3 Simple Steps to Finding the Perfect WordPress Theme
If you’re reading this article, you’ve most likely already jumped through a few hoops, first deciding on a WordPress website host, and choosing your domain name. If so, congratulations! Whether it’s for personal reasons or on behalf of a club or organization, setting up a WordPress a website is a rewarding yet sometimes daunting process. However, if you’re not already familiar with what a WordPress ‘dashboard’ is, it’s probably best you bookmark this article and go back, find a web host, and follow their instructions to set up WordPress and your very own domain name.
Getting Started With Free WordPress Themes
In simple terms, a WordPress Theme is a collection of files, programmed to work cohesively to produce the graphical interface of your website. A theme will determine the look and feel of your site and influence how different elements of the site behave. Think fonts, color, the spacing between images, headings, and text, etc.
Now, why should you never part with a penny for a WordPress theme? Because there are literally thousands of amazing free themes out there, suited for every industry and purpose. While there are some themes that cost money, your honestly going to find that most if not all free themes will accommodate all the functions and features you require from your site.
Beginning with your dashboard, or in other words, the backend of your website, you’ll see up on the top left-hand side of your screen, a House icon, and the word, Welcome. Click ‘Welcome’ then click the ‘visit site’ option that drops down. This will take you to the front end of your site. Here you see what your site is currently looking like. Most likely it will be pretty boring, white background with a bit of text here and there. However, pay close attention because the source of these basic fonts and layouts is actually a theme. In fact, it’s the default release theme from WordPress that automatically comes with your site’s set up.
Finding and installing Free WordPress Themes
So heading back to your dashboard, using the same ‘Welcome’ button in the top, left corner, you will see on the right-hand side, a menu of options. About halfway down your going to see the word, ‘Appearance’, hover here, and click themes. Straight away you’re going to see on the left, top window your active Theme, it will say ‘Active’ in the bottom left corner of the theme square. Also present on this page, are the release themes from WordPress in previous years. The thing to note here is that when you hover over one of these previous themes, you will get the option to see ‘Theme details’, ‘Activate’, or ‘Live preview’. The ‘Live Preview’ is great if you’re wanting to check out the WordPress theme before activating. Heading down there will be a blank box with a + symbol and the option to ‘Add New Theme’ when you hover. Click here and find a browsing page of all kinds of themes, all professionally built and completely free! Looking to the top, you’ll see you’re currently browsing ‘Featured’ themes. Enjoy browsing through the ‘Popular’, ‘Latest’, and ‘Favourites’. There is also a ‘Premium’ tab but don’t worry about these, they aren’t free and honestly, you’re going to find a theme that does everything you need without having to part with a cent. So check out a few themes, use the search function on the top right to filter themes according to what your site is about. For instance, you might be setting up a website about workouts, type ‘workouts’ in the search panel, and enjoy a tailored selection of themes relating to your website’s purpose
Once you see a theme you like, click ‘Details & Preview’ to get a better idea of the look and feel of this theme. If it’s what you’re after or close enough, click the blue ‘Install’ button and it will appear in your themes page in your dashboard. Remember a theme is just the skeleton to what your website will look like. It forms the guidelines not the fixed end look to your website, so choose a theme based on the elements you like and remember that things like font size, color, order, and layout are all editable.
Also, feel free to install a couple of themes if your not feeling decided. these will all appear in your themes panel in your WordPress Dashboard. From here you can choose which of the themes you’ve installed to activate. Once you hit ‘Activate’ on your favorite theme, go back to the front end of your website, using the ‘Welcome’ button in the top left-hand corner and refresh the page. Instantly you’ll see that some of the text and colors have changed! Obviously, it’s not the end product but it’s the framework your going to use to build something amazing!
Free WordPress Theme Resources
If you’re not finding what you’re after within wordpress.org there is another way to install and enjoy more themes. Above the themes, you will see a small ‘Upload’ button and this is when you’re wanting to install a theme sourced outside of WordPress. So here are some great websites that offer all kinds of themes and honestly, there are thousands of free options. The first is www.themeforest.net. Go to the top left-hand corner to hover over ‘WordPress’ and choose the theme category most relevant to you and begin browsing! Another great resource is www.justfreethemes.com where you can once again filter your results and browse hundreds of free themes.
Of course, a theme is only one of many building blocks to a great website. Once you have chosen and installed your theme you can begin researching and installing different plug-ins to enhance your website with different functions like email opt-in forms or even setting up an e-commerce store! These are vital especially if your sight if for a club or organization.
Finally, a special tip, to best edit and build on your theme to produce an amazing website, research, and install Elementor. Once again it’s free, a plugin though, not a website. Elementor is the industry-standard WordPress editor plugin, downloaded, and used by thousands of professionals. Elementor will allow you all the flexibility and options you need to turn a good theme into a great website! For now, enjoy exploring and selecting your free WordPress theme and all the very best building the rest of you’re website.