Choose and Install a WordPress theme
With the thousands of free themes available to choose from, it brings up the question: “Why would I pay to install a WordPress theme” And it’s a good question.
If you’re brand new to WordPress, this is your first attempt at creating a website or blog and it’s really just for practice, stick with a free theme. However, it’s wise to only use free themes that are available in the official wordpress.org themes directory. Also available within your dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin) – Appearance – Themes. I don’t recommend installing free themes from unreliable resources.
The biggest advantage of a free theme is the obvious – its free! The Free WordPress themes in the directory are not necessarily lower quality than the premium themes. They actually go through quite a strict review process before WordPress will accept them. They are tested for quality HTML and CSS, security, privacy, WordPress features, etc.
Here is a checklist of the theme’s review process.
So… again, why would I pay for one?
Some of the common cons of free themes
- Lack of support options
- Limited features
- Limited theme updates
- Less unique than premium themes. First of all, lots of people are using free themes. Secondly, there are usually less customization options.
- No warranties. If something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
Premium WordPress themes are available for purchase from a number of third party theme shops.
Some of the benefits of going premium
- Regular support
- Regular theme updates
- Generally more features and customizations available
- Some offer a money back guarantee
- Drag and drop page builders. More and more premium themes are including page builder plugins as a package deal. A common one is Visual Composer, which goes for $34 on its own.
- Higher security features
Since premium themes are created by and purchased through third parties, it isn’t required for them to go through the same review process.
Some of the cons of this could include:
- Poor coding
- Too many features
- Incompatible with some plugins
Sometimes a theme looks nice but contains too much unnecessary coding and too many features that you’ll never actually use. This can have an effect on the speed of your site.
Installing your WordPress theme
When you purchase a premium theme, just know that you still need to install it in your WordPress dashboard. Before making a purchase, you’ll need to create an account with the theme supplier. After you pay for the theme, save it in a safe location. Next, go to your WordPress dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin) – “Appearance” – “Themes” – “Add new” – “Upload theme” – “Choose file” – “install now.”
There is a chance that your theme’s file could be too large to install through your dashboard. Try it first and if it doesn’t work, you’ll need to do it through your control panel. It’s still really easy. Check out this article on how to install a WordPress theme from a third party.
Upload your theme’s demo files
If you have decided to purchase a premium theme, after installation, you’ll generally still be left with a blank canvas to start. There is a way to import your theme’s demo files to use as a guide. Only import these files if you haven’t yet added any content to your site.
- After downloading your theme’s files, unzip them.
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Tools” – “Import” and then choose the “WordPress importer.” You might need to click “Install now” and then click “run importer.”
- Upload your demo content .xml file
- You may need to create a new author for your demo content
- If you’re given an option to import file attachments, do not check it. The attachments are not licensed for reuse.
- Replace demo content with your own content ASAP and delete any pages you won’t need.
Once you get all set up, move on to the next step where I go over plugins to make your life easier.