This guide is intended for first time Weaver Xtreme users, and outlines the first important steps you should take when first getting started with Weaver Xtreme.
Weaver Xtreme has literally hundreds of options, and it can be quite confusing where to get started. Most of the many options are used for fine tweaking of your site’s design, and will make sense when you want to make a change.
Fortunately, the “big picture” options are not that hard to understand, and by following this guideline, you can be off and running very quickly. So, here are the most important steps you should take when setting up your site to use Weaver Xtreme.
And please note, none of the choices you make need be permanent! They are all “checkbox” type settings, and you can simply remove or change options whenever you wish. You can even switch back and forth between other themes, and all of you choices will still be there.
Install and Activate Weaver Xtreme and the Weaver Xtreme Support Plugin
If you are here, you’ve probably already installed Weaver Xtreme. It is very important that you also install the Weaver Xtreme Theme Support plugin from WordPress.org. The Theme Support provides several features, but most importantly provides Per Page and Per Post options. After you open Weaver Xtreme for the first time, you will be shown a message with suggested plugins, and this is the easiest time and place to install the Theme Support plugin.
1. Setup the Usual WordPress Options
Before you get started setting up any theme, you should set the “standard” WordPress options from the Dashboard Settings Admin menu.
- General – Site Title – This one is very important to set. Even if you end up hiding this text, you should set it because the value is still used to fill in critically important SEO fields on your site.
- General – Site Tagline – also used for SEO if you don’t display it.
- Writing, Reading, Discussion – these have important options for controlling how people can interact with your site.
- Permalinks – it is very important to pick a value for this. We recommend “Post name”.
- Media – You should carefully consider how your site will use images, and how they should be sized. Note that the thumbnail size generates square thumbnails by default, which you may not want.
2. Pick an Options Interface
After you’ve installed the theme and support plugin, you will need to open the Weaver Xtreme options interface. In fact, there are TWO completely different option interfaces: the Customizer and the Legacy Options interface.
The Customizer Interface
There is one disadvantage to using the Customizer interface with Weaver Xtreme, and that is the initial loading time. Because of the complex techniques needed by WordPress to make the Customizer work, and of the very large number of Weaver Xtreme options, it can take up to several seconds for the Customizer to load. We’ve worked very hard to speed this loading up, but it still takes some time.
Right after you open the Customizer the first time, you will get a message that you should pick an interface level – beginner, intermediate, or advanced. The selection button is right at the top of the Customizer, and you will probably want to start with the Beginner Level until your are ready to face more options.
The Legacy Interface
Weaver Xtreme is a mature theme with a long history on WordPress. Before WP developed a mature Customizer interface, the standard method for setting options was a static settings page from the WP Dashboard. For themes, the options have historically been found on the Appearance menu. After you install the Weaver Xtreme Theme Support plugin, the Legacy Weaver Xtreme Admin interface is found on the Appearance menu.
Some people will find the Legacy interface more to their liking. You can very quickly navigate from one option tab to another, and make many changes before needing to see the results of your changes, usually by opening the visitor view of the site on a different browser tab. The main issue with the Legacy interface is that there are so many options, and it is can be difficult to find the one you want. But it has its purposes.
3. Pick a Predefined Sub-theme as a Starting Point
We are going to assume for this guide that you are using the Customizer interface.
Weaver Xtreme starts up with a default subtheme called Go Basic. This is a modern theme that might suit your needs as is. But Weaver Xtreme comes with a couple of dozen predefine subthemes to use as starting points.
To select a subtheme, from the Customizer, open the Weaver Xtreme : Start Here -> Try a Predefined Subtheme menu. There you will see thumbnails of the available subthemes. To set one, just check a radio-button, and then click the Set to Selected Subtheme button. Unlike most Customizer options, setting up a new subtheme does not use the standard Save & Publish button found at the top of the Customizer.
Other than the Go Basic subtheme, the Blank and Plain subthemes are very plain, and can provide a good starting point if you plan to make a lot of customization choices.
Once you have a starting point, there are a few fundamental decisions you need to make about your site’s layout. It is probably good to decide on theses fundamental decisions before you start tweaking colors, spacing, and other details.
4. Decide on your Site’s Width
One of the most basic decisions your are faced with is to set the fundamental width of your site. This is the width of your main content area – your page and post content, plus any sidebars you might decide to use.
The global theme content width is set on the Customizer Layout -> Site Widths menu.
Weaver’s default width for this is 1100px. As of late 2016, this width will work well with about 80% or more of laptops and desktop displays. And of course, since Weaver Xtreme is fully responsive, tablets and phones, and even small screen laptop or desktops, will always display your site appropriately.
