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First Impressions Of The Twenty Eleven WordPress Theme

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After installing WordPress 3.2 Beta in my test area last week, I decided to install it on a live website (a small website I own called Acne Information). I’ve not modified the theme heavily though I changed a few minor things in the template files so have a good understanding of the design now. Please bear in mind that the theme is not yet complete therefore some features, such as the featured image option, have not been built in.

Firstly, Twenty Eleven is not the ultimate WordPress theme. It is however a good improvement over Twenty Ten and a great starting point for those who are looking to create their own unique theme. As mentioned last week, you can change the theme from light to dark in the themes options page. You can also change the default colour of links and choose whether the sidebar is placed on the left or right or removed altogether.

Twenty Eleven WordPress Theme

The default header image is 1000 × 288 pixels in size, which may be too large for some people. Thankfully RayGun has developed a plugin called Resize Twenty Eleven Header that addresses this problem. The theme appears to remove the sidebar for pages and posts though I suspect that this is something that will be changed in the final version.

One of my favourite features of Twenty Eleven is the addition of a showcase template. The template is perfect for your home page. It boasts a featured article slider at the top, unique sidebar down the left hand side and your latest posts on the right hand side. The featured article slider appears to be a little buggy when posts have featured images attached to them with the text and image overlapping. Again, this should be addressed in the final version.

Twenty Eleven Showcase Template

All in all I’m pleased with the latest default theme for WordPress. There are still some bugs to iron out however I’m sure these will be resolved over the next month. With its own options page, enhanced comment area and a brand new showcase template; Twenty Eleven is certainly an improvement over Twenty Ten. If you feel like testing it out, all you need to do is download and install WordPress 3.2 Beta 1.


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Comments (34)

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Hi Sabrina,

I’m not 100% sure I know what you mean by static home page. Can you clarify what you mean…do you mean changing the template that your home page is using.


Comment by Sabrina says:

I absolutely love the twentyeleven theme! it is the ultimate theme for what I was looking for in appearance, beautiful, white, sophisticated, cute, big font, and customizable. I have tried on many “top best themes” but none compare. I enjoyed some themes with big widgets, but then realized I can create those myself and add them on pages anyways.
The one drawback I am currently experiencing is that page.php doesn’t seem to work for adding in code to effect static homepage in twentyeleven like it does for other themes. And I really want my featured content slider to be on my static page, not the page where index.php puts it. Does anyone know what the path is for twentyeleven to find the static home page? Twentyeleven seems difficult to edit compared to other themes, and is very frustrating. Thankfully i love it so much I don’t want to change it much – but i do want to be able to add in a bit of code for my static homepage. And for the record, I love the big header in twenty eleven theme. I think narrow headers are ugly and too small. I like the visual appeal ;)

Comment by Ale says:

At you can find some free 1000×288 pixel size headers, to customize default TwentyEleven theme. All images are taken by me and provided under a Creative Commons 3.0 License.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Sorry Debbie. Can you clarify what you mean by custom titles? The title of the page will match what you have in the editor. You can edit the post-slug (i.e. via the post editor too.

Comment by Debbie McDonnell says:

Hi Kevin,

Trying to give custom titles to page names in twenty eleven, each time in results in a 404. Have googled it and seems quite a few people had this problem. Wondering if you’ve come across it or could suggest a plugin to overcome it? Not a developer, a marketer so reluctant to play around with code.

Thanks, D.

Comment by tiago says:

Oops! Just Deactivated the plugin and all is working. Thanks, dude!

Comment by tiago says:

I’m tryin to embed from youtube.
I tried using WordPress Video Plugin.
Funny thing is… in one of my blogs everything works perfectly. I just can’t find what’s wrong with the other one.

Comment by tiago says:

I just can’t embed any video on my posts. Any suggestions?

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

I haven’t used that plugin. The default embed code always works well but if you want to use the plugin I would contact the plugin developer to see if you are using it properly :)

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Can you be more specific. e.g. what video are you trying to embed, what service (youtube, vimeo etc), are you using a plugin to embed videos.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

I recommend using the H1 tag on the article title, changing the logo to an H2.

Comment by Things to do in Maui says:

I like Twenty Eleven, but for some reason I now have two h1 tags – I believe the site title and entry title. I think I would prefer the entry title to be wrapped in the h1 tag.

What’s your opinion on this?

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:


Can you clarify what sort of page template you want to create :)


Comment by Daniel says:


I have searched long and hard, since the arrival of the 2011 Theme, but have not been able to find a step approach to creating a (what should be) simple template page in a child theme folder.

It appears that the steps prescribed by Mor10’s very clear Lynda series, for 3.0, may no longer apply.

