When setting up a WordPress website you will need a theme to work with. This provides the template and the software to create your website (think of it like the Word Document that you write your letters on).

There are thousands of themes to choose from, some are free, some have a one off license fee and others have an annual fee. The basic (free) ones will have restrictions to them such as not being able to remove the ‘powered by WordPress’ at the bottom or not being able to customise it beyond colours and images. When choosing a website theme for your business I would always recommend a paid for one, my preference being one with a one-off license fee. You can expect the fee to cost roughly $60 + VAT.

Let’s start at the beginning

Unless someone has recommended a theme to you and sent a link to the site you can buy it from you will need to search one of the main sites for WordPress themes. These are:

WordPress.org

Themeforest.net

When searching for WordPress themes it’s advisable to use filters to narrow your search otherwise the choice is overwhelming and it’s important to remember that you only need 1 theme. Here are some questions to narrow down your search:

Do you want to use a demo (where the site layout is preset and you drop your content in)

Would you prefer to customise the layout yourself?

What do you want the website to do? (is it information only? Direct sales? etc)

What’s the feedback from theme users and how have developers responded to it?

Once you’ve chosen your template you will be taken to the checkout where you can download your files as a zip file. Do this and save it to your desktop.

*If you really can’t decide which theme to go with the 2 most popular themes are Avada and Divi. Personally I prefer Avada and build all my WordPress websites using it.

Installing the Theme

Login to your website. This will have the latest free WordPress theme if it’s a new site (this is automatically installed when you choose WordPress on your hosting installation) or it will have the existing website theme if you’re updating a website.

On the left hand menu choose:

Themes 

Add New

Drag the zip file of your theme onto Choose File

Click Install Now

Once it has installed click Activate

The theme is now active and will overwrite the settings of any other theme on the website.

Installing a Child Theme

Whilst not compulsory, it is a good idea to install a Child Theme of the main theme on your website. The technical reason and details for this is available by clicking here. The short version is:

If there is a major update to your theme, having a Child Theme installed ensures that the design you’ve created does not get negatively affected by the theme changes.

To install and activate the Child Theme repeat the instructions above using the zip file of the Child Theme.

Updating a Theme

From time to time developers will release an update to the theme. This is often in line with WordPress itself releasing updates and you will need to update your theme accordingly to ensure your website runs smoothly. Developers also release theme updates which can contain improvements, new design tools, additional plugins and fix any security or bug issues from previous versions of the theme.

To update the theme go to your WordPress Dashboard:

Click on Updates

Scroll to Themes

Click on Update Theme

Removing a Theme

For the sake of good housekeeping and not taking up too much data on your website it’s a good idea to clear out any themes that you’re not using that aren’t your current Parent or Child Theme. This is a quick and simple process:

To remove a theme go to your WordPress Dashboard:

Go to Themes

Click on the theme you want to remove (it should say ‘Theme Details when you hover over it. Click on this).

Click on Delete on the right hand side

About the author

Holly is a Website designer and Marketing & Business Development consultant. This Demanding Life was created for those who want a dazzling website with an awesome user experience but don’t have hours to spend trying to build it. When not creating websites or writing truthful amusing blog posts about her blended family Holly can be found waiting on the many animals the family have amassed whilst listening to Bon Jovi hits.