WordPress.org Themes

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

Disclaimer:  I am a long time TypePad blogger.  However, I figure a well-rounded blogger should be familiar with more than one platform, so I've taken to dabbling a bit with WordPress.org. 

While TypePad is second nature to me, WordPress isn't, so as I do stuff, I make notes and take screen shots, so I can remember how to do what I did the next time I need to do it. 

And I've been posting those notes here on Active Rain so that a). I can find them again when I need them and b). maybe they'll save someone else a little time and a few headaches.

Themes are designs you apply to your blog to change it's appearance without changing the content.

First thing, find some themes that you like.  Googling the words wordpress themes will return hundred of sites offering themes; most for free, some for sale at varying amounts.  As a WordPress newbie, you probably want to stick with free until you get familiar with working in WordPress.

 

Two prerequisites for installing a new theme:

  1. Unzip utility such as WinZip or CAM Unzip
  2. FTP utility such as WS_FTP or CuteFTP

Choose a theme and click download.  Here's a tip, if you see several you like, just go ahead and download each one as you come across it.  The zip file will not take a lot of room on your hard drive.  That way you don't have to try and find the theme again at a later date. 

 

 

The downloaded file will be compressed as a .ZIP file.  Unzip (extract) it with your Unzip utility.  This screen shot is from CAM Unzip - my current favorite.  As always, pay attention to where the unzipped file is placed on your hard drive.  You can't upload it unless you can find it again.  :-)

  -

 

Start your FTP program.  In the panel (usually the left) for your computer, drill down to the folder containing the theme files on your hard drive.  Note the folder may be nested a few steps down.  You will want to upload the folder containing the actual files, not a folder containing a folder of files.   This screen shot is of WS_FTP ,

 

In the panel for the host server (usually the right) drill down to the WordPress theme folder.  It is inside the WordPress content folder. You need to upload the folder containing your new theme files inside the WordPress theme folder. 

(This sounds more complicated than it is. )  Mark sure the theme folder is selected, and click the upload arrow to begin the upload.

 

Now login to your WordPress account, and click presentation.

 

 

The Presentation tab will display all your Available Themes.  The new theme you just uploaded will display in the list.  Click on the name of the new theme to make it the Current Theme

 

The theme I just activated here is Tiga by Shamsul Azhar.

 

One note:  WordPress is a very democratic, user-driven community.  Anyone and everyone can create a theme and offer it to the public.  Some themes are created by brilliant professional programmers, and some aren't.  If you try out a new theme, and make some customizations of your own ... and find the thing behaves wonky, it may not be a problem with your edits.... the theme may not be coded as well as it should be....  just find another theme...

Another tip:  Look for themes coded with a "options page" .... an options page page lets you make several customizations of your own without touching the code.

 

 

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Comments 15 New Comment

Rainmaker
549,094
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

Stephanie ---

There are two flavors of WordPress

WordPress.com is a hosted platform.  You go there and sign up for account, pick a pre-designed theme, and start blogging.  You don't have an option of custom designing your own theme. 

WordPress.org is a web site from which you can download the WordPress software.  You then install the WordPress software on your own host.  You can install any theme you like, and customize that theme however you want.   You can write your own PHP code and use it in the blog's design.

You can purchase your own domain name and use it with either flavor of WordPress, so don't let anyone mistakingly tell you that you can't map a domain name to a WordPress.com site.

Here's an earlier post I wrtote on the difference:  http://activerain.com/blogsview/327618/Wordpress-com-Or-WordPress

Maybe I should turn this into a post for PBII

June 27, 2008 10:32 AM
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com

Hi Cheryl,

 

I have most everything setup but can't for the life of me connect to my ftp. On with customer support but about to pull all of my hair out.  Once I get on there, I will know if I have questions about uploading a theme...that's what I was attempting to do.  :)

June 27, 2008 11:29 AM
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com

Ok, got it on to my ftp.  I'm popping open champagne!  ;)  Now, just have to find out how to log in.

June 27, 2008 11:38 AM
Rainmaker
549,094
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

OK, So you uploaded WP to your host (I'm guessing it isn't a one click host)

Here's what would happen next  These are screen shots of the previous version of WordPress.. and using GoDaddy from my post here http://activerain.com/blogsview/326410/Installing-WordPress-org-On

========

Go to http://www.mysite.com/wp/wp-admin/install.php

This error message is exactly what you want to see.  Click the link to create a wp-config.php file through a web interface.

 

Make sure you have the host name you copied and pasted plus. MYSQL Database/User Name and password you jotted down earlier, and click let's go.

  

 

Fill in the form with the information you jotted down earlier.  In the Database Host box, paste in the host name that you copied from GoDaddy.   (See that comment about a 99% chance you don't have to change that info?  Well, GoDaddy users constitute the 1% that needs to complete the info.) The user name is the database name you created earlier in GoDaddy, not your primary GoDaddy login name.  Click Submit.

 

All right.  Making progress.  Click run the install.  

 

Type in your email address and a name for the blog.  Click Install WordPress.

 

When the install is finished, and yes, this part only takes a minute, WordPress will give you a login (Probably "admin") and a password.  Please note these are different from the databe login and password you set up at GoDaddy.  It's also a good idea to print the page, in case the email generated by WordPress with the login information goes astray.

Also note, in the future you can login in with http://www.mywebsite.com/blog/wp-admin   If you installed WordPress in the root folder rather than a sub-directory that login would be http://www.mywebsite.com/wp-admin

 

June 27, 2008 11:59 AM
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com

Ok, I got it.  The problem was within the host and not me.  :)  I feel a little better, was getting the feeling that I was completely incompetent about 5 minutes ago.  LOL.  I'm signed in to make changes.

Your tutorials were awesome! And I will check back to them for more questions.

June 27, 2008 12:22 PM
Rainmaker
549,094

Cheryl Johnson

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