In WordPress, the overall look and feel of your website is controlled by the theme you choose. When you first install WordPress, it comes with the default 2019 WordPress theme. This is a basic theme and does not have many customization options or website layouts. Often, people will want to customize the design of their website and make it suit their requirements. There are several thousand WordPress themes available on the market. Some are free some are paid, some are built for specific purposes while some are multi-purpose. Choosing a WordPress theme can be overwhelming. In this article, we will have a look at how you can choose a WordPress theme and how you can install any theme in WordPress.
How to choose a WordPress theme
- Keep it simple
Often, when using WordPress themes come with several options, colors, layouts, animated elements, and customizations. They may seem great when you are just starting to search for a WordPress theme. However, in most cases, you will not end up using the hundreds of options that are available. You certainly don’t need all of them.
You should choose a WordPress theme that helps convey the message of your business clearly and your budget. There are free WordPress themes and paid WordPress themes. Your website should look decent and be easy to navigate. The theme should make it easy for users to find information on your website.
Additionally, themes with a clear call to action are highly recommended.
- Check for browser compatibility & responsiveness
Your websites will use all sorts of different desktop and mobile browsers. It is important to make sure your website looks and functions as desired on major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. There are not many people who use internet explorer and most themes have compatibility issues with internet explorer. If your website works on internet explorer as well that will be a bonus.
- Ensure it’s fast and SEO friendly
The WordPress theme that you choose will have a major contribution to your website’s speed. It is important to select a theme that has well-written code, is not bloated, or does not slow down your website. A slow website can have detrimental effects on your user experience as well as your SEO efforts.
You should also check your themes HTML5 validation. You can use a tool such as W3C Markup Validation. This might show some errors but you can use the tool to make sure there are no major issues with the theme’s code.
- Ensure the theme is updated frequently
Most paid themes are updated frequently. Free themes, on the other hand, may not be updated with the required frequency. It is important to have a theme that is updated frequently as WordPress core and plugins keep getting updated. Having an outdated theme can make you run into compatibility issues. An outdated theme can also be a security threat to your website.
- Peak at Competitors
Finally, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what your competitors are doing. You should not copy them, but it is good to have an idea of what their websites look like, what kind of content they have on there. This will help you create a website that stands out from the competition.
When looking at competitors it may also be a good idea to look for industry standards. You may find websites that are similar in style as the audience expects a specific aesthetic. You may need to follow the design trends in your niche.
How to Install a WordPress theme
There are 2 methods to install a WordPress theme. You can either upload it and install or you can search for one from the WordPress repository and install it.
Method 1: Searching for a WordPress theme from the WordPress repository
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard
Login to your WordPress dashboard and under the appearance menu click on Themes, as shown in the screenshot below.
Step 2: Start adding a new theme
Click on the add new button to add a new theme.
Step 3: Searching for a theme
You will be shown several popular free WordPress themes. You can choose any of these themes and you can also search for various themes by entering keywords in the search bar. For example, in the screenshot below we have searched for a theme relevant to dentists.
If you would like to preview a theme you can hover over the theme and click on preview.
Once you have found a relevant theme click, hover over the theme and click on install as shown in the screenshot above.
Step 4: Activating the theme
Once you are done installing the theme, you will need to activate it. Click on activate to start using the theme.
Method 2: Uploading a theme
Usually, the first method will be useful if you are using a free theme from the WordPress repository. However, if you are using a paid theme or one that you have downloaded from an external source you will need to upload the theme and install it.
Step 1 & Step 2 will be the same as method 1. Login to your WordPress dashboard, under the appearance menu, click on themes and then click on add new.
Step 3: Uploading the theme
On the next screen click on upload theme.
A new prompt will appear in which you can choose the theme file to upload from your computer. Click on choose file as shown in the screenshot below
Usually the WordPress theme files will come in a zipped format. You will need to select the relevant zip file from your computer.
Once you have selected the relevant file from your computer click on open, as shown in the screenshot above.
Step 4: Installing the theme
Click on install now to begin installing the theme. Depending on the file size and the connection speed this might take a minute or two.
Step 5: Activating the theme
Once the installation is complete click on activate to start using the theme.
Choosing and installing a WordPress theme is easy. You should not overthink it. In most cases, if you decide to change the theme sometime later it is possible without losing any data. Just make sure when choosing a WordPress theme, it is important to select one that compliments the purpose of your website. You can also check out our favorite WordPress themes for bloggers and small business owners here. We have found the best themes with some free and paid options depending on your budget!