You’ve got your domain, your hosting is set up, your nameservers are in place, and WordPress is up and running.
Your website is getting close!
There’s just one more step before your site will be ready to go: Installing a WordPress theme
(If you want to skip all the info, just head down to the ‘My Recommendations’ section).
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is a ‘skin’ that goes over the top of WordPress that makes it look a certain way. It’s a simple and fast way to change the look of your website without knowing anything about coding.
The website you’re reading now is a WordPress website with the theme ‘Flatsome’ by UX Themes
They’re all still using WordPress, but just with a different theme installed on them.
This means that to change the appearance of your site, you don’t need to learn programming. All you need to do is install a new theme!
2 Kinds of WordPress Themes
There are many different variations of WordPress Theme’s available but they all fit into two board categories: free and paid.
Each has it’s benefits and downsides so I’ll quickly run you through them before telling you which one I believe you should use.
#1 Free WordPress Themes
Free WordPress theme’s are great because, as their name suggests, they’re free. You don’t have to pay a cent. You can change your mind every few minutes and upload a different theme every second day without having to pay a single red cent.
But, the fact that they’re free does leave a lot of downsides.
a. They look like a free WordPress them
If a theme is well designed and the designer thinks they can get money for it, they’ll usually sell it. This means that the free WordPress theme’s that are available are usually the ones no-one would pay money for.
b. They don’t get updated
WordPress is a constantly evolving monster. The great people at WordPress are constantly updating their structure and coding to make it stronger, faster, safer, and more stable. As they make changes, theme’s need to be updated to make sure they comply with the latest functions of WordPress.
The people who design free theme’s often have other jobs and other focuses so don’t always update their theme’s to keep up with WordPress updates. If they don’t update them but you update your WordPress installation, the theme won’t work and you’ll have to start from scratch again.
c. No support
Typically, free WordPress themes don’t have a support forum you can go to or people you can talk to when things go wrong. If you know nothing about website coding or design, this is a big problem.
#2 Paid WordPress Themes
Paid WordPress themes are great because they eliminate all the problems associated with free WordPress themes.
a. They look like a paid theme
If a paid WordPress theme doesn’t look good, no-one will buy it. If no-one buys it, the designer will have to find a new job and won’t be making more themes. Therefore, paid WordPress themes look good. Not all of them, but the majority of them do. One thing is for certain though, they all look better than the free ones.
b. Constant updates
If you buy a theme from a reputable company, they will update their theme’s constantly to take advantage of the new WordPress features. Why? Because if they don’t, no-one will be able to use their themes. It’s simple as that.
When you buy a paid theme, you get the support of a company to help you iron out the bugs, problems, and stuff ups. This means that you don’t have to run off to coding school to work out why your sidebar isn’t showing and your header is three times the size of normal.
My Recommendations for WordPress Themes
Every single WordPress site I run uses a paid theme. Why? Because I want a good looking site that works, get’s updated, and I can get support for. That’s it.
Can you get good looking free WordPress themes that work? Sure you can… For a while. But there’s no support and no guarantee. For the $49 you might pay, the peace of mind knowing that your site is going to work properly, EVERY TIME someone visits it, is WELL worth it.
There are plenty of places that offer GREAT WordPress themes at all kinds of different prices. I’ll list them here in order of price so you can make up your own mind.
NOTE: All of these different paid WordPress theme providers all have great support, regular updates, and they look great. You’ll end up with a great theme, regardless of who you choose. The difference is in the small details (as you’ll see below).
Best package for cost conscious people: Elegant Themes (87 themes for $39)
These guys are without a doubt, the best value of the bunch. When you sign up, you get ALL of their 87 themes for just $39.
This means you can afford to change your mind about what theme you want as many times as you like and you’ll still never run out of themes.
Why are they so cheap? Check out the site and you can see. They’re nice looking websites, but they’re not top-of-the-line.
If you’re just building a fun website to share info and ideas with your friends, these will be great. If you’re looking for something more, you might want to keep scrolling.
Best package for beautiful themes: Organic Themes ($69 each or $249 for all 24 themes)
These guys have beautiful themes. Really beautiful. As you’ll see when you check out the page, they put a lot of work into their designs to make sure they’re professional and stylish.
You could easily put one of these on a business website and people would believe that you paid thousands of dollars for it (I know this because it’s happened).
There are two other great things that separate these guys from Elegant Themes.
1. Their design interface is really easy to use
One thing you might not know about WordPress themes is that once you buy them, you still have lots of design options. You can still change where things are, what’s displayed, how long it’s displayed for, etc…
Organic Themes have put a lot of time and effort into making sure that this is as easy as possible for you to change.
2. They constantly update their designs
They not only update their sites to make sure they’re always working, they’re constantly updating their designs and functionality to make sure they’re always at the forefront of WordPress theme design.
They’re constantly tweaking and altering their layouts to make sure they always look fresh and professional.
If these two benefits sound like they’re worth the extra expense, check out Organic Themes here
Best for stylish themes: StudioPress ($99 each or $399 for all 48 themes)
These guys make very stylish WordPress themes. Their sites are slick, professional and impressive.
Yes, they’re more expensive, but you really get what you pay for.
If you’re looking to build a website that really makes people go “WOW” when they land on it, these are the guys I’d go for.
The also have all the benefits that Organic Themes offer, but they just do it in a more stylish package.
Check out their complete collection here: StudioPress
So, if you want to make your website beautiful without having to learn code, check out Elegant Themes, Organic Themes, and StudioPress now to find the best WordPress theme for your site.
How to install your WordPress theme
Once you’ve purchased your WordPress theme, it’s time to install it.
This is a very simple process that just requires a few simple steps.
#1 Download your WordPress theme
When you purchase your WordPress theme, you’ll be given a download link. Download that file and store it somewhere safe because you’re about to use it.
#2 Log Into Your WordPress Dashboard
Just go to http://www.YourWebsiteName.com/wp-admin (obviously replacing YourWebsiteName.com with your actual website domain name) and enter the login details you created when you installed WordPress.
#3 Go to the ‘Upload Theme’ page
Once you log into your dashboard, first click on ‘Appearance’ (in the left hand menu bar), then ‘Themes’ (underneath it), then ‘Install Theme’ (in the top menu bar), then ‘Upload’ (just below ‘Install Theme’).
#4 Upload and Activate your WordPress Theme
Click on browse and find the location of your .zip WordPress theme file that you downloaded in step #1. When you find it, double click on it and then click ‘Install Now’. Once the installation is complete, click on ‘Activate’ so that WordPress knows to use that theme instead of your old one.
#5 Customise Your Theme
This is where things begin to get a little more complicated.
You don’t have to use the WordPress theme as it’s designed. Every theme can be used in a number of different ways. You need to work out how you want to use your theme and then design it to work that way.
I would liek to give you a step by step instruction on this but unfortunately, I can’t. Every theme has it’s own functions and own setup so this is something you’ll have to talk to the support people about. Glad you have a paid theme now? I thought so.
You have just built your very first website from the ground up. You have your domain name, hosting, content management system, and your own sexy design.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to release a whole raft of articles detailing in specific fashion exactly how you can turn your brand new website int a visitor (and money) magnet.
You can check out all the articles I’ve written here.
Have fun, and remember to share this site with your friends so they can have their very own website as well!