WordPress 101: Themes

WordPress Themes

Written by Brian, Lead Ninja

As a WordPress Ninja, I love to find a way to do things better and faster with technology and then hide in the shadows like I'm not even there. If you want to be on the leading edge, I want to be your ninja guide.

EvoDynamic Inc

Before this, we talked about domains and hosting and installing WordPress. If you missed that, check it out here: Install and Launch WordPress

So, we've installed a WordPress site and the domain set up but it looks kinda weird. A theme determines the styling and settings that set the "rules" for how your installation of WordPress looks. WordPress comes with a couple of default themes that are pretty simple but yet quite functional. You can use them as they are or just swap out a few images and be on your way. BUT a theme fast forwards you to a design for your site without much work.

Finding a WordPress Theme

Just jump on Google and search WordPress theme. You'll see a never ending list of possible themes you can put on your site for free or purchase.

Trusting a Theme

Remember from our first visit together, themes can be a weak point in the security of a WordPress site. We need to keep this in mind when selecting a theme for our site.

There are four things I look for when deciding to TRUST a theme.

  1. How recently has it been updated: if it hasn't been updated in a while (longer than 3-6 months ago) that is a bad sign.
  2. How many people have used the theme: how many sites is it installed on. The more use, the more possibility that it is reputable.
  3. Is the person/company providing or selling the theme well known. Do they have a history of providing excellence?
  4. Is it commercial: did I have to pay for it. If the provider is getting paid, it may suggest a higher level of quality.

There are no guarantees for quality. Anybody and their sister's, friend's, neighbor has access to the standards and guidelines for creating a WordPress theme. That doesn't mean that they ever heard of them, read them, or most importantly followed them. So you need to be careful here. Look for reputation through reviews and our four bullet points above.

We Endorse the Divi Theme and Provide it to our Partners

A majority of our sites use the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. Why? It meets all four of the criteria above and even though it is a paid product we provide it as part of our service to all of our partners (you're not a customer when you choose us for your team). A few things we like about this theme are:

  1. It has an extensive collection of documentation, tutorials, and demos: https://www.elegantthemes.com/documentation/divi/
  2. It has a built in collection of Layouts and Layout Packs to start from in your designs: https://www.elegantthemes.com/layouts/
  3. It has a complete list of modules to add functionality and fast forward your designs
  4. It has a visual builder that makes it easy to design, by site for mobile and desktop

Enough about Divi, once you've found the theme you want, download it and get it on your local machine.

Installing Your WordPress Theme

It is really easy to install and activate a theme even if you don't have the files on your local computer.

  1. Login as an admin to your WordPress.
  2. Use the sidebar menu to navigate to Appearance > Themes, this will show you all the themes that are installed in your WordPress.
  3. Click on the "Add New" button.
  4. On the bottom of the screen you can see a bunch of Themes to search through that you could easily install as well...but we recommend being a bit more diligent about your theme selection.
  5. At the top of the screen is a button "Upload Theme", click on that and select the them you downloaded earlier.
  6. It will install the theme and get it ready for your use.
  7. Now just press the "Activate" button and the new theme will be activated.

Now you're all set to start playing around and looking at how the theme works and the appearance it gave your content. . . Oh yeah, you don't have any content yet. lets look at that next.

Next we'll talk about posts and pages - adding content to WordPress.


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