Getting Started with Mission News

Not sure where to start? Follow this guide to discover Mission News's features and how to use each of them on your site.

If you need help installing Mission News, please follow this tutorial first: How to Install & Activate Mission News.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will teach you how to customize your site with Mission News. Starting from the top, you’ll work your way down your site, customizing and tweaking as you go. The tutorials are newbie-friendly, so every step is explained in detail.

It's recommended that you follow along with your site as you read.

By default, the primary menu will contain all of the published Pages on your site, listed in alphabetical order. Mission News has an optional secondary menu as well that will be empty by default.

As you publish new Pages, they will simply be added to the primary menu. However, you can create a custom menu to change this.

With a custom menu, you get full control over which Pages are included, and in what order. In fact, you can even add links to Categories, Posts, or anything else you'd like.

The tutorial below will show you how to:

  • create a custom menu
  • reorder menu items
  • add submenus
  • and more...

Tutorial: How to Customize Your Menu

When you installed WordPress, you were asked to provide a "site title". That same site title is displayed at the top of your site, in the header.

With Mission News, you can replace the site title with your logo instead. If you don't have a logo, you can skip to the next section. Otherwise, follow this tutorial to learn how to upload, position, and resize your logo:

Tutorial: How to Add Your Logo

Note: You can edit your site title any time from the General Settings menu, or in the "Site Identity" section in the Customizer

Mission News includes a search bar button left of the secondary menu in the header:

When the magnifying glass icon is clicked, a search bar will show up that visitors can use to search your site's content. This is handy for larger sites, but if you don't feel you need a search bar it can easily be hidden.

Follow this tutorial to learn how to hide the search bar:

Tutorial: How to Hide the Search Bar

Add Your Social Icons

There are two types of social icons:

  1. Icons that link to your profile
  2. Icons/buttons that share your content

Most themes, including Mission News, have a way to add social icons that link to your social profiles. This provides a stylish way to link to your profiles, so your visitors can find and follow you on your social networks. These icons are usually included in the header or in a widget.

Social sharing icons/buttons are added to make it easier to share your content. They are typically added with plugins, like Simple Share Buttons Adder . These icons are usually included before and/or after Post content.

As mentioned, Mission News provides a simple way to add icons in the header linking to your social profiles. Follow this tutorial to add yours:

Tutorial: How to Add Your Social Icons

Add Posts to the Sidebars

In the Mission News live demo site, you can see lists of posts added stylishly to the sidebars.

Mission News comes with a special widget called Recent Posts Extended. It's similar to the default Recent Posts widget, but with it, you can choose between multiple styles, included Featured Images and bylines, and more.

Learn all about the Recent Posts Extended widget in the following tutorial:

Tutorial: How to Use the Recent Posts Extended Widget

Widgets can be used to add any type of content you want to your site. WordPress includes a handful of default widgets, such as categories, most recent posts, and tags. However, there are thousands of other widgets available.

You can add any type of content imaginable with widgets, like Youtube videos, weather forecasts, product reviews, tweets, and more.

Note: widgets are added to your site as "plugins". You can add new widgets through the Plugins menu in your dashboard.

In order to add a widget to your site, it has to be placed into a "widgetized" area. Mission News has seven of these widget areas:

  • Left Sidebar
  • Right Sidebar
  • Ad Spot - Below Header
  • Ad Spot - After First Post
  • Ad Spot - Above Post
  • Ad Spot - After Post Content
  • Ad Spot - After Page Content

Follow this tutorial to learn how to add widgets to Mission News:

Tutorial: How to Customize Your Sidebar

In WordPress, every Post and Page can have a Featured Image. It's simply a way of assigning one image as the primary image for the Post/Page.

Mission News places Featured Images neatly above the Post titles on the Blog and Post pages.

If you'd like to add Featured Images to your Posts, follow this tutorial:

Tutorial: How to Add Featured Images

Customize Your Post Excerpts

When you first install WordPress, all of your Posts will show on the homepage. The page with your Posts can also be referred to as the Blog or Posts Page.

With Mission News, each Post on the Blog will include a 30 word excerpt using the first 30 words in the Post.

Mission News gives you a lot of control over what text you want shown in the excerpts. To learn how to fully customize your Post excerpts, check out this tutorial:

Tutorial: How to Customize Post Excerpts

Change Your Layout

You can customize the layout of the posts on the blog page and also the layout on individual post pages.

To learn how to customize blog and post layouts, follow this tutorial:

Note: on mobile devices, Mission News uses a single-column layout, so the sidebar will always be included after the main content.

Tutorial: How to Change Layouts

Show/Hide Site Elements

Mission News has a lot of content and design elements included by default, but you can hide many of them via the Customizer. For instance, you can hide the post author name and dates, the category and tag links after posts, and more.

Tutorial: How to Show/Hide Elements

Customize the Author Avatars

Mission News displays avatars for the post authors along with their bios after every post.

If your authors are already using Gravatar, the images will display automatically. If not, you can signup for Gravatar or follow the tutorial below for additional options.

Tutorial: How to Customize Author Avatars

Conclusion

You're finished customizing Mission News!

If there's anything else you want to change about your site that wasn't covered, check for an article about it in the sidebar to the left.

Visit our WordPress Resources page to find awesome plugins and tools we recommend, and if you want to try using CSS to customize Mission News, we've got some pre-written snippets for you to get started with in the Mission News CSS Snippets Collection.

Additional Resources

  • Mission News WordPress Theme

    Download a copy of the latest version of Mission News.

  • Support forum

    Ask questions and find existing solutions in the support forum.

  • Changelog

    Review recent and past updates to Mission News.

  • Mission News on Github

    Review Mission News's commit history and project files on Github.

  • WordPress Resources

    Check our recommended resources to find great plugins and solutions for your site.

  • Codeable.io

    We can help you with minor changes on your site, but if you need a highly customized version of Mission News, we recommend finding help through Codeable.

  • WordPress Tutorials

    We've published nearly 100 tutorials for using WordPress. Head over to the blog and search for any WP-related topic you need help with.

  • Create Your Site

    If you've never made a WordPress site before, follow along with our step-by-step guide for creating, customizing, and launching your first website.