Beginning Basics: Getting Started with Hemlock
Please note: This FAQ Article is specifically for the Hemlock theme.
Whether you're brand new to WordPress or would just like a quick lesson on basic Hemlock theme features, you're in the right place! Below, we'll go through a number of how-tos regarding standard theme functions, from installing the theme to setting up your sidebar.
To skip directly to a specific section in the article, please use this index:
- Installing the theme
- Creating a post
- Creating a page
- Creating a category page
- Homepage settings
- Creating a main menu
- Adding a featured image
- Adding social icons
- Enabling the featured area slider
- Setting up your sidebar
- Setting up the footer area
INSTALLING THE THEME
So you've purchased Hemlock & you're ready to get started-- great!
When you purchase a Hemlock license from ThemeForest & download the theme package, you will receive a zipped folder titled "themeforest-8253073-hemlock-a-responsive-wordpress-blog-theme".
Unzip this first folder.
Within the unzipped theme package, you will find a number of folders such as demo content, logo image files, etc. There will be 1 zipped folder within, titled "hemlock.zip".
Important: DO NOT unzip this folder! This "hemlock.zip" folder should remain zipped.
"hemlock.zip" is the main theme.
Within your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes.
Click the "Add New" button at the top-left of the page > Click the "Upload Theme" button at the top.
Click "Choose File" > find your zipped "hemlock.zip" file > Click the "Install Now" button.
Once the theme is successfully installed on your WordPress, you can "Activate" it via the installation page or via Appearance > Themes to switch over and begin using your Hemlock theme!
Please note: If you try installing the entire zipped theme package or another incorrect file, you'll likely receive this error message:
"The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet. Theme install failed."
If you receive this error message, please be sure that you're installing the ZIPPED file titled "hemlock.zip".
CREATING A POST
Hemlock has the possibility to create 4 different types of posts: standard, gallery, video, and audio.
In order to activate these post options, you'll first want to ensure you've installed & activated the required Vafpress Post Formats UI plugin. This plugin comes included with the theme.
When you first activate Hemlock, you should notice a banner notification across the top of your dashboard advising you to install specific required & recommended plugins.
Install & activate the Vafpress Post Formats UI plugin by clicking the "Begin installing plugins" link. Check the boxes next to the plugins > select "Install" from the drop-down menu > and click "Apply".
After, follow the same steps yet select "Activate" from the drop-down menu.
To create a post, go to WordPress Dashboard > Posts > Add New.
Above your content box & toolbar, you'll see a series of tabs titled Standard, Gallery, Video, and Audio. Select whichever tab you'd like your post format to be in. Each tab will give you different input boxes depending on the content you'd like to add.
A standard post is the default post type.
You can add text and images to your post using the tools and content box.
Example of a standard post: http://solopine.com/hemlock/favorite/
A gallery post allows you to create a slideshow-type gallery at the top of your post. After clicking the "Gallery" tab to choose this post format option, click the "Pick Images" button within the "Gallery Images" box that has appeared. Select whatever images you'd like from your WordPress Media Library.
Example of a gallery post: http://solopine.com/hemlock/flowers-decorations/
A video post displays a video at the top of your post. You can share videos from nearly all video hosting sites, such as Vimeo or Youtube. Simply copy & paste the video's URL, oembed code, or embed code into the special input box. When you preview or publish your post, the video will appear.
Example of a video post: http://solopine.com/hemlock/midnight-sun-iceland/
An audio post allows you to share a music or audio track and displays it at the top of the post. Like the video post, simply copy & paste the track's URL, oembed code, or embed code into the special audio input box. When you preview or publish the post, the track will appear.
Example of an audio post: http://solopine.com/hemlock/of-monsters-and-men-dirty-paws/
Once you've determined your post format, entered your title, and added your content, remember to assign at least 1 category to your post. Additionally, also ensure you assign a featured image to the post.
Once you're finished preparing your post, you can click "Preview" to preview how your post will look once published onto your site, click "Publish" to have it appear on your site, or click "Save Draft" to save your post as it is, though not publish it yet.
CREATING A PAGE
A standard, static page is similar to creating a post in many ways, and is ideal for creating an About Me or Contact Me section to your website.
To create a new page, navigate to WP Dashboard > Pages > Add New.
Like a post, you can enter a page title, add content, and assign a featured image. Additionally, you have the option of choosing between a full-width page layout (default) or a page with sidebar layout. You can select this via the drop-down menu on the right titled "Template".
