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Choosing The Right Theme for Your WordPress Website

When it’s time to pick the right theme for your WordPress website, you want a theme that gives you as many of the options you need while not being overly complicated to use.

(Where did you determine what options you’d like and need? You took our Build A Website FREE Mini-Course, that’s where!)

Pro Tip:
Start with the basics. Learn how to use WordPress themes.

Use the WordPress Theme Directory to Find a Trustworthy Theme

The WordPress Theme Directory is the official site for WordPress Themes. Every theme in this directory is reviewed by a dedicated team and tested against a wide range of rules, all of which ensure a secure and pleasant experience for the theme user.

With over 9,000 themes in the directory, you can easily find the right one for your site with advanced search features using filters for layout, subject and specific theme features.

You have access to the WordPress Theme Directory in the WordPress dashboard of your website. WordPress has vetted the themes in the directory, so they are reliable and secure. The free versions of themes have a lot of customization potential built in. You can often customize fonts, colours, page layout options as well as elements on the home page.

When you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to play with one or more free versions so you get the hang of using WordPress themes. Then if/when you might need to expand on your theme’s capabilities, you know what you’re looking for (and you just might find that what you need is a software plugin, not a theme upgrade).

When you’re searching in the WordPress Theme Directory, you will see the home page layout for each theme.

Pro Tip:
Keep the wireframe diagram that you designed in the Build A Website FREE Mini-Course in mind and be open to new ideas about what your website could look like. You’ll know when you’ve found one you like as you’ll find yourself comparing others to it.

CLICK HERE to search the WordPress Theme Directory online NOW!

When you find one you’d like to try, it’s easy to get it installed on your new website.

For now, avoid the word ‘builder’ at all costs if you’re just starting out and especially if you don’t have support. It’s OK if the theme mentions one of the template builders, but make sure it is not required. You’re looking for it to say that it’s compatible with ‘Gutenburg,’ which is the current editor in WordPress.

You might fall in love with WordPress and want to do a lot more with your website, but that’s for another day.

Installing A Theme in Your Self-Hosted WordPress Site

An excellent site to find information on all things WordPress is WPBeginner.com. And here is a link to their article on installing a WordPress theme that includes a how-to YouTube video.

Read the article and use the video to help you get the new theme installed and activated.

Pro Tip:
Don’t forget to bookmark WP Beginner, especially if you’re new to WordPress and websites in general. If you have questions moving forward, this is a go-to website for answers.

Customizing The Right Theme

WordPress now comes with a ‘Customizer’ in the dashboard which makes it very easy to customize aspects of your theme. (You’ll find this under Appearance.)

Before you head to the customizer for the first time, it’s important to know that there are differences in how themes have you customize your home page elements, so it’s best to find the theme’s documentation for information on getting set up so you can come back to it later.

You can often find this by clicking on ‘theme details and preview’ button on your theme in the Appearance –> Themes section of your WordPress dashboard.

To customize the theme, head to Appearance –> Customize (which is just below Appearance –>Themes). You will find some basic customization options here, as well as any that are specific to your theme.

You might also find more theme options under the section Appearance –> [Your Theme Name] Options. This last section may not be there, as it depends on the theme.

Don’t Panic!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

It can be a bit of a learning curve getting a theme set up and customized, and this holds true for any website platform. Take some time to play around with things, and don’t forget that there are resources available:

  1. Articles and videos are just a Google search away. We’ve already recommended you check out WPBeginner.com.
  2. You can also work with us and have us set up your website and initial 3-4 pages of content. Find out more at Work With Outside the Lines Communications.

Examples of WordPress Themes in Action

As we develop here at Outside the Lines Communications, we’ll be adding blog posts that showcase websites we’ve helped people build (including our own websites) so you can see more examples of the themes we have experience with.

For now, here are some resources on themes with some suggestions of how to narrow your search from the 9000 themes available through the WordPress Theme Directory down to the one you’re going to love.

  1. The OTL site is using the theme ‘Neve.’
  2. ThemeIsle has 2 free themes called ‘Neve’ and ‘Hestia’ that Beth has experience with.
  3. Beth’s website, CampbellDuke.com, is using a theme called ‘Clean Enterprise.’
  4. Search the WordPress Theme Directory to find what will work best for you.

Remember, if you get stuck, we’re here to help. Contact us for more information.

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