Choosing a WordPress Theme

So you’ve decided to take the plunge.  You are about to create your WordPress website and your design palette is blank.  Where do you begin? It starts by choosing a Theme – the essential part of your website that gives you the look and feel that you want. 

In this post, we’ll share the things we’ve learned about WordPress themes and help you select and install a theme that will help build an awesome website.  We’ll take you through the basics you need to know:

  • what is a WordPress Theme
  • choosing the right WordPress Theme for YOU
  • how to install WordPress themes
  • how to update a WordPress themes
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What is a WordPress Theme

WordPress websites need three essential elements: the WordPress core code, themes and plugins.  WordPress core code serves as the foundation on which your website is built.  WordPress themes are sets of additional code which dictate the appearance and layout of the site including the layout, typography, colour and other design elements.  A WordPress theme is a folder of files that work together to create the design of your site. The folder includes template files, stylesheets, images and possibly JavaScript files.

Every website must have a theme in order for it to function. When you installed WordPress, it included a default theme on which you can build your website.  However, the default theme may not be suited to your specific needs and may not portray your website the way you want.  The beauty about the WordPress concept is that it is completely customizable allowing you to choose from thousands of themes and plugins making the design features and functionality practically endless.  It gives you the control to build a site that is perfect for you. 

Free and Premium Themes

There are free and premium WordPress themes from which to choose.  Free themes can be installed directly the repository most of which are accessible from the Appearance section of the WordPress admin dashboard.  You can select from 2 or 3 of the themes that were automatically included when WordPress was installed or you can search and select by name or specific features.

Premium themes often come with more support and may give more flexibility, design features and more demos and templates.  The longevity may also be a factor as sometimes developers abandon free themes as they are not a source of revenue. With a paid theme, the developer has a financial incentive to maintain it.   There is no official directory to find premium WordPress themes.

Choosing the Right WordPress Theme

Themes can be changed at any time without changing your blog content, pages, users, or other information stored in your database. For example, if you published a blog post, changing the theme won’t remove or edit any of the content.  It will just change the appearance of the content. While this allows flexibility for change overtime, we think it is wise to select the best theme that suits you and your needs when you are first building your website.  Put some thought into picking the perfect theme.

If you are not a developer, it can be tough to determine whether or not a theme is ‘high quality’.  Some suggestions you should consider whether you go with a free or premium theme are:

  • Read the reviews – see what other users have said about the theme
  • Check the latest update – make sure the theme undergoes regular maintenance from the developer (updated within the last six months or so)
  • View the demo on different devices – most people visit websites directly from their smartphones or ipads these days. Be sure it look good on these devices as well as desktop computer
  • Consider options for customization – does it look easy to use. Can you make the theme your own without needing the skills of a developer.
  • Test performance – choose a theme that makes your site load fast. Analyzing the memo site will be helpful in this regard.

Luckily, there are some really good quality themes out there from which to choose.  Here where the initial planning starts paying off.  You can select one that best suits the purpose of your website.  Bouzane Consulting has done significant research and experimented with quite a number of themes.  We have found the Astra theme to be the most versatile.  The Brainstorm Force team have done an exceptional job of building a platform that allows you to build your website the way you want.  Free and premium versions are available


Most Popular WordPress Theme

with more than 1.2 million active users and over 5,000 five-star ratings. Astra is a Brainstorm Force product.

Brainstorm Force has crafted many popular products and solutions that include but are not limited to Astra Pro, Schema Pro, ConvertPro, Ultimate addons for Elementor, among many more.

How to Install a WordPress Theme

The first step is to install WordPress. (When you choose a rock-solid web hosting company such as Bluehost, they will install WordPress for you.  Bouzane Consulting recommends Bluehost as the preferred web hosting provider.) Once the installation is complete, you take the reins and begin building your website. 

Install theme 1

Installing a Free theme

WordPress includes a built-in tool for installing themes.  The method will be slightly different depending on whether you are selecting a free or a premium theme. Here are the steps to install a free theme from

  1. Go to the admin dashboard
  2. Go to Appearance – Themes
  3. Click Add New
  4. Search for the name of the theme
  5. Hover over the theme and click install
  6. Once the install process is completed, click activate.

Installing a Premium Theme

When you purchase a premium theme from a developer or Theme marketplace such as ThemeForest, you will download a Zip file that contains the theme.  Once you have that Zip file on your computer, take the following steps:

  1. Go to the admin dashboard
  2. Go to Appearance – Themes
  3. Click the Add New button
  4. Click Upload Theme
  5. Use the Choose File button to select the Zip file on your computer
  6. Click Install Now

How to Update the WordPress Theme

A quality theme will be updated periodically to provide additional features or just to update code and ensure capability with the latest WordPress version.  On a routine bases check for updates on your admin dashboard. 

  1. Click Updates
  2. All available updates will show on the updates pages, i.e., WordPress Core; plugins and themes.  Select all themes and click update.
  3. Wait for the updating process to be completed and then check the screen messages to ensure that all software updated successfully.

Changing your WordPress Theme

You can change the Theme of your website at any time – remember it changes the look and feel, not the content.  Follow the same process you used when you selected and installed the initial theme:

  1. Go to the admin dashboard
  2. Go to Appearance – Themes
  3. search for the new theme you wish to try
  4. hover and click install
  5. activate when the install process is completed

A word of caution about changing themes

The look and feel of your website should speak your brand from colour and typography, to the overall design. Unless you are rebranding, be sure to carry your brand to the new theme.