Themes – Customizing the look and feel of your website

Themes, themes, themes… ?

What is a Theme?

A WordPress theme is what allows your website to have its own look and feel.

It is the appearance, the layout, the colors, the shape of the icons, the background images, the layers, the fonts and the basic interactive elements.

With the theme you can define the visual style your website. Is what you and your visitors SEE.

WordPress allows you to have 1 active theme, but you can try as many themes you want until you find the perfect for your website.

If is not clear enough, think of a WordPress Theme as clothing, in which you have different options for different occasions (only in this case, is not recommended to change your theme on a daily basis :D).

Types of themes

There are basically 2 types in terms of cost:

  • Free, which you can find in the WP theme library (which is inside your WP site Admin Dashboard)
  • Paid, which you can find in hundreds of websites such as Theme Forest (will open a new tab)

Here are the main differences between paid and free themes:

  1. Cost (duh!). Free themes are free while paid themes can start from $20 up to $100 USD.
  2. Customization level. Paid themes have lots and lots of options to customize the design without having to dive into the code.
  3. Support. Free themes don’t have a team behind which you can contact to ask questions or help. With a paid theme you receive more secure assistance from the developer that created it.

Choosing the right theme for your website

Other than cost, it has more to do with your likes and requirements. Consider the following:

  1. Make sure fits your market style. You can check your competition websites and select something more or less similar. Also keep in mind your type of customer and the type of content you will be displaying.
  2. Keep it simple. In the wide variety of themes from which you can choose, you will find a diversity of colors, animations and complexity. If your page does not require great depth in the design, opt for the simple and sophisticated. What makes a user want to stay on a website, is that it is friendly and intuitive.
  3. Device compatibility. Nowadays we use more our mobile devices than computers. Verify that your theme works well on any device.
  4. Check the reviews of other users. Take a look at the opinion of people who have used the theme you want. From their experience you can know if your choice is appropriate.

If you don’t have the budget for a paid theme, start with a free one. This way you can start familiarizing with the WordPress themes and how they work :).

Now that you learned about themes, is time to get your hands dirty.


How to install a WordPress theme?

The process is different for free and paid plugins but we will cover both.

Installing a free theme from the WordPress library

  1. Go to your website WP Dashboard and login.
  2. In the list of options on the left side, look for the Appearance option and select Themes.
  3. Once the selection interface appears, click on the Add New option that is in a blue box at the top of the screen. You will see the featured and popular themes.
  4. To search for themes you can type down a keyword or go to the Featured Filter menu and select your preferences in Colors, Layouts and Features. 
  5. In the search results, place the cursor on the image that is a preview of the theme. At that time you can select if you want to install, preview or see the details of the developer. Click on Install.
  6. Click on Activate.
  7. You’re done.

Installing a paid theme purchased in an external website

To begin, you must have at hand the compressed file (.zip file) of the theme you purchased. This will be provided by the company you used to buy the theme.

  1. Go to the WordPress administrator section, then click Appearance, and Themes.
  2. On the topics screen, click on Add New and click Upload Theme.
  3. Select the file on your computer and click Install Now.
  4. Click Activate.
  5. You’re done.

Great job! ? Your website has a design now, take 10 minutes to relax. You’ve earn it!


How to customize my theme?

  1. Enter your admin panel in WordPress. Go to Appearance and then Themes.
  2. Place your cursor above your active theme and select the Customize option.
  3. You can make and preview changes instantly before saving them. Some of the aspects that can be customized are:
  • The name of your website
  • Colors
  • The menus
  • Background
  • Header

Once you’re satisfied, select the Save & Publish option.

The level of customization of each theme varies, if in the process you find more options to customize, feel free to explore. Remember, nothing will be published unless you click on the Save & Publish button.

So that’s it. You have learned what a theme is, how to install new themes, and customize them!



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