If you’re a beginner you might be wondering how do you install a WordPress theme? After all one of the most exciting parts of starting a blog is installing a theme, am I right? That feeling of taking the default icky stuff into heart-eyed emojis is amazing. And you’ve heard of the free themes and premium themes available but how do you get that goodness on your blog? You’re in luck for I will be covering the three ways to install a WordPress theme!
Before Your Install A WordPress Theme
Truth is, installing a WordPress theme is super easy. However, before we jump into the fun you must keep in mind that changing WordPress themes means changing the way your blog looks and functions.
Before switching themes here are some of the things you might want to do:
- Check for Shortcodes: Does your theme add functionality, such as sliders or image galleries, via shortcodes? If so you’ll need to replace all that content so take note and replace with a plugin as needed.
- Special Sidebars + Custom Widgets: Does your current theme use special sidebar areas and custom widgets? When you switch themes you’ll lose that content so make sure to back it up so you can re-add as needed after the switch.
- Tracking Codes: Many themes give you the possibility of adding tracking codes, such as Google Analytics, in their Settings area. If you switch themes or frameworks (such as going from ProPhoto to Genesis) you’ll lose those tracking codes. To avoid a lapse in your analytics, make sure to copy + paste your code into your new theme or add it via a plugin.
And always, always run a backup before switching themes! This way if anything goes wrong during the switch, you can restore the backup and regroup before trying again.
Further Reading: How to backup your blog
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Installing A Free WordPress Theme from the Repository
The easiest way to find a free WordPress theme is by searching through the WordPress.org theme directory.
First, login into your WordPress dashboard. Next, click on Appearance > Themes. Once on the Themes Page, click on the “Add New” button at the top.
On the next screen, you will be able to browse themes through the following options: Featured WordPress themes, Popular WordPress themes, Latest WordPress themes, search for a specific theme, or search for themes with specific features.
Once you find the theme you want to install, hover over the image. This will make the following options show up in the screen:
- “Preview and Details” which will allow you to preview the theme in a full page.
- “Install” which as the name suggest will install the theme on your blog.
To install a theme, click the “Install” button. You can then activate the theme from the same screen (Install button will change to Activate) or by going to Appearance > Themes and clicking the “Activate” button there.
How to Upload a WordPress theme
The first method works wonders but it’s limited to adding free themes available in the WordPress.org’s themes directory only. If you want to install a premium theme from a theme seller such as StudioPress you’ll need to upload the theme to WordPress.
When you buy a new theme, it’ll come in a .zip file. If you’re on a Mac, it’s possible the .zip file was unzipped when downloaded, make sure to re-zip it since it’ll need to be .zip file form to upload.
Go to Appearance > Themes. Once on the themes page, click on the “Add New” button at the top. On the next screen, click on the “Upload Theme” button at the top.
You’ll see an upload dialog. Browse for the .zip file you downloaded from the theme provider. Select the file and click “Install Now”.
Once the theme is installed, you will see a success message along with the link to activate and preview the theme. After activating the theme you’ll be able to see it on your blog and customize it as possible through the WordPress Customizer.
NOTE: If you’re installing a Genesis Child Theme, you’ll need to install (but not activate) the Genesis Framework before installing and activating the Child Theme.
I hope you found this step by step guide helpful and let me know if you have any questions on installing a WordPress theme!