You might want the width to be a bit wider as screen wider than 1100px are becoming more common. Even if you make it wider, your site will still responsively shrink to fit smaller screens.
Note that the current trend in website design is for wider sites that fill up the horizontal area on larger screens. In addition to the basic content width, Weaver Xtreme supports two different methods to extend the width of various site areas (header, main content, footer, etc.) to fill up the full width of a browser window.
Full Width – Constant Content Width with Extended BG attributes
Filling the full width of a wide screen with actual content can be tricky for most typical sites. If the actual post or page content gets too wide, it can become difficult to read. Weaver Xtreme offers an elegant solution to this – the “Full Width Area Extend BG Attributes” option for several different areas of a site page. These options, available for different parts of the Header, the Content Area, and the Footer, will leave the actual content (page/post content + sidebars) limited to the theme width you set in the previous step, but extend the area’s attributes to the full width of the browser.
What are the BG attributes? They really include all BG attributes such as color, BG image, shadows, and borders. Often, just extending the BG color will work perfectly. The idea is to extend the BG attributes of the Header and Footer, while usually leaving the content area at the theme width. You if you have a BG color on the content, you can extend it, too.
This technique leads to a pleasing design where you site fills up the space on a wide browser, while retaining an optimal width for the actual content.
Full Width – Expand all area Content
As an alternative, Weaver Xtreme also supports options to expand the entire areas to the full width of the screen. This include all content plus background content.
This method often looks best if you Expand the Header and Footer areas, while leaving the main content area unexpanded, or perhaps with Extended BG Attributes.
While mixing Expanded BG Attributes with Expanded Areas doesn’t always work well within a single area (header or footer, for example), you may find you want to Expand the Header while Extending the Footer or content.
The Expand and Extend options are all located on the Customizer Layout -> Site Width menu, so it is easy to try different combinations to get a look you like.
5. Decide on Basic Site Layout
At the most general level, determining the layout of your site involves placement of widget areas (or sidebars) on your page. While traditionally, sites have normally had a sidebar next to the main page or post content, many sites today have no sidebars, but instead use widget areas in the footer.
As you will find as you get more accustomed to all Weaver’s features, Weaver Xtreme lets you do about anything you want with the widget areas. Weaver supports many widget areas, as well controlling where and when widget areas are displayed.
Sidebar Layout for Page Types is found on the Customizer Layout -> Sidebars & Widget Areas menu. Options include to display sidebars on the right, left, or split, as well as displaying the content full width in the content area without any sidebars. There are two main content sidebar areas, a primay and secondary area, to allow split and stacked sidebars.
The stacked option for sidebars allows the primary sidebar to display below the header but above the main content on mobile devices. This can be helpful for some situations, but it is more customary to display sidebars below the content.
You can control display of sidebars by different page types – Blog, Post Single Page, Pages, and Archive pages. Weaver Xtreme Plus allows even more control over diffrent page types.
6. Tweak the Header
A site’s header is often one of the most important parts of the site design. It is, after all, the introduction to your site. Weaver Xtreme offers many options to customizer your header.
We suggest viewing these other guides about what is in the header and how to customize it:
7. Tweak the Footer
The Footer Area is found at the bottom of your site, and usually contains supplementary information such as copyrights, site policy, and often a set of widgets.
The Weaver Xtreme Footer Area supports all of those items: a widget area, an area where you can insert arbitrary HTML, and a copyright area. You can control width, centering, and visibility for all footer components.
Options for the Footer Area are found on Layout -> Footer Area, Added Content -> Footer Area (for HTML and copyright), and the Footer Area submenu for most of the other Customizer top level menus.
8. Add Widgets
Once you’ve determined the layout of your pages, you will need to add Widgets to any widget areas you’ve included in our Layout design. One common issue is to find big blank areas on your pages and not knowing why. This is very often a failure to add widget to widget areas.
9. Now You are Ready to Tweak
Once you’ve gotten these basic steps completed, you should be ready to start tweaking your site. At a basic level, this tweaking can include colors, borders, alignment, spacing, padding, and widths. All of these options can be found on the various top level menus of the Customizer.
If you started with Beginner options, you should start to find whole option groups unavailable at that level. Just click on the Interface Level bar at the top of the Customizer to change levels.
This is Just a Start
We hope that by now you’ve started to discover the power of Weaver Xtreme. This guide site has many articles already about different aspects of Weaver Xtreme, and more will be added all the time. Please explore these other articles.