Introducing WordPress Themes
In this video, we're going to talk about themes for WordPress. Themes are what make your site look the way it does. We're here in our word Ville dashboard and we're under appearance, themes and right now I have nine themes installed. Our current theme is called a west raining breeze and you can sort of see that, it looks similar. There's an image here and a sidebar, there's a menu at the top. We haven't built our menu but we have our image in our sidebar. Themes are one of the most powerful parts of WordPress because it's so easy to make something so unique. If we go to "wordpress.org", under themes you'll see that there are actually thousands and thousands of themes available and you can simply scroll through them. These are all free. If you click on one, you get a better picture and a description. You can find out where it came from and you can find out who made it. There's even a preview button. But something that's important to note is that often the image used in the thumbnail is a customised version of the theme. For example, the person who built that theme had this picture of this woman, the preview does not. The preview can look pretty boring, actually, so keep in mind that you may see this pretty picture and end up with something like this but, that said, almost always you can take this rather bland look and turn it into exactly what they intended. In addition to all of these free themes, there are commercial themes. These are themes that you pay for. Now what's interesting is that the themes themselves under the GPL. You may recall from early in our series that GPL means that the software is free. What you actually pay for is support and that can be pretty valuable. They can help you get it configured properly, they can help you if you can't figure out their instructions, all of that kind of stuff. Now what's different about commercial themes is usually you buy them, you download a zip file and then you bring it over here to your admin area, you click add new and then there's an upload theme button here. You simply upload it and it will install it for you. If instead you want to install a theme that's in the free repository then you can simply click install and, similar to plugins, it's not really running until you activate it. But what's cool is you can do a live preview here and the nice thing about this live preview is that it actually uses your own content, as opposed to the content they had on "wordpress.org". So I haven't actually activated this yet but I get to see what it looks like. Over on the left, here we have something called the customiser and we'll look at that in just a moment. Right now, the themes we have installed are OS training breeze view - which we just installed - and then the various 20 themes. These are named after years and they're made by automatic so the latest is actually called 2017. First, let's look at what our website looks like right now. We have a logo at the top, a nice big banner, etc. So now let's activate 2017 and reload and now it looks like this there's our homepage still. So the chain, the look of this here at the top, is the customise button and that brings us to the customiser. Now the options in the customiser vary from theme to theme. Some themes use it more heavily than others. Most of them have some similar elements though, for example, site identity word ville. We have not just another WordPress site. Let's change that. You can see it changing down here. As I type, I'm going to type in an exclamation point, but watch. Down in the bottom of this page changes right on the fly. Then if I click Save and publish then it's live. It wasn't actually live until I clicked save, so the customiser allows you to make changes and view them in your own site with your own content before committing. Now some of the elements right on this page have a pencil and they can help you jump to the right section inside the customiser. So, right now, we have this picture of a cactus. What would it look like if we had our city? Now our particular image is small enough that it doesn't look great when it's this large but, if you were taking a picture of your own city or anything else, it would be much larger and much more beautiful. Let's quick save and publish this and see what it looks like without the sidebar there. It's really quite attractive but let's say this theme is not for us. Let's go back and we'll choose OS training breeze again, reload and we are exactly back where we were. You can try as many themes as you wish this way. Llet's try 2015. There it is. Llet's preview 2010. There we go. Now the great thing about preview is that we still get to use the customiser so we can work with it and do whatever we want with it and then ,if we decide we don't want it, simply get rid of it. Later on in our series, we're going to be using the customiser to make this word ville page look much more attractive including building, navigation, a better header and changing what's in the sidebar. To reiterate, themes are what make your site look the way it does. There are many free plug-ins at wordpress.org and there are some excellent commercial ones linked from wordpress.org if you want something custom, something really unique. It's not that hard to make your own theme. If you're not interested in development, you could hire someone to build your own and then it will work just like any other theme. You simply install it and it wraps right around your content.