When you install WordPress blog, your blog is not just a blank page but it comes out “fully dressed” and presentable to the world. The look of the blog is a result of WordPress dressing your blog with a theme. Today’s WordPress theme tutorial is an overview of themes in general, and the aim is to give you some basic understanding of this wonderful option WordPress (WP) gives us.
Topics Covered In Today’s WordPress Theme Tutorial
This WordPress theme tutorial, as I already mentioned, is an overview of WordPress themes, and will cover the following topics:
- Definition of a WordPress theme, in other words a look at what a theme is
- How to change the default WordPress theme that comes installed on your new blog
What Is A WordPress Theme
In simple terms you can think of a theme as a “skin” of your blog. It gives it a unique appearance. You can nurture it and modify it, you can prettify it… You have many choices.
In reality though, a WordPress theme is not just an outer layer, like a skin. A theme is a collection of files that work in the background and in harmony, to allow you to change the look, the feel and the functionality of your WordPress blog.
When you first install your WordPress blog and look at your blog online, you will see your blog appear as something similar to the example on Image 1., below. Sure, it is nothing much to look at, but it is live, it is visible to everyone on the Internet and you did not have to do any HTML or CSS coding. How fantastic is that!
Image 1. The Default Look Of A Newly Installed Blog
You can change your WordPress theme to a different theme as often as you want. The most important thing is that when you change your theme, the installation of a new theme will not alter the information content or the structure of your blog. It will only change it’s appearance.
There are thousands of free and premium (paid for) themes available for you to choose from. The most important thing for you to know is, that in today’s world the theme you choose MUST be responsive. Meaning, your blog will be equally well viewed on your desktop, laptop and mobile devices including smart phones.
The default theme your blog is on right now, is responsive.
How To Change WordPress Theme
In the next part of the WordPress theme tutorial I am going to show you how to change WordPress theme that is currently on your blog by default. I separated this section into 2 subsections to show you:
- How to change your default theme to another free default theme, also developed by the WordPress team of developers
- How to replace your default theme with one from the free WordPress.org theme library.
1. Changing Default WP Theme to Another Default Theme Within Theme Dashboard
We are going to change the current theme to a theme called Twenty Twelve (because it has been introduced to bloggers in 2012 by WordPress). It is a responsive theme and it is continuously updated to keep up with the technical changes that take place over at the “WordPress Headquarters”. This theme will be used throughout the WordPress tutorial series.
You will love how simple is the changeover!
Step 1. Access themes Home page.
Image 1. Accessing themes Home page
In the sidebar of your WP Dashboard, hover over or click “Appearance” to expand its menu. Inside the menu click “Themes”.
2. Change Themes
In your Appearance dashboard you will find 3-4 themes. The one in the top left corner (Twenty Fifteen) is theme on your newly installed blog. You will want to choose Twenty Twelve.
Image 2. Choice Of Default WordPress Themes
!! Hover over the Twenty Twelve theme and you will see “Activate” button (see Image 3., below)
Image 3. Activate Twenty Twelve Theme
Click on the Activate button. As soon as you will hit the Activate button the theme of your blog will change.
3. Check out your new theme
Image 4. Blog on Twenty Twelve theme
Your blog on the Twenty Twelve will look different that on the Twenty Fifteen default theme. The Twenty Twelve themed blog has a right hand side bar, which I find friendlier for monetizing. As well, the side bar and the main body of the blog are not separated by large spaces but are all in one. Twenty Twelve theme seems more fluent to me.
1. Replacing Your Default WordPress Theme With A Theme From WordPress.org Library
- Access Theme Home Page – see Image 1., above
- Click on Add New Theme
Image 5. Add New Theme Option
- Select the theme you want to install
Image 6. Selecting A New Theme
In the “Add Themes” dashboard you will be presented with images of free WordPress themes you can choose from. Click on the tabs and select the theme you want, based on popularity, time of release, whether they are featured, or you can filter the theme based on the features a theme offers (for example you may want to look at only themes that feature 2 columns).
If you decide to choose a theme, other than one of the default themes, please make sure that the theme you choose is responsive or mobile friendly! Mobile searches are becoming more and more common and if your blog is not mobile friendly, it will never be found on mobile searches.
Whichever theme you will choose, the theme will only appear in its “default state”. In other words, it will be pretty ugly. To make it more appealing and sometimes even more user friendly you have to customize the theme.
In next WordPress Theme Tutorial I will demonstrate how to customize and completely change the look of the Twenty Twelve default WordPress theme. The customizations steps I will take your through, you can apply to any theme you choose.
Next Page: How To Customize WordPress Theme