730px-themesThemes: Themes create the look and feel of your site. Colors, arrangements, fonts – these are all created by installing different themes. Your site comes with two default themes, but there are literally thousands of FREE themes to choose from. The Appearance>Themes tab shows you the themes which are installed on your site at any given time. There are also “premium” themes you can purchase which usually cost between $30 and $150. I will show you some recommended FREE themes later, as well as give you links to some premium themes in case you want to start there.

770px-designwidgetWidgets: Widgets are drag and drop boxes you can add to your sidebars, and sometimes your footer (depending on your theme). Popular widgets include a listing of your pages, categories, recent posts or comments, monthly archives of your posts, links, a search field, and your tags. To put a widget on your sidebar, click on Widgets, then drag the one you want to the “Sidebar” list on the right side of your screen. Then, click on title of the widget on the sidebar to adjust any particular settings for that widget. For example, the “Categories” widget asks if you want to show the categories as a list, or as a dropdown menu; if you want to show post counts (the number of posts attributed to each category), and if you want to show the hierarchy of categories (if you have sub-categories, this will show them, too). To remove a widget, simply drag it back, or click remove.

Editor: This allows you to edit the CODE behind your themes. For the purpose of this ebook, I’m simply going to say, don’t change anything here.

Add New Themes: Like I said, there are thousands of themes to choose from. You can find and activate new FREE themes here. All of the themes listed in the WordPress directoy have been approved by WordPress for use – they don’t have tricks up their geek sleeves and are safe to use.

  1. Search: allows you to search the WordPress theme directory by colors, columns, width, features, and subject. You can also specify particular terms you’d like to search for, such as pink, feminine, or cancer. There may already be a great theme for a breast cancer site, and you can search for it here.
  2. Upload: When you’re getting started, using the free theme directory is the way to go. However, not EVERY theme that exists is listed in this directory. Some themes, like the ones you pay for, won’t be. If you have purchased one of those, then you’ll have a file you’ve downloaded from the site you purchased it from that you’ll need to install on your site. You can do that by clicking the “Upload” link, finding the file on your computer and then clicking Install.
  3. Featured: This will show you the themes that WordPress is fond of lately. In many ways, these are the best of the best FREE themes.
  4. Newest: Um, shows the newest themes approved by WordPress
  5. Recently Updated: See – I told you this was pretty simple. Displays the most recently updated themes approved by WordPress.

Once you have found a theme you like, you will see the links to “Install” or “Preview” it under the theme title. Previewing it will show you what the theme looks like with your existing pages/posts and widgets. Installing it will pop up a small window that shows a button to “install now.” Click that and then you will see a screen that gives you the options to again Preview, Activate or Return to Theme Installer. If you would like to make this theme THE theme for your site, choose Activate.

Remember, you can look at all of the themes installed on your site by choosing the Appearance>Themes tab.