A Guide to WordPress and Third Party Themes

WordPress is a powerful, user-friendly content management system.

Its purpose is to serve as a platform for individuals who lack the coding experience to create and manage attractive, functional, and easy to maintain websites.

Within the rapidly growing content management market, WordPress is the most popular platform available, occupying about 60% of the global CMS market share.

Today, 26% of the entire World Wide Web is powered by WordPress. Millions of people use the platform: combined, WordPress websites receive nearly 23 billion page views per month from over 409 million website visitors all across the globe.

Around 60 million new WordPress posts are made available every month via a total of 76.5 million different WordPress blogs.

WordPress and its Users

The platform fills a variety of useful niches:

Professional Services: As an independent professional, WordPress allows you to create a professional-looking website to market your services, without requiring HTML, PHP, or CSS experience.

Storefront: WordPress makes setting up an online store quick and easy. The platform handles some of the most challenging aspects of the setup automatically, making the process of conducting financial transactions straightforward and hassle-free.

Personal Website: The availability of free subdomains and the ease with which a WordPress site may be set up makes it ideal for hosting personal websites.

You can update family and friends on what you’re up to, talk about your hobbies, and blog about subjects of interest.

Blog: The core element of most WordPress sites is blogging. WordPress is one of the world’s most popular platforms for blogging, which is itself a fast-growing digital industry.

Bloggers can earn money through methods such as advertising, affiliate marketing and sponsorship.

Advertising and Web Monetisation: “Web monetization” is a catch-all term used for the various practices used to generate income through a website.

Through cleverly placed ads, conveying items and services of interest to your target audience, you can earn a passive income through advertisements, which your audience can see as a positive part of their overall experience with your site.

The World of WordPress Add-Ons: Widgets and Themes

WordPress accommodates a broad range of functionality by the use of modules.

The platform allows its users to create, upload, and market customisable add-ons (modules), of which a limited selection are free by default.

These free add-ons offer an array of useful functions, but – if you want to make your website stand out from the millions of others that already exist – you need to create something a little more unique.

The two most popular types of commercial add-ons for WordPress sites are widgets and themes. Widgets alter your site’s functionality by adding and changing features. Themes profoundly affect your website’s appearance.

More than just a simple change of font and colour, however, customised WordPress themes include a broad range of coordinated and finely-tuned fonts, images, structural and layout changes, colours, link styles, and a great deal more.

These diverse elements are organised to maintain a particular atmosphere; to be friendly to a wide range of browsers and devices, and to afford a professional appearance.

An entire language has arisen through which modern web browsers interpret these attributes.

By buying and installing a third party WordPress theme, you can then tweak minor details to make it your own, without needing to learn this language yourself (or pay someone to create an entirely original theme for you).

Benefits of a Premium WordPress Theme

There are several key advantages to purchasing a premium WordPress theme.

These make the selection of such a theme worth considering, even if you happen to be proficient enough with the coding involved to create your own.

Premium Support: The most popular premium WordPress themes offer support services and staff who can answer commonly asked questions.

In some cases, the support can even provide help with customisation. But this is dependent upon the theme.

Automatic Updates: With millions of WordPress websites offering services and products for sale, premium themes represent a valuable commodity. These themes will often be routinely updated to make them more compatible with WordPress updates and popular widgets.

Easily Managed and Customisable: If you do need to make changes to a theme to suit your site’s style or purpose more accurately, you’ll find everything for your premium WordPress theme in one place. This makes it easy to track and implement changes on an as-needed basis.

Where to Find Commercial WordPress Themes

You want your site to stand out as much as possible, particularly if you’re looking to monetize it, as with an affiliate marketing setup or advertising network (the ad network has the advantage of being a little more flexible, as well as being well-suited to smaller publishers).

Currently, there are several leading producers and providers of WordPress themes.

WordPress: WordPress itself offers a limited marketplace for commercial themes. Their standards are high, and their requirements for a commercial theme are more specific than what other websites are likely to require. If you do find a premium theme through WordPress, however, it is guaranteed to be GPL-compatible , regularly updated, and well-maintained.

Envato Market: Formerly ThemeForest, Envato Market is one of the leading providers of premium WordPress themes today. They offer regular specials, weekly highlights, and more than 25,000 different premium themes – many of them available at deeply discounted prices.

Template Monster: Template Monster features a selection of premium website themes and templates for a range of content management services. Their WordPress section has thousands of professionally coded and highly customisable themes organised into dozens of easily searchable categories. Searches can be based on subject, function, features, popularity, or WordPress version compatibility.

Many other websites offer WordPress themes and other goodies for sale. The three outlined above, have a certain reputation for quality, variety, and affordability. By providing themes through these websites, designers reach a wider audience and can make their work available at lower prices.

How to Install a Premium WordPress Theme

Follow the Theme Instructions: Most reputable, well-maintained themes will include their installation instructions, even if they simply follow WordPress’ standard installation procedures. Having these instructions is known to be a sign of a quality theme, involving high attention to detail.

Note: Remember to pay close attention to the designer’s instructions as they may deviate from the standard procedure.

Install via Administration Panel: This is by far the easiest. Select the Appearance panel, then from there click the Themes panel. Now it’s simply a matter of browsing for the theme you want, then previewing its appearance and uploading it directly to your website.

Install via cPanel: cPanel is a web server control panel. If your host offers cPanel, and if you’ve downloaded your theme as an archived file (*.zip, or *.gz), you can use cPanel to upload your theme to your website.

Navigate to your “/themes” folder in cPanel, and click “Upload,” then select the archived theme that you wish to upload.

Manual Installation: Manual installation is a little more complicated than the previous two methods, but it is sometimes necessary, particularly for third party themes.

First, download your theme’s archive file, and extract it on your computer locally. Whenever possible, preserve the directory structure. Next, use a reputable FTP client to login to your website’s host server.

Your WordPress installation should include a /themes directory as a subdirectory of /wp-content.

In your themes directory, create a directory corresponding to your theme’s name. If your theme is named “Suspicious Potato,” for instance, the structure should appear as follows: /wp-content/themes/suspiciouspotato.

Now, use your FTP client’s upload function to upload your theme to the new directory.

Setting Your Theme: To select your blog’s active theme, you’ll need to be logged in to your WordPress administration panel. Roll over your new theme’s thumbnail in the Themes panel, under the Appearance panel, and click the Activate option that appears (you can also take advantage of the Live Preview option).

More Information

Here are a few other resources offering handy advice regarding the purchase and installation of premium WordPress themes.

WordPress: WordPress provides comprehensive documentation on everything theme-related. The volume of information is huge, and extensively interlinked, but you can find the answers to most frequently asked questions here (if you’ve got some time on your hands).

WPBeginner: A great beginner’s website for many different basic WordPress functions.