Discover The Most Customizable WordPress Theme for Marketing Focused Websites
And Launch Your Website in Under an Hour
I'm going to make a familiar claim.
It will sound like empty marketing baloney at first. The kind of thing you've read on hundreds of websites. But by the end of this article, you'll agree with me.
Here it is: Thrive Shapeshift is the most customizable WordPress theme. Ever.
I'm about to show you why...
What do We Mean by Customizing a WordPress Theme?
Customizing the theme – not the content
Before we get started, a distinction needs to be made between your theme and the content.
Your theme is the structure and framework that surrounds your content. It's usually the same for every page of a certain type.
Using the example of a blog post, your theme usually includes:
- A header section with logo and main navigation
- A footer section
- A sidebar section
- Information about the post, such as title heading, breadcrumb, categories, date etc.
On the other hand, content is displayed in a designated area. On a standard blog post, it's usually sandwiched between the header, footer and sidebar.
You write your latest content in WordPress, hit publish, and it magically appears in the right place within your theme.
So why are we explaining such basic stuff?
There are a ton of solutions to customize your content, from shortcodes to WordPress's Gutenberg blocks, plugins to visual page editors.
But that's not what this article is about!
This article explores how to customize the theme itself...
Normal blog posts
Search results page
Custom page templates
One more thing... This distinction is further complicated by landing page builders. Check out this article if you're unsure about the difference between theme builders vs landing page builders.
Levels of Customization
Most WordPress themes claim some level of customization.
Changing your logo, font and colors is the bare minimum we expect from any WordPress theme.
But what about your header, footer, breadcrumbs, sidebar, author information or search results?
And what depth of customization is offered?
Are you satisfied with a few toggle options and a single color choice?
Let's define the levels of WordPress theme customization.
1. Code-only Theme Customization
Technically, any WordPress theme is customizable... if you're willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty with HTML, PHP and CSS code.
But is this customization accessible to average WordPress users?
No, of course not.
I've included it here to highlight the absolute least helpful option offered by any WordPress theme.
2. Basic Theme Customization
Themes at this level offer extremely limited options for customization.
Typically, this includes:
Changing your logo
Selecting a font
Changing the main accent color
Adding some text to the footer
The layout and visual structure of these themes remains rigid. There's no flexibility to reposition or hide your sidebar, no way to move the author name to the bottom of an article etc.
These themes often rely on widgets to provide options, but only in designated widget spots.
3. Medium Theme Customization
Themes at this level usually offer a dedicated dashboard of customization options.
Our popular legacy theme – Rise – is a perfect example. It was considered very customizable when it was released.
Rise offers many options to personalize the theme, from social media buttons and related posts, to sidebar alignment and post meta data.
These options offer much more design flexibility than most themes, but they are still just toggle buttons to show or hide elements. Most offer no control over where the elements display or how they look.
There's no shame in placing our legacy themes in this group. They helped thousands of people to build successful businesses!
But now, in 2020 and beyond, there's no reason why WordPress themes shouldn't be as customizable as your imagination allows.
4. Advanced Theme Customization
These are the top-tier, elites, crème de la crème of customizable WordPress themes.
Advanced customizable themes should offer the following:
The ability to edit any element present on a page
Independent design control of every WordPress page template
Pixel-level customization of layout and whitespace
Mobile responsive design choices
Dynamic rules, such as showing specific blog posts on the homepage
Professional starter designs ready for customization
A visual WYSIWYG editing experience that mirrors the live website
Tutorials and support to help you achieve specific results
Introducing Shapeshift – The Most Customizable WordPress Theme
Thrive Shapeshift is the first WordPress theme built with – and for – Thrive Theme Builder.
They both come together and work in tandem, so the distinction isn't immediately obvious.
Thrive Theme Builder
This is the powerful engine that lets you create, edit and customize your WordPress theme. Think of it as the customizing toolkit that transforms your ideas into a fully-functional WordPress theme.
This is our first WordPress theme built using the Thrive Theme Builder toolkit. Every single element can be changed to create a truly unique theme for your website.
The combination of both provides a 100% visual editing experience with no coding experience necessary.
Customize your WordPress theme with our powerful drag-and-drop visual editor.
Thrive Theme Builder and Shapeshift are an inseparable team.
Woody and Buzz, Timon and Pumba, Holmes and Watson. You get the idea.
So when we talk about Shapeshift being the most customizable theme for WordPress , we mean together with Thrive Theme Builder.
This isn't an upsell, they're not separate products. They come bundled together!
Fast Track Your Theme Setup with the Site Wizard
You can begin customizing your website immediately after installing Shapeshift.
