Author MarionBlack
Rank 105

In this video you’re going to learn how to permanently update your website’s copyright message so it stays up to date every year.

If your website is still showing the wrong year for your copyright info then here’s how to fix it once and for all time.

First you’re going to back up your website using WP Clone so that any mistakes you might make can be repaired easily. When WP Clone has done its thing download the file and save it on your computer.

Training Video: Full Backup With a Plugin

Any changes you make using the WordPress dashboard Appearance > Editor get overwritten every time your theme is updated. And good themes get updated a few times a year. So you can create a child theme and your edits will be permanent (unless you choose a different theme).

Let's Do This!

  1. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for "child theme configurator".
  2. Install and activate.
  3. Go to Tools > Child Theme
  4. Select Create a new Child Theme, choose the existing theme you are using then click Analyze.
  5. When you get the green tick that “This child theme appears to be functioning correctly” scroll down and click Create New Child Theme.
  6. Make sure that Configure Child Theme is selected and click on Files.

For this exercise all you need is the Theme Footer (footer.php) file so copy that from the parent theme to the child theme.

Now you can edit the footer.php file.

Scroll down to near the bottom of the code. You’re looking for . Click into the beginning of that line and hit enter to create a space where you can paste in your new code.

The code you'll want to paste in is:

Copyright \u00a9 2014-<?php echo date(Y) ?> · All Rights Reserved · Marion Black Online · marion @

I’m not going to explain every segment of the code as most of it you can figure out for yourself. Just copy and paste then make the changes so that it’s about your website not mine.

My domain name was first registered in 2014. You should change “2014” in the code to the year that your domain name was first registered. If your site is brand new and registered this year then you may want to delete “2014-”

The code “<?php echo date(Y) ?>“ is saying get the current date and just use the year part using 4 digits e.g. 2017. A lower case “y” would fetch the year using 2 digits.

Replace "" with your own website’s URL and replace “Marion Black Online” with the user-friendly name of your website.

The email address is optional. If you want to use it, change it to your own. I put spaces in the email address to minimize the email scraper bots from finding it and sending me spam. I have no guarantee that that works, we live in hope.

Click Update File.

Now go to Appearance > Themes and find your new child theme.

Do not activate the child theme yet. Use Live Preview to check if your code shows up and to make sure you haven’t broken your website.

If everything is OK then Save and Activate.

Worst case scenario of breaking your website doing this is that you would have to delete your child theme so your site can revert to a standard WordPress theme. Remember, you backed up the site before we started so you can restore it again if needed.

Now you've got one less headache for next January. And the next...

P.S. When you've finished with the plugin it's safe to deactivate it. Once it's done its job it can just sit there, installed but not active.

Related Training:

Full Backup With a Plugin

Use Tools Export every day - 30 Second Daily Backups

More Training by Marion Black - Sorted

Thanks for watching.

As always, I'm here to help you,

Please share the love, click 'Like This' (if you do). Ask a question, share something or leave a comment.

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Recent messages
PasekaK Premium
Thanks a million Marion. I'm grateful to have found from this training that you walked an extra mile for me. Highly appreciate the code you shared with us to permanently copyright it in the footer. Best of all, I learned what had been a challenge for me for a long time, that being how to create a child theme. You Rock!.
MarionBlack Premium
You're very kind Paseka. I really appreciate your comment.
AishaLabefo Premium
Hi Marion, thanks for this video. For some reason I can't seem to change the footer of my WordPress. I have used several themes but it keeps coming out as "generated unexpected PHP debug output". If I ignore it and keep on with the steps, it comes up saying my site does not seem to work it cannot continue. Please what do you suggest?
judebanks Premium
Until Marion gets here, I'll see if I can help.

It could be that the child theme configurator plugin is not compatible with your theme and/or other plugins.

You might need to deactivate that plugin and remove it. A child theme is becoming less necessary since WordPress added the Customize feature.

Does your theme have a customize option for the footer area?

Go to Appearances > Themes > Customize to check what is available for you. Do you see any footer customize options, or custom code fields?

I use a free theme and have those options.

See my SCREENSHOT below.

Changes added in the customize section will be retained when the theme or WP is updated, negating the need for a child theme.

This will not dynamically update the copyright year if your theme is not coded to do so. It takes just a few seconds to update it manually in the customize section.

MarionBlack Premium
Thanks for answering that Jude.
judebanks Premium
You're welcome, Marion. I knew you'd be around as soon as I hit ~Jude
cvdelacruz Premium
Hi Marion I am using a premium version of the theme and when I tried to use child theme it doesn't seem to be compatible. But if I try to customise my website, it allows me to copy and paste the code into the footer tab and it seemed to work. Do they serve the same purpose? Thanks
MarionBlack Premium
Does it work? To update automatically every year the code needs to be in a PHP file so it can "get" (echo) the information regarding the current date.
cvdelacruz Premium
The footer is now reflected in my website, if it's gonna update automatically that I'm not really sure of :D
CarolE1 Premium
Hi, Marion, I just watched your training and it says my website is compatible but I want the name in the footer to go away and I do not know how to do that. I have the biography theme so it says Wordpress and biography by Yam Chentri and I want that gone. Can you please help?
MarionBlack Premium
They have a premium version which wouldn't have the ad.
CarolE1 Premium
Sorayacge Premium
Hi Marion,
When I created the child theme and previewed it, my primary menu had vanished so I haven't activated it. Is this something normal that I can work through? Also the header image was gone but I know that's easy to replace. I don't know about other changes...there may be more...and i get nervous incase I do irreparable damage (even with the backup). Any advice?
MarionBlack Premium
It sounds like your theme is not going to work with a child theme. In that case I would give the copyright thingy a miss.

Which theme are you using?
Sorayacge Premium
It's 2017, same as yours... And you had no problem with it?
MarionBlack Premium
None at all. Are you sure you put the code in the right place?
Sorayacge Premium
I didn't paste the code - the problem happened when I enabled the child theme on my test 2017 site so I stopped. At the moment I don't have the copyright or the child theme.