Theming your WordPress site

Choosing a WordPress theme is a big decision. Not only does it determine the colour scheme of your site, but it also impacts how user-friendly the site is both for yourself and for your website visitors. Your WordPress theme is essentially the template for your site with added bonus bits, including customised formats, fonts and backgrounds.

So how do you install a WordPress theme onto your website?

The easy route – from the inside

Using one of the built-in themes that WordPress advertises in its catalogue is by far the easiest way of installing a theme. Yes, your site may reflect the look of many others like it, but with quality content and some good marketing you should be able to stand out from the crowd without too many problems.

If you’re brand new to WordPress and don’t yet have any selected themes to choose from, starting from scratch is simple enough. Click on ‘Add New’ in the menu under ‘Appearance’ and spend some time scrolling through the many hundreds of options available in the online library. A top tip we recommend is spending some time looking at all of the pages of themes – people in a hurry will often make their selection from the first few pages alone, making these themes the most frequently used. Make your site different by avoiding these most popular designs and picking something lower on the list.

Once you’ve selected your theme, switch to live view and take some time to explore how your site looks with its new theme. Once you’re happy with your selection and have installed the theme, remember you can always return and change the settings as often as you like. And if you get bored with the theme you chose, the plethora of themes available will always be waiting in the menu.

Downloading an external theme

While WordPress offers a multitude of themes in its own database, the internet is full of creators who have designed and made up WordPress themes of their own – ready to sell to willing buyers. Of course, this involves installing the theme from an external location; a slightly more complicated but entirely doable process.

First you need to download the theme file and save it somewhere that’s easy to find. It’s likely this will come as part of a zipped file (one which has been reduced in size in order to make download easy), so in order to access the contents you then need to unzip the file.

Returning to the backend of your WordPress site, the next step is to open your themes menu and click on ‘Add New’. Alongside the available options in the WordPress library, you will see an option to upload a theme from your computer – click on this and then locate the file you just saved.

Once your chose theme has been installed, it works much the same as an internal theme in terms of editing the settings and formatting select areas. Our top tip here would be to make sure the theme you choose is compatible with the version of WordPress that you are working in. In a world where technology is constantly being updated and renewed, software updates are inevitable and regular, and you need to ensure you keep on top of them to keep your website looking its very best.