Controlling the Look of a WordPress Blog Using Themes

Making your Blog Beautiful was Never So Easy

When you start writing articles on your WordPress blog, you’ll probably want to change its appearance. The look and feel of a WordPress blog is controlled by Themes. A WordPress theme is a collection of files that include PHP Pages, images, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and other files. These files create the pages that display the contents of your blog and apply styling and other functionality to the content.

Working With Themes in the WordPress Dashboard

You can easily control, add, and delete themes from the Themes Manager menu.

Click the Appearance heading on the left side of the Dashboard.

install themes menu wordpress

You will see the themes the “Default” and “Classic” that were installed with your WordPress software. You can activate a theme by clicking the Activate link under the theme’s thumbnail. If you want to see what the theme will look like first, just click on the theme’s thumbnail.

manage themes menu wordpress

A preview of your Home page will display reflecting the appearance of that theme. There will be an Activate link in the upper left corner and an “X” in the upper left corner of the theme preview.

wordpress theme demo

Click the “X” button to reject the theme or click the Activate link to apply this theme to your blog.

Once you activate a new theme, just go to your blog’s Home page and Refresh your browser. You will see the new theme applied to your blog.

Getting More Themes for Your Blog

When you install WordPress, there are two themes “Default” and “Classic”. They’re both boring and lame. You’re going to want to get yourself some new themes. has thousands of free themes that you can easily install on your blog.

Click the Add New Themes link under the Appearance heading on the left side of the dashboard. This will open the Install Themes menu.

install themes menu wordpress

can find new themes using numerous techniques. The default Search allows you to search by Color, Layout Options, and Other Features that a theme has. You can also view themes that are Featured by WordPress, along with New or Newly Updated themes. I like the Featured option because they are usually really nice themes.

Once you locate interesting theme, you can Install or Preview it effortlessly.

wordpress install themes choices

Previewing a WordPress Theme

Click the Preview link under the theme’s thumbnail.

preview theme selection wordpress

close preview theme wordpress

Click the Install Now button to install the theme or click the “X” button in the upper left corner to exit the preview without installing it to your blog.

install wordpress theme now button

Installing a New Theme

Click the Install link.

A pop-up window will open that allows you to complete the installation.

install wordpress theme now button

Click the Install Now button.

The theme will be installed on your WordPress server.

wordpress theme options

You will have a choice of Actions that you can perform now that the theme is installed.

Click Activate to apply the theme to your blog.

Go to your blog’s Home page and refresh the browser to see the new theme in action.

wordpress active theme

Manually Adding Themes to WordPress

WordPress themes are each contained in their own folder. These folders are located in the “wp-content/themes” folder of your WordPress installation.

wordpress themes tutorial

You can manually upload themes to this folder from your desktop using your FTP software. These themes will then be available the next time you go to the Theme Manager.

Finding High Quality Themes on the Internet

In addition to the thousands of free themes that are available on the you can find tons of great free and paid themes on the Internet. Just go to Google and search for something like “free premium WordPress themes”. You can also find numerous professional themes that will cost money by searching for “premium WordPress themes” or “professional WordPress themes”. They typically cost $20 to $100. (Sometimes more if you hire someone to design and build you a custom theme.)

See it in Action

The following video shows all of the steps in the process of Using Themes to Control the Look and Feel of your WordPress Blog.

See the Rest of This Series

This is the 6th article in a 7 part series of tutorials on Creating a WordPress Blog. View the rest of the series:

  1. How To Set Up a WordPress Blog
  2. Configure the Settings on a WordPress Blog
  3. Writing a Blog Aritcle Using the WordPress Web Interface
  4. Controlling the Look of a WordPress Blog Using Themes
  5. Adding Extra Features to a WordPress Blog with Widgets
  6. Extending WordPress Functionality with Plugins
  7. Publishing WordPress Articles Using Third Party Applications


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