Your advice to Maq on the sidebar fix seems to point in the direction but perhaps I’m missing how to apply the lesson.


Thank you for your time and attention,


Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

First thing to do is check that comments are switched on for your page. :)

Comment by AlphaEN says:

Hi Kevin, I hope you can help me. I am having trouble adding a comment option in the showcase template. I have my page in the showcase template, and when I publish, there is no place for leaving a comment. How can I add that? If you have a moment to look at my website, go to SVM fanfic in the menues, then Put Me First, then select any of the chapters. The regular template has comments automatically, but the showcase which I use to publish chapters of my stories, don’t. I would appreciate if you could look into this.
Thank you,

Comment by Lenny23 says:

Thanks Kevin, you mention you made a static frontpage while using twentyeleven. My question, twentyeleven seems to have by default a quite narrow text area. How to have the full width of the static frontpage, like 6 columns of text, newspaper style?

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

That could be achieved but it would kind of be pointless. You would save yourself a lot of time and energy by just using a newspaper design.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

No problem. Glad I could help :)

Comment by maq says:

Hi Kevin,

Thanks A l-o-t! It worked like a charm!

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

You simply need to create and register a second sidebar and then link to the second sidebar in your post/page template.

To register a sidebar you need to modify your functions.php template with something like this.

register_sidebar( array(
		'name' => __( 'Post Sidebar', 'twentyeleven' ),
		'id' => 'sidebar-6',
		'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
		'after_widget' => "</aside>",
		'before_title' => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
		'after_title' => '</h3>',
	) );

Then copy the code from sidebar.php to a new template (e.g. sidebar-two.php). Make sure ‘sidebar-1′ is changed to ‘sidebar-6′ (or whatever id your new sidebar is).

Then simply called the sidebar by adding get_sidebar(‘two’); to your single.php or page.php template.

(if you had called your new sidebar template sidebar-new.php you would have used the used get_sidebar(‘new’); instead). Refer to the codex for more information). :)

Comment by maq says:


I was trying to create a page sidebar different from the blog sidebar. But being a complete noob in WP, I was not able to do that. Can you please help me to do that? Or can you please release a child theme, so that the page sidebar template uses a different sidebar with different sets of widgets?

Thank you in advanced. Iâ€â„¢ve also posted this problem on WP Forum, but not having so much help there.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

You just need to find the corresponding class for each header.

For example, in the header template you will see that the name of your site is generated by an h1 tag and the id id=”site-title”

If you check your style sheet for site-title you will see that for links it displays:

#site-title a {
color: #111;
font-size: 30px;
font-weight: bold;
line-height: 36px;
text-decoration: none;

You simply need to change the color here. For example, changing color: #111; to color: #ff0000; will make your title red.

You can repeat this for every part of your site. i.e. find the template that controls it and then find the corresponding class in the stylesheet and change it accordingly.

Comment by cardiogirl says:

Hi, I’m using this theme on a new blog and I want to customize the html colors of the headings (h1, h2, h3 etc.) and I cannot figure where to change that in the editor.

I’ve been scouring the style sheets and the only text color I can change is the link color that’s found under Appearance/Theme Options. Is there a way to change the color of the headers to custom html colors?

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Set a certain page to be the home page and then make sure you change the template of that page to use the featured template instead of the default one :)

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Hi Richard,

I found a good article that showed you how to add the sidebar. I’ve wrote about it in an article entitled How To Add The Sidebar To Twenty Eleven.

Hope you find it useful :)


Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

I’m writing an article regarding this just now. Will publish within the next hour or so.

Comment by Richard Gregory says:

Loving the template, but my individual post pages seem to have no sidebar. How can I amend this?

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

You need to set the page template that is powering your home page to use the featured page template.

Comment by Fabrizio Pivari says:

I’ve not understood like to activate featured post area.
I’ve set sticky 2 posts but I can’t see it
The site is


Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Once you have set your home page to be a static page (under settings/reading), you just need to change the template of the page you have set as your home page.

I wouldn’t use Twenty Eleven on a live site just yet as it still being developed.

Comment by Sarah says:

Hi Kevin, I have a problem with the theme Twenty Eleven. My first impression of it were really good. – A lot of options and possible ways of being creative. That’s great!! BUT… I have made my front page ‘static’ since I don’t want the blog function here. But I can’t seem to find out were to edit the ‘Home’ page. Only some of my widgets are shown here, but not all. I am a beginner in this, so please help me sort this out.

Thank you very much!
Sarah, Denmark

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

it’s fixed but you could easily change this in the stylesheet.

Comment by Dave says:

great preview thanks.

is the theme going to be fluid or fixed?

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