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In the fourth step of my Beginners Guide to Create a WordPress Website, I will tell you about WordPress Themes, how to select a theme, install and customize them. In this article, I am considering that you have read the previous articles in this blog series and have done following three steps:

  1. Registered a domain name for your website
  2. Purchased a hosting plan for your website
  3. Installed WordPress on your hosting for your website

The first thing that you need in your WordPress website is a Theme. But before telling you how to add that, let me give you a brief introduction about the WordPress dashboard. Continuing from the previous step, after installing WordPress, go to your admin URL and login using your username and password.

WordPress Login

The Dashboard

On login, you will be taken to the WordPress dashboard. It will look something like this

WordPress Dashboard

I will be giving you a brief introduction about all the sections in this dashboard so that you will know where you are not supposed to go. The top bar shows some quick shortcuts. The main menu of the WordPress dashboard is the left sidebar. Each link will have multiple sub-links that can be used to manage the content of your website. The brief idea about each link is as follows:

  • Dashboard: It shows a link to home of dashboard and updates available
  • Posts: This is used to create and manage posts
  • Media: This is used to add and manage media files like images, documents, videos, etc.
  • Pages: This is used to create and manage pages
  • Comments: This shows the comments posted on your posts and pages
  • Appearance: It has options to customize the look and feel of your website
  • Plugins: It lets you add plugins to enhance the functionality of your website
  • Users: It lets you update your profile and add more users to use your website dashboard
  • Tools: It has some WordPress tools
  • Settings: It has some settings for your website

You may not ever use some of the above links, but having a brief idea is always good.

Select a Theme

Before we start adding content to your brand new WordPress website, we need to select a theme. A theme is a group of files containing templates, styling, images, colors, and everything that decides how your website will look. There is a large number of themes available from very basic to very complex. It all depends on your requirements on how to select a theme. WordPress itself gives a large range of Free themes available for download and use. Go to “Appearance” link from the left sidebar and click on “Themes”.

Select a theme from WordPress

As you can see above, you will get a few Themes already installed on your WordPress website. These are Free themes provided by WordPress. In most cases, you will not be using any of these. To search for more themes, click on “Add New” button at the top. The next page will show you a number of themes that you can install for free.

Select a theme from WordPress

Moreover, you can select filters from the top to customize your search. Search can be made based on Subject, color preferences, features, layout and more. You should also look for themes that are “responsive”, as this means they will look good on any mobile device. To install a theme to your website, just hover your mouse pointer over the theme that you like, and click on the “Install” button.

Install Theme

It will take about a minute and your theme will be installed. After it is installed, you need to activate it. Click on the “Activate” button. You will see that the theme that you installed now shows on the “Theme” section of your Dashboard.

Activate Theme

Most of the WordPress themes come with recommended plugins. This means you must install those recommended plugins in order to use all the features of those themes. Sometimes these plugins may be premium and would require you to purchase theme. To install those plugins, click on “Begin installing plugins” and complete the steps that will follow. I will be writing another article about installing plugins, so you need not worry if you are not able to proceed.

Premium Themes

Though, there are many themes to choose from, selecting a free theme often makes it possible that there would be many more websites looking similar to yours. You can purchase premium themes from many third-party services. If you want something truly professional or elegant than what you find here, you can head over to ThemeForest.net where there’s a HUGE library of premium themes to pick from at varying costs.

Select a theme from ThemeForest

Installing a theme from ThemeForest.net or any other third party service is a little different from the above process. You just need to select a theme, purchase it, download the files, upload and activate it. ThemeForest has a large number of premium themes available for almost every industry. You can search the best one for you and purchase it. After you purchase it, you will get a download link to download the theme files.

Download Theme

To upload these files, go to “Add Theme” and click on “Upload Theme” button. Click on “Browse” and select the zip file that you downloaded and click on “Install Now”

Hire a Professional

As a beginner, a Free theme from the WordPress repository or a premium theme from ThemeForest would work fine for you. However, if you are looking for a rather completely customized look for your website, hire a professional like Dharmishi Technologies to create a theme for you. Additionally, this makes sure that no other website looks similar to yours. We provide Custom Theme Development services for WordPress to give your website a rich, premium and unique look. The custom theme developed can in uploaded and installed in a similar was as described above for the downloaded theme from Themeforest.

After Installing the Theme

You may or may not see some additional links on the left menu bar after you have selected, installed and activated the theme of your choice. You will still not see anything on your website’s main domain since you have not made any pages and not added any content on your website. We will be doing that in the next article.

If you faced any problem in the above steps, just drop a comment below and I will try to help you the best I can. You have now installed a theme on your website. In the next article, I will tell you how to create and manage pages for your website.

 

Ankit Gupta

Though completed his MCA in 2013, Ankit started his career as a freelance web and graphic designer in 2011. After completing post grad from Pune, he worked in an antivirus company for a couple of years as PHP Developer. With all experience and knowledge and interest in web technologies, Ankit pivoted himself to web design and development and started Dharmishi Technologies.

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