So you have your WordPress (WP) blog installed, but the default WP theme definitely does not reflect your business message, nor convey your personality. Good thing WordPress makes installing a new theme quick and easy.
How to Find the Perfect WP Theme
Web Search: You can actually find WordPress themes quickly by either doing a web search. To help narrow down your search results, use specific elements you want in your theme; for example: “red 2 column wordpress theme”.
WordPress Admin Theme Search: with the newest version of WordPress, you can now search for, and install, wp themes all from within your administration dashboard! This handy admin dashboard search feature only searches the themes directory at the WordPress web site; however, you are given ability to search by keyword phrase or even select listed search parameters, such as color, how many columns you prefer and/or even if you want a theme with an easily customizeable header.
How to Install a WP Theme
Whether you find and download the zip file for your new WordPress theme via a web browser search engine find, or you find your new theme in the admin dashboard, installation is super easy. Follow these simple installation steps:
From a saved zip file
- Log into your WP admin dashboard and in the left navigaton column, go to Appearance > Add New Themes
- At the top of the page, below where it says Install Themes, click the Upload link
- Cick the Browse button to find the zip file on your computer for the theme you wish to install
- Click Install Now
- After installation is complete, you will see a message asking if you want to Activate the theme. If you want to apply this theme to your blog, click Activate.
- That’s it!
From a WP admin dashboard search
- If you have found your theme using the search feature from within your admin dashboard (Appearance > Add New Theme), then below the preview listing for each theme name, you’ll see the Install Theme link right next to the Preview link.
- Click the Install Theme link.
- In the window that pops up, click the Install Now button
- You will then get a successful installation message with a link to click to Activate the theme for your site, if you want to activate this theme, click Activate
- That’s it!
Free WordPress Themes – Premium or Custom WordPress Themes: Which is Better?
There is a never ending supply of free wp themes available. That’s great news for your budget; but if you do not have the image editing software and/or the ability to at least customize a free theme, you run the risk of your site looking exactly like many others on the web using the same free theme.
Free WordPress Themes
My advice is to customize any free wp theme you intend to use. Change the header graphic, as well as any icons or graphics used within the theme, to reflect your business image or message. Use the search guidelines I mentioned above to get the core layout of the theme as you want it (i.e. 2 columns or 3 columns) because changing colors and a few graphics is much easier than changing the entire layout of a theme.
Premium WordPress Themes
A premium WP theme is one that you pay for; however, it still needs a bit of tweaking to make it uniquely yours. Since many folks will be going for and using the free themes, buying a pre-made theme is the next step up to not having your site look like every other one on the web. You can find premium themes on template sites, or by doing a web search. They aren’t hard to find, but there are far fewer choices of premium themes.
Custom WordPress Themes
This is an option that requires hiring a wp theme designer. Yes, this is going to cost you money to have done; but your returns in the long run may be better, as you can truly get a theme designed exactly as you want that will uniquely brand you and your company. Before you hire a WordPress theme designer, make sure you see samples of their work. Any experienced professional web designer will have a portfolio of their work. Another key thing to screen new web designers for is their ability to communicate; more specifically to listen to your needs and then comprehend what your needs are and translate that into a blog theme design that meets those needs. Communication skills are essential and the designer should be able to translate your non-tech requests into appropriate and applicable tech needs for your blog theme.
Once you have chosen your blog’s theme, it’s easier to select a theme for your blog, whether a free theme, premium or custom. Keep your branding mind and go from there.