WordPress is often promoted as a great tool to build blogs. But while there is no question that is how it got its start, WordPress is so much more than just a tool for creating great blogs. It is now equally great at creating websites! In fact, there are now 70 million sites built using WordPress, many of which are primarily websites and not just blogs. But there are are a few basic secrets to using WordPress to create a great website. First and foremost: get a great website theme!
The great thing about WordPress is that there are so many free themes or templates (same thing, just a different name) that make building an awesome website easy. Just get on Google and do a search. (Make sure you look for website themes and not blog themes.) Here are a few sites that have great free themes:
- WordPress Theme Shock
- Free Premium Themes
- WPShower (many free themes, some premium ones)
- WordsPop (many free themes, some premium ones)
If you are creating a simple website for your personal or family use, free is a great way to go! But, if you are creating a website for your business, premium themes are worth considering. On average they only cost between $25-$50 and you can find outstanding themes that really set your business apart. Not that free themes aren’t good, but a premium theme is often worth the small expense to instantly take your site to the next level!
There are a number of sites that specialize in excellent premium themes. Here are some of our favorite sites that sell premium themes:
- Theme Forest (my personal favorite!)
- Template Sold (a Bluehost partner)
- Templatic (great premium themes)
Below is a sample premium theme layout for a restaurant (from Theme Forest). You can see how it would give any restaurant a unique style and professional look. All the restaurant manager would need to do is add text and perhaps change the images.
Once you’ve tried premium themes, you may find it hard to go back. They give any website an instant boost in both functionality and professionalism (and just plain help your website look better!) And just like premium themes, there are also premium versions of other WordPress tools such as plugins.
One of our favorite sources for all manner of Premium WordPress tools is WPHub.com. They not only offer almost 600 professionally designed themes, but also partner with leading plugin developers to offer great premium plugins, and even maintain a list of great WordPress hosting solutions. They curate the thousands of premium options available and present the best ones in an clean, simple, sortable interface. This makes it easy to identify, select, and purchase the perfect premium tool for your WordPress website. For example, you can sort themes by color palate, category, company, features, layout, price, and even width. WPHub.com tests their recommendations to ensure everything they endorse works as advertised and they even offer comprehensive WordPress training on a number of different topics to make using premium tools easier.
How to Install Themes
Bluehost also sells several WordPress themes through a partnership with Template Monster. We have made it simple to use one of these premium themes by making it easy to install the theme at the same time you install WordPress. You simply see these templates when you install WordPress through SimpleScripts (our great 1-click installer tool) to automatically install WordPress.
That being said, installing a WordPress theme manually is pretty simple too.
- Find the free or premium theme you want and download it to your PC or Mac.
- Once logged in to your WordPress dashboard (where you create pages, posts and manage your site), click ‘Appearance > Themes’ (see the picture to the right).
- At the top of this window is an ‘Install Themes’ tab. Click on it.
- Underneath the tabs, click on the ‘Upload’ link. Select Choose File, navigate to the .ZIP file for the theme you just downloaded (not the folder, but the compressed .ZIP file!) and click ‘Open’ to upload it.
- Finally, you just need to Activate the theme. To do so click the Activate “Theme Name” link in the top right.
That’s all it takes! Your theme is installed and you are ready to go!