WordPress has transformed the website creation and management process with its leading content management system.
It is powering over 40% of websites globally with its unmatched features and customizability. Plus, It allows both novice users and seasoned developers anyone can build professional-looking websites with ease.
The first thing that people will notice on your site is the header, which is similar to a front door. This essential section of your website contains crucial elements such as a logo, navigation menu, and contact details.
Besides, a header reflects the online persona of your company or brand. So, an effective header can get more user attention, leave a lasting impression, have easier navigation, and better user experience.
In this article, I will present you with the techniques to edit the header section of your WordPress site. Thus, you’ll be able to turn the top section of your website into a Wow factor for your audience.
Role of Headers in Web Design and Their Different Types
A header is one of the core components of a website, which is crucial for generating a good first impression. It is the first thing that visitors see when they arrive on a website. Similar to a map, headers direct users around a website and assist them in finding what they are looking for.
A header usually holds a brand’s logo and initiates the first engagement with the visitors. It functions as the table of contents for the entire website. Moreover, it offers a one-click or search-based exploration of the site with some quick action buttons.
According to the kind of website, your brand’s style, and the amount of data you want to keep, you can construct a variety of headers. These are a few typical types:
#1. Static Headers
Traditional headers are also known as static headers, which usually remain at the top of a website. In addition, it includes navigation links, company or brand logos, contact details, and sometimes a call-to-action button. This header is static, and it won’t be visible if you scroll down through the website.
One good example of this type of header is the Sony Music website, which contains the logo of the brand and navigation links to different sections of the site.
#2. Sticky Headers
A sticky header makes it simple to access the menu anytime while navigating a website. It always stays at the top of your screen even if you scroll down. It becomes simple to return to the major site areas without having to scroll back up, particularly on lengthy pages. Thus, the overall website navigation becomes easier for the users.
Apple uses a sticky header that stays at the top of the page as you scroll down. While scrolling down the website, you can easily access different parts due to the sticky header.
#3. Dynamic or Animated Headers
This type of header alters its elements in response to user interactions on the website. This can include animated scroll or hover effects as well as user-behavior-driven adjustments to header size and content.
Dynamic headers increase the level of communication and engagement with the visitors. The dynamic headers of the Bopdesign have a striking hero illustration with a clearly understandable layout.
#4. Hero Headers
Hero headers are usually large in size, often full-screen headers that include text, navigation, and high-resolution images or videos. These types of headers are typically used on landing pages since they are intended to be visually arresting and draw in visitors right away.
The Tonal features a hero header that combines text and imagery to provide an outline of the most significant information on the page.
#5. Transparent headers
Transparent headers blend into the design of the website and adapt the color of the background to fit the site’s design. Besides, it can shift to a solid color to increase the visibility of the menu elements.
The Sushikimura comes with a transparent header, which becomes almost solid and floats while scrolling. As a result, the menu is shown, yet it maintains the clear visibility of the website.
#6. News Website Headers
This type of header is complex compared to simple or other headers that I’ve previously described. It contains many layers of navigation to accommodate a wide range of content categories of a magazine or news website.
The Vouge magazine uses a header design that’s common for news and magazine sites. It offers multiple navigation tiers and contains extensive content categories.
#7. E-Commerce Headers
This type of header is used for online stores which includes navigation links, an account login option, and a shopping cart icon. The Nalgene is an e-commerce website that includes a header with a logo, navigation links, a search bar, account/login links, and a shopping cart icon.
To keep the audience engaged on your website, creating an appealing header is crucial. So, let’s check out how you can edit your WordPress website’s header using some simple steps.
Methods Of Editing Headers in WordPress
The header of a WordPress site can be edited or customized using different approaches. Each method depends on your level of experience and the amount of customizations you need. Here are some common approaches that you can try:
Edit Header Using WordPress Customizer
You can edit the header section of your WordPress site using the default WordPress customizer option. This method is pretty straightforward and applicable to most of the popular WordPress themes.
However, this feature is also called the custom header, and here are the steps to use this method:
Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Customize.
If you are seeing Appearance > Editor, this means that your theme has activated the full-site editing features.