Once you've published your new page, it will not automatically appear in your main menu. For a tutorial on adding items to your main menu, please check out this FAQ article: How do I set up my navigation menu?
CREATING A CATEGORY PAGE
A category page is a dynamic page that pulls in all of your posts assigned with a particular category. You do not create a category page like you would a standard page (described above)-- a category page is generated by WordPress after you add a category to your main menu.
First, ensure you've assigned the category to at least 1 post. Then, navigate to Appearance > Menus and click the drop-down box heading titled "Categories" on the left of the page. Below, your categories will be listed. Check the box next to your desired category and click "Add to Menu". Be sure to save. When you click on the newly-created menu item, it will take you to that category's page.
For more information on creating a category page, please check out: How do I set up my navigation menu?
ADJUSTING THE LAYOUT OF YOUR CATEGORY PAGES:
Category Pages which display all posts related to a particular category, Tag Pages which display all posts related to a particular tag, Author Pages which display all posts related to a particular author, etc., are called "Archive Pages". To change the page layout of your archive pages, head to Appearance > Customize > General Settings > and choose from the layout options within the "Archive Layout" section.
Your homepage is the first page visitors will see when they arrive at your website. By default, the homepage will be the page that also displays all of your posts, beginning with the most recent.
We call this feature the "post feed".
To customize how your homepage looks, including its layout, colors, enabling/disabling the sidebar, etc., navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Customize
Under the various drop-down tabs on the left of this screen, you'll find loads of ways to customize your homepage & website in general. For example, within the "General Settings" tab, you can choose your homepage's post layout and enable/disable the sidebar.
Be sure to explore the various options within this Customizer section. The live preview on the right will show you a preview of how each adjustment will visually affect your site.
If you'd like your homepage to instead be a static page and have your post feed display on another page entirely, please check out our tutorial here: How to create a static homepage & separate blog page.
CREATING A MAIN MENU
Setting up Hemlock's main menu in the top-bar is quite simple! For a walk-through on how to go about it as well as more specific how-to tutorials, please check out: How do I set up my navigation menu?
ADDING A FEATURED IMAGE
Assigning a featured image to your posts is very important, as the featured image is what the theme & other web functions use to visually represent the post in various situations.
For a walk-through on where and how to assign a featured image, please take a
look at: How do I add a Featured Image?
Additionally, even if you don't want the featured image to display at the top of your post, you should still assign a featured image. Once that's done, you can hide the featured image from the top of your post by navigating to Appearance > Customize > Post Settings > And checking the box next to "Hide featured image from top of post"
ADDING SOCIAL ICONS
Navigate to Appearance > Customize > Social Media Settings.
Here, you will see a list of social networks followed by a text input box. If you'd like to have a social icon for a particular social network, you can type in your username for that particular network.
Please note that you do not need to insert your profile's URL into this box unless prompted to do so. Only your related username is required.
Once you enter your username into a particular social network's text box, its icon will appear in your top-bar area and footer social icon area. If you leave a social network's box blank, the social icon will not appear in the top-bar or footer area.
Don't see your desired social network? There are tons of social media sites out there and we're unfortunately not able to include built-in options for all of them in the theme. However, don't fret! We have a tutorial written up on how to add custom icons to your theme here: How do I add social media icons to Hemlock?
ENABLING THE FEATURED AREA SLIDER
SETTING UP THE SLIDER:
Hemlock's featured area slider is a full-width area toward the top of the homepage where you can feature eye-catching images from your posts. There are a few steps to ensure your slider works perfectly:
- First, ensure your posts have featured images assigned. This is the image that the slider will pull in to represent your post. For more information, check out: How do I add a Featured Image?
- To have your slide images display in a lovely, uniform size, please make sure your featured images are at least 650x440 pixels in size. If they are larger than this, WordPress can easily resize them to fit nicely. If your featured image is smaller than 650x440 pixels, WP cannot upscale the image and it will display oddly in the slider.
- Lastly, navigate to Appearance > Customize > Featured Area Settings > and check the box next to "Enable Featured Slider". Be sure to save. This will enable your slider on your homepage.
SLIDES DISPLAYING IN ODD SIZES?
If you're certain your images are at least the required 650x440 pixels but are still showing in varying sizes within the slider, we recommend you install & activate the plugin called Regenerate Thumbnails.
