How to add a new theme to your WordPress site

There are thousands of free and premium (paid) Themes that can change the way your new site looks in seconds. In this post I will give you a step-by-step walk through the process of changing a theme for a WordPress site.

As a reminder, in the previous post here I was writing about the process of installing a WordPress platform onto your site.

Today we will make the first look at how to make the new site your own and start setting it up to truly represent you as an artist.

Step 1: Log into the WordPress control panel

If you followed my instructions in the previous post and installed your WordPress into the root directory of your website, then you can now go to the web-address of your site and see that instead of an empty space there is now a shell of a site.

Don’t panic! The chance of anyone seeing your site is close to zero at the moment. Before anyone can find your site online, the search engines need to index it and that takes at least a few months. We will talk about making various search engines aware of your site later, but now that you have gotten over the initial shock of seeing an empty shell where your site should be it’s time to do something about it!

If you feel you want to find out more about being found online, check out our post here!


To change the appearance of your website you need to log into the WordPress dashboard. For that, add /wp-admin to your website address as following:


This will lead you into the log in page:

Log into your WordPress dashboard
Use this screen to log into your WordPress dashboard

Put in your Username and Password (the ones you created during the installation of WordPress).

Click “Log in” and if you remembered your credentials correctly, it will lead you to the next screen:

WordPress dashboard front page
WordPress dashboard front page

Step 2: Change the WordPress theme

There are literally thousands of themes available for wordpress. Themes can be free or premium or you can install initially a free version of a theme that has a premium option should you need one in the future.

The choice of a theme is a very personal one and I have compiled a let of themes that appear to be a good fit for a visual artist who are looking to set up an online e-commerce site to showcase their art in this post.

Once you have selected your theme you want to use, you can click on “Appearance” section in the left-hand manu of the WordPress dashboard to be directed to the following screen.

Themes section of WordPress dashboard
Themes section of WordPress dashboard

Click “Add New” to proceed to the screen offering you a selection of the themes available on WordPress:

Add Themes Screen WordPress Dashboard
Add Themes Screen WordPress Dashboard

Put the name of the theme you have chosen into the search section. Once WordPress finds it, click “Install” and then “Activate”.

Step 2a: Alternative way of adding a new theme

If you have been browsing the Internet and have come across a theme that you really liked you probably wanted to make sure you saved it straight away. In this case you can download the theme from the developer’s website as a .zip archived file. Make sure you remember where you have saved your theme. That would save you a few frustrated minutes – Ask me how I know!

To add this theme to your site, follow the same steps above to get to the theme selection screen and click “Upload Theme” button at the top of the screen.

This will allow you to go into your computer file structure where you will be able to select the .zip file and install it.

Once installed, click “Activate” button as before. That it – your theme is set up and ready to be customised.

Next steps:

Once the theme is installed and activated on your site, the next step is then to add some plugins. Follow me to my next post to find out how to add a PlugIn and which Plugins you need to integrate your website with Printful.



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