With over 200 million active websites on the internet, you need to find a way to stand out. Thankfully, not all sites are created the same, and developers work hard to make sure many options are available. If your site is already on the WordPress platform, themes make it easy to personalize, differentiating yours from all the rest.
What is a WordPress Theme?
When you use WordPress to set up your blog or website, you’ll need to start by choosing a theme or a template to display your work. The theme takes care of the HTML code, so you can focus on producing content that’s right for your audience. The theme includes all of the design elements that affect how the content and images on your website appear to visitors, such as page layout, style, font, and colors.
How to Find a New WordPress Theme
When you are looking for a new theme for your website, you’ll want to make sure that it will meet your needs. The best WordPress themes have a responsive design, so they look great on computers and mobile devices. They provide customers with support if any issues arise, and they are compatible with the plugins that most users need.
When you’re checking out new themes, always look to see if the theme has been updated recently, since developers might abandon themes when they stop producing revenue.
Read the developer information to see if the features will match your needs and take time to read the reviews. They will tell you a lot about how people use the themes and common issues that might arise.
You can find thousands free of WordPress themes to choose from, right in your WP dashboard. Make sure you are logged in to your site. From the menu, head to Appearance > Themes > Add New.
From here, you can view the most popular or the most recently added themes. You can apply filters or enter a term in the search box, such as writer, portfolio, or e-commerce, to find the themes most relevant to your blog or business.
If you find a theme that catches your attention, hover over it and click Preview to get more information.
Another way to find a new theme is to browse the internet for sites in your niche that you really like. If something catches your eye, try typing the website URL into a tool like What WP Theme Is That? to see what theme the site is using.
How to Install a New WordPress Theme
Before you make changes to your themes or perform and other upgrades, it’s always a good idea to backup your website first.
Installing a Theme from the WordPress Themes Directory
Once you’ve narrowed your search down, installing a WordPress theme is easy. If you are still on the Add Themes page in your WordPress dashboard, hover over your chosen theme and click Install. If you have already previewed, the Install button will be in the top-left corner of your screen.
Installing a Theme from Outside the WordPress Directory
If you’re already comfortable with WordPress, you might decide to look for new themes through an internet search like “Best WP Themes in [Current Year]” or purchase a paid theme. In that case, you may be downloading your theme from outside of the official WordPress directory. Here’s what you need to do:
- Find the new theme you downloaded in your Downloads folder, or somewhere else on your computer.
- Open your WordPress dashboard, click Appearance > Add New > Upload Theme.
- Select Choose file and locate the folder with your new theme.
- Click Open > Install Now. You’ll upload the whole theme here. You don’t even need to unzip it first, but it will take a few minutes.
- Once it’s installed, you’ll have the option to live preview and see how your site will look. If you like it, click Activate and Publish apply this theme to your site.
Once you install a theme, your content should appear with the new theme’s appearance. In most cases, you can go in and personalize as needed. For example, you can change your background images, update your logo, or select different colors for your site.
From your dashboard, click Appearance > Customize.
The amount of customization available varies with the theme you’ve chosen. If you have a free theme, you may need to upgrade to get the options you need.
Premium WordPress Themes
There are many amazing, free WordPress themes available, almost 8000 at the time of writing this article. Themes in the official WordPress directory are reviewed before being accepted to limit coding issues and ensure compatibility with most common plugins.
If you are just starting out, free themes are fantastic for testing out designs and seeing what options are available. They are also great for the budget. As your business grows, you may want to consider upgrading your free theme or investing in a premium theme, since paid themes may offer:
- More reliable code which may impact your site’s speed, security, and SEO
- Advanced customization options to make your site look exactly the way you want it to
- Support if you run into issues, especially if you don’t have an I.T. team and can’t take the time to search forums for answers
- Regular updates to ensure continued compatibility with plugins
How to Update a WordPress Theme
It’s important to keep your theme updated so everything functions correctly. If you’re using plugins for security, SEO, contact forms, or any other reasons, you want to make sure they will still interact with your theme correctly.
Updating is simple. Just click Appearance > Themes. Have a look at the themes in your list. If there is an update available, a bar will appear at the top of the theme, telling you an update is available. Simply click on Update, and you’ll be good to go.
How to Remove WordPress Themes from Your Site
Now that you’ve tried out a few themes and chosen the one you’re going to stick with, it’s time to get rid of the ones you won’t be using.
If you’ve got extra themes knocking around, your backups will be larger, you will keep getting update notifications, and hackers can use those themes to store malicious code on your site.
Removing themes is easy and only takes a few minutes. From your WordPress dashboard, head to Appearance > Themes > Theme Details. Then click Delete in the bottom right corner.
If WordPress powers your website, you’ve got lots of options when it comes to appearance. WordPress themes make it easy to make your site stand out in the crowd.