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Simple Start Handbook

Hey there! Welcome to our community of Makers!

New to WordPress and itching to get started with Make? This handbook is for you. If you’re already a WordPress pro, you might rather choose your own adventure ⚔ in our catalog of guides.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that now powers nearly 25% of the internet. Some of the world’s biggest and most powerful brands depend on WordPress for their websites, including Google, Facebook, Disney, Sony, and The New York Times.

WordPress is almost infinitely expandable. It can scale with your business when you’re ready to grow. With nearly 30k plugins available for free, there’s a WordPress solution for almost every business problem.

WordPress is free, but even premium services, plugins and themes are an affordable solution to business websites. When you add up the costs of managed hosting, premium themes, plugins, site maintenance and support, the costs of creating a WordPress website are still a fraction of what you’d spend to hire a developer and designer to create a bespoke solution for your web presence and management.

WordPress is easy to learn. Because of the project’s popularity, there are thousands and thousands of free and low-cost resources out there for beginners. No matter your level of knowledge, there’s a WordPress tutorial to help you create, update, and fix your site.

What is a theme?

Make is a WordPress theme. It changes the way your WordPress site looks and affects the style of the content displayed. WordPress themes are built so you can change your site’s design without losing content.

Pro tip: Most page builders will insert something called shortcodes into your content, which makes switching themes a complicated and difficult process. But don’t worry, Make would never do that to your content! In fact, that’s one reason Make stands out in the crowd. ?

What is a plugin?

Make Plus is an example of a plugin — it adds additional functionality to a theme. There are other plugins in the plugin directory, along with many premium plugins out there to address nearly every site need, from eCommerce to email marketing to user registration.

Getting started with WordPress

Make and Make Plus were built to run on a self-hosted WordPress installation.

Basic Requirements

Make and Make Plus will work on WordPress 4.3 and above.

Common WordPress Questions

What do you need to install and run WordPress?

You can run WordPress locally on your computer, or install and use it on your webhosting account.

What kind of web hosting should I get?

Your options for web hosting are nearly limitless. If you’re running a business and need a webhost you can depend on, we highly recommend the good folks at SiteGround. They provide:

  • Free domain with hosting
  • One-click installs of WordPress
  • Reliable uptime and top-notch support

And make it effortless to get started with one-click WordPress installs.

Do I need my own domain name?

That’s usually best! If your web host of choice doesn’t provide domain registration, we recommend Hover for affordable and easy domain registration.

Installing Make, Make Builder, and Make Plus

Now that you have WordPress installed and ready, it’s time to install Make. You can either install Make from the theme directory, or by uploading the theme to your WordPress site.

Install Make directly from the theme directory

  1. Navigate to Appearance ➝ Themes and click Add New
  2. In the Search themes… box in the top right corner, type “Make”
  3. Find Make in the grid of search results, hover over it, and click Install
  4. Once it is installed, click Activate

Manually upload the theme file

  1. Download the theme zip file from our website or
  2. Navigate to Appearance ➝ Themes and click Add New
  3. Click Upload Theme
  4. Click Browse and choose the file you just downloaded, then click Install Now
  5. Once it is installed, click Activate

Installing Make Builder

  1. Navigate to Plugins and click Add New
  2. In the Search plugins… box in the top right corner, type “Make Builder”
  3. Find Make Builder in the grid of search results, hover over it, and click Install
  4. Once it is installed, click Activate

Manually upload the Make Builder file

  1. Download the theme zip file from
  2. Navigate to Plugins and click Add New
  3. Click Upload Plugin
  4. Click Browse and choose the file you just downloaded, then click Install Now
  5. Once it is installed, click Activate

Installing Make Plus

First, download the zip file:

After you purchase Make Plus, sign into your account, head over to Downloads and click Make Plus (install as a plugin) to download the zip file of the latest version of Make Plus.

Second, install the plugin:

  1. Navigate to Plugins ➝ Add New
  2. Click Browse to choose the file you just downloaded, then click Install Now
  3. Once it is installed, click Activate

Finally, authorize your copy of Make Plus:

Make sure you authorize Make Plus so you can download and install updates as soon as they become available! If your updates are stalling, there’s a good chance you forgot to authorize Make Plus!

  1. Navigate to Tools ➝ Updater API Key
  2. Request a registration key using the email address associated with your Theme Foundry account
  3. Enter your registration key
  4. Click Register

Create your first page

Above: This is the Make Layout Engine™ with Make Plus installed. When WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads is installed and activated, you’ll see the Products and Downloads sections above.

The Make Layout Engine is the core of the Make theme. It allows you to build up complex pages with columns of content, full-width banners, and beautiful galleries.

To create your first page, navigate to Pages ➝ Add New

You should see the Make Layout Engine at the top of your edit screen. If you do not, check which template is selected in the Page Attributes box on the side (select the Builder template).

