Changing your theme in wordpress.

There are many reason why you would need to change your theme on your WordPress website.  You may be new to wordpress and need to apply a theme for the first time.  You may just be bored and wanting to experiment with a new look.  Your current theme may have issues or errors if it is unsupported or not up to date.  Or you may want a specific feature that your current theme doesn’t give you, like an RSS feed link or dynamic photo galleries to highlight your product.  Whatever the reasons, don’t fret.  Changing your theme in WordPress is fast and easy.  How long it actually takes you to chose a theme for your site, now that you have this new skill, is another story all together.  Let’s get started!

There are two different ways to install themes.  In this article I will cover how to install a theme while you are logged into wordpress.  The other way to install themes is by uploading a theme you have downloaded directly into the themes folder via ftp.  The first thing you are going to do, if you haven’t already, is Log Into WordPress.  Once there, on the left hand side you will notice a long list of options.  This is where we will begin.

1.  First hover your mouse over Appearance, then select Themes.

Use Themes to change your website's appearance

Use Themes to change your website’s appearance

If you are working from a fresh installation of wordpress you will have the current default themes installed.  As you can see from the screen shot below I have two themes installed, and the theme I am currently using is called Twenty Twelve.

2.  Select Install Themes.

Select Install Themes

Select Install Themes

There are literally thousands of themes available through this search feature, and they are all free.  You could spend hours wading through all these themes.  My advice here is to try to chose something that is both easy to use and easy on the eye.  Especially if you are a beginner with a simple website idea.  White back grounds with a few bold colors give a clean and professional look.  If this is a business website the ability to customize headers, colors and background may be important.  If you are selling a product or service displaying photos on the front page is a great way to showcase your work.  So let’s do a search for “photo” and see what we get.

3.  Type your keyword into the search box, then click on search.

Enter in your keyword then click on search.

Enter in your keyword then click on search.

Choosing the right theme involves a lot of trial and error.  In a way it’s like Cinderella’s glass slipper, you really just have to try it on in order to know how well it’s going to fit.  There have been many times I have seen a theme and thought “Oh wow that looks really nice.”  But then it turns out to be complicated, unsupported, out of date or not compatible with my needs.  Once you find a theme that appeals to you go ahead and install it.

4.  Select Install Now, located right below the theme you want to install.

Installs the theme in wordpress making it available to preview and activate.

Installs the theme in wordpress making it available to preview and activate.


I recommend choosing 5 or 6 themes that you like, installing them one at a time.  You can hit the back arrow to take you back to the search results page, or you can do a new search after each installation.  Once you have a few themes installed you will be ready to activate them one at a time and take a look around.  Head back over to your themes main page to take a look at all the themes you now have installed.  (See step 1.)  At the top of the page you will have your current theme, and under that will be your available themes.  Go ahead and activate one.

5.  Select Activate.

Selecting activate will apply the themes design to your website.

Selecting activate will apply the themes design to your website.

Take a look around your website to get a feel how this theme looks when applied to your page.  If you have photos on your website you may notice that the layout of the galleries have changed.  You may gain search capabilities.  Create a new page or a new post and see what features are included.  Once your done checking out your website and new features, the last thing you are going to do is head over to the designer’s website.

6.  Click on the Theme Designer’s link.

Visit the theme designer's website.

Visit the theme designer’s website.

Answer these questions: “Does the description of the features of this design fit my needs?” and “Do they provide tutorials on how to use these features?”  As you can see in the photo above this designer has created a banner inviting you to follow him on twitter and like him on facebook.  If you have someone to manage your site for you this may not be too important, but if you are doing this on your own these supplements and customer support may be critical.

Deciding on a theme that is going to work for you may turn into a lengthy process, I really recommend taking the extra time to get this done right from the very beginning.  People are going to want to see consistency when they come to your website, and keeping the same theme will give them that consistency.  The information or content of your site should increase, but the general look or design should remain the same over time.



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