How to edit WordPress themes using Dreamweaver

It has been more than a year since I used Dreamweaver to design a site. I’ve mostly been running sites using PHP-MySQL content management systems (CMS) and depend on the thousands of ready-made themes and templates to control the site design. For the occasional static page, I use Nvu for visual editing. But after reading this article on SitePoint, I wanted to try using Dreamweaver to edit one of the templates I’m using.

WordPress, like most PHP-MySQL CMS, uses template files to control the appearance of websites. The webpage is assembled from several PHP files controlling specific aspects of the site like the header, sidebar, main content and footer.

To use Dreamweaver to edit or customize WordPress themes, you need to combine these different PHP files into one page so that you can immediately view, while editing the codes, how the page would appear.

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Site overlay available in Google Analytics

I did not spot this feature in Google Analytics before but you can check which areas of your site or blog are being clicked by readers by using the service’s Site Overlay feature. I never dug deeper into the statistics of Google Analytics before and most of the time I just view the executive summary (click here to view screenshot).

I don’t know when Google Analytics started offering this feature since its announcement does not have a date of publication but the screenshot linked above, which I took on March 19, already displays a link to Site Overlay.

Google Analytics Site OverlayAs I was viewing my stats the other day while adding a new site profile, I got curious on what Site Overlay was and clicked on it. The feature, it turned out, tracks which parts of your site your readers are clicking on (click on photo to view larger image).

I had been solely using Crazy Egg to monitor my blog’s interface elements and the data it gathered were the bases for my decision to use this theme and take out the clutter from my blog design. Knowing where your readers click is very helpful in making design decisions. It tells you which elements or menu items aren’t working.

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Customizing a WordPress theme

I’ve finished customizing Marlen‘s theme using the tri-Sexuality Standard WordPress theme with help on color combination from ColorLovers. Marlen’s theme uses part of the Can’t Buy Me Love color palette. On another note, I’m claiming my Feedster feed, thus the notice below.
No Need to Click Here – I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster feedster:c50175ca8f0a99650240081a4bc175e2

Handing in the final paper, looking forward to tweaking my WordPress theme

I submitted my final paper for my online journalism course with the Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University this morning. Its a good thing that I blog because I was able to use for the paper on the impact and future of online journalism some of the entries I wrote here earlier.

With the course over, I can now do one of the things I’ve long been planning to do: change my blog theme’s colors. I already changed this theme’s colors to make the green and blue more vivid but I wanted to implement a different color set.

I’m no graphic artist and I’m lousy at color combinations but I found this site with a lot of great color combinations rated by a community of graphic artists. The combinations in my shortlist are: New comes in green, Mojo flave, Dust brothers, Get a job hippie and Drunken lullabies.

Great Firefox plugin for blog template users

I found Aardvark through del.icio.us. The product is a free Firefox plugin that allows you to check elements of a webpage and how it is constructed. It is particularly useful for non-geeks like me who want to customize templates of blog content management systems like WordPress or Serendipity.

Aardvark allows you to check parts of a site and see which HTML or CSS element controls its presentation. If you place your mouse pointer over a part of a page, the block will be highlighted an a text below the block will indicate which element it is.

With the tool, you’d know which part of your style sheet to edit if you want to change a part of your CMS-backed blog.

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