Review the Style – Case Study, Styling a Gardening Blog Part 1

by Rick Anderson on April 30, 2012


In part 1 of this series on Styling a Gardening Blog, prepare the site for changes by backing it up and by upgrading WordPress and Thesis.

Rick:  Here’s where we are. Here’s where we’re going to be. But the first thing I’m going  to do here is talk about how this is created. The way this works is we’re using the Full Width Backgrounds Plugin and we have a background image that repeats itself in the body.

Thesis Full Width Background Plugin

We have, in the header area, a background image that makes up the header. In the content area, we have a background image that makes up the appearance of the page. And in the footer area, we have a background image that makes up the appearance of the footer.

We’re using the Full Width Backgrounds Plugin to create that structure for the site. But before we do that, we’re just going to make sure that the site has the right dimension because this graphic was created for a specific set of dimensions. So let’s see, wp admin. Okay so here we go.

When is the last time you backed up?

Jared:  Me? Back up?

Rick:  Yeah.

Jared:  Me? Probably never.

Rick:  Okay. I should have asked you that question before we jumped into this.

Jared:  I just always hit the update at every chance.

Prepare the Site for Design Changes

Rick:  I’m going to do that but I’m going to do it safely. Let’s see, deactivate… this is actually the Yoast plugin which actually doesn’t work with Thesis. We’ll deactivate that one. Actually you know, I should just deactivate all these plugins.

Rick:  Okay so we’ve deactivated all those. We may as well deactivae Nav XT too.

Jared:  How about Akismet?

Backup Database

Rick:  I don’t believe Akismet’s going to cause us any issues. Some plugins are very stable and aren’t likely to cause issues. And so now what we’re going to do is we’re going to backup your database. Okay, we’ll backup all those. We’ll back it up to the server. We’re going to backup now. What version of Thesis are you running here?

Jared:  3.18, I think.

Rick:  1.83 or 1.82 or 1.8?

Jared:  1.82 or 1.83, I don’t know.

Rick:  Oh no, just 1.8. Okay.

Jared:  Can that be updated?

Rick:  Yeah, do you have ftp access to your site here?

Jared:  I do it from here.

Rick:  I want you to start your ftp up and connect up to your site.

Jared:  I am. I’m in.

Rick:  Okay. So go to wp content and themes.

Jared:  You mean under public html?

Rick:  Yeah so open up public html and then go to whatever the root of this site is.

Jared:  Which is wp-content?

Rick:  Okay so wp-content and then themes. What do you see there?

Jared:  Thesis_1.8.

Rick:  What else?

Jared:  Flex Professional 2.2 which iThemes. Let me open this up a little bit bigger. 2011 2010 classic default.

Rick:  That’s okay.

Jared:  Do you want me open up Thesis 1.8?

Rick:  No. I just want to know that you can see it. I’m going to upload 1.83 from here. But then once I’ve done that, I’m going to want you to rename the custom sample folder. But we’re not going to do that until after we’ve gotten through this backup.

Jared:  So I’ll leave this open?

Update WordPress and Thesis

Rick:  Okay backup is complete. So now what we’re going to do is update. Actually, no. Now we’re going to deactivate that. Okay so we’ve deactivated all those plugins. Now we’re going to upgrade WordPress 3.3.1. Update now. Okay so we’ve got the latest version of WordPress and let’s to Appearance and Themes. Let’s get the latest version of Thesis.

Rick:  Okay so now you should see a Thesis 1.83. Actually, you need to refresh your view in your ftp client. And once you refresh that view, you should be able to see Thesis 1.83, do you?

Jared:  No. wp content, themes…

Rick:  Thesis 183 should be there now.

Jared:  No, I don’t see it

Rick:  I’m going to make you a presenter so we can see your screen.

Jared:  Do you see it?

Rick:  I do, okay.

Jared:  I can go back here and then come back here but it brings me back to this.

Rick:  Go up there, hover over action and… what are you looking at it with?

Jared:  This is called Transmit. It’d be really to easy to close it out and come in again.

Rick:  Okay, go ahead and close it out and come in again.

Jared:  It’s there.

Rick:  Okay so open it up and rename custom-sample to custom. Okay, go ahead and save that. We made that stuff go away. So now we’ll go to Design Options.

Jared:  You want me to do anything more like change the numbers or anything?

Rick:  No, we’re good.

Jared:  Okay.

Rick:  Okay, 550, 330. Let’s see, column orders right. HTML framework is full width. Outer padding is 0.

Jared:  I can’t see you.

Rick:  Oh yeah because I’ve left you as the presenter. Okay so can you see me now?

Jared:  Yes.

Rick:  Okay.

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