If you are interested in creating your own website, without the need for coding or knowing lots of 'techy things', then WordPress really is a life saver for many.
Today we will run through how to install WordPress themes, allowing you to change the look and overall feel of a website, again without the need for knowing any type of coding language, or the need to tinker with anything beyond some selection boxes or chooses as you go through customising or changing the theme once installed.
If you haven't got WordPress installed, be sure to checkout our article on getting your blog set up and running with WordPress.
Getting Started - Standard WordPress Themes
As part of new WordPress installations, most hosts will offer the ability to choose a 'starter theme', this is essentially the standard theme that is used to get your website up and running.
SiteGround for example provides a variety of themes to choose from, depending on the type of website you are building, for example if you are looking at using your new website to show off your photography or videos, then you can choose from the 'Photography' category and you will find themes that are big on showing images and portfolios of work.
By default, a number of themes are given, or installed, an example of the standard theme will be 'Twenty Twenty One' or 'Twenty Twenty'. It's is always worth having a theme like this installed, in case you have issues with new themes that you install along the way.
You can always find what theme is active, or what themes you have installed on your WordPress website by going to 'Appearance' and 'Themes' within your WordPress admin section.
Choosing And Installing A New Theme - WordPress Options
The easiest way to get a new WordPress theme installed, is using the WordPress marketplace or Theme selection area (who knows what it's really called!).
As you can see from the above image, you will see the 'Add New' button, or the large 'Add New Theme' placeholder, both of these can be clicked and will take you to the same place.
From here you have the ability to filter and show different themes based on pre-set options such as Featured, Popular, Latest or even favourites (ones that you have marked as Favourites on the WordPress.org site).
The themes you are shown are one that have been uploaded to the WordPress.org marketplace and filters such as Popular will show you themes that a lot of people download and install.
Depending on the type of website you want setting up will determine the type of theme you choose, there are hundreds, if not thousands of themes to download and install, so take your time to find ones that look like they may meet your criteria.
Each theme can be be clicked to see more details, such as how many people have rated them, details about the creators and even what the themes uses or configuration options are like.
Previewing themes is really useful as you can see how a 'standard install' would look or what is possible with themes.
Every theme can also do a 'live preview' if installed, this allows you to view what a theme will look like on your website, using your own content, pages and posts, without actually activating or changing how everyday readers or viewers of your site see your website.
When choosing themes, it's always worth bearing in mind the end user, is the theme easy to navigate, read or is it busy, clustered and 'bloated' with things you don't need. Simpler is usually better.
As you can see, GeneratePress is currently installed and activated on the site, but if I wanted to checkout Twenty Twenty-One to see how it will look if I activate it.
Looking at the two different themes currently installed, you can see a big difference with the overall look and feel of the site. You can also see you are given the customise options for the theme, which we will cover later.
If you are happy with the live preview, and you want to start using that theme, an activate and publish button will be found in the left hand corner of your screen.
Doing so will automatically update your website with the new theme that you have chosen, this usually takes 30 - 60 seconds, depending on the theme or even the host.
Once activated, your new theme is ready and waiting to be customised, check below for the next steps.
Choosing And Installing A New Theme - Other Marketplaces
Using the WordPress.org website isn't the only place that Themes can be found, there are hundreds of other marketplaces and websites whereby you can find themes.
Themes can be free, to costing hundreds of $'s depending on what the theme offers or comes with. For example a theme such as eCom Turbo which comes with a variety of apps and plugins as part of the product, as well as being created as an eCommerce or DropShipping focused theme, will cost you around $199, but could save you from having to purchase or find separate plugins to work on the site.
Whatever site you choose to buy or get your theme from, they will all provide the theme in the same format, a zip file.
Most will send it via email, some will upload to an online account for you to download, however you get your new theme, you will want to save that to your computer (or device of your choice I guess).
Once you have your fresh ZIP file, it's time to head back to Appearance & Themes.
Instead of choosing one of the themes found on the WordPress.org marketplace, we are going to be Uploading a theme, with the 'Upload Theme' button. Crazy.
Simply drag and drop your new file into the little box, or click choose file. Once the file has been uploaded, click 'Install Now' and WordPress will unpack and install your theme.
As before, your new theme will show up in your Themes section ready to be activated when you are ready.
Customising Your New Theme
Now that you have a new theme set up, either via the standard marketplace, or via another marketplace such as ThemeForest, it's time to customise your theme.
Every theme has a varying degree of customisation available to you, free themes usually have less, as of course they like to charge you a premium for extended customisations.
There are usually two ways in which a customisation can happen, or be found.
For example, GeneratePress have their own section, in which you can select and you will be shown a selection of options. Of course, these are premium modules, so you need to own the premium version if you want to be able to edit or update these sections.
On the right hand side you will notice the 'Start Customising' anyone can start uploading logos, changing fonts or updating layouts. You can also simply click 'Customize' found within the menu to be shown the same final menu.
Each of these menus will lead you to a number of different of options and items that you can change, most themes will also show the breadcrumbs of each menu that you have gone through.
Every theme will offer different elements and items that can be changed, for example GeneratePress places most of the content inside of containers, including the header. As such you have the ability to change how wide the header is, or if you have another one inside of it.
Take the time to go through each part, and always watch help videos or read the documents from the theme providers.
How To Install WordPress Themes - Final Words
Getting themes installed on WordPress is pretty similar, no matter where you get it from or how you load it. Thankfully WordPress has made it fairly easy to install WordPress themes.
The part that does change per installation is the customisation, as every single theme has a different level of changing and updating, sometimes it can feel near endless, but again documentation and videos exist these days for a large majority of the themes.
Have you got a favourite theme or tricks and tips to help others installing WordPress themes, drop them below.
I started this blog around 2017, after realising that I wanted to let people know about all the different ways someone could make money online. From DropShipping, Affiliate Marketing, Network Marketing and more.
This blog has now grown to review and explain a variety of different tools and platforms, in the bid to help you.
This blog contains affiliate links, and I will get a commission for purchases made through these links. It doesn’t change anything for you and will on occasion save you money! Enjoy, James.