Here is a jiffy quick tutorial on headers and creating a custom header in WordPress for your blog. No coding here. Just the basics.
First off, websites and blogs are judged by the first thing a visitor sees: the header. It’s that big photo banner at the top of the screen on any WP blog.
The content of the site may be fantastic, but if the header lacks somehow, you lose that good first impression that can bring a reader back next time. It also helps you customize your blog to make it special to you.
Of course, you don’t have to do this, and WP offers tons of free headers that come with the themes, but why not take a little time to create one that is unique and suits your blog perfectly?
Keep in mind that you want to brand your blog. This means using your logo if you have one, your tag line, and a professional photo. The header should tell a reader exactly what your blog is about and what he or she should expect. Don’t make it cluttered with words, though: keep it simple.
When you create your blog, check to see what size the header is for your theme.
One that fits the default WP theme is about 740 x 192 pixels. The header size for the theme we are using while I’m posting this article is 920 x 150 pixels. These are big differences when you are installing a header.
If your header isn’t the right size, you will wind up having to make adjustments, and that can change the whole look of your header. If you don’t make the adjustments, you may have sections cut off or duplicated to make the correct size picture.
It’s not impossible, but if you can find a photo or image you like in the proper size, it makes it easier and will ensure the whole image is shown. If you create a custom header, you can make it to the exact size you need.
If you have decided to modify your blog’s theme, you need to take into consideration the content area or overall page size. If you set your blog to float in the middle, with space on either side, then header size doesn’t really matter so much.
Upload An Image
Once you have an image you want to use, go to Appearance > Header in your Dashboard. If you don’t see this option, it means that the theme you have doesn’t support a custom header, and you’ll have to change the theme. Click on “choose file” and select the file you want to use, or insert an image from your media library.
Only .gif, .jpeg, and .png files are supported. All images that have been cropped will be converted into .jpeg format. Remember to use an image that is already the proper size for the best results. If you must, crop the image so that it fits.
When you’re done, click “Publish” or “Crop and Publish.” You should see a message that says your header has been updated. If you don’t see the header right away, contact WP support.
Why Use A Custom Header in WordPress?
A custom header will always be better than a basic WordPress one. Why? Because it shows your readers that you are unique and professional. Of course, if you just have the blog to write down your thoughts for private use, or if you don’t care about what people think about its appearance, go for it and use a default image. Otherwise, you can either make it yourself or hire a pro to make one for you.
Create A Header
There are two ways to get a custom header: either you do it yourself, or you hire an expert. If you’re adventurous, artistic, and know your way around a computer, feel free to do it yourself. Just make sure any images you use are licensed for free use, or pay for a use license from the owner of the image. You can read more about licensing and images on this post (Beth insert link) here.
There are softwares available that help you create your own images. Photoshop, of course, is useful, but you can also use Photo Editor, an online option, as well. You can also use Picasa. Header-specific software options include Gimp or XHeader. With free softwares, like XHeader, you also have the option to buy thousands of basic headers for a very low price, that you can add text and more graphics to.
If you don’t want to do it yourself, have no fear. There are literally thousands of people at your disposal who would be more than willing and able to do so. You can hire a freelancer to do it through a job bid site like Elance. Read our article to see how Elance works.
The theme you have on your blog will dictate if you can upload a custom image or not for your header.
Most if not all of the premium themes support a custom header in WordPress or places to insert your custom logo. You get what you pay for when it comes to themes. Free ones aren’t always updated or supported. Paid themes provide both support and updates. We keep adding reviews of different premium themes, so read through them while you are deciding what form your blog and your header are going to take.
What have your experiences been when designing a custom header? Did you do it yourself, or did you hire an outside contractor to create one for your blog?
WordPress.org – Support – How To Install A Custom Header
Wordpress.org – Designing Headers
ArtofBlog.com – Header Design