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This installment of Start with a Theme shows how to set up a video blog using WordPress and three different free themes that result in three different looks for your site. Series author Morten Rand-Hendriksen explains how to get up and running quickly with Twenty Twelve, Origami, and Sundance, and reviews the benefits and drawbacks of all three themes as they apply to video content in particular. Learn how to add video from services such as YouTube and Vimeo, enhance the visibility of your posts, add a video slider, and more.
As most standard WordPress themes and especially because Sundance is a theme designed by Automatic for WordPress.com, the theme has the basic theme customization options available. In addition, it has a few other options that further enable you to customize your site. So let's look at the standard customization options first. You'll find them under the Theme Customizer. You can go to them from the Toolbar and Customize. From here, you can change the Site Title & Tagline either by changing it or by turning Display Header Text on and off, and you can change other elements like the Header Text Color and the Background Color.
But just like with the Origami theme, this theme has a background image that covers the background color ,and to add to that, if you turn the Background Image off for whatever reason, it doesn't actually turn off in the theme previewer. So if you want to experiment with a different background color, you have to turn the Background Image off, set a different color, and then click Save & Publish and close the Theme Customizer to see what it looks like. And as you can see, depending on what kind of color you use as a background, you can end up with some pretty strange results, so I recommend trying to stick with a gray-toned background color if you can. Let's say I'll pick something gray here.
You already saw the Background Image function so the last two options are your Navigation, so here I can assign my custom menu, and you see it works the same way that the other one did, and I can set a Static Front Page if I want. I want to set the theme back to its standard settings except for the Navigation. To do that, I need to bring back that background image, so I'll go back to Background Image. I'll go to Default and then select default image, and here you'll see that image came back in.
Now I can Save & Publish. I'll close the Theme Customizer and then we can take a look at the added customization options. Like with Twenty Twelve and Origami, if we want to use a header image, we have to actively add it to the theme first, so I'll do that first. I'll go to the WordPress Toolbar, Select Header, I'll click Choose Image to choose an existing image, I'll pick the first image I uploaded, click Set as header, let the cropper auto crop it and just move the cropping around a bit, click Crop & Publish, and open the site in a separate window so I can see what it looks like.
It looks okay, so now I'm going to go into the customizer and turn Site Title & Tagline off so that we're not doubling the information and then I click Save & Publish again. Now that I've added the header image, you'll notice that the header image spans across an area of the site that is not used on the index page. But if you go to a single post, you'll see why. This area is being used to display the avatar for the author of the post.
In this case it's me, so you see my face. If you had comments, you'd also see the avatar for the commenter in the same area. But Sundance has a couple of extra customization features built in. If you go to the back end, and you go to Appearance, you'll see we also have an option here called Theme Options. When you go into Theme Options, you see we can add some extra links into our sidebar. You can add an RSS Link by checking it. You can also add a Twitter link, a Facebook link, a Google+ link, and a Flickr link.
You have to put in your URLs for each of these, I'll say http://twitter.com/mort10, and when I save these changes, then go back to my site, you'll see those icons appear here at the top of my sidebar. You can choose whether or not you want to activate these, and as you can see, depending on which ones you put information into, they'll appear or disappear. So this is entirely optional. Sundance is built to be easy to use, and that is reflected in its customization options, but its true power lies in how it handles videos on the front page.
So that's what we'll look at next.
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