With over 200 million active websites on the internet, you need to find a way to stand out. Thankfully, not all sites are created equal and the developers work hard to make sure many options are available. If your site is already on the WordPress platform, themes make it easy to customize, differentiating yours from everything else.
What is a WordPress theme?
When using WordPress to set up your blog or website, you need to start by choosing a theme or template to display your work. The theme takes care of the HTML, so you can focus on producing content that is suitable for your audience. The theme includes all the design elements that influence the way your website content and images 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, make sure 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 in case of problems and are compatible with plugins that most users need.
When reviewing new themes, always check if the theme has been recently updated, as developers may drop themes when they stop producing revenue.
Read the developer information to see if the features match your needs and take the time to read the reviews. They will tell you a lot about how people use themes and common problems that might arise.
You can find thousands of free WordPress themes to choose from, right in the WP dashboard. Make sure you are logged into your site. From the menu, go to Appearance> Themes> Add New .
From here you can view the most popular or 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 most relevant themes for your blog or business.
If you find a theme that catches your eye, 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 making any changes to themes or performing and other updates, it’s always a good idea to back up your website first .
Installing a theme from the WordPress theme directory
After narrowing down your search, 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’ve already previewed, the Install button will be in the upper left corner of the screen.
Installing a theme from outside the WordPress directory
If you are already comfortable with WordPress, you may decide to search for new themes via an Internet search such as “Best WP Themes in [Current Year]” or purchase a paid theme. If so, you could download your theme from outside the official WordPress directory. Here’s what you need to do:
- Find the new theme you downloaded in the Downloads folder or somewhere else on your computer.
- Open your WordPress dashboard, click Appearance> Add New> Upload Theme.
- Select Choose Fileand locate the folder with your new theme.
- Click Open> Install Now. You will upload the entire theme here. You don’t even need to unzip it first, but it will take a few minutes.
- Once installed, you will have the option to preview live and see how your site will look. If you like it, click Activateand Publish and apply this theme to your site.
After installing a theme, the content should appear with the look of the new theme. In most cases, you can go in and customize as needed. For example, you can change the background images, update your logo, or select different colors for your site.
From the dashboard, click Appearance> Customize .
The amount of customization available varies based on the theme chosen. If you have a free theme, you may need to upgrade to get the options you need.
Premium WordPress Themes
There are many great free WordPress themes available, nearly 8000 at the time of this writing. Themes in the official WordPress directory are reviewed before being accepted to limit coding problems and ensure compatibility with the most common plugins.
If you’re just starting out, free themes are great for testing 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, as paid themes may offer:
- More reliable code that could impact your site’s speed, security, and SEO
- Advanced customization options to make your site exactly the way you want it
- Help with problems, especially if you don’t have an IT team and can’t spend time searching for answers in forums
- Regular updates to ensure continued compatibility with plugins
How to update a WordPress theme
It is important to keep the theme up to date so that everything works correctly. If you use plugins for security , SEO, contact forms, or for any other reason, make sure they continue to interact properly with your theme.
Upgrading is simple. Just click Appearance> Themes . Take a look at the themes on your list. If an update is available, a bar will appear at the top of the theme, indicating that an update is available. Just click Update and you’re ready to go.
How to remove WordPress themes from your site
Now that you’ve tried a few themes and picked the one you’ll stick with, it’s time to get rid of the ones you won’t be using.
If you have extra themes lying around, your backups will be larger, you will continue to receive 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 the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance> Themes> Theme Details . Then click Delete in the lower right corner.