But if you can customize everything, where do you start?
Head on over to the Shapeshift Site Wizard to quickly personalize the basic building blocks of your theme.
Upload a logo
Choose your main brand color
Choose a starting header and footer design
Choose a navigation menu to include in your header or footer
Choose a starting design for your homepage, static pages, blog posts, and blog list
Don't worry about the details at this point, you're just getting started. Remember that everything can be tailored later.
The Site Wizard lets you get close to your ideal theme design very quickly – it shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes to publish a stunning theme design.
Check out the Site Wizard on our Shapeshift demo site!
Customize your Logo
Customizing your WordPress theme logo isn't special. So why are we shouting about it here?
Buckle up! I'm about to show you how Shapeshift transforms such a simple option into something remarkable.
You'll find additional ways to customize your logo in Shapeshift's Branding options.
Here you can upload two different logo variations, for light and dark backgrounds.
This guarantees your logo fits perfectly with either design style...
OK, that's clever. But it isn't remarkable.
Unlike most themes, your logo isn't limited to just your header. You can choose to display your logo anywhere – your footer, sidebar, under your search results, on your 404 page.
It's as simple as dragging-and-dropping from our visual theme editor, Thrive Theme Builder (which comes with Shapeshift!)...
You're also not limited to just 2 variants. Add as many logos as you need!
Here's some logo variant ideas:
Vertical or stacked
No words version
Here I'm adding a vertical (stacked) logo.
You can also rename your logos to make them easier to understand.
Remember that any changes will be reflected wherever your logos feature on your theme!
All of this amounts to a global logo library that gives you complete control and consistently over your branding.
As an extra, you can also quickly change your website favicon in the Branding options. This tiny logo shows up in the browser tabs, bookmarks, and sometimes even search results.
Customize your Brand Colors
Colors are an important part of your website brand and visitor experience.
More specifically, the professional and consistent use of colors.
Shapeshift makes it easy to manage colors across your theme, starting with the Site Wizard's branding options.
You'll see 2 types of colors to choose from:
This powerful feature lets you change the global color across your WordPress theme.
It's easy to set a theme-wide color palette with one click, and watch it dynamically update across your site.
Change it once, change it everywhere!
It affects a whole range of complementary elements such as icons, buttons, dividers, backgrounds, and page elements.
Read the step-by-step theme color instructions if you want to learn more.
My Saved Theme Colors
Saved theme colors are deceptively powerful.
At first glance, it looks like another way to save frequently used colors. But it's much more useful than just a post-it note alternative.
Now you can save individual colors to your personal collection and make changes from a central dashboard.
Change a saved color and it will automatically update any element that uses it – across your entire website!
You can create (and rename) as many saved theme colors as you like. They'll be available to choose from the color options when editing any theme template.
Customize your Typography
Out of the box, Shapeshift comes with professionally chosen fonts that look great on all screen sizes. Unless you have specific requirements for your theme typography, we recommend leaving these options alone.
However, if you have your heart set on a particular font or style, you have complete control over every element of your theme's typography.
You can read step-by-step tutorials for setting your global fonts in Shapeshift.
You can customize headings, paragraphs, lists, quotes, links, and plain text. Of course, you're still free to override these global settings on individual page templates.
Shapeshift is integrated with Google Fonts, giving you access to a massive range of web-ready typefaces to choose from in just a few clicks.
Shapeshift also supports custom fonts, so you can express your brand style across your WordPress theme.
Shapeshift's typography sets provide a safe, sandboxed environment to make font changes, without messing with the live theme.
Spend some time crafting the perfect font styles, and then switch out your entire website with one click!
You can create as many typography sets as you want to test your creativity and branding.
Customize your Homepage
Your homepage says a lot about the kind of content visitors expect to find on your website.
But no single homepage design works for all industries.
The ideal homepage for a financial advisor will look very different to a small book publisher, or a local business cleaning carpets.
With Shapeshift, you can choose the best homepage layout for your business:
Choosing the right layout will give you a headstart on which parts of your website should get the most focus. A personal brand will showcase an individual and their achievement. A content site will showcase the latest and best blog posts.
This is only the start, of course. Once you've chosen a layout, you can customize your homepage with page blocks.
Customize your Blog Posts
It's easy to publish stunning blog posts with Shapeshift.
The Site Wizard lets you quickly choose a design template that best shows off your content.
At the time of writing, there are 12 great designs to choose from.
Once you've chosen a blog post design that feels right, you can make any changes you want to fit perfectly your brand. Nothing is set in stone, everything is editable.
If your blog features rich media, you'll find perfectly designed templates for both video and audio posts (perfect for interviews and podcasts!).
