Top 10 WordPress Content Sources

Changing out WordPress content is usually pretty simple, but every once and a while it’s easy to get stuck. I’ve found myself asking, “how do I change this text in WordPress” dozens of times. I have assembled a list of places to check, in order from most likely to least likely that should help you to change anything on your website. Here we go!

1. The Post / Page Content

This is the normal place to look. Go to the page, and click “Edit Page” from the toolbar on the top. Don’t have a toolbar? You should still be able to get to the page by going to the backend and clicking “Pages” if it’s a page and “Posts” if it’s a post, and then finding it in the list. The content could also be within a front-end page builder such as Cornerstone.

2. Widgets

Widgets are commonly used for sidebars and footer content, but in many themes are used for much more. Go to Appearance -> Widgets, and take a look at the content of each widget area and see if you can find what you’re looking for. Need a little help? Sometimes you can find out which Widget area a page or post uses by editing it, and looking on the right for anything that specifies a widget area. Sometimes the “Page Template” may give it away as well. If you are familiar with coding, using the code inspector in your browser will usually make it clear that it’s a widget, and will sometimes even tell you which one.

3. Theme Options

Themes sometimes control much more content than they really should, especially header / footer content, and sometimes even more than that. Search thoroughly in your theme options, usually located in either Appearance -> Theme Options or Appearance -> Customize, but sometimes the theme will have its own menu item in the backend, named after itself or its framework. Things like copyright messages are very frequently found here.

4. Post / Page Meta

Sometimes your website may have custom meta data associated with each page or post. Scroll down past the main content area of the edit screen and you may find what you’re looking for.

5. Hard-Coded In To Your Theme

If you have a custom website or theme, this is a very possible spot to find content. Things like menus, footer messages, and other complicated setups are very commonly handled directly in the code. You will need to edit your theme to get to them. Header and footer content will usually be in header.php and footer.php, respectively, and content specific to a page may be found in the template for that page, such as front-page.php or page-name.php, though many variations on the name are possible.

6. In a Content Block

Some websites use content blocks to display content, usually repeated throughout the site. Look for menu items in the backend called “Content Block,” “Modules,” “Blocks,” “Home Page Content” or anything along those lines. It can be tricky narrowing down which block goes where, but if you edit the page you are trying to change, usually you will find a shortcode that specifies which block is being used.

7. Other Posts

Sometimes content comes directly from other posts. Usually in this case you will need to either view the content of the page and look for shortcodes, or check the theme files to figure out where it’s coming from. This is especially true of “Featured” areas, which typically display recent posts of a specific post type, or sometimes posts of a specific category.

8. Iframes

Usually you should be able to find the code that’s loading an iframe, but looking on the frontend it can be confusing. An iframe, for those of you who don’t know, literally loads an entire external website in a little window or ‘frame’ if you will, within your own site. This includes every part of that website, including the <html> and <body> tags. Iframes are frequently used for video embeds, contact forms, and other times where it’s the only thing that works or the developer is lazy. Note that you have no control over the content of an iframe without having control over whatever webpage is being included by that frame.

9. CSS

Every once and a while, you may want to change some content that’s being generated by CSS. Inspect the element with your browser, and if you’re seeing :after or :before selectors, you are going to need to change their values to change the content.

10. Other

There are other places content can come from as well, including the WordPress core files, translation plugins, misc. scripts that change text strings, and much more. These are less common, however, and not likely to affect large blocks of content.


There you have it! That should cover pretty much everywhere you may have to go to change something on a WordPress website. Over the years I’ve been stumped before, and I think this guide would have helped me quite a bit. Let me know if there’s anywhere else you have had to look!

About Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is a website developer and designer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a passion for code and WordPress. He spends his days building WordPress websites for small businesses, developing new code with the online community, and living life.

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