How to customize or change a theme in WordPress

With thousands of free and premium themes available online, why would someone want to put in the work to customize their WordPress theme? Also, how easy is it to change a  theme in WordPress entirely? Let’s find out.

How to change a theme in WordPress :

As you will see below, changing a theme in WordPress  involves just just a few clicks. However, repairing the damage done post a change that was not thought through, may not be easy at all.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before / after changing your WordPress theme:

  • Test your website speed on the theme you currently have to note the increase/decrease in speed
  • Note any custom code that you may have added to the website such as the Google Analytics tracking code, etc. so that you remember to add it back to your website once your theme is changed (please note: this does not refer to plugins for the analytics code that have been added)
  • Take a backup of your WordPress website as a precaution
  • Test your website in all browsers
  • Monitor visitor behaviour once you’ve switched themes

If you’re confident you’ve made the right selection of a theme, there are several ways to customize or change a theme in WordPress:

A. Changing a theme from the WordPress dashboard – without modifying the code:

  • Log into your dashboard
  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes

You will see a list of themes in several categories such as ‘popular’, ‘latest’, ‘featured’, etc.

 

You can also use the filter to specify the kind of theme you are looking for.

 

  • Hover over a theme to see options to preview a theme and install it as your new one.

 

Another way to do this is to :

Navigate to Appearance > Customize

Like you see in the image below, you can change the theme from here as well and also tweak the CSS, images and other content.

Let’s look more closely at how the different elements of your WordPress website theme can be customized here:

 

  • Changing the header image:

 

  • Customizing / adding menu options:

 

Create a new menu, name it and add its location

 

  • Customizing / adding Widgets:

Apart from the ability to choose from a variety of widgets, you can also drag and reorder their sequence of appearance.

 

Deleting a widget

 

  • Customizing your WordPress theme colours, fonts and text:

 

One other way to arrive at the screen above is to select the customize option. (This will appear above your WordPress blog, if you are also logged in, of course).

 

B. Customization using plugins:

You can also use several plugins to customize the CSS of your WordPress theme. Some of these are:

This popular CSS editor has a fairly good rating from users and has been built for for beginners and pros alike.

This useful editor is designed to let you customize code for your website separately for each device.

Has features similar to the two plugins above with great UI.

 

C. How to customize a WordPress theme by editing the CSS :

Navigate to ‘Appearance > Editor to make code changes directly to your website. This is really only if you’re really confident about doing this. WordPress recommends that you actually create a Child Theme to your main, parent theme to minimize the risk and also to ensure your work is saved (in the event your parent theme is updated while you are still working on changes).


We hope we’ve helped you better understand how to customize or change a theme in WordPress. If you’re looking for a robust hosting solution for your WordPress website, take a look at our WordPress Hosting product built on the cloud.