Once you’ve completed the first 3 tasks of setting up a new website for your small business or side hustle, you can now devote a little more time to the aesthetics and branding.
Website builders make it much easier for ordinary folks like you and me to set their own sites up, but it means that many websites are ‘out of the box’ and have the exact same look and feel. That’s because the basic set up for most platforms, while keeping things simple, also are devoid of any uniqueness for the most part.
If you created your website with a web builder, you’ll need to make it stand out from other sites built the same way and to ensure it matches your branding and colour scheme.
This is were styling comes in.
With WordPress, this is a Theme, which is basically a bunch of files that sit along side your basic installation which provide you with styling options to make your website more suited to your business.
Part 4 of my Free E-Guide; The Straight Talk Web Guide explains what a theme is and what your options are in getting one, but on this page I want to share with you how you can get started with one,
How To Start With Styling Your Website
Step 1 – Choose Your Theme
The clever and considerate folks at WordPress will provide you with set of default themes for you to work with, straight out of the gate. The good news is, you can publish your site as soon as you’ve installed the platform and added a couple of pages.
However, it will not match your branding. That being said, it’s not a bad idea to get a feel for how your site operates with regard to adding new content. Also, at this stage, unless you have broadcast your website to the whole world, not many people will be visiting it, meaning you won’t need to worry too much about getting feedback on your website efforts at this stage.
So, feel free to practice working on your new site with one of the default themes.
Oh, if you need to see where they are kept, you just need to open your Dashboard and follow the menu path Appearance –> Themes
The themes shown in this image include the premium theme UDESIGN, which I use on my website. The others are the ones that WordPress give you.
The interwebs will provide you with a multi-load of WordPress Themes for you to drool and ponder over.
You can start from within your Dashboard area by selecting the Add New Theme option.
You’ll get a display of themes, already loaded to your Dashboard, plus a few others to choose from.
These are mostly free or free versions of Premium Themes (themes you need to pay for).
You’ll first be presented with a ‘Featured’ list of themes, but you can use the filters to widen or narrow your search.
When you get to a theme you like the look of, you can preview it first, before adding it to your site. This is a useful exercise as you do not want to load a ton of themes to your site. This will a) slow your site down and b) give you a real headache with managing the back end of your website.
My suggestion is to pick one theme that comes closest to how you want your site to look like run with that.
You can change and upgrade your theme later. At this stage, it’s important not to spend too much time here as it will only delay getting your site live. I made this mistake when I first started out and it cost me a ton of time that I did not budget for.
Feel free to peruse, but set a time limit, or you’ll get lost down a rabbit hole.
To preview a potential theme, just hover your mouse over it and click the Preview button
This preview is pretty limited. The thumbnail shows an image, but the main section is empty.
Don’t be discouraged by this, you just want to make sure you can add your own images without any dramas.
This preview is from a Premium (not free) theme in the Popular section.
It has the same front page image as the one shown in the thumbnail, which gives a clearer view of the look and feel of this theme.
This example only took me less than a minute to find after I changed the filter from Featured to Popular to show me more themes.
Step 2 – Install Your Theme
Getting a theme from the theme libruary is very easy. Just a couple of mouse clicks and you’re done.
If you wanted to add this theme to your site, you’ll need to click the Install button
This will add the theme files to your website in the background, but it will not add it to the design.
Click the Activate button to make it live.
Congratulations, you’ve now added a theme to your website.
This is by no means the end of the road, but it does mean you will have a MVP (Minimal Viable Product) which you can start using.
Remember, your website will and should always be a work in progress, so don’t get stressed right now, if it does not look how you want it to.
If you are just starting out with creating a site and if you’re doing this yourself, one of the best things you can do is to take the pressure off and manage your expectations. Your website will happen, just not overnight, and that’s perfectly ok.
You are learning a new skill and some of this may be a little overwhelming.
So again, I must stress, don’t get too caught up in the final design of your site, just yet. Grab yourself one of the default WordPress themes or a decent looking free one to get started.
You can change it later to a Premium Theme when you ramp up your site, so for now you need to get comfortable with managing the content on your website, which just so happens to be the next step…
Don’t forget you can read up on Website Themes in my free E-Guide (if you’ve not grabbed your copy already).
CLICK HERE for the guide.