Appropriate WordPress Theme: How to Select and Install

When you finish installing WordPress and enter WordPress admin dashboard first, there comes the context of installing WordPress theme. [see, How to install WordPress].

Why theme?

If the WordPress core files are the Foundation of WordPress, THEME is the visible structure on the foundation. In WordPress developers’ word, theme is skin of your WordPress site. Theme equips WordPress site with physical Interfaces like Menu, Header, Footer, Sidebar, Post, Page and other elements.

So, by installing an appropriate theme, you can give your WordPress site any look and appearance you think would best suit your need. In addition to this function, theme also play significant role in Site performance, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), feature-extensibility.

Now question, wasn’t there any theme when you entered your site first after installation?

Yes, there was a default theme by WordPress. Some of default WordPress themes are Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty etc. If you’re satisfied with the theme that is installed by default, you needn’t chase toward an article on how to select an appropriate WordPress theme.

WordPress theme focus

However, It is to know that there are ample reasons for you not to choose default theme. Probably this is one of the reasons why a virtual WordPress theme industry has been established side by side establishment of WordPress itself. Statistic says about 2,900 themes are already produced and submitted to WordPress Theme Directory.

This post (Post-4) is the part of a series of seven posts that provide ultimate guide on ‘How to start and manage WordPress Blog/Site’.

How to choose perfect theme for my WordPress site

What theme is Perfect Theme for you largely depends on what stage you’re standing on in WordPress Blogging or Site-building experience.

It is fruitless for beginners to invest time and energy exploring each and every characteristic of Theme without greater understanding and experience with WordPress. Theme functionalities mightn’t be meaningful to them.

Again unless a blog or site reaches professional or profitable level, it is difficult for a webmaster to pay any cent for a premium theme.

However, we’re going to represent a broader analysis for all- beginner, intermediate or advanced– on how to select a perfect WordPress theme.

We can put multiple factors under consideration for proper selection of a WordPress theme. They are-

  • Considering common look and appearance
  • Selecting based on economic capability
  • Site-type specific selection

Needless to tell, these factors are interrelated with one another. Look into next step-

Find a WordPress theme based on best look and appearance

When you search for a WordPress theme either from free or paid source, following queries might help you find best-looking theme as you desired:

  • Number of Columns
  • Sidebar- left, right or both
  • Mobile-friendliness or Responsiveness
  • footer- Number of column/Full width
  • Custom Header
  • Custom logo
  • Custom Menu
  • Menu position
  • Featured content option
  • Home page Image slider
  • and other factors

This is a list of focused factors you might search for. Not that a single theme will contain all of the features. Also a single user might not claim to have all of this advantages. Also, there are themes cluttered with so many options that a user don’t need all of them at all. In that case, if the theme is poorly coded, it might result in ‘conflict with plugin problem’, slowness, ‘compatibility issue’ and so on.

Therefore you might be clever to choose a theme. Search for the features which you actually need and certainly from trustworthy source.

Selecting WordPress theme based on users’ budgetary ability

In consideration of monetary fact, you can consider to select theme from any of the following theme-categories-

  • Free
  • Premium
  • Custom

Let’s go deeper-

Free WordPress Theme

You can start using free WordPress theme if you find yourself in any of the states below-

  1. You are Beginner and experimenting on using theme
  2. Your site is not a commercial one and a free theme is enough for it to handle effectively
  3. You’re not capable enough to pay for a theme
  4. You’re not in a position to develop a theme or get it built by a developer
  5. You don’t understand theme functionality well

Every WordPress user knows the great source of free WordPress theme is WordPress Theme Repository. You can search here and find your desired theme from thousands of themes coded by different developers. These are 100% free.

But we should remember the message of common sense that free is always limited. But this limitation might not be felt to you unless you’re skilled enough in using WordPress theme for years.

Finding appropriate theme through WordPress Theme Directory is very easy, you can use ‘Feature Filter’ and pick exactly what you want as shown in screenshot below-

Theme search screenshot

To find theme from here-

  • Go to WordPress.org
  • Click Theme from top menu. You get to the page in screenshot.
  • Click Feature Filter
  • Now tick out the Checkbox beside your desired feature/s.
  • Click Apply Filter on top-left. You’ll reach a page with your opted-theme suggestions.
  • From there, click Download link in the chosen theme.

Premium Theme

You can/should use paid them if-

  1. You aren’t satisfied with free theme
  2. Your site requires more specific customization and rich feature
  3. You’re capable enough for regular payment for a theme
  4. Your site is so important that you need theme-related stability, assurance and support.

Premium themes are developed and marketed by different companies who are always responsible for their theme to work perfectly in your site. Opting for a paid theme leaving behind free theme is really challenging. But a promising WordPress user can take the challenge as challenge considering the benefits of it. Here are the reasons for choosing paid theme over free theme.

  • Easy and more specific customization
  • Coding quality is high, not poorly written
  • Built-in SEO feature
  • All-time tech support
  • Developed maintaining greatest web standard
  • Always up-to-date

Lastly though paid theme is money consuming, paid theme is time-saving, reliable, fast and comfortable. These are the things that might ensure to bring the investment in return.

