Simply Twenty Eleven

This year, Hypotheses is changing the themes it offers to its bloggers, as you may already know. In this post I will talk you through how to configure one of the platform’s new themes: Twenty Eleven (to configure Twenty Fourteen, please see this post).

Some of our bloggers have already chosen this theme for their blog. Harmonies Colorées and WP+LW=? are two successful examples.

The default Twenty Eleven theme adopts the classic blog format: the main column on the homepage displays the full posts in reverse chronological order. However, one of the distinctive features about this theme is that the widget column is displayed only on the homepage. This column is not visible on a blog post page, leaving as much space as possible for the text itself (see below).


But, as you will see at the end of this post, the theme also offers a “Showcase” template, which gives blogs a more original look.

Initial configuration steps

It only takes a few minutes to customize your blog so it looks unique. Simply add a banner, your choice of colours, and widgets in the right and left sidebars.

Banners and headers

To give your blog its own personality, the first thing to do is change the banner (make sure, of course, that you have the required user rights). To change the banner, go to Appearance > Header on your dashboard.

On the configuration page you can select an image saved on your computer by clicking on “Choose a file”. Once you have selected the image, click “Upload”. You will be able to crop the image as you wish once it is uploaded to WordPress. For the sake of image quality, make sure your image is at least 1000 pixels wide.


If you upload several images, you can either choose one among them as the header image or display them at random by ticking the “Random: Show a different image on each page” box.


On the same configuration page you can also choose whether to display your blog’s name above the banner, and if so, choose the font colour.

For the sake of referencing and the correct functioning of different Hypotheses tools, we recommend that you do not delete the name of your blog in the general settings. However, with this theme you can choose to hide your blog’s name: simply uncheck “Show header text with your image”.

Adding colour

If you want your blog to stand out a bit more, change its colour scheme by going to Appearance > Theme Options.

You can choose one of two colour schemes: black with a white background, or white with a black background. It’s radical, but apparently white on a black background is restful for the eyes… The choice is yours.

In this menu you can also choose the colour in which links are displayed in your menus and texts. Simply click “Choose a colour” and an intuitive menu will give you a choice of colours.

On this configuration page you can also choose where to display the widget column on your homepage. Remember, on Twenty Eleven this column is only visible on the homepage and not when reading a post.

Finally, if you go to the Appearance > Background menu, you can choose the colour or image that will be displayed in your blog’s left and right margins.

There you go – you now know how to configure the overall presentation of your blog in “classic” mode.

A different banner for each post

Each post can be accompanied by its own banner. To do this, click to edit your post and look for the “Set featured image” panel. If you choose a featured image, you can make it a banner than will appear only on this post. Remember, the image must be at least 1000 pixels wide.

Showcase: another way to configure the homepage

Here is one last feature of the Twenty Eleven theme: the Showcase template for the homepage.


It is a little more complicated to configure, but the result is a slightly more original homepage.

In Showcase mode, the homepage is separated into four new zones:

  • a presentation page (shown in orange in the image below);
  • a Showcase zone (shown in blue below);
  • a widget column (shown in green below);
  • a classic articles column (shown in purple below).


Activating Showcase

Three criteria must be met to activate Showcase on your blog.

First of all, you need to create a presentation page and choose “Showcase template” in the Page Attributes (see the red box in the screenshot below).

modele vitrine

Please note that this page cannot contain text but still needs to exist to activate the Showcase template.

Once you have created and published this page, go to the menu Settings > Reading. In the “Front page displays” section, select “A static page” and then choose the page you have just created (in this example, “Presentation”).


You’ve almost finished configuring Showcase. All that remains is to choose the posts that will be displayed in the Showcase zone. To add a post to the Showcase zone, go to the menu Posts > All Posts, then choose the Quick Edit option for the post. Tick “Make this post sticky” and update. You can also do this on the edit page of each post: in the Publish panel, choose Visibility and click “Stick this post to the front page”, then click OK. Don’t forget to update the post. When you go back to your homepage and refresh it you will find an attractive homepage in Showcase mode.

To round up, here is a little tip for those of you who wish to display images in the Showcase zone on the homepage. Go to the edit page of a sticky post and choose a featured image with a width of at least 1000 pixels. This image will automatically be displayed in the Showcase zone.

Your blog is now ready to publish new posts. Feel free to post any questions you have on the hypocommunity list.


Featured image: Eleven by Curtis Perry (licence: Creative Commons by-nc-sa)

This post is a translation of this one, by Helen Tomlinson.

See you soon on Hypotheses!