I’m putting up a $100USD bounty to be paid via PayPal for whoever can fully resolve my problem. I’d prefer to make a $100 contribution to rtCamp through the widget on my site’s control panel if a staff member can help me out. But any enterprising, competent individual is welcome to do the work and collect.
I write the blog TimelessFinance. I use rtPanel as my website’s theme. It’s an excellent theme. It’s simple and effective. The theme was made even more elegant by last month’s update. rtPanel does basically everything I want. For example, it generates great homepage excerpts with picture thumbnails. It also has a short header.
On that last point: I am loath to waste space in the header. The header in rtPanel is short, but underused. I’d like to use the header more efficiently. This will clear up some prime sidebar space for other purposes.
rtCamp has prepared some instructions for playing around with the header, particularly regarding Google ads (for example, http://rtcamp.com/blog/add-google-adbanner-logo-rtpanel/ and http://rtcamp.com/blog/add-googleadsense-link-unit-header/). The problem, for me, is that I’m a total noob when it comes to web design – PHP, CSS, whatever. When I read those instructions, I was completely confused and too afraid to take a stab at the problem.
BUT with specific, clear directions I’m sure I can make the necessary edits. Here’s what you have to work with:
- I have rtPanel Child installed, so I can access “Custom Theme Options” under Appearance // rtPanel.
- I installed the “Hooks” plugin so I can also access that if needed (Appearance//rtPanel//Hooks).
- I can access the Editor in WordPress to edit style.css, or any of the .php files, for rtPanel or rtPanel Child. I haven’t modified either rtPanel nor rtPanel Child, so it should be easy to give me instructions off the default rtPanel install.
Here’s textual information on the “desired state”: 1. The design can’t waste any vertical header space. 2. It needs to look decent. No graphic design involved, but it needs to be reasonably laid out. Generally, stuff should be aligned. Right and left alignments preferred. Again, no graphic design required, but it can’t look awful. 3. If the code references an element that is copy pasta, e.g. Google Ads, a social media link, or my Feedburner chiclet, then it’s fine to say “PUT TWITTER LINK HERE” or “PUT GOOGLE AD CODE HERE”. Just don’t assume I know how to create a Feedburner email form or how to replicate the rtPanel’s social media bar. Cause I don’t. 4. The Search Box in the menu line – I don’t require that the Search box has a button beside it that says “Search”. In fact, I’d rather NOT have the button. I’d rather have text inside the search box instead (e.g. “Search TimelessFinance”), and when the user clicks on the search text field, the default text disappears. Either way is OK. 5. The Google Ad – I’d prefer the layout I’ve depicted in the picture (a 468 x 60 size, “Banner”). If you have a really stunning solution that works for “Leaderboard” (728 x 90) and doesn’t vertically expand the header at all (horizontal would be OK) then that’d be awesome since the Leaderboard is the most popular format for advertisers. 6. The Social Media icons – I like the rtPanel widget. It’s very attractive. Please ensure your solution includes WHERE I place each of my 5 social links, e.g. “PUT TWITTER LINK HERE”. I’ve pictured these icons at the top right of the header, but it’d be fine if they were bottom right. I only need the five icons depicted. 7. The Feedburner chiclet and e-mail form – this is probably the item that I’m most flexible about. If you can fit them in the middle of the Google Ad and social media bar, that’s fine. Can you fit them under the “social media bar” without wasting too much vertical header space? Cool! Heck, if you want to put a place on the right side of the menu for the chiclet, that’s fine. Just explain it all in excruciating detail.
I need a complete, comprehensive, stable solution for the above header modifications. I’ll award the $100 USD prize to the first correct solution posted on this board. That solution could be in one of two forms: 1) A complete set of instructions, telling me how to modify the PHP, CSS, Hooks, and/or Custom Theme Options to create the changes as reflected in the “desired state” image/list. I’d prefer if you could separate the instructions for each element (i.e. search, Google Ad, social media bar, and Feedburner form/chiclet), but that’s not essential. Now I need to stress: I AM A NOOB. I need clear instructions, e.g. “Go to the Editor. Under the rtPanel Child theme, edit ‘rtp-custom-theme-options.php’. Insert ‘xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx’ below all the other text.” Crystal clear instructions. Don’t assume I understand anything more than the basics of the WordPress interface. Sloppy, unclear instructions don’t win the prize. I’ll try to ask questions so you can improve your instructions but I’m an idiot so my help will be largely useless. 2) A modified rtPanel Child for me to install that reflects the “desired state” image/list, so long as I also get instructions on where/how to add my GoogleAds script, the social media links, and the Feedburner code. (If you could widgetize the header in a manner where I could simply insert the relevant widgets/text boxes that’d be fantastic, but I assume this would be a ton more work). I realize that I could go to a developer for a custom theme. But I don’t need a custom theme OR gorgeous custom graphics. I JUST want rtPanel with a modified header. It’s not that I have anything against paying a developer. My blog just doesn’t produce enough to justify $400+ for a custom theme. If my blog was an extremely profitable business, of course I’d invest the money. The reality, however, is that it’s not. Hence the $100 bounty. I hope it’s enough to encourage participation, since the outcome will be a great open source header mod that will make rtPanel even more versatile.
Feel free to ask me questions on here, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you want feedback on a list of instructions or on a theme you’re working on, but you don’t want them released to the public yet, send them to email@example.com and I’ll keep them private (unless and until you win!)
In the end, I don’t want a private set of instructions. I’d prefer the solution to be “open source” insofar as it’s made available to the public on this forum or by download (e.g. on Wordpress’ themes listing). Actually, I’d also love to host the resulting code or theme!