How to choose a WordPress template

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Creating your own website is a painstaking job that requires a lot of time and effort. Using CMS makes this process much easier, making it accessible to the average user. However, even in this case, you need to decide – what and how exactly will be presented on your site.

If you have not decided which plug-ins you should install, we recommend you read the article “23 most popular WordPress plug-ins”.

If you have already chosen the technical component of your resource, it’s time to move on to the next stage – choosing the graphic design of your site.

Read also : 23 Best Blogging WordPress Themes

What is a template

A template (or theme) is a specific set of files that determine the appearance of your site. It is their data that is used to design and correctly output information to users.

Typically, the template consists of several files: one is responsible for visual representation of various elements, others determine the correct places for output of information (which block will be shown to visitors of the resource), the third are graphic files necessary for correct display of the topic.

Particular attention should be paid to the fact that system and template files in WordPress work independently of each other, that is, you can change the theme and, for example, update the version of WordPress at different times.

How to choose a template

All WordPress templates can be divided into two groups, namely paid and free.

As you can guess, free templates are distributed completely freely, while for using a paid template you need to pay.

With a list of free themes you can see in the administration panel of WordPress. To do this, you need to select the appropriate item in the menu:

Next you need to click “Add a new theme” and you will see the themes broken down by categories: “Favorites”, “Popular”, “Fresh” and so on. Since the number of all templates is several thousand, for your convenience you can use the characteristics filter at the end of the category list: here you can note which templates should have a color, how the blocks should be arranged and what functions the template should support. Also, separately, you can specify a specific template theme: holiday, photoblog or seasons.

Download free templates only from the official WordPress directory, because before entering this list all topics are tested for compliance with security standards, cross-browser compatibility, GPL license compliance, etc. If you use an untested source, then along with the theme you can download malicious code to your site that can harm your resource, you and your users.

As for paid templates (or they are also called premium templates), they can be bought on separate sites – exchanges or resources of certain development companies. You can find their list on the WordPress website: or on the Largest Premium WordPress Themes Marketplace

The paid themes have two advantages:

  • First, thanks to them the design of your site can become really unique and do not intersect with the design of most other resources on WordPress;
  • Secondly, as a rule, paid templates have better code, which means there are fewer problems with them; Also they are usually supported by developers and authors of the project – in case of any questions you will always have someone to turn to.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which template to use – build on your desires and goals. Typically, for blogs and personal pages, you can find a suitable free template, but commercial sites and large web resources are best created using paid themes, since then they stand out against the background of other sites on WordPress, and will also be stable.

Tips for choosing a template

Read also : The easiest way to create a wordpress website for beginners.

When choosing a suitable template, you should consider not only how much you like (or do not like) its design, but also some other parameters.

  1. For example, if you plan to monetize your resource, you need to provide a place for future advertising banners and ads. In this case, it is better to choose a template with three or more columns.
  2. If you are going to use your logo on the website, when choosing a theme, imagine how it will be combined with your brand name, and where it will be better placed. In some templates for the logo is already prepared a special place.
  3. If you plan to actively promote your site in the search engines, make sure that the selected theme has a suitable code for SEO. Be sure to read the template descriptions, which often list their main characteristics.
  4. It is extremely important that the theme you have chosen is adaptive – then your site will be convenient to view both from the screen of the monitor, and a tablet or mobile phone.
  5. Also pay attention to the download speed of the theme – if your resource will be downloaded longer than 3-5 seconds, there is a great chance that you will lose most of your audience.
  6. Before installation, be sure to carefully test the template: how the buttons work, what impression the design produces, fonts, whether you like the design and functionality of the template as a whole.

How to install and configure a template

Read also : Professional web studio – what is it?

Setting a template is a simple and quick operation, which usually does not cause any questions. However, in order to fully cover the topic of WordPress templates, we will walk you through step by step how to properly install, activate and configure the template.

  1. Go to the board of your site on CMS WordPress.
  2. Go to the Appearance tab, and then select Themes.
  3. Go to adding a new theme and find the template that you selected, following the instructions above (do not forget about the search by name – it will help you in case you can not find the liked theme in the list).
  4. Then you can activate the template right away (you can do it right after installation or in the “Themes” tab, where all the themes installed on your site are displayed) or see how the installed theme will look on your site by clicking the “View” button at the bottom Template. When viewing, you can also immediately configure the theme.
  5. After activation, click the “Configure” button under the active theme and go to edit the appearance of your site (you can also go to the setting by selecting “Configure” in the “Appearance” tab).
  6. You can adjust many different parameters, and all changes will be immediately displayed on the layout of your site. And in order for them to take effect, click the “Save and Publish” button.
  7. If you want to delete a template, you need to find it in the list of all installed themes and click on the “Information about the theme” – in the window that appears, click the “Delete” button in the lower right corner and confirm your choice. Removal is possible only if this template is not activated.

If you have an archive with a theme downloaded on your computer, then you can upload it in the same tab “Add theme” by clicking on the “Add theme” button to the right of the inscription at the top.

How to edit a WordPress template by yourself

If you have sufficient skills, you can make any changes to the WordPress template by yourself. To do this, you need to edit files related to the installed theme. You can access these files in two ways.

The first way

You can find these files in the control panel of the site in the “Appearance” tab, “Editor”.

The second way

The same files you can find in the file manager on the following path:

Be attentive to any changes you make to the files, since they can affect the performance of your resource.
Each of the files is responsible for a specific part of your site. In general, the layout of the main WordPress page is as follows:

That is, the appearance of the top part of the page is answered by the header.php file, for the main part, the content of the page is index.php, for the bottom part (the so-called basement) is footer.php, for the side (menu) – slidebar.php, and For comments – comments.php.

However, with these blocks the content of your site is not exhausted, so there are many other files, for example, the single.php file is responsible for the appearance of records, and archive.php determines the appearance of the page for archives. Search results can be seen in this form thanks to the file search.php; There is even a separate file for error 404 – 404.php.

For the design of the site is responsible style.css file, and functions.php can be noted as one of the most important, as it is responsible for ensuring that all theme files work in concert.

However, the number of files may not be as large: in order to write your own independent theme for WordPress, only two files – style.css and index.php – are enough. You also need knowledge of markup HTML, CSS and PHP programming language.


Now that you know how to install and configure plug-ins, you can make the design of your site special and recognizable. Experiment and look for exactly the combination of elements that will please you and visitors to your resource.

how to choose wordpress theme

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Veces Platon

Founder of ActualThemes

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