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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Show All Comments
Rainer
41,052
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
This is totally Greek to me, but I have a business associate that will find this information right up her alley. Thank you!
Jan 09, 2008 07:06 AM #1
Ambassador
893,006
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114 - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Cheryl, I did not go through all those steps to create a wordpress blog for Crofton Village Garden Club.  On Wordpress.com, I simply registered another blog, clicked on presentation, and then selected MistyLook for my theme.  Then I clicked on custom image header and dowloaded a photo.  Voila, done!  I chose this theme for its function - not so much the way it looked, but the tabs at the top for fixed pages, the simple 2-column layout for computer novices to follow easily. And I can change the photo with the season.
Jan 09, 2008 07:52 AM #2
Rainmaker
573,927
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
Greek, Polish, Russian and some other language. I'm lucky to be able to load a photo. I guess at some point I need to branch out thanks for the info maybe it will stimulate me to do some experimenting.
Jan 09, 2008 09:06 AM #3
Rainmaker
189,079
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

I have had a Wordpress . com Blog for some time. Just about a week or so I found that they allowed custom Headers. ( They were not allowed in Feb of 07 when I started it.

It was really simple. Selected the photo much like here at AR or elsewhere. And Voila. Wordpress crops the photo for you to fit. It even allows you to place the crop marks so you get the image your looking for.

Jan 09, 2008 09:37 AM #4
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Cheryl, once again very helpful.  I did not realise that you could add additional themes that you found on line.  I downloaded one today and it did download as a Zip File.  Now trying to locate it will be interesting as I did not read this blog prior to doing the download:) Oh well...Where I got lost in your presentation is in uploading the file to the Wordpress platform. 
Jan 09, 2008 10:33 AM #5
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Figured it out...wordpress.org vs. .com.  Yes, it's in the Title....:) 
Jan 09, 2008 12:32 PM #6
Rainmaker
259,060
Pam Graham
All Real Estate Options - Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, Clay & St Johns Counties
So what is the difference between wordpress.org and .com? Just the title?
Feb 07, 2008 10:25 AM #7
Rainmaker
568,857
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, CA

Pam -- Here's the official wordpress explaination, which is actually pretty good:

http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/05/07/wordpresscom-vs-wordpressorg/

Feb 07, 2008 01:49 PM #8
Ambassador
158,140
LifeOhm
LifeOhm - Life Coaching for Real Estate Professionals - Portland, OR
Monica at LifeOhm
Thanks for the great tips, we have a wordpress blog at www.yourmt.com/blog. It has the default theme at the moment and could use some spicing up.
Mar 10, 2008 09:30 AM #9
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

Cheryl,  I think what I need to help me is in this post right here...I'll work on it in a little while and let you know.  Still confused as to where to sign in to wordpress though.  I know...stupid question, but for whatever reason I don't get it.  Is it .com?  Or am I not finding the place on .org

 

Jun 27, 2008 10:01 AM #10
Rainmaker
568,857
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, 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

Jun 27, 2008 10:32 AM #11
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

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.  :)

Jun 27, 2008 11:29 AM #12
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

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

Jun 27, 2008 11:38 AM #13
Rainmaker
568,857
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, 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

 

Jun 27, 2008 11:59 AM #14
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

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.

Jun 27, 2008 12:22 PM #15
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