Customize your Pages
WordPress pages sit outside of your blog structure.
They're often some of your most visited content, so it pays to get their design right.
Common pages include:
- About page
- Landing pages
- Sales funnel pages
Just like with every other theme template, you can choose from our library of professional designs to get started. Alternatively, you can start from a blank canvas and build your page template from scratch.
Customize your Headers and Footers
Until now, editing your website header was limited to changing the navigation menu, swapping out the logo, and perhaps adding a phone number.
The actual design was usually hard-coded into your theme.
That is, until Shapeshift.
As with everything in Shapeshift, the Site Wizard is your place to get started. Choose from 30 gorgeously designed header templates and start customizing.
You can edit everything you see, including layout, colors, text – even advanced behavior like sticky scrolling.
Let's quickly make some global changes to this header template:
I want to make the following changes:
Increase the height
Make the header sticky so it's always visible when scrolling
Replace the social icons with a client login button
Replace the call-to-action with a phone number
Total time, about 3 minutes!
The navigation links themselves are a standard WordPress menu, which can easily be changed in the WordPress menu customizer.
Customizing your footer in Shapeshift is exactly the same.
Start with one of our pre-designed templates and tweak it until it's perfect!
You can read a full guide on how to edit your website footer here.
Remember that the Site Wizard lets you quickly choose a sitewide header and footer that will show on all your pages and posts.
It's easy to change the header or footer for a particular page type later. This gives you unprecedented control over how your WordPress theme looks.
Further Theme Customization Options
So far, we've explored the basic theme customizations possible with Thrive Shapeshift and, while it's more flexible than most commercial themes, it doesn't yet earn the title of most customizable theme for WordPress.
But there's more. Much more.
Once your website is up and running using the Thrive Theme Builder's Site Wizard, you'll discover that you've only scratched the surface on how far you can customize your website.
Customize ANY Theme Page Template
The Site Wizard helps you get started with your homepage, blog posts, and pages. But what about your other theme page templates?
Shapeshift lets you show an entirely different design for any WordPress page template you can imagine:
- Blog posts
- Normal posts
- Video posts
- Audio posts
- Archive pages
- Blog list
- Search results page
- 404 page
- Custom page templates
We recommend starting with Shapeshift's professionally designed templates, and making your own customizations based on your needs and creativity.
Each page template has a great selection of designs to choose from. For example, there are currently 12 great designs available for the blog post template.
Just choose the one that ticks most of your design need boxes to save yourself a ton of work.
Remember you can change anything, so don't worry too much about selecting the perfect design right away.
Once you've chosen a design you like, you can edit the template with any changes you like.
But how do you make changes?
The Shapeshift theme comes with Thrive Theme Builder, and our powerful visual page editor.
Customizing each page template is as easy as dropping new elements where you want them, and tweaking a few options. It feels like you're editing the live website!
Ever feel your blog content area is a little too narrow or wide?
Wish your search results fit more articles on a page?
Do you want pixel-perfect control over your theme layout and whitespace?
Shapeshift makes all this trivial to achieve.
You can quickly customize your theme layout to achieve an exact result.
In the above example, I changed the blog post grid to remove the author name, center the title, and add more space to the 'Read More' button.
Finally, I widened the sidebar just by dragging the border.
This was all achieved within the same visual editor, so I knew exactly how the live website would look.
Site Speed Optimization
Shapeshift comes supercharged with powerful, professional tools to speed up your website.
Head on over to the Site Speed section to find ways to boost your theme's performance by reducing page load times.
If you're interested, you can find out more about speeding up your WordPress theme.
This goes beyond traditional customization. Think of it as technical customization that comes bundled with the Shapeshift theme.
Controllable Responsive Design
Most modern WordPress themes are mobile responsive these days – they adapt their design to fit screens of all sizes.
But they offer no control over how this happens.
By now however, it should come as no surprise that Shapeshift is different.
Of course, each page template automagically shows the best design layout to desktops, tablets and smartphones. You don't have to do anything.
But you can also make your own decisions, and override the responsive rules for each element.
Here are some ideas:
Hide unnecessary elements on mobile screens
Force columns to stack vertically
Reverse the column order
Offer a different call-to-action on mobile
Show an entirely different header or footer
Shapeshift gives you a head-start with professional mobile responsiveness out-of-the-box, but you retain the freedom to make decisions that are right for your website.
Pre-designed Theme Sections
Having complete control over your theme design is great, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming.
How exactly can a non-designer create the perfect heading or sidebar?
Pre-designed sections to the rescue!
Think of these as professionally designed areas you can drop into your theme – no design experience necessary.
