6. How to Install and Customize a WordPress Theme


If you have read all the previous articles, you have already learned how to install a WordPress site on your PC. If you haven’t done it yet, I invite you to take a look at this page where you can find a series of useful articles for your first approach to the fantastic world of WordPress!

Alright, now let’s get straight to the point!!!

WHAT IS A WORDPRESS THEME?

A WordPress theme is a collection of layouts and styles that create the visual appearance of your site. In simple terms, it is the graphic design of your website!

There are tons of themes developed for WordPress (and if you continue to follow this site, you’ll learn how to create one yourself!), many free and many paid ones, offering different designs and features.

HOW TO INSTALL A THEME ON WORDPRESS

As you may have understood in the previous article, to modify the graphic look of a site, you need to go to the backend and enter the “Appearance-Themes” section.

Themes

At this point, we find ourselves in the screen that shows currently installed themes on our site.

Installed Themes

But we want to install a new theme, so click on the “Add new theme” button on the left side.

Add New Theme

Now we can search among the thousands of free themes offered directly by WordPress.

Search Themes

There are also other platforms that allow you to download themes and plugins; the most popular ones are ThemeForest and TemplateMonster. But for now, we will use a theme from those proposed by WordPress.

CAUTION!!! WordPress personally checks every theme entered into its repository, just like ThemeForest and TemplateMonster. This ensures the professionalism and security of the products that will be installed on your websites. Downloading themes from unknown sources is unsafe, as they may contain malicious code that could cause many problems to the site.

It is possible to search for a theme using the search bar at the top right or use the filter to find themes specifically structured for blogs, portfolios, e-commerce, etc.

For now, let’s install a simple and nice theme to start building our website!

Go to the search bar and type “Nisarg.”

Nisarg Theme

After finding the theme, click on “Install” and then on “Activate.”

Now, if we go to the frontend (by clicking on the house icon in the top left), we can see that our site has changed!

Changed Site

As we see it now, it’s not much, but we will turn it into a beautiful site, promised!

Now let’s customize this new theme to create our first website!

CUSTOMIZING A WORDPRESS THEME

After installing the new theme, we need to go and customize it.

In WordPress, you can customize themes through the “Appearance-Customize” section in the sidebar.

By clicking on “Appearance-Customize,” we will face a screen like this:

Customize

Through this section, we can customize our site and see a preview of the changes we are going to make.

On the left, we have the options that the theme offers us to customize it to our liking, while on the right, there is a preview of the changes made.

Let’s get started for real!!!

SITE NAME

This option is present in every WordPress theme and allows you to modify the title of your site and the motto, the subtitle. This theme does not include the subtitle inside the theme.

Site Name

To personalize our site, we can enter “Test WP” as the title. Delete the motto, and then let’s add an icon to our site by clicking on “Select Site Icon.”

WordPress will open the media file manager that will allow us to upload images to the site.

Site Icon

Click on the “Upload file” tab, select an image from your computer, and finally, click the blue button “Select” to add the chosen image as an icon for our site.

The icon will appear in the browser tab:

Site Icon Preview

Now, go back and discover other customizations.

COLORS

This option allows us to change the colors of our site.

Colors

You can enter the colors you prefer. Don’t spend too much time choosing background colors because shortly, we will add an image below the title.

HEADER IMAGE

Now we can add an **

image** as the background for the title of our website.

Header Image

The theme already suggests some images, but we can add the one we want by clicking on “Add new image.”

I am a big fan of the mountains, so I will select the first image from the proposed ones, but feel free to insert the image you like the most.

BACKGROUND IMAGE

This theme also allows us to have an image as a background.

Background Image

Personally, I discourage adding it because it makes the content less clear and could distract the user, but you can try uploading something and see the effect!

I will leave this field blank.

Through this section, it is possible to create and modify the menus of our site, such as the navbar and side menus.

Menu

For now, we will skip this step; we will create our menus later through another interface.

WIDGETS

Widgets are small blocks that perform a particular function.

Widgets

This theme allows us to place them in the sidebar, but this point will be addressed later and thoroughly. For now, we can leave everything as it is!

HOMEPAGE SETTINGS

This option is present in every WordPress theme and allows us to set the content of our Homepage.

Homepage Settings

We can choose whether to include the latest articles we publish on the home page (useful especially for blog-style sites) or whether to insert a static page created specifically.

Since we haven’t created pages yet, we can leave “Latest articles” selected.

ADDITIONAL CSS

This point allows us to enter some CSS code to add to the theme style, to customize some details of the site in more detail.

Additional CSS

To use this option, you need to know the CSS language. For now, we can overlook it, but if you continue to read our guides, you will also learn to use this part, promised!

ACCENT COLOR

Here we can select the color for the highlight of our site.

Accent Color

The theme proposes some colors, but if you click on “Select color,” you can choose your favorite!

I will insert orange, you can choose the color you prefer!

POST OPTIONS

Finally, this theme asks us how we want to display our posts on the page that lists them all (also called the “archive” page).

Post Options

The excerpt is a small part of the article, the first characters, while “Full post” means the entire content.

Since this option concerns the archive page where there will be a list of our posts, it is preferable to leave “Post excerpt.” Anyone who wants to read the entire content can click on the article to open it in a separate page.

Before finishing this lesson, remember to press the “Publish” button in the top left of the customization screen not to lose the changes made!!!

Very well, we have installed our theme and started customizing it a bit, but the site is still only sketched!

In the next lessons, we will see how to arrange it for the best.

Keep it up, soon you will have created your first website in WordPress!!!