How to install a theme on WordPress

Installing a portfolio theme on your WordPress site

Installing your WordPress Theme

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a strong and stylish foundation for your site; this foundation comes in the guise of a WordPress theme.

NOTE: If you would like to follow all of the tutorials in Building Your Artist Website (the second section of The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Artist Website), I’ll be showing you how to create a site similar to using the simple and slick Klasik WordPress theme.

What is a WordPress theme?

As previously discussed in the tutorial Choosing a WordPress Theme for your Artist Website, the theme is what gives your website its look, style, lay-out and functionality. WordPress comes with a default theme (the 2014 theme).

If you’ve followed all the steps so far, you can navigate to your site and see the bare bones of your website with the 2014 theme installed. Because this is a very basic framework and we haven’t added any content yet, the site will look very plain and uninteresting. The first step in creating the look you want for your site is to choose a new WordPress theme.

There are free WordPress themes available, but I would always advise investing a small amount of money (normally around $45 – which currently works out around £25) for a premium theme; they are almost always much slicker and more robust, and make for a far more professional platform on which to showcase your art.

Where can I buy a theme?

Places online to find professional portfolio WordPress themes for artists include:


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To learn more about what to look for in a WordPress theme for an artist website click here.

For a full list of recommended WordPress themes for artist websites click here.


Assuming you have chosen a theme, let’s take a look at how to install it in your WordPress admin area.

Installing the theme

To build fiber artist Daren Redman’s site, I used a minimal and stylish theme from (a company I’ve bought WordPress themes from several times and can highly recommend). The theme is called Klasik (you can learn exactly how to build a similar site using this theme in Chapters 5-10).

1. So, first of all you need to purchase the theme. How you do this will vary slightly depending on whom you are buying it from. At it’s simply the click of a button. Go to and click ‘Purchase’.

Purchase a premium WordPress portfolio theme

2. Once the purchase is complete, download the folder provided by the vendor onto your desktop.

Download the WordPress theme to your computer

In order to upload directly to WordPress, you’ll need the theme in a zip file format. This file should be included in the folder you’ve just downloaded to your desktop. In my case the file I need is called

The file you need is the theme in a zip format

3. Next, go to your WordPress admin area. You can get there by typing into your browser (for me that’s You’ll then be asked to enter your WordPress username and password for this site (we created these in the last tutorial Installing WordPress). Once you’ve clicked ‘Log in’, you’ll be taken to your WordPress Dashboard.

4. On the left side of the screen is the main navigation menu which shows us the options for all administrative activities within WordPress. Hover over the ‘Appearance’ option. A sub-menu will pop-out to the side. Click on ‘Themes’.

In your WordPress admin area or dashboard click on Appearance>Themes

5. On the next page, you’ll see the themes that are already installed. At the top of the page, click ‘Add New’.

Click 'Add New' in the themes area of WordPress

6. You’ll then be taken to a page entitled ‘Install Themes’. Underneath the title is a list of options. Click on ‘Upload’.

Click on 'Upload' to find your theme in a zip file format

7. Now we’re ready to install our theme. Click ‘Choose File’.

Select the appropriate zip file containing the files for your new WordPress theme

8. Find the folder you downloaded