Getting Started with Shift

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

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

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will teach you how to customize your site with Shift. 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 menu will contain all of the published Pages on your site, listed in alphabetical order.

As you publish new Pages, they will simply be added to the menu. 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 Shift, 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

Shift includes a search bar in the top-right area of 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 Shift, 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, Shift 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 Widgets to the Sidebar

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. That's exactly what Shift's sidebar is - a widgetized area. You can add any widgets you want to the sidebar.

Follow this tutorial to learn how to add widgets to the primary sidebar in Shift:

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.

Shift 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 Shift, each Post on the Blog will include a 25 word excerpt using the first 25 words in the Post.

Shift 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

By default, Shift places your main content on the left, and your sidebar on the right. You can easily switch their positions in the Customizer. Follow this tutorial to learn how:

Tutorial: How to Change Layouts

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

Customize the Post Byline

Below each post title, Shift displays the author, date, and comments count for the post.

You can hide any or all of these elements with a few simple settings in the Customizer.

Tutorial: How to Edit the Post Byline

Conclusion

You're finished customizing Shift!

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. Otherwise, check out Shift Pro for additional options.

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

Upgrade Today: Want even more features and flexibility for your site? Upgrade instantly with Shift Pro.

Additional Resources

  • Shift WordPress Theme

    Download a copy of the latest version of Shift.

  • Support forum

    Ask questions and find existing solutions in the support forum.

  • Changelog

    Review recent and past updates to Shift.

  • Shift on Github

    Review Shift'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 Shift, 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.