Did you know that more than 500 websites are built on WordPress each day?
With those kinds of numbers, it's difficult to stand out, and unfortunately, as much as the saying goes to not judge a book by its cover… most people do anyway. If your website doesn't catch someone's eye, they'll click right out and head over to a competitor.
One way to make sure this doesn't happen is through interesting website headers. Because these are often the first thing most notice when venturing onto your site, it'll be the first thing they judge. Like pesky book covers.
Don't know what a website header is? Or how to edit and customize it for your WordPress site? This guide will give you everything you need to know.
What are Website Headers?
In simple terms, a website header is the top section of a webpage.
Previously, website headers were simple and sleek. Often a narrow banner containing the website name, a call to action, and contact information.
Now, however, things have changed quite a bit. With the shift in design and aesthetics, website headers have evolved. There is no longer a universal style for website headers. Some are large and eye-catching, while others are simple and clean.
This shift has allowed website designers to unleash their creativity and for brands to highlight themselves.
Many website designers often create large, prominent headers to fill the top of a webpage. As these headers take up a considerable amount of real estate, they sometimes contain eye-catching images or animations.
Sometimes, however, website headers have stuck to the previous designs of being small and simple. But they sometimes have different headers for each page of the website. While it's important to remain consistent throughout your website, custom page headers add more room for creativity and uniqueness.
Website headers are more than a small space for showing a brand's image, though. They can also be a way to navigate a website, making user experiences frustration free.
Why are Custom Headers Important?
If you haven't already guessed, website headers are extremely important. Plain and simple may be the safe choice, but a good custom header could very well keep people clicking and staying on your website.
Custom headers help form and improve brand identity. When designed just right, it can create a fantastic user experience. And being pretty and eye-catching never hurt anyone.
As it's the very first thing people see on your website, you need to make a great first impression.
There are a few things people expect on your website header, namely a logo, the page title, and a navigation section. But customizing and adding a few extra things allows your website to stand out. A few examples are a search bar, a notification bell, and a contact section. This all improves user experience, keeping people on your site for longer.
Depending on the type of website yours is, a header is also the perfect spot for a Cart or Check Out section, a login or Log Out button, or a Profile section.
All in all, a good custom website header is key to your website's success.
What's the Difference Between a Header and a Page Head?
Website jargon can be difficult to understand and wrap your head around. We won't blame you for getting confused, especially when things like website headers and page heads appear to be very similar.
However, it's very important not to confuse the two, as they're very different. A website header is what people see and interact with when entering a website.
A head, on the other hand, is an area of a website's background code (or HTML) that specifically tells third-party services what the website is about. for example, this code determines how search engines and social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, see your website.
How to Edit and Customize Website Headers
Now that you know what website headers are, the differences between them and website heads, and why headers are so important, you can finally learn to customize headers in WordPress
There are a few ways you can customize headers in WordPress, all of which work well. Some are easier than others, but there's no harm in knowing all the different methods before going off and starting your header customization.
1. Use the Built-In WordPress Customizer
WordPress is the go-to for building websites, and one of the main reasons for this is they make it easy to design and customize your website. Because website headers are so important, they also have an easy-to-access tool that makes header customization simple and easy.
This tool is the WordPress Customizer.
You can usually edit WordPress headers by heading into your website's backend. It can be difficult to find, however, based on your chosen website theme and if you're not familiar with WordPress.
You can usually edit WordPress headers by navigating toward Appearance in your website's backend. When you click on that, you'll get a Header option. Once you click there, WordPress will take you to the Customizer, where you can edit and customize your header to your heart's content.
Depending on your theme, however, accessing the WordPress Customizer can be a little different. You'll still need to navigate towards Appearance, but instead of Header, you'll be faced with Customize. This takes you straight to the Customizer, where you can edit your header with ease. In other themes, you'll only be able to edit WordPress headers in the Site Identity Tab.
Within the WordPress Customizer, you can edit taglines and your site title, and even add images to your header. Everything is made easy and simple. It also allows you to see a live preview of any changes you make, allowing you to ensure your edits remain consistent and perfect.
Another major benefit of the Customizer is that you don't have to go near any code.
2. Edit Your Theme's Code
While editing code can be daunting to some, it gives you far more control over your header customizations. Of course, this method does require you to have some coding knowledge, or at the very least, the willingness to learn.
Before you start, you need to create a Child Theme. This allows you to make small changes to your website's appearance while preserving the overall theme and functionality.
Once you've done that, you can begin editing your theme's code without fear of destroying your website. To edit the header's code, navigate to Appearance in your website's backend. Then, head over to Theme Editor and open the style.css file.
Once opened, navigate to the Site Header section of the file, and edit away. There are several commands you can use to customize your WordPress header, from changing the background's opacity to creating a border around your header.
Depending on your theme, you may need to change a few commands to ensure your edits are implemented in the right sections. For example, your header could be called something completely different. Some themes call headers a masthead or an inline header.
3. Install a WordPress Header Plugin
One of the easiest ways to customize and edit your headers in WordPress is by adding a plugin. There are many free plugins to choose from, but make sure they work with your chosen theme.
Thanks to the sheer quantity of plugins, you can also choose based on your website design knowledge. For example, there are plugins designed specifically for beginners, containing simple text and drag-and-drop functionality. A great example of this is Elementor.
There are also plugins perfect for those who are more advanced. Insert Headers and Footers is very popular and is perfect for those who love and know how to code.
How to Get the Most From Your Custom Headers
Now that you know how to edit a WordPress header, you can go ahead and customize your website. Before you do, though, let's take a look at some header design tips and best practices.
Be Creative With Imagery
While stock images can be an easy way to spruce up your website, they can sometimes come across as bland. That's the last thing you want!
Illustrations are far more effective, sending a flair of uniqueness and creativity. They also often exude reliability, because if a brand is willing to stand out and be proud on their website, then they're willing to keep customers happy.
If your brand image doesn't call for illustrations, be sure to use your own images over stock photos as often as possible.
When choosing images for your header, it's also important to keep everything in line with your brand's style and aesthetic.
Avoid Cluttered Headers
Having a lot on your header can be tempting, but it's best to keep it sweet and simple. People don't want to sift through the clutter to get to where they need to be.
Having an eye-catching website header is important for your site's success. Knowing how to customize and edit your website headers is just as important, however. We hope you learned a thing or two about how to do so, and some best practices to get the most out of your edits and customizations.