What are WordPress Themes and how do they work? In this post I’ll explain what a WordPress theme is, how it works and how to install a WordPress theme.
What are themes?
A theme is a collection of files that make up a graphical interface for a blog. Once you install and set up a blog using WordPress, you can change themes or edit or update the theme that your blog is using.
Themes are the features that give a website the look or design and layout that it has. When you install a new blog, the design is already there. The default theme that comes pre-installed with your WordPress setup will make it look like a real site. And you can simply add pages, post articles and add a header and so on to build a website in no time. But you can also change anything or update and edit the page or design if you want a unique design.
How does a theme work?
As an example, when you create an HTML or CSS site, you first design a page using HTML using either a web creation software or online web builder. You first code the page in a way that you want your site to look like using css, html or other languages. You create and arrange the layout, the sidebar, the footer and every other section and then upload it to your servers. But you can do it simply by downloading a template and editing it a bit.
A WordPress theme works exactly like a template. You can get started fast by simply searching and uploading a theme that has a look and feel you like and edit it a bit to make it look like the way you want it to.
How to install a WordPress theme
It’s easy. You will go to the Appearance option in WordPress and do it either automatically or manually.
When you want to install a theme automatically, log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to ‘Appearance’ at the left hand side of the screen. Then click on the ‘Themes’ button.
Then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
Now search from the themes database and find one that you like. There are a lot of themes you can browse automatically and install and use by choosing one that you like best based on the color of the themes, the layout or others.
You can also upload a theme to your servers manually by clicking on the ‘Upload’ button under the ‘Themes’ option. When you click on that button, it will let you browse files located on your computer, so you need to select the theme file and click ‘Upload’. But the theme has to be stored in a .zip format file.
You will use the manual method to upload a theme that is not found in the WordPress themes database. More often than not, when you buy a premium theme, it’s not automatically available to install and activate in WordPress. So you will have to download the theme’s folder manually from the site that you have bought the theme and upload it manually. You can also use FTP software like Filezilla to upload a theme manually.
After you have uploaded a theme you will need to activate it. Click on ‘Appearance’, then ‘Themes’. When you do that, you should be able to view a list of themes that you have uploaded along with the ones that come by default. So what you are going to do is mouse over to the theme that you want to activate and click on the ‘Activate’ button right below it and you are all set.
What you are going to do once you have uploaded or installed and activated a theme is all up to you. You can use it as is if you are a newbie or give it a complete makeover if you know something about themes or coding and want to give your site a unique look that looks a lot different from many other sites out there.
Even if you don’t know how to do it manually, you really have nothing to worry about since there are options for you to edit a theme automatically.
The theme that you install will most likely have an automatic option called ‘Theme options’ that lets you edit or change the design of the theme at the click of a few mouse buttons. Each themes options tool are located in different places. You will have to figure out what it’s title is and where it is located inside your WordPress dashboard. Like for example, if you are trying to find this option for the Twenty Fourteen’ theme, then you will find it by clicking on ‘Themes’ then ‘Customize’. It will let you change the background color, change the main title of your blog, add or remove copyrights and a whole bunch of others.
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