Custom Theme

Thirdly, you’ve a luxury-option to use Custom theme that you can get developed (unless you’re a coder) by a developer on paying extra dollar with the features your sweet will (!) wishes.

However, if you’re good at a programing language like PHP, you can also develop a custom yourself by using Theme Framework.

Over all free and paid theme, you’ve the following advantages of Custom theme-

  • Uniqueness is the most important characteristic of your theme. Your custom theme is specifically designed for your site which resembles no others’. So the look, design, appearance and user-experience of your site will be exceptional helping you stand out.
  • Due to exact design, your theme is not burdened with extra features. It provides more specified branding experience to users.
  • Fastest loading experience
  • Custom theme ensures better security
  • Plugin usage can be limited as you can use many functionalities (which plugins do) straight into the theme.

So give a try to Custom theme for your site to develop faster if you’ve no related problems.

WordPress theme selection based on Site-type

Beyond all of the things focused above, you might have to select WordPress theme considering a different fact and that is category of your site. You cannot expect to modify and use a blog-site theme for your online-store site. Both are radically different. So trying to reshape a blog-site theme structure for online store may produce a horrible output.

Here comes the context of theme specification on the basis of site-category. It is true that you can use a single theme structure for different types of site. For instance, same theme can be used for all Blog-site, Education site, Hobby-related site, Travel site and Holidays site.

But you have to use a completely different theme for each of the following site-

  • E-commerce
  • Video sharing
  • Directory
  • Photo sharing
  • Business/Enterprise platform
  • Banking
  • Money transfer
  • Discussion board
  • and others

However, you can search for such kind of category-specific theme even from free source. But, to serve commercial purpose in those cases, it is usual that you use Premium or Custom theme based on their affordability.

How to install WordPress theme

Installing WordPress theme is undoubtedly easier than making a proper selection of it. But for the beginners, it is essential to be knowledgeable of theme installation facts and how WordPress theme can be installed all the possible ways.

Before we go into the installation procedures, let’s see, at a glance, some facts relating to installing theme

  • You can keep multiple themes installed but only one theme will remain activated.
  • When you activate a theme, the previously activated theme will be deactivated.
  • Once a theme is installed, the look, functionality and behavior of that theme will be applied on your overall-site.
  • Once you switch a theme, the customization of the previous theme will be disappeared.
  • It is a bad practice to keep unnecessary themes installed.
  • The themes you are not using also must be updated regularly.

However, you can install WordPress theme in the following three methods-

  1. From Admin Dashboard
  2. By C-panel
  3. Via FTP client

Let’s go in detail-

Install WordPress theme from Admin Dashboard

It is usual practice to install, activate and update WordPress theme through WordPress Admin Dashboard. For this-

  • Log-in to WP Dashboard.
  • Go to Appearance>>Themes.
  • In this Theme management page, click Add New from upper-left
  • In this Theme installation page, click Upload Theme from upper-left if you have a .zip theme file downloaded.
  • In the next screen, click Browse, select your theme from HDD and click Open. Now click Install Now. When your theme is installed, you’ll get a message on the screen.
  • Alternatively, without Downloading, if you like to install theme from online directly, go back to Theme installation page,
  • Look at the ‘Search Themes…’ box on upper-right. Write your theme name appropriately in the box and hit Enter. You’ll see your theme thumbnail listed below. From there, Click Install.

When your theme is installed, you can preview it by clicking Preview button or Activate it from theme thumbnail.

Use C-panel

You may encounter problem with some themes to install by Admin Dashboard. In that case, the alternative way to install WP theme is C-panel. Let’s see the procedure-

  • Log-in to your C-panel. Under File Manager inside public_html from WordPress structure files/Folders, locate wp-content>>themes.
  • In the theme page you’ll see your installed themes or WordPress default themes listed. Now click Upload from upper-right.
  • Next click Browse. In this way complete uploading your downloaded zipped theme file form PC’s HDD.
  • Now, to unzip the file, right-click on the zipped theme-file name and click Extract.
  • Your theme successfully extracted, go to WordPress Admin Dashboard and reach Theme management page as we instructed in previous section. You’ll see your theme listed that you installed by C-panel. Now Activate from here.

Install via FTP client

The safer way to upload a file or folder to C-panel is through FTP client like FileZilla. Here is the process how you can install a WordPress theme file through FileZilla-

  • First extract the downloaded theme file in your PC’s Hard Drive.
  • Open FileZilla and access it by using information provided by Hosting server.
  • On the Remote server (right) side, locate wp-content>>Themes directory.
  • Also locate the unzipped theme file on Local Server (left). Actually it is in your computer’s HDD.
  • Now move the files from left point to right
  • And you’re done.

Now follow the steps discussed in previous section to Activate the theme.

Hope you got newly enlightened with this tutorial regarding ‘How to select and Install WordPress theme’. I don’t claim this article to be complete in respect of subject matter but do claim this must fill you with new strength and aspiration to fight WordPress challenges.

Any of your inquisitive comment will be considered valuable.

Now jump to the next post. Have a nice WordPress journey!

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