Widgets are small add-on features that can help make your site more enjoyable or efficient.  You may choose to use any or all of the available Widgets, or none, if you prefer.

The Available Widgets on blogs.oregonstate.edu are:

  • Akismet: Shows the number of spam entries blocked.
  • Archives: A monthly archive of your blog’s posts
  • Calendar: A calendar of your blog’s posts.
  • Categories: A list of the categories used on your site.
  • Links: External links managed through your blogroll.
  • Meta: Log in / log out, Admin, Feed, and WordPress links.
  • Pages: The pages within your blog.
  • Recent Comments: The most recent comments left on your blog.
  • Recent Posts: The most recent posts on your blog.
  • RSS: Entries from an RSS or Atom feed.
  • Search: A search form for your blog.
  • Tag Cloud: Your most used tags in a cloud format.
  • Text: Arbitrary text or HTML that you create for whatever purpose you need.

Enable a Widget

To enable a Widget, do the following:

  • From within your Dashboard, click on Appearance > Widgets.
  • Choose a Widget from either the Available Widgets or Inactive Widgets list by clicking on it.
    • Available Widgets: These Widgets are “fresh”, they have had no configurations performed on them.
    • Inactive Widgets: These Widgets are ones that may have been in use previously and have been configured in some manner.
  • Drag the Widget to the right and place it in a Sidebar region.
  • Most Widgets have some small configurations that can be made, such as changing the name of the title.  If there is an arrow to the right of the Widget block, click it to open up the Widget’s configuration panel.
  • Make any configurations that you desire.
  • Click the Save button.

Disable a Widget

To disable a Widget, do the following:

  • From within your Dashboard, click on Appearance > Widgets.
  • Drag the Widget to be removed from the Sidebar region and place it in either the Available Widgets group or the Inactive Widgets group.
    • Available Widgets: Dragging Widgets back to this area will erase all configurations that have been made.
    • Inactive Widgets: Dragging Widgets to this area will remove them from the sidebar but will retain their configurations.
  • Click the Save button.

There are currently 20 different themes that are available through blogs.oregonstate.edu.  They are as follows:

Benevolence ● Bluebird ● Blue Zinfandel ● ChaoticSoul ● Connections ● Contempt ● Copyblogger ● Cutline ● Dark Tree ● Falling Dreams ● Fauna Beta ● Glorious Day ● MistyLook ● Ocean Mist ● OceanWide ● OSU Sport ● Quentin ● Rubric ● SeaShore ● Waterlilly

How to Change a Theme

To change your theme, just do the following:

  • From within your Dashboard, click on Appearance > Themes.
  • A selection of available themes will appear.  Click on the image of one that interests you.
  • A full-screen version of the selected theme will appear for closer review.
  • If you’d like to look at a different theme, just click on the X in the upper left corner.  If you want to enable the new theme, click on the Activate link in the upper right corner.

Some Things to Consider About Themes

Different themes, obviously, possess different features.  This is true both on the surface, as well as in the underlying programming structure.

For example, if the theme you choose has right sidebar navigation, this is not something that can be changed.  The colors, the menu font styles, pattern fills that are used in the background – these are all things that are part of the theme and also generally can’t be changed.

Additionally, if you happen to change your theme from one that, say, has two sidebars to a theme that only has one sidebar – any Widgets that you may have placed in the now non-existent sidebar will no longer have a place to reside.  These items will have to be re-added to your layout.

Special Theme Features

There are some themes that are quite flexible in terms of how you can change regions that are usually more “fixed” in nature.

For example, some themes will provide you with the capability to change a header image.  Others might possess certain built-in capabilities, such as a calendar or clock.

If a theme possesses any special configurable qualities, these items will show in the Appearance menu group.

The appearance of a site is affected by two things; the theme and the layout.

A theme regulates the “look and feel” of your site: the background colors, background images, font type, font color – even the space between lines of text can be controlled by a theme.

Layout is concerned with what Widgets are enabled and where they are placed on your blog.

You have a lot to say in terms of how your blog appears, so let’s see how these things can be customized to suit your needs.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “configuration”.  All it means is that you have the ability to actually change how your site is set up to suit your own personal needs.

The configuration side of things is something that a site Administrator is privy to.  If you are a blog owner, or if another blog owner has made you an Administrator on their site, you will have access to these configurable options.  If you are not an Administrator, you will not have access to these items.

There are many different things that can be configured on a WordPress blogsite:

  • Appearance: This relates to how the site “looks and feels” regarding themes, as well as how the site is laid out.
  • Plugins: These are add-on pieces of software which expand the functionality of WordPress.
  • Users: This is where all of the user management is performed, which includes adding new users to your site and editing their permission levels.
  • Tools: This includes different tools used in the import, export, and subscription base management of your blogsite.
  • Settings: This is where many different settings can be performed which affect the reading, writing, and commentary features on your site – amongst other things.

To learn more about the different configuration options, just click on the item of interest in the Categories menu item.