Adding content in the Make Layout Engine

The content modules that are included in the Make Layout Engine are called sections.

  1. Click the green-plus button of the Banner section
  2. In the black Banner section header bar, click the the Configure section icon icon to configure the options associated with the Banner section
  3. Add a section title (or leave it blank to display no section title)
  4. If you’re using the Banner section as a slider, configure the slider options
  5. Add a section background (if desired) or select the background color of the section

Next, let’s add content to the Banner.

  1. Click the image icon of the first slider
  2. Select a background image from your Media Library, or upload a new image
  3. Add content (text, media embeds, etc.) by clicking the the Edit content icon icon on the upper right-hand corner of the slider
  4. Click Done to close the content editor
  5. Click the green-plus button to add another slide

You’ll find instructions for adding a Content section and a Gallery section in our Make Docs.

Navigating the Customizer

Make and Make Plus leverage the native WordPress customizer to make changing your theme styles easier than ever.

To find the customizer, navigate to Appearance → Customize

In the General tab ➝  find things like your site identity (site title and tagline), logo, social profile links, and static front page options.

In the Menus tab ➝  select the custom menus you wish to display in the header bar and primary menu navigation location.

In the Typography tab ➝ find the font face, size, and spacing options available for each part of your site.

In the Color tab ➝ set options for your site’s color scheme, background colors, and text color for the various parts of your site.

The Background Images tab ➝ lets you set different background images for the site background, header, main column, and footer.

The Layout settings ➝ where you decide how your default posts and pages will display, which sidebars will be registered, and how your header and footer will look.

If you have Yoast SEO installed, your breadcrumb settings are the next tab item on the customizer.

Finally, configure your sidebars and widgets within the last tab in the customizer.

Make’s default templates

Make includes a default page and post template, just like every other WordPress theme.

The default templates are used for your blog posts page (your blog), post archives (including category archives), search results, and pages you create using the default WordPress editor.

The default templates can include a left sidebar, a right sidebar, both, or no sidebars. You set these options in the Customizer by selecting the Layout options.

If you have Make Plus, you can alter these default template options on a per-page basis. That means some pages can be full-width (no sidebar), some can show one sidebar, and some can show both. You make these choices on the page editor screen.

Working with plugins

Make and Make Plus are coded with the highest WordPress-quality standards in mind, and should work with all other well-coded plugins.

We’ve added special support, styling, and integrations for the following plugins:

  • Contact Form 7: Free and easy to add contact forms for your WordPress website. Available for download and installation right from the plugin repository.
  • Gravity Forms: Arguably the industry standard for powerful form-building, Gravity Forms is a premium plugin available directly from the developer. Gravity forms also includes many powerful integrations, including Paypal and Dropbox.
  • WooCommerce: Free eCommerce plugin for WordPress allows you to open a store right on your site.
  • Easy Digital Downloads: Another eCommerce plugin specifically used for selling downloadable digital products right from your website.
  • Yoast SEO: The industry standard for improving, monitoring, and leveraging search engine optimization for WordPress. (By the way, here’s a great guide on getting started with SEO copywriting for your website.)
  • Postmatic: Turn readers into subscribers by offering commenting and replying through email.

Staying up to date

You’ll want to keep your WordPress site up to date so you have access to new features and fixes for Make. When a theme update is released, you’ll see a notice on your dashboard that you can now update Make.

If you have not made customizations to your theme’s code, it’s safe to run that update from your dashboard.

If you have made customizations to your theme’s code, updating your theme will result in overriding those changes. If you’re planning on altering your template files, consider installing a child theme instead. You can learn more about child themes in the WordPress codex.

Updating Make Plus

Your Make Plus subscription includes automatic/one-click updates, but you need to authorize the plugin first. When the plugin has been successfully authorized, you can download new Make Plus updates right from the Plugin screen in the dashboard.

To authorize Make Plus

  1. Navigate to Tools ➝ Updater API Key
  2. Request a registration key using the email address associated with your Theme Foundry account
  3. Enter your registration key
  4. Click Register

Help Center

If you need help with setting up Make and you’re not a Make Plus user or Make Plus Developer, you can post your questions in the community forum.

For Make Plus and Make Plus Developers, open a ticket in our Make Plus Help Center, where one of our dedicated staff members will answer your question within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.

Tips for getting help

Include as much information as you can — including what browser, theme and WordPress version you’re using. Let us know if something recently updated or changed on your site.

Post a link to your site, even if you haven’t publicly launched yet. You can always edit the link out of your post later, and seeing the source code will really help our staff assist you.

Be clear about your level of WordPress knowledge — if you’re a complete beginner, don’t be afraid to say so we can better guide you. If you’re a developer, let us know so we don’t waste your time suggesting resources you don’t need.