Look for the ‘Header’ section in the customizer. This can be named differently, like Header Image or Header Media, which depends on the theme you are using. Keep in mind that some themes do not support the header customization option at all.
Use the available options in the Header menu to change the logo, header image, colors, or layout.
Go to Header Main > Color and change the background color of the header using the color pallet.
When you are satisfied with the changes on your headers, click Publish to save.
Some WordPress themes won’t give you many header customization options. On the other hand, some premium themes will offer a multitude of customization options where you can change images, color, font, and much more.
Edit Header From Theme Settings
Some WordPress themes will allow you to customize the header section using their own options. Here are the steps you can follow to customize the header from theme settings:
Go to the dashboard and find your theme’s specific options panel. Sometimes, the theme settings are labeled as Theme Options or [Theme Name] Settings. For example, I’ve installed the Neve theme, and you can click Neve> Settings > Header Options to access the header customization options.
Now edit the Header settings as provided by the theme. It includes header settings such as Logo, Header color, Menu, Header (Top, Main, Bottom), Preset, and so on.
Go to Header Preset > Centered to place the header in a centered position.
When done, save the changes and view your site to ensure how the header looks.
Customizing the header option on Theme settings is not available in every theme. Thus, you should look out for other methods to edit your site’s header.
Edit Header Using WordPress Full Site Editor
From version 5.9, WordPress added the full site editing option. This option replaces the theme customizer with the full site editor. Here are the steps to edit the header using the full site editor:
This time, I will be editing the header using the default Tewnty-twenty-three theme of WordPress.
Navigate to Appearance > Editor to turn on the Full Site editor.
Click Patterns, scroll down a bit, and click Header under TEMPLATE PARTS.
Now, Inside the header section, click the Edit Icon. Now click the settings Icon located in the top right corner of the screen.
Then click the Block section and access the options to edit the different elements and sections of the header.
I’ve changed the Text color of the header, which you can do by clicking the Style option. Then, you can click the Color and Text option.
A popup will pop up that will let you select a solid or gradient color. After clicking on a color, the Text color will change right away.
Similarly, you will get more options on the right-hand side screen, and change it according to your preference.
Edit Header Using Theme’s header.php File
If you have basic coding skills, then you can directly edit the theme files for deep customization. With this option, you can avoid installing plugins on your site but still edit your WordPress site’s header.
Since you will be working with the core files of your theme, I highly recommend you create a child theme. You can use a child theme plugin to easily create a child theme and then move on with the following steps:
Login to the admin panel of your WordPress site
Then go to Appearance > Theme File Editor section
From the right-hand side of the screen, scroll down, select the header.php file, and click it.
Now, the file will open in your editor. For editing this file, I am using the Neve Theme, which contains the following codes.
Now it’s time to edit the header file, editing the header.php file where the code snippet will be placed between <header> and </header> tags. I’ve placed a small piece of custom code in between those tags.
After adding the code snippet, click Update File to finalize the changes and wait for the File edited Successfully message to be displayed.
Go to your site’s front end to view the changes that you’ve made.
Thats it! You’ve edited the header using a theme’s header.php file manually. If you have advanced coding skills, you can customize and add all the header elements using your custom codes.
I highly recommend you use a plugin such as WPCode Plugin to edit the code snippet within the header tg because messing up with the code can break your entire website. However, let’s explore another manual way to edit the header section of your WordPress site.
Edit Header Using the Cpanel
This process requires you to log in to your cPanel and edit the header.php file. I recommend you go on with this method only if you have any issues with your WordPress theme editor. Let’s see how you can edit the header file using the cPanel.
Login to your WordPress hosting provider’s account
Then log in to your Cpanel and navigate to File Manager
In the File Manager section, find the public_html folder
Go to wp-content > themes > Your Theme Name and then right-click the header.php file and click edit the file.
Right-click the header.php file, edit the file, and put the custom code within the <head>and </head> tags.
Save the file, go back to your site, and refresh the page to see the changes.
You’ve successfully changed the header file using your theme’s header.php file from the cPanel. But there is one major flaw of this method which must be highlighted. After saving the changes that you’ve made, you’ll lose the previous customizations.
