A theme in WordPress changes the design of your website, often including the layout. Selecting or changing your theme changes how your site looks to visitors when they browse to your site. You can find thousands of free themes in the WordPress Theme Repository, although many sites use what are known as premium ( paid) theme or have custom themes built specifically for their website.

What do themes do?

Themes take the content and data stored by WordPress in the database and displays it in the browser. When you choose a WordPress theme, you are deciding how the content will be displayed to your site visitor.There are many options available to you when choosing a theme such as:

  • The theme can have different layouts, such as responsive ( your theme should always be responsive these days).
  • The theme can display your content anyway you want it to.
  • The theme can have customizable typography, where you can choose what fonts to use where within your site.

WordPress themes are very powerful and allow you to display your content anyway you want (depending on the theme you choose of course). A good theme  is more than just colour and layout, it also improves the engagement that your site visitor has with your content.

Where can I find themes?

As mentioned before there are thousands of free theme to be found at the WordPress Theme Repository. This is the safest place to find free themes, as the themes here are carefully reviewed by the WordPress Theme Review team. The review team makes sure all themes are consistent with the WordPress coding standards and are free of bad and /or malicious code that could bring your website down or something equally nasty.

You can also find what are called premium themes at various theme shops across the Internet. A premium theme is a theme you pay for, and it typically includes much more customization options and gives you greater control over how your site looks.

Some of the more well known them shops are :

There are countless other theme shops to be found with a Google search, but it’s important to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable theme shop and getting good value for your money. So how do you know if it is a reputable theme shop?

  1. Check out the comments section for the theme developer. A lot of the time you can tell if people were satisfied or not with their theme purchase in the comments.
  2. Find out what kind is offered. Is there email support available after buying the theme?
  3. do a google search on the theme shop for reviews. Again, you can tell a lot about the theme shop by the reviews.

What themes are included with WordPress?

Currently, WordPress comes with three themes bundled in with the software, TwentyFifteen, TwentySixteen and TwentySeventeen. Each offers a unique way to display your content and get you started with your website while you determine what you want in a theme.

How to install a theme

Once you have found the theme you want for your site you will need to install it and activate it. If your theme came from the WordPress Theme Repository, you simply click the install button and once WordPress has finished installing your theme , you click the activate button and you are all set.

If you bought a theme from a theme shop, you will need to download the theme to your computer. It will download as a .zip file, and then upload it by navigating to Appearance>> Themes  and then clicking the ” Upload Theme” button found at the top of the page. It is very important that when you upload the theme it is in it’s original .zip format or it won’t install to your site. Once installed make sure you click the activate link so that your new theme is in use.

It is important to note that you can only have one theme active at a time. So make sure you choose wisely and install a theme that makes your content and layout display the way you want to.

Have a favorite theme or theme shop? Let me know in the comments below.