Do you know what a WordPress Theme is? Well, basically, it is a few files and instructions that you can upload that make your site look different. Themes can change the colors, the layout, really just about anything about the site.
There are thousands of free WordPress Themes, and hundreds, perhaps thousands of Premium Themes that you will have to pay for if you want to use them.
Free Themes are available at many locations on the Internet. The official place to choose and download Free Themes is at the WordPress Theme Repository. According to statistics as I write this, there are currently 1,616 different Themes available at the WordPress Theme Repository, and there have so far been more than 57 Million Theme downloads on the site! Amazing, huh? I think it is anyway. Now, as I said, the themes you will find on this site are free of charge. You will find other free themes elsewhere on the Internet as well, but I will give you a word of caution on this. A lot of people write themes for WP and they insert malicious code and viruses into the themes, so be careful. If a theme is on the official WordPress Theme Repository, it should be verifies as being clean of any viruses or malicious code of any kind. Because of this, if you are going to use a free theme, I highly recommend that you get it from the official site.
OK, as I said, your other option is to use a Premium Theme for your WordPress site. Premium Themes are themes that you must pay for. Personally, I have been using Premium Themes for the past 5 or 6 years. There are a few reasons that I prefer to use a Premium Theme:
- Because you must pay to use it, fewer people use them, and thus my site looks more unique
- I feel that in general (with exceptions, of course) the quality of Premium Themes is better
- It’s a virtual guarantee that a Premium Theme will not have malicious code embedded in it
- Premium Themes usually include support, so if you have a problem there is somebody to help
For me, I exclusively use Premium Themes from StudioPress on my sites. I own the “All In” package, which means that every time StudioPress comes out with a new theme, I can use it with no additional charge. Also, because I develop sites for clients, I can also freely use StudioPress for all of my own sites and for any sites I build for my clients. I find that convenient, and also very cost effective. There are lots of other companies who produce Premium Themes. They all have their upsides and downsides, I suppose, but I personally prefer StudioPress. Nothing stopping you from purchasing themes from multiple companies either. I personally prefer to stick with only one company, though, for my themes. The main reason for that is because the functions of the various themes all work the same, because they were produced by the same team of developers in most cases. That is just my personal preference, though, and as always, you are free to choose what works best for you.
So, if you want a great looking site, a site that shows off the colors and styles that you enjoy seeing, just look and find the perfect WordPress Theme that fits your needs! With so many Themes available, you are sure to find one that is perfect for you.
Installing your WordPress Theme
Once you choose a theme, you need to install it on your site! How do you do that? Well, let’s take a look and see how.
Firstly, you choose the theme and download it to your computer. This is the easy part, right?
Your next step will be to go to the Admin area of your WordPress site. Once you are there, you should click on the Appearance tab. Once you are on the Themes page (you went there by clicking on Appearance), then you should click on the tab on top that says “Install Themes.” Once you have arrived on the “Install Themes” page, you will then click on “Upload” to upload a theme from your computer. Choose the theme file, and upload the theme to the WordPress site! Once the theme is uploaded and installed, just choose the option to “Activate” your new theme. Now, go have a look at the home page of the site, and you will see that it is now a totally new look!
After getting your new theme installed and activated, you will have plenty of other options to customize the looks of the new theme. Many themes (especially Premium Themes) have a control panel where you can make changes. Check your theme documentation to see if the theme you chose has such a control panel. Another way to customize the looks of your site is by using the Widgets.
Widgets can be found under the “Appearance” menu in the back end, admin area of your site. Your theme will determine how many wigeted areas your site has. Most themes will provide for widget areas on the sidebar, footer, header and many also give widget options on the home page. The Widget page on WordPress will give you the option of adding almost anything to those widget areas in your theme. You could add information, feature a certain page of blog post, or put advertising in the widget areas. I do a mixture of all o f these things, and you can too.
So, choose a good theme, get to work and in a few hours you could turn your site from a “plain Jane look” to a super premium look! You may not get the perfect look the first attempt, but that’s the beauty, you can play around with this until you get just what you are looking for. The more practice you get the easier it will be, and the faster it will be too!