Choosing and Installing a WordPress Theme

Choosing a Theme

So you’ve managed to install WordPress, congratulations! Now what? You ask. Well, now it’s time to build your site.  There are many different approaches you can use  to get your site to look just the way you’d like it.  You’ll see that wordpress comes with a default template or what we call a “theme”.  The default theme is clean and simple, but definitely not unique.  So most always we want to use a different theme to make our site look and feel more distinct and match the look and feel you are going for.

If you are in the backend of your WordPress site you’ll see a section called “Appearance”.  Under appearance you’ll see another option called “Themes”.  Once you in there you’ll see two tabs along the top.  One that says “Manage Themes” and another that says “Install Themes”.  Manage themes is where you’ll manage the themes that you’ve already installed, and the Install Themes tab is…well…where you install themes.  Once you are in the install themes section you can browse different (free) themes.  Simply browse them and if you find a theme you like you can click the preview button to preview, then you can click the install button which will download it and put it on your manage themes section.  Once there you can activate it and you’re site will be transformed with the new theme. That’s all there is to it.  You now have a new theme that gives your entire site a whole new look.

Paid Themes

Now using these free themes is only the beginning. There are a hundreds and hundreds of themes that have been developed by incredible WordPress Authors.  Many people actually make a living by just creating WordPress Themes.  Usually with a paid WordPress theme you get a lot more options than a free theme would offer as well as much more customization to get it to look just the way you’d like.  So where do I find these great themes?  Well we’re glad you asked.  We’ve actually found so many great themes we decided to create a whole other website for it. You can find it at!

We call it 3rdPress because we’re a 3rd party that showcases the wordpress themes to you. But we don’t just post any theme up there.  All themes we post have either been used by us or thoroughly researched to be deemed worthy to be on the site.  We don’t post any bogus themes, we only want to make a resource of the best of the best themes to help you narrow down to find the perfect theme for your wordpress website.  Browse our website by clicking below.

Visit »

Other Options

There are many other great Theme Marketplaces out there.  Here’s some of our favorite Theme Marketplaces (Click on one below to check out their themes they have to offer):

How to Install a WordPress Theme

Say you found a theme either through or one of the other WordPress Marketplaces. Typically what happens is you’ll download a .zip file. Now there are two ways that you can upload the theme to your wordpress site. The first option is to go into the Appearance > Themes section in the WordPress admin, go to the install themes tab, and click the upload button.  Then you can browse to find your .zip file theme and upload it and activate it for your site. The other option is that you can manually upload it to your site via FTP. All themes get uploaded to the wp-content/themes/ folder.  Simply upload the theme (unzipped as a folder) into that folder and once it’s done you can go to the Appearance > Themes section of your site and you’ll see it appear in your Manage Themes section.  Simply activate it and you have your new theme.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to install a theme with WordPress:

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But I want a custom theme

Ah ha! So you want to design your very own WordPress site. Well WordPress was never designed to be a platform to design your site, but an engine to power your website.  So to get your custom design into wordpress you have a few options:

  1. Hire a WordPress Developer – There are many great wordpress developers out there who can take your design (either done in Photoshop, or similar) and get it coded into a theme that you can upload into your site. Here’s a list of some of our favorite WordPress Developers:
  2. Use an app – There are a few apps out there that let you design your site and then it exports out a theme that you can upload to your wordpress site.  To be honest I haven’t found an app that I think is great, but there are a few “OK” ones out there.  Here are some options:
  3. Use a Powerful Theme – There are some WordPress Themes that get pretty powerful to let you create your theme with some pretty amazing customization.  Here are a few powerful WordPress Themes that can do just that:
  4. Learn to code yourself – You may think it’s crazy difficult and you can never get there, but if you have some time to learn, you can learn.  There are a lot of great resources out there that help newbies learn to code wordpress sites themselves. Some of which are:

To be honest I wish someone would develop an app that was similar to Apple’s iWeb that could export as a WordPress theme (I’m talking to you software developers).  If an app like that was made it would be really big!


That should do it.  Hopefully by now you understand how simple it is to get your WordPress site looking great by choosing (or making) a great theme.  The next tutorial will be on how to manage your site in WordPress and how to customize your theme.
Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.

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  • cindy

    Hi Jason,

    I really appreciate all of your helpful tips on this website as well as your other site (iwebunlimited) where I first found you.

    I have been making the attempt to switch my companies website over from iweb to a wordpress site and I have been following your instructions very well up to the point of transferring my theme from my computer to wordpress.

    I am using a program called transmit to try and move the folder over to my wordpress themes folder but I can not figure out what the server address is supposed to be.

    I have typed in http://localhost:8888/My_File_Name and it is not working. I have tried slightly different versions of this (localhost) etc and nothing is working.

    Could you please provide a bit more information about configuring a program like transmit to upload themes to wordpress?



  • cindy

    I should also clarify that the theme’s that I want to upload to my wordpress folder do not have .zip files within them. I think this is strange and I am not sure if my mac is automatically opening my zip files but this makes it impossible to simply upload the theme through wordpress.

    Thanks for any help,