Edit Header Using a Page Builder
Editing a header becomes much easier using a page builder because you will get a lot of pre-built options to do this. Elementor Pro comes with a Theme Builder tool that will allow you to access and edit all the elements of a theme.
If you don’t have the premium Elementor plugin, then go for the Elementor Header & Footer builder plugin. Here are the steps you can follow to edit the header using Elementor Pro:
Login to your website and go to Templates > Theme Builder
Under the SITE PARTS, Click Header and view existing templates that will appear on the right side.
Now, click the edit button located beside the template to customize the header using the Elementor editor. At this point, you can create and edit the header by utilizing the Elementor block. Besides, you can import pre-built Elementor header templates.
Click the folder icon to see the available templates that you can use.
You can easily take advantage of these templates and explore different types of headers.
After selecting a header, add different types of modules available on the left-hand side of the screen. You can drag and drop these modules on your header and customize it further.
While using Elementor Pro, you can also create a sticky header pretty easily. Simply go to your website’s Home page and click Edit With Elementor.
Now click the Inner Section of the header and then click on Advanced options. From the advanced option, drop down the Motion Effects option, and from the Sticky dropdown menu, select Top.
Go back to your site, refresh the page, and scroll down the page to view the sticky header in action.
Elementor Pro is indeed a flexible option to edit the header of your WordPress site that provides a lot of features. However, the Full Site Editing option is a cost-effective option that won’t require any license.
Now, we will explore the necessity of mobile responsiveness of the header section to maintain perfection.
Embracing Mobile Responsiveness in Header Design
Mobile responsiveness of a website is not only a feature; it has become a necessity in recent years. If you are making your website mobile responsive, you are making it compatible with all other devices and platforms. Thus, it will look perfect on all kinds of devices, no matter the screen size.
It is vital to optimize your header for mobile visitors, as mobile devices now represent more than half of all web traffic worldwide. Besides, it is crucial when it comes to enhancing the user experience, which results in higher engagement and conversion rates. Furthermore, search engines like Google consider mobile responsiveness as a ranking criterion.
A mobile-friendly header contributes significantly to this experience by:
Ensuring accessibility so that visitors can interact with the clickable parts and navigation menus without having to scroll horizontally or zoom in on the website.
Improving usability by providing a clear route for navigation, which makes it simpler for visitors to locate what they need swiftly.
Increasing user engagement by simplifying and accelerating the site’s navigation
Best Practices for Mobile Header Design
There are a few recommended best practices to create a header that looks great on mobile devices:
Implement Simplicity: Since mobile displays are smaller, it’s critical to have a clear, straightforward header. So, Add just the most necessary components, such as your navigation menu, logo, and search icon.
Optimize The Logo: Make sure your brand logo is perfectly visible on mobile devices and take small spaces. Plus, it should highlight your brand without being overwhelming to comprehend.
Include Search Option: Utilize the search icon that is easily recognizable and extends into a search bar when pressed to make content exploring easier.
Emphasize Speed: Since every mobile user won’t have the same internet speed, you should optimize the header logo and image for rapid loading time.
Examine Touch Points: Since we are focusing on mobile devices, make sure all the menu items can be tapped properly. Thus, make sure the menu items are big enough when viewed on mobile devices to prevent errors.
Maintain Content Hierarchy: Align the most crucial components in your mobile header, including call-to-action buttons and contact details in a prominent position.
Include Hamburger Menu: Using a hamburger menu in your header is an ideal method to reduce space and maintain easy navigation on mobile devices. This menu consists of three horizontal lines that are often found in the corner (Right) of a header.
Note: I’ve used the OceanWP template for the mobile responsive header example.
The above-mentioned best practices will not only meet the mobile user requirements of header designs but also enhance the overall user experience. But keep in mind that for mobile, responsive header functionality should be your top priority, which you should carry out with simplicity over design.
The header is the gateway of a website, which a visitor sees first in a WordPress website. It should have that wow factor that simplifies the navigation of a website on all kinds of devices. Following this guide, anyone can easily edit the header section of a WordPress website.
Moreover, they can consider the mobile best practices to optimize the header section for mobile users as well. Now it’s your turn to create a perfect header that makes your site exceptional.
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