Let’s pause for a minute and see where we are at. The picture above shows our current state after following the previous 14 steps. Not quite where we want to be. But look how far we’ve come in such a short time. We are starting to see why WordPress is so popular. Now we need to think about a couple of things, customizing the appearance of our site and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is important for helping you rank in the search engines, like Google. You want potential site visitors to find you. The good news is, we can address both items with one approach – an aftermarket WordPress theme. A theme is a “skin” that, not only changes the way basic WordPress install appears, but also gives you much more control over your site styling and SEO.
My theme of choice is The Thesis Theme for WordPress. I have been using Thesis since 2008. With the recent release of version 2.0, Thesis has made major advancements in ease-of-use and search engine optimization, which is why I’m sticking with them. There are many free themes, but you get what you pay for. I highly recommend you purchase the Thesis Theme. The rest of the steps shown in this tutorial will assume you are using Thesis.
WordPress has made it easy to install themes. Once you have purchased and downloaded Thesis, log into your WordPress Dashboard. In the left sidebar, click on “Appearance” then click “Themes”. See the example below.
Click the “Install Themes” tab and you’ll be taken to the screen shown below.
Next, click “Upload”, then click “Choose File”.
Navigate to the folder on your computer where you downloaded the Thesis theme after purchasing it. Select the “thesis.zip” file, then click “Open”.
Once Thesis is uploaded, WordPress will show the confirmation screen as shown below. Click the “Activate” link.
WordPress will now present you with the Thesis theme landing page as shown below.
You will now see a new menu option for Thesis in the WordPress sidebar.
Your website will now look something like the picture below. Notice that the appearance is already different than the base WordPress theme. If you scroll to the top of this post you can see the difference from the before picture. Subtle yes, but the fun is just beginning.