You can choose a stunning section design for each of the following areas...
Headers and Footers
We've already covered them in detail here.
At the time of writing, there are 52 professional 'top section' designs available to choose from!
Your top section often features your blog title, breadcrumb, publish date, and a featured image. It can also display your author photo and social sharing buttons if you want them before your blog content.
Video and audio posts usually feature an embedded media player in the top section too.
It's completely up to you!
At the time of writing, there are 13 professional 'content section' designs available to choose from!
Your content section features... well, your content of course.
In addition to your actual article, you can choose to display the post title, date, social buttons, featured image... whatever elements you feel fit best.
If you enjoy comments on your blog, this is a great place to include them.
You'll notice that design elements aren't limited to just one section. You can display anything in any section – or in multiple sections if you have a good reason.
Our pre-designed sections are completely customizable. If you don't like something, just delete or change it in the visual editor.
At the time of writing, there are 19 professional 'sidebar' designs available to choose from!
Your sidebar often features a search form, testimonials, opt-in elements, social media buttons, and even an author box.
Sidebars are also a popular place to display WordPress widgets. Shapeshift makes this trivial by letting you add widget areas to anywhere in your theme.
Full-width blogs are becoming increasingly popular now, and hiding the sidebar is easy with just one click.
At the time of writing, there are 23 professional 'bottom section' designs available to choose from!
Your bottom section comes immediately after the content, but before the footer.
It usually features a selection of related blog posts, a compelling opt-in offer, or another call-to-action. Think of the bottom section as a way to offer readers more choices to stay on your website and consume your content!
Hide any section with just one click
Our pre-designed sections are fantastic, but sometimes you might want to hide a section completely.
Maybe you prefer full-width pages while keeping the sidebar on blog posts.
Or perhaps you want a minimalistic blog list archive page, with no sidebar, top or bottom sections.
Customizing which sections are visible is as simple as toggling the green eye icon.
Show Variables Anywhere on Your Website
Theme customization is more than just design. There's a lot of information that is repeated across different pages.
Shapeshift lets you to easily display standard WordPress fields in your designs, whether that's user data (like author names), content data (like page title), or even custom fields that you've set yourself.
It's as simple as selecting the field from a drop-down menu, and styling the text to fit your theme.
This kind of information often changes over time, forcing you to sift through your website to amend every instance. Manually updating this information can lead to outdated, conflicting, or just plain misspelled information.
It's difficult to guarantee consistency.
Shapeshift comes with Smart Site technology – a central dashboard to customize and manage all your frequently used information.
Just define a field in the Smart Site dashboard...
And it will automatically update anywhere on your theme.
You can use Smart Site to customize anything you can think of:
If you use something more than twice on your website, it's worth adding it to the Smart Site dashboard for future use.
Support & Guidance
Hopefully I've convinced you that Shapeshift deserves the award for the most customizable WordPress theme.
The features speak for themselves!
But the best themes also include the best aftercare too.
Thrive Theme Builder and Shapeshift are constantly improving.
We regularly release updates to make Shapeshift even better!
- New features
- More intuitive UI
- Updated web standards
- Faster performance
Check our product changelog to see how our products have improved recently.
Training & Tutorials
The ability to completely customize your WordPress site is great, but so many options can feel overwhelming...
Where do you start?
What is possible?
What customizations are based on real business needs, rather than design trends?
How can you achieve a specific result?
We've got you covered with these help resources:
Ask specific questions about Shapeshift and Thrive Theme Builder to our team of experts.
They'll help you understand how to achieve the results you're after and talk you through any problems.
Discover new ways to build your business, website and audience with our online courses.
This is a great way to learn new skills and immediately put them into practice.
Step-by-step instructions for customizing your WordPress theme.
This is our collection of practical how-to guides for Shapeshift and Thrive Theme Builder.
Access the documentation, troubleshooting and all the nitty-gritty about specific features.
The knowledge base includes both product and account information, such as licensing and API connections.
Watch helpful webinars from our team of experts.
Our videos will help you to achieve specific goals, like improving the effectiveness of your homepage, or creating a list-building funnel.
How to Get Shapeshift
Build, edit and customize every aspect of your WordPress website with a visual drag-and-drop designer. Remember, Thrive Theme Builder includes our conversion focused companion theme, Shapeshift.
It comes with an 100% risk free, 30-day money back guarantee.
Get Instant Access To All Of Our Conversion Focused Site Building Tools + Thrive Theme Builder!
Since all our tools are available as part of Thrive Suite, you'll also get immediate access to ALL of our plugins and themes.
The full suite of Thrive Themes WordPress plugins
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Unlimited support from our team of experts