When developing a website or blog you will need to know how to add a theme, which should be easy assuming that you are on a platform like WordPress.
I hope that you are prepared for today’s lesson, because today you are going to see that there’s more than just one way a theme can be added.
If by any chance you don’t have wordpress installed yet or know how to upload it to your site, just follow this lesson: how to install wordpress
Adding A Theme
To add a theme you simply hover your mouse over the Appearance tab that is located inside of the left sidebar panel, then click on the word Themes that pop up in the menu.
Once inside of the Themes area, click on the Add New button to the left of the screen. Browse through some of the many themes that show up, choose one and click the Install button.
The theme doesn’t do anything yet, but you’ll learn about all of that shortly, having said that, I want to start things off by going over the default theme that wordpress starts you off with.
WordPress’s Default Theme
If you are just creating a wordpress account and logging in for the first time you will notice that you are assigned with their latest theme version, which will probably be according to the year, eg. Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Seventeen… depending on the year you first log in.
This default theme comes equipped with pretty much everything that you need in order to operate your site. However, it doesn’t have every single feature that you may want on your site, so wordpress gives you options to either tweak the theme itself, or you could just add another theme as we learned how to do earlier in this lesson.
Let’s view two options:
We are going to take a look at which route may be the best one for you to take.
Option 1: Tweak Your Theme
You could change a few things up about the wordpress default theme, most themes come with an option to change around a couple of its features, like changing the length and width of the “header”, and changing the layout of the pages, and changing the background colors and a couple of more things.
Now is this enough to do a complete redesign? No, but these are enough feature options to make your site look a little different. It won’t be anything amazing, but it’s enough to get you started.
Keep in mind that I am talking about only using the custom options that are available for the theme. These options are limited and doesn’t change your site much, there is however another way to tweak your theme, but it requires code and the know how of web development.
To personally tweak your site even further than what the default theme’s custom options offer you, you need to go into the back-end of your site and enter what is labeled as code.
There are two ways you can achieve advanced tweaking to your default wordpress theme… one way is to create a duplicate of the theme, also known as a child theme, and the other way is to locate the theme templates and edit the code from there.
Creating A Child Theme
You need to create a child theme in order to avoid tampering with any of the default theme’s main functions. Here’s how to do so:
Step 1: You have to go into the theme’s directory (wp-content/themes) and create a new folder and name it. You can name it whatever you’d like to, but it may be a better idea to just label it “twentysixteen-child or something along those lines.
Step 2: Add all of the necessary files inside of the child theme’s folder… the stylesheet, the single post page, the header page, etc. To save time you may want to just copy everything inside of the main theme (the default wordpress theme – Twenty Sixteen) and paste it over to the new child theme. You still have to do a few things manually, like naming the child theme inside the stylesheet (Theme Name: My Child Theme).
Step 3: Install and Activate the child theme once everything else is finished, and that’s it. Your new theme is all ready to go.
Editing Code Templates
It is never a good idea to code wordpress’s core files, in fact it is a bad and terrible idea to code the core files and templates of wordpress, because when something goes wrong (and it will) you are going to completely corrupt your whole entire site.
So the best thing to do is to just edit the theme templates on the back-end of your site. To do so you simply locate the templates…
- Go to Appearance
- Click on Editor
- Find the Stylesheet & Theme Functions Templates
- Begin editing the code.
This is how you manipulate the code and design of your theme, which controls your whole entire website. You can add or take out any colors, sizes, widths etc., within these templates.
If you don’t know anything about coding in HTML, PHP, CSS and so forth, but you would like to learn, then you can start here: nettuts
Option 2: Add A Theme
You could add another theme of your choice, there are hundreds of different types of themes, some are free of charge and some cost a fee.
- Free Themes – Free themes come twelve a dozen, there are hundreds and hundreds of free themes on wordpress available for download. There are however a few drawbacks when it comes to free themes, like having to redesign it to your liking, while it may seem easy enough, it’s not, because as I mentioned earlier, you’d have to be a web developer & designer in order to fully design the site the way you want it. Plus when you’re dealing with these type of themes, the theme owners could have certain restrictions as to what you can and cannot do with their themes, and some owners don’t allow you to change the way their themes look and operate.
- Paid Themes – With paid themes things are a bit different and easier. These themes allow you to easily change and manipulate your whole entire site without having to know how to code anything, which is awesome if you ask me. The only negative side to this avenue is that it cost you money, but it will be well worth it in the end, because it saves you lots of time, especially if you’re not a coder or web developer, then you don’t have to try to learn how to be a coder and web developer. All you have to do is change the theme options that comes with the theme, don’t worry, the options are more advanced with paid themes, so they are not as basic as the free themes.
To start your search for a nice paid theme you could simply check on wordpress. If you haven’t deleted the plugin by the name of “MoJo Marketplace”, you can scan through their marketplace for a theme. You could also follow this link.
And there you have it. Adding a theme is a lot easier than you thought isn’t it? In all honesty, it’s thanks to wordpress for making things super easy for us, so if you’re not using the wordpress platform, I 100% advise that you do so.