Images used in another theme are cropped to fit that theme's image containers. In order to refresh the images to their original sizes and allow Hemlock to re-crop them to fit its own containers nicely, you'll need to run this plugin.
CHOOSING YOUR SLIDER'S POSTS:
Within Appearance > Customize > Featured Area Settings, you can choose which posts appear in your featured area slider. By default, the slider will display all of your latest posts.
From the drop-down menu titled "Select Featured Category", you can also choose a particular post category to display in your slider.
Additionally, if you prefer to hand-select particular posts from a variety of categories to appear in your slider, we recommend creating a new category titled something like "Featured" which you can assign to your desired posts. To hide this "Featured" category from appearing on your posts with the other categories, check the box next to "Hide Featured Category" within Appearance > Customize > Featured Area Settings.
Interested in having just 1 large slide image instead of 3 slides?
Check out: How to make Hemlock's featured area slider display 1 large image
Or perhaps you'd like to have your slider rotate on a timer?
Check out: How to add a timer to Hemlock's featured area slider
SETTING UP YOUR SIDEBAR
A sidebar is a vertical content area that displays to the right of your main content/post area. You customize your sidebar by stacking up different widgets that display a variety of things.
ENABLING/DISABLING THE SIDEBAR:
To enable/disable the sidebar on your homepage, your posts, and/or your archive pages (category pages, tag pages, etc.) navigate to Appearance > Customize > General Settings. Here, you can check or uncheck the boxes next to "Enable Sidebar on Homepage", "Enable Sidebar on Posts", etc.
ADDING WIDGETS TO YOUR SIDEBAR:
To add, remove, or edit your sidebar widgets, navigate to Appearance > Widgets.
On the left, you will see a list of the available widgets to choose from.
On the right, you will see a few different widget areas in the theme.
To add a widget to your sidebar, simply drag & drop a widget on the left into the widget area titled "Sidebar".
EDIT WIDGETS IN YOUR SIDEBAR:
Once you've dropped a widget into the Sidebar widget area, click on its heading. A drop-down will appear and you can make any necessary adjustments to the widget's settings. From this widget setting drop-down, you can also delete the widget.
To position widgets within the sidebar, drag and drop them above or below each other.
SETTING UP THE FOOTER AREA
The footer area is the lower portion of the theme that will appear on all pages of your site. It includes:
- 3 side-by-side footer widget areas
- Instagram slider area
- Social icon area
- Footer logo/text area
- Copyright text area
3 FOOTER WIDGET AREAS:
Similar to the section above regarding "Setting up your Sidebar", the footer has 3 separate widget areas where you can place widgets. To add a widget, navigate to Appearance > Widgets. On the right, you'll see the theme's different widget areas. This includes 3 widget areas titled "Footer 1", "Footer 2", and "Footer 3".
Drag an available widget from the left of this screen into one of the Footer widget areas.
To edit a widget's settings, click on the widget's heading once it's been placed in a widget area.
INSTAGRAM FOOTER AREA:
The full-width Instagram Footer area can be enabled/disabled from within Appearance > Widgets.
For step-by-step directions on setting this area up, please check out: How do I set up Hemlock's Instagram footer widget?
SOCIAL ICON AREA:
The footer's social icon area is directly connected with Hemlock's top-bar social icon area. To choose which social icons you'd like to appear, enter your username for each social network platform within Appearance > Customize > Social Media Settings.
For more information, please reference the section above titled "Adding Social Icons"
FOOTER LOGO/TEXT AREA:
You have the ability to add a smaller logo or image to the footer area as well as some text.
To do so, navigate to Appearance > Customize > Footer Settings. Here, you'll see a variety of options to customize your footer area, including 2 image upload areas for adding a logo image.
On our demo site, we've added a smaller version of Hemlock's logo image.
Additionally, there is a little heading titled "Footer Text". You can enter whatever text you'd like in this area and it will appear below whatever image you insert (if applicable).
On our demo site, we've added text that says: "Made with <3 in Seattle".
COPYRIGHT TEXT AREA:
At the very bottom of the theme is a bar which features a "Back to Top" button on the right and the option to include copyright or disclaimer text on the left. You are not required to include a copyright or disclaimer statement. In fact, you can type whatever you'd like in this area!
To edit the text in this Copyright Text area, look within
Appearance > Customize > Footer Settings > Footer Copyright Text.
For help troubleshooting issues in Hemlock or to see some fun customization tutorials, check out all of Hemlock's FAQ Articles here!