LESSON ELEVEN: Installing a Theme or Template

The appearance of your website matters. Viewers will judge your website within seconds of checking it out. So it is important that you make it look good. One of the cool features of WordPress is the availability of thousands of predesigned layouts called themes. You can easily change the look and feel of your website by selecting a different theme.

However, choosing a theme is not just about look and feel; it is about functionality too. Choosing a theme based on looks alone can result in disappointment when the theme doesn’t work the way you want. For instance, a theme that is suitable for a photojournalist may not be suitable for a business consultant. In addition to choosing a theme that suits the purpose of your website, I would also recommend choosing a responsive theme. This ensures that your website adjusts appropriately to whatever screen it is viewed on – whether it is a PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android phone/tablet or any other device.

Broadly speaking, themes come in three categories: free, premium and custom-built.

Free: There is a great assortment of free themes available for WordPress. You can download and/or install them through the WordPress website at www.wordpress.org which can also be accessed from your WordPress dashboard. You can browse through the most popular themes or use the feature filter to find a theme based on specific features such as colour, layout and features.

Premium: Premium themes typically cost around 30 dollars to 100 dollars. They usually have a lot of customisation options to make them easy to tweak your website as desired. A premium theme will usually come with some form of support so you can ask questions or get help if you get confused. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of theme makers in the WordPress community. Some reputable sites where you can get great choices include Theme Forest, Elegant Themes and My Theme Shop.

Custom: A custom-built theme is a unique theme that is specifically coded to do exactly what you want it to do with minimal customisations on your part. The cost could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the complexity involved.

Once you install WordPress, it will usually come with a default theme. One good thing about the default theme is that it is made by the makers of WordPress, so you can rest assured that it will work. But it may not give you all the features you need to easily create a beautiful professional website. This means you need to install a new theme.

My Number One recommended theme is the multipurpose and very flexible Divi theme from Elegant Themes and you can get it here. This lesson includes a video tutorial that will show you how to set up your website with this amazing theme.

How to Install a New Theme

Once you have found your desired theme, you need to install it by following these steps:

1. On the left side menu of your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Themes and then click “Add new”.

2. If you have a theme that you have already downloaded to your computer as a .zip file, click on “Upload theme”, browse to select the desired theme’s .zip file and click “Install now”.

After installing the theme successfully click “Activate” to complete the process. Your website now has a new theme.

The above process can be used to install any theme. However if you’re installing a free theme from WordPress.org through your website's dashboard, you may not need to download and upload. You can simply install your desired theme by browsing through one of the categories, using the feature filter or searching for the desired theme by name. Once you find it, simply click “Install Now” after which you activate the theme as described above.

You can then go ahead and customise the theme.

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