Frustrated with the limitations of fonts, colors, sizes and other customizations you’d like to use within WordPress? These limitations are due to something called Style Sheets. This article is aimed to reduce your frustration and help you understand (and utilize) the benefits of your site’s style sheets.
What’s a Style Sheet?
It’s one of those fancy, 25 cent words that designers like to throw around. To those of us who blog every day and aren’t designers, we are more familiar with words like WordPress Edit Tools. The style sheets that exist are present for us in the options we have for changing our font. For example, we can BOLD, underline, and italicize any words we want. We can create Title Headings like the one at the beginning of this post, and sub-headings that are slightly smaller like the one introducing this paragraph.
What we can’t do is bring in all kinds of different fonts or vary the look of the headings that are pre-determined by the style sheets associated with your WordPress theme.
What We Want Isn’t Always Good for Us
In many cases, people want to deviate on a whim from the confines of a style sheet so they can highlight or draw special attention to something. While this may seem like a good idea, it results in an inconsistent look throughout your website. A consistent look and feel is a good thing. It brings professionalism to your site, conforms to usability standards, and reduces confusion for your readers.
Besides, style sheets almost always provide one unique method of drawing attention to something using what is called Block Quotes, like this one.
Imagine if someone thought it was a good idea to turn lots of their text blue and underline it? I bet you’d think it was meant to link somewhere, right? What if you were on a site, and navigated to another page that looked nothing like the previous one? You might question if you accidently left the site, forcing you to hit the back button or check the URL to figure it out. Style sheets prevent people from taking customized text changes too far, and they keep writing ideas in check.
If inconsistency and confusion weren’t enough, consider that some fonts you might want to use are not compatible on some browsers and operating systems. If it weren’t for style sheets, your website could look really bad to some people, depending on how they are viewing your website. Instead, style sheets insure that everyone sees your website exactly the same- how it is intended! RSS feeds are a preferred method of viewing articles for an increasing number of people. It’s important to make data look consistent when syndicated, and style sheets do that too! Cool, huh?
Too Much of a Good Thing
Style sheets do allow you to change font color, add headings and sub-headings, use block quotes, and other items listed above. However, just because you can make things stand out, doesn’t mean you should over do it. You can create too much of a good thing. A common mistake we see is people trying to draw attention to everything on a website. If you draw attention to everything, you draw attention to NOTHING.
Take Away Tips:
- Write your post and then take a break, before you publish it. When you come back to proof your work, you’ll often see where you can make changes that make your writing more professional and appealing.
- Another tip is to get to know your writing style. If you prefer using Red, “quotes”, or underlining things, always go back through your articles to watch for your tendencies. Chances are you can reduce the frequency of these each time you write.
- Also, if you want to make sure something gets read, try using more bullet points. Bullet points are quick to read and usually get read first.
Now that you know more about style sheets, have we convinced you of the benefits? Do you have any lingering questions we can answer for you? Please share your thoughts.