How to Use the WordPress Customizer

The WordPress Customizer Can Be Confusing

I’ve talked to a few friends of mine who are new to WordPress and the Customizer confuses them. Not because it’s hard to figure out, but because options are repeated there that can be found in the dashboard as well as in the menu at the top of each page (when logged in).

So it turns into a maze of options. Do I go here? There? Over to that menu?

One of my friends recently commented, “Why can’t they just put the options in one place so I can remember what I’m doing?”

The Point of the WordPress Customizer

Well, adding more options in different places is not really the main point of the WordPress Customizer. The idea is that the Customizer allows the end user to preview changes made to their website’s theme without having to toggle back and forth between the main screen and the dashboard.

In the past (quite some time ago actually), users had to navigate to the dashboard, make their changes then click back to their website to see the changes. Then, to make more changes, it was back to the dashboard again. Clunky, right?

The Customizer changes all that. Now an end-user can make changes to their website’s theme from the Customizer (a vertical menu on the left of the screen) and can watch those changes take effect in real-time. Not only that, all changes are only previews until the user clicks “save and publish.”

Not Everyone Likes the WordPress Customizer

Not everyone is in love with this feature of WordPress. It’s actually been around for quite some time, so it’s nothing new, but what’s bothering folks (mostly developers) is that WordPress is now requiring that all developers cram their theme options into the Customizer. Separate theme options are no longer allowed.

This decision will force a lot of developers to completely re-write the code for their themes. It’s a time-consuming job for them, and in some cases quite limiting as developers attempt to fit their theme’s unique options into the Customizer.

The WordPress Customizer is Good for End Users

As far as end-users go, I don’t see much downside. It allows us to see theme changes in real-time, which is a significant time-saver. Common tasks are now accessible from one central location. It makes the experience consistent for users across different themes.

Now, instead of having to figure out how to access and manipulate theme options from a large variety of developers, users will know how to access theme options and experiment with them. Just check the Customizer.

Not only that, but all changes are simply previews until the user clicks “save and publish.” That means that users can changes their themes in a variety of ways without ever having to worry about messing up what they have already created.

How to Use the WordPress Customizer

The point of this article isn’t to ramble on about the Customizer; it’s about showing folks how to use it. And I have something better than a written article. It’s a video. Be sure to watch it and follow along as I demonstrate how to create a WordPress website from the ground up.

This video, How to Use the WordPress Customizer, is the sixth in a series on how to make a professional website using WordPress.

Be sure to check out all six videos if you have a chance. Video #7 will be coming soon–hopefully by the end of this week.

Free WordPress Tutorials on YouTube

Video #1How to Find and Choose a Domain Name

Video #2How to Find a Good Web Host

Video #3 – How to Install Plugins

Video #4How to Find and Install a WordPress Theme

Video #5How to Write Pages and Posts in WordPress

Video #6How to Use the WordPress Customizer




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