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I think owning a dad blog is rewarding for many reasons. Having a full time job that allows me to share my DIY and parenting experiences with others is one reason.
Another is being in complete control of my creative content. WordPress is such an amazing CMS that gives users so much flexibility. Between the thousands of WordPress themes out there and the plugins that expand functionality even more so, there’s bound to be a combination that fulfills your needs.
I have used several themes throughout the years for my blogs. When I first started blogging, I didn’t give much thought to the technical side of things, such as if my theme was “lightweight” or not. I just picked an existing theme that I felt looked good.
Being able to use an existing theme (free or paid) is great if you want to hit the ground running. But they can be a bit of a pain at times if you want to customize the look and feel of your blog.
In this article, I’ll tell you more about my experience when it comes to customizing a WordPress blog, and why I’ve used Elementor.
- Related Article: How To Start And Maintain A Dad Blog
My WordPress Journey
My first blog was a Star Wars fan site. It wasn’t something that I wanted to put a lot of money into starting out, so I went with a free WordPress.com site. You can have a blog on WordPress.com that’s hosted by them and completely free, but there are limitations.
- Your domain is actually a subdomain; for example, yoursite.wordpress.com.
- Customizations are very limited.
- You can’t monetize a free wordpress.com blog.
- Only 3 GB of storage space.
- WordPress.com branding on your site.
This is just to name a few. I was ok with this because my fan site was just a part time hobby. However, these terms are not really ideal for someone looking to generate income from a dad blog.
After several months of blogging, I chose to purchase a domain name and hosting. Yes, this cost money, but I could then have my own WordPress.org blog. Doing this opens up all sorts of creative freedom that I mentioned in the outset. You can upload any theme or plugin you desire, free or paid.
Renovating A Blog
This bit of creative freedom that comes with having your own WordPress.org blog suits many people just fine. It did for me for many years. But I still felt hindered.
Imagine that having a WordPress.com blog is like renting a house. Yes, you live in a house, but it’s not really yours. Upgrading to a WordPress.org blog is like buying your own house. Your house, like your WordPress.org blog, is yours. You can do what you want with it. Paint it? Sure. Add on a room? If you have the know-how, no problem.
Making changes to an existing theme is like renovating your home. If you don’t like a certain paint color or if you think a wall needs to go, you can make those changes. Some changes, though, may require quite a bit of technical know-how, such as removing a wall.
Similarly, changing the look and feel of an existing theme requires some technical knowledge. It also requires a certain comfort level. You may or may not be comfortable with popping the hood and working on your blog’s engine.
And at the end of the day, despite making changes, you might not be fully satisfied with how your blog looks. You might also worry if it was coded properly and runs as efficiently as it should.
But what if there was a way to build your new house from the ground up? With Elementor, you can build a dad blog exactly the way you want it look and operate.
Build A Dad Blog With Elementor
How does Elementor work?
Elementor is a live, frontend website builder that lets you create a high end design with no need to write a line of code or CSS. It works with an existing theme and enables the dad blogger to build a WordPress blog with ease.
Over 5 million websites have been built with this drag-and-drop website builder, including this one. Maybe it’s my strong desire to be a DIYer, but I really enjoy building a blog from scratch vs. using a preexisting design.
There’s a free version which includes an array of basic widgets and templates, and Elementor Pro, which unlocks all of the awesome tools you need to build a site from the ground up. You can even design how your site will look on mobile and tablets as well.
First, you need a WordPress site. If you don’t already have one, that’s ok. Elementor will help you set up your site. For further reading on this, be sure to check out my article on how to start and maintain a dad blog.
- Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the Elementor system requirements to ensure it runs smoothly for you.
Choosing a Theme
You will also need a WordPress theme for Elementor to work with. Many use Hello Elementor, which is plain-vanilla, lightweight, and free. Built by Elementor, for Elementor. It’s bare-bones and stripped of nearly all design elements and is built specifically for Elementor Pro users.
If you don’t have access to the Elementor Pro theme builder, you might want a different theme with more design elements. Here’s a list of WordPress themes that Elementor itself recommends.
If you’re using the guided tour linked to above, as part of the onboarding process, Elementor will show you how to install their free plugin. If you already have a WordPress blog, you can simply add the free Elementor plugin like you would any other.
To access all of the powerful features Elementor has to offer, including the theme builder, form builder, and much more, you’ll need to purchase a Pro license. Once you purchase a license, you will have two Elementor plugins running on your site (free and pro).
Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing and activating Elementor Pro.
The free version of Elementor has a ton of great features that you can use to design your blog.
- Heading. Add eye-catching headlines.
- Image. Control the size, opacity and other settings of images.
- Text Editor. A WYSIWYG text editor, just like the WordPress editor.
- Video. Add YouTube \ Vimeo to your page.
- Button. Controlling every aspect of the button design.
- Image Box. A box that includes image, headline and text.
- Testimonials. Customer testimonials that show social proof.
- Icon. Place one or more of 600+ icons available.
- Icon Box. Works the same as the image box, only with icons.
- Social Icons. Icons to your social pages like Facebook / Twitter.
- Image Gallery. Displays your images in an aligned grid.
- Image Carousel. A rotating carousel or slider of chosen images.
- Icon List. A bullet list with any chosen icon and text.
- Counter. Show stats and numbers in an escalating manner.
- Progress Bar. Include an escalating progress bar.
- Tabs. Vertical or horizontal tabs that display different pieces of content.
- Accordion. A collapsible display of content.
- Toggle. Like Accordion, for FAQ pages.
- Star Rating. Add some social proof with a styled star rating.
- Alert. A colored alert box to draw the attention of the visitor.
- HTML. Insert code into the page.
- Shortcode. Easily insert shortcodes from any plugin into the page.
- Menu Anchor. Link any menu to this anchor.
- Read More. Set the
Read Morecut-off for the excerpt in archive pages.
- Sidebar. Add any sidebar into the page.
- Google Maps. Embed maps into the page.
- SoundCloud. Add audio bits from SoundCloud.
- Divider. A line that divides different elements in the page.
- Spacer. A space that divides the various elements.
- Columns. Create inner columns within the column.
The Pro version has all of the features above, plus much more, including:
- Motion Effects
- Industry leading Theme Builder
- Single Post
- Single Page
- Posts Archive
- Search Page
- 404 Page
- WooCommerce Builder
- Advanced Popup Builder
- Visual and intuitive form builder
- Marketing automation and CRM integrations
- Custom fonts & icons
- Role manager
- Blog post layout widget
- Image & video sliders
- Global widgets
- Custom CSS
- And many more.
Elementor has produced an impressive amount of documentation and videos to help guide you as you build a dad blog.