout for every page. In fact, you will find these same options below each single post and page. So for example, if you want no sidebars on a selected page, you can choose full layout. Also, you can choose another layout for your global options as well.
Adding Your Logo to the Header
You may choose to just use the Site Title instead of a logo.
WordPress version 4.1
If you are using version 4.1 (or more in the future) you will now find that adding the custom header to this theme is located in your theme customizer. Simply upload the image here.
You will also see that color scheme, breadcrumbs and other settings are here as well as under the Genesis settings.
WordPress version 4.0 and older
This theme allows you a smaller custom logo in the upper left corner. You will first need to size your logo to 320 x 65 pixels, otherwise it will be cropped after you upload it. Now go Appearance > Header menu. You will have the option to either Choose File from your computer, or use an existing image you added to your media library previously.
Your Tagline appears here and on every page and post.
This theme has a primary and secondary navigation menus. The primary menu appears below the header and the secondary below the footer. You will need to set up your menus then go to Appearances > Menus > Manage Locations and assign the menus.
As of Genesis 2.1, the Primary Navigation Extras options have been removed for new installs. (upgrades of current installs to 2.1 will not lose the Primary Navigation Extras settings). If you are running a new install and want to add a the date or a search form to a navigation menu, you can find this post to add the necessary code.
This theme may come with options to show some extra goodies in the right side of the primary navigation bar. If you choose Today’s date or the search form, it will automatically appear.
If you choose the Twitter link you will need to fill in the info that appears.
And if you choose the RSS feed links, you will need to scroll to the top part of Genesis > Theme Settings and put in your feeds address.
Unlike a lot of the Genesis child themes, the homepage for the eleven40 theme is not widgetized. If you use the default blog layout as shown in the demo, it will feature one post full at the top and a grid of additional posts. The total number is controlled under your Settings > Reading.
Setting Up The Homepage
As I mentioned before, the homepage is by default the layout above.
1. To set the total number of posts to the 5 that shows on the demo, or any other number you want, you do this in your Settings > Reading.
2. If you are using the footer widget areas, you must use all three or else the empty will just show a big blank spot. If you don’t use any of them, that section will disappear.
3. The long title at the top of the page pulls in from your Settings > General > Tagline
These are the widget areas including your sidebars, footers and an after post widget.
Primary and Secondary Sidebar
These will show up depending if you are using one or both. Since every site need is different, you will ad the widgets you feel are good for your site and for your readers.
The subscribe widget in the demo uses the Genesis eNews Extended widget. Here is a tutorial that shows you how to set that up with your MailChimp Account.
The demo shows mostly menus that have been set up using categories. These foot widget areas are totally optional and you will want to make sure that if you use them, you are putting content in that adds to the functionality of your site. Not just to fill them. Since there are 3, if you don’t use one or more, those spaces will be blank.
This is again totally optional. What it does is allow to to add something after every post. This is global, so just remember it will be after each and every post. Examples of this might be blog subscription sign, an affiliate ad or a newsletter signup.
Here is a sample setting up a form with the Gravity Forms plugin.
Theme Customizations without Code
For those times when you might be looking for specific customizations, but you don’t know code, a plugin might just do the trick. Here are some of them that I currently have tutorials on and are specially made for Genesis.
Genesis Simple Sidebars – If you want to have custom content in your primary and/or secondary sidebars on specific posts and pages, this plugin allows you to easily do this, as well as by category.
Genesis Simple Edits – An easy way to edit your blog post info and meta, such as author name, post categories, etc. It also lets you create custom footer text such as a copyright, or any content in the footer area can be changed using HTML.
Genesis Simple Comments – Easily edit any of the content that is built into your theme around the comment area.
Genesis Simple Menus – If you are using a child theme that has a secondary navigation menu, you can now customize which menu you want to show on specific pages, posts or categories.
Genesis Title Toggle – Ever want to hide the post or page title? This plugin lets you do it by simple ticking a box on that specific page or post, or you can do it globally.
Genesis Simple Breadcrumbs – If you have chosen to show breadcrumbs, edit them easily with this plugin.
Genesis 404 Page – Have you ever wanted to customize the page someone gets with a 404 Error Not Found? If so, this plugin makes it as easy as creating a new page on your site.
Customize This Child Theme Even Further
Genesis Design Palette Pro – Change fonts, colors, padding and more without knowing code.
This plugin gives you a ton of options that work with some specific Genesis child themes. For example, you can change font, font style, color and size, navigation menu styles, and just about any other part of your site you would have to normally know CSS to change.
Conductor Plugin – Create Your Own Homepage Layout Without Knowing Code
This plugin is not specifically for Genesis, but works with just about any theme. What does it do? If you have ever wanted to change the layout of any page or post, whether it be number of columns, larger images, or a mix of all, this is the plugin for you. I don’t have a tutorial on this plugin, but I do recommend that you check it out.