how to install a Wordpress theme

How To Install A WordPress Theme

Are you wondering how to install a WordPress theme?

As you build your WordPress site, consider how it might stand out. What sorts of colors, graphics, images, and text will catch the eye of your visitors? Any custom design or unique characteristics will make your business memorable among the competition. So, in the design phase of your WordPress site, you may question the usefulness of a theme– a potential resource for customization. However, while a theme may seem like an obvious choice for the aesthetic of your site, be sure first to consider the way the internet and WordPress development has changed in the last few years. In fact, we at MyUnlimitedWP have moved away from the use of themes for a variety of reasons. In this article, we’ll discuss the potential setbacks of using a theme and your options for installation should you choose to use one.

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how to install a WordPress theme

Before you install a theme

Be sure to consider the evolving nature of WordPress before you install a theme on your site. We’ve found, in the past few years, that themes merely add a layer of complexity. While just two years ago, it was customary to select a theme, today, they’re known to present more issues than benefits in many cases. We at MyUnlimitedWP have stopped our use of themes for several reasons:
  • Themes tend to slow websites down with an added load time. This, of course, impacts user performance and, ultimately, the site’s page rank on Google and other search engines.
  • They often pose an issue of compatibility with several plugins you may choose to use on your site.
  • Themes often either get abandoned or are insufficiently supported by their developers. While one may seem fine at first, after just one year, it could be abandoned.
Themes were once common practice. We’ve even implemented them onto our own sites and those of clients’ in the past. But now, they should be given a second thought in your design process.

Page builders and the future of web design

While the future of WordPress themes seems a bit bleak, do not be dismayed by their recent failures. As we look toward the future of WordPress design, we recognize a shift away from themes and toward an organizational tool called page builders. These provide exceptional ease of use while inputting information as you build your site. And though they are typically used in conjunction with a theme, they can operate on their own as well. In fact, there is a noticeable trend toward the use of page builders even within WordPress itself. WordPress recently released its own page builder called Guttenberg that can be accessed directly within WordPress. Such a product is a clear indication that page builders are, in fact, taking the place of themes in the WordPress site building industry.
We at MyUnlimitedWP recommend the page builders Elementor, Divi, Visual Composer, and Oxygen. Each is a great option as an organizational tool for your web development. And in speculation of the the industry’s change in direction, we suggest using page builders over themes in most cases.
how to install a WordPress theme

If you decide to use a theme

All of this said, themes still have their place, and you may still choose to implement one into your site. This could be a great option for your purposes, so don’t completely discredit it just yet. Just, before you say “yes” to a particular theme, consider a few essential items:
  • If your developer is insistent on using a theme, they may not be up to date on these new design trends and standards. Consider their expertise and relevance before you decide to partner with them.
  • There are plenty of seemingly great and reliable free themes out there. But don’t let the price tag tempt you into a poorly designed or unsupported theme. Free themes will likely lack the features, functions, and optimization that is needed to deliver a good website.
  • Look for only paid themes. Unlike free plugins, which can be perfectly useful, we advise that you use only paid themes that are more likely to come with assured quality.
  • As we advised you to stay away from plugins that are seldom updated, we encourage that you choose only themes with frequent updates. A theme should be updated at least every four to six months. And even that might be too long– those with updates every one to three months are ideal. Without this strict standard, your site might face several avoidable complications.
  • Use only themes from reputable publishers and ones that have been tested. Consider the quality of the theme’s developer and ask if they’ve produced other successful themes. This will help you discern their quality and the promise of your theme’s benefit to your site.
  • If you’re in search of some reputable sites for themes, we would recommend both themeforest.net and elegantthemes.com. The latter is primarily a page builder site but has several themes from which to choose as well. Each of these resources will help assure that you select a well-supported theme that works well with your site.
  • Finally, check to see if the theme is compatible with your site and if it’s been supported and optimized. A lot of themes have begun to attempt to keep their relativity to the market by building in speed optimization. So, be sure to ask yourself when making your selection: is this theme well-optimized, and is it quick?
how to install a WordPress theme

Installing a theme

If you choose to implement a theme onto your site, installation is quite simple. In this next section, we’ll discuss the few easy steps to add a theme to your WordPress site.
  • First, log in to your WordPress admin. For a refresher, refer back to our logging into WordPress article.
  • Once you’ve logged in, go to the ‘Appearance’ tab on the left-hand side of the page. From here, you’ll click on ‘Themes.’ And under ‘Themes,’ you’ll see all themes that are currently installed on your website.
  • You’ll also notice ‘Add New’ on this page. This will allow you two options.
    • First, you may search the WordPress repository for a free WordPress theme that you can install directly from your dashboard. You can preview and install your preferred theme from this repository. We will note once more, however, that free themes should be installed with caution. They are more likely to slow your site and cause issues, although they are still an option available to you.
    • Second, you can install a preferred paid theme here as well. Next to the ‘Add theme’ option, you’ll see a link that says ‘upload theme’ in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Select this and choose the uploaded file from your computer. You’ll be given a choice to download the entire package, the full WordPress package, the theme only, or just the add ons. So, make sure that you choose only to download the full WordPress package rather than the entire package as this will not install properly. Once you’ve uploaded your theme’s zip file, you can activate it and start putting it to use! Keep in mind that every theme is different and that, with a paid theme, you’ll likely have a registration number from its source. Be sure to keep that handy as you will need it to get your theme to work.
  • The final way you can install a theme is by using FTP/SFTP. These acronyms stand for “File Transfer Protocol” and “Secure File Transfer Protocol” and serve as another means of downloading and uploading files to your computer. While these pose some security risk when transferring files, the Security File Transfer Protocol facet adds another layer of encryption for extra protection of your data.
  • Finally, make sure that the theme you select is compatible with your server and host. Keep in mind that if you use an older website host, there is a chance that you will not have the option to install a theme.
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Themes may add elements of aesthetics, organization, and unique design to your site.

However, they can also bring complications. That’s why we at MyUnlimitedWP encourage your careful discernment when considering the addition of a theme. Weigh the benefits and potential setbacks as you choose whether or not a theme is right for you. And as always, no matter your choice, our team at MyUnlimitedWP is here for you! Reach out to our WordPress experts for every website complication and all of your confusion. We’re prepared to address your WordPress setbacks, so you don’t have to!

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