Build Your Blog With MD Part 1: An Introduction & Philosophy
I’ve decided to create a post series here on Kolakube to teach you how to customize Marketers Delight with a WordPress Child Theme.
The benefits of using a Child Theme to customize your site is that you have full access to all the templates and files that make up Marketers Delight under-the-hood. This means you can change anything on your website.
Now, I know many of you are going to cringe at the idea of working with templates and files because this means you’ll be working with code.
Truthfully, coding isn’t as big of a nightmare as many software companies market it to you as. From years of selling themes, I’ve learned how my customers like to customize their sites and built Marketers Delight in a way that is familiar to experienced developers and easy to pick up for beginners.
If you invest just a few hours upfront leaning the guts of Marketers Delight and how to use a Developer Tool like in Google Chrome (or other browsers), you’ll be able to make all kinds of changes to your website with ease.
You’ll be amazed at how far just a little coding knowledge will go. While tools like drag and drop page builders certainly can make things easier, the skills and knowledge you learn are non-transferrable.
If you learn code, you’ll find that you can bring your experience anywhere regardless of how the website is built. Think of it as a one-time investment that goes towards learning the true language websites speak.
That language is not drag and drop, it’s code. The goal of this series is to show you that MD makes coding websites with WordPress easy for anybody to understand.
While MD has everything you need out of the box to create a beautiful blog and setup email signup forms, changing how anything looks or works does require code. If coding to make changes to your site just really isn’t something you can do, then MD may not be for you right now.
Who am I to make these claims about coding?
I’ve been building websites for a long time and quickly found that I could never find a tool that I was truly satisfied with out of the box. I even use Marketers Delight here on Kolakube and I still saw things I wanted to change! So I made some tweaks of my own.
You’ll most likely find that to be the case too. The goal of a product like MD is to provide you a with focused solution. I can build features I know you need, but you’re the only one who knows what they should look like on your website.
I learned this for myself after spending hours tweaking the typography, spacing, fonts, and other design elements on all of my websites. I never found something that took perfect care of those things to my own liking and grew tired of doing this over and over again when all I wanted to do was write.
Now that I have MD, I don’t have to worry about those meticulous details (and neither do you!). Keep in mind that despite the fact that I build MD and other products the reason I’m here is to write, just like you.
See, I’ve spent thousands of hours formulating my own development theories and writing and rewriting code to find the simplest answers to common problems I’d run into during the customization process.
On the outside, MD is a tool built to my preferences of how websites I create to share my art and create an income should be built. Under-the-hood are coding techniques I use to make customizations as easy and fast as possible.
I won’t only show you code, but I’ll help you understand the thought process behind it. See, coding isn’t all about syntax but also logical problem-solving. If you can think logically, then you can code.
A Quick Course Overview
Here are the topics that I’ll cover in these series. Each item will be a separate blog post:
How to Setup a Child Theme And Basic Principles
This post will explain how the MD Child Theme works and the basic concepts of a child theme, including overwriting template files and using conditional tags.
Using Hooks, Filters, and Template Functions (With Examples)
A list of hooks and filters included in MD with examples of how to use them to add/remove elements from your site.
CSS Style Guide
Use this style guide to easily add responsive components to your posts and pages including columns, colored boxes, buttons, icons, etc.
Depending on how you guys like these posts, I’ll be doing more teaching tutorials to help you better understand the inner workings of Marketers Delight.
See you soon with the first issue in this series. If you want to be alerted of the next issue, join the free email list and I’ll send it right to you.
Sweet man, I’m trying to figure out how to center the logo in the header with the two menus on both sides.
MD4 is dope
I imagine this will be a popular request! This would be a great topic to cover in this series.
Good stuff Alex! Looking forward to grabbing my copy of MD4 (this week) and following your new course.
Stoked to see what you do with MD, Ray! Always glad to have you around.
Alex, Thanks for doing this. This is just what I needed. I am going to be first in line for training!
Awesome Becky! Anything in particular you’d like to learn about?
Hmm… Making the front landing page really clear on what you DO for your clients so they can get plugged in fast. (And classy.
What specifically to put into your front landing page to make it SEO top notch. Key words I know but where?
How to make site fast loaded. I have a bunch of plugins that I am sure am slowing it down. What to do about that? And what you recommend for this theme.
Please use video’s when you train, it’s so much easier to follow for us new beginners. Lastly, if I could be so bold here, some examples of what we could do from sites that already use this theme. It would be nice if they could share what has worked for them to drive traffic and what hasn’t. If that’s not enough to get you started, I can give you 10 more ideas just email me:)
Looking forward to the Child Theme post…..I am trying to change footer and navigation menu colors. I know exactly what CSS to change and tested it in the MD4 files (I changed them back), but I must be missing something because nothing I do in the child theme has the same results.
Hmm, do you have a link to the site you can email to me so I can take a look? In case you haven’t already, make sure you activated the child theme in the Themes panel and that it’s the current active theme on your site.
Wow, I feel like an moron! I could have sworn it was activated….I had other css that I copied from the Thesis version and it was showing up in the posts and such.
Just like I do with my clients, start troubleshooting from the very basic task……9/10 times it works!
Thanks….give me a slight break..it is the first time I have dealt with a child theme like this.
No problem, this is exactly why I need to get the first part of this series out!
One last question for the night….how do I change the link color for the Main Menu.
I figured out to change the color for the menu by adding color: to .menu-main .menu-item:not(.button) .menu-item-title. But I if I make them #ffffff, then the current page is also white. How do I change the color of current page link in the menu?
I finally figured out the current menu item issue with my developer. The CSS was in the MD Main Menu plugin. I had to add that to the Child’s theme.
I’m trying to create a completely custom homepage to use via a page template. However, when I add the page template to the child’s theme, select in in the page editor and publish it, all I see is a completely white page. Why doesn’t a page template work like it usually does?
Never mind….it was one of those stupid syntax errors where I was leaving something out. It is working now. I am really liking this theme and think it will be easier to customize as you add to the guide and release the funnels and other additions.
Great move making it a stand alone theme!
Watching your progress has been so fun, Brad. You’re going to be a real pro once I get this series kicked off!
Very good info here, Alex. I suggest you do a video series for people who are “visual learners”. You can surely help a lot of people with the things you know about website building and I can tell that your passionate about doing so!
Wanted to know how to use Infusionsoft optin forms and also how to set up and manipulate the open graph tags for each page… like if I wanted to build a sales funnel using this software and wanted custom tags for each page. (A simple plugin like yoast doesn’t do that).
How would I create an Action Box like what CP did with the Effectus skin for thesis?
Until I build in direct Infusionsoft support, you can place custom email forms onto all your posts/pages using the Email Forms system built into MD.
As for your second question, I’m working on releasing Page Leads which will allow you to add email signup forms and other kinds of boxes (pricing tables, funnel boxes, etc.) to various parts of your layout. I’m hoping to release this soon and it will integrate perfectly into an existing MD site.
For now, you can create custom action boxes at the end of all your posts/pages (see this post for example of a basic one).
How can I show blogposts on homepage like startupbros.com?
This episode of MDTV will show you how to use the WordPress loop to show recent blog posts in a template file (download included):