This blog post is a part of the “Start Your Own Blog” series.
Other posts covered in this series are
- Part 1: WordPress.Com Vs WordPress.Org: Which One To Choose
- Part 2: How To Buy Domain & WordPress Hosting
- Part 3: Beginners Guide: How To Install WordPress
- Part 4: <<You are now reading this>>
- Part 5: Beginners Guide: How To Install A WordPress Plugin
- Part 6: Beginners Guide: 19 Essential WordPress Settings
WordPress powers millions of websites and the appearance of each these sites are different from another. The theme used by a site determines the look and feel of the website. It includes page designs, colors, fonts, etc. Theme selection is an important factor that decides how our blog performs. A blog with really good content and a poor theme will surely fail to attract visitors. For a hobbyist blogger, a free theme would be enough, but for a serious blogger, a premium theme is a must. This is because the premium themes like Genesis, Elegant themes and Thrive themes are highly customized for performance and SEO. Hence a well-designed theme is essential for improving our site ranking.
In this blog, I will cover the detailed steps to install a WordPress theme on our website. There are basically three options to add a theme.
Option1: Installation via Admin Dashboard
Login to admin dashboard and go to the appearance section. Here we can see a themes option.
In the themes section, we can see a few default themes that come with WordPress installation.
As we can see from the above image Twenty Seventeen is currently the active theme for our WordPress website. If we keep the mouse over other available themes we can see an option to activate the theme or have a live preview of the theme.
If we click the live preview button, a page will appear with the new theme appearance for our website without actually activating the theme
If we click the activate button then the corresponding theme will be activated for our website. Now let us see how we can search and find themes. For this, we have to first click the Add New button on the themes page. We can now view a new screen with a search text box.
Here we can search for the name of the theme we want to install. I am searching for the Mag Lite theme. Once the theme is listed in the search result we have to just click the Install button that appears over the theme to install this theme in our website.
This method of theme installation via search will work only for those free themes that are publicly available in the WordPress directory. As I have mentioned before I do not use a free theme for blogtriangle. There are certainly many advantages for using a well structured paid theme like Genesis or Elegant Themes or Thrive Themes over a free theme. Now let us how we can activate a paid theme on our website.
Option2: Installation via Theme Upload
After finalizing on the theme we have to purchase it from the theme developer. Most of the theme designers have options available on their website to have a live preview of the various themes without buying them. I use the Genesis framework for blogtriangle and highly recommend the same to my readers. Genesis theme is created by StudioPress and they have a collection of quality themes that are suitable for most of the niche.
Never purchase a theme from any untrustworthy sources as these themes may have security vulnerabilities. Also never opt for cracked versions of premium themes as we will not be able to get updates for these versions.
We will get the premium themes mostly as a zip file from the theme developer’s site after purchase. We need to upload this zip file to our WordPress via the upload theme option in the themes section.
Here we have to select the zip file we got from the theme designer and click the Install Now button. After the successful theme upload, we will get a confirmation message.
Now just click the activation link below the success message to activate the theme. After this, we can go to our home page and see the new look.
Option3: Installation via FTP
We can directly upload the theme to our server if the above-mentioned methods of theme installation do not work. This method requires some basic knowledge of WordPress folder structure and FTP tools and hence is not suitable for beginners.
For this first, we have to extract the zip file and then upload the contents to our WordPress server using FTP client software. I have already covered in detail about FTP file upload using FileZilla and Cyberduck. The path for uploading theme files normally would be the themes folder inside wp-content.
Once the file upload is a success we can go to the admin dashboard and activate the theme as mentioned above. If you are not confident then you can always seek the help of your hosting provider for support.
Once our WordPress theme is installed and activated there are a lot of customization options available.
These options vary greatly with the theme that we have selected. Hence I am not going to explain the theme customization procedure in detail. In general, the customization includes setting the styles for menu, header, footer, etc. For this, we can navigate to customize link under the appearance.
In the customization section, we can find a number of options to change the appearance of our site.
Before finalizing the appearance of our site we can test the different options in this section to select the best-suited look.