Improve Your WordPress Blog Theme – Finding Free Themes and Installing Them

I’ve had a few clients recently ask me to setup a blogging system. I nearly always recommend WordPress because it is one of the most common and powerful blogging systems available and is free to download and use. Setting up the blog is straightforward if you know how to FTP and create a MySQL database on your web hosting account. Once setup it is ready to go, you can start blogging right away.

The only issue in my mind is the blog design. The default design is quite bland and probably very common, yet there are thousands of free designs available that are far more professional and just look much better, so why not change it? This blog describes how to obtain and install a new theme.

Obtaining a WordPress Theme

With most blog owners not knowing PHP or HTML, creating a  bespoke design would not be possible. Luckily there are thousands of designs to choose from online, both free and commercial ones. So the first step in installing a new theme is to browse themes you like and download them.

Here is a list of websites that provide free WordPress themes.

These are just a selection from the top results of a Google search for “wordpress themes”. There are many more sites to download themes.

Browse through the designs on offer and once you find some you like, Download them. The file should be a .zip file that we can now use to install into your WordPress blog.

Installing a WordPress Theme

Once you have downloaded a theme .zip file you are ready to install it. Here is a simple guide for version 2.9. Make sure your wp-content/themes/ folder is writable by the system.

  1. Login to your WordPress blog and go to Appearance -> Add New Theme in the left sidebar
  2. Click the Upload tab at the top
  3. Click Browse and choose your downloaded theme
  4. Click Install Now
  5. The theme should install, so now click on Appearance -> Themes in the left menu so we can Activate it
  6. You should see your new theme listed, so click Activate next to it to make this the new live, theme
  7. Your done! Visit your blog to see the new theme.

But I Want a Bespoke Theme, e.g. My Website Design?

This will require experience of PHP and HTML in order to create your own theme. Your web develop should be able to help you, otherwise feel free to contact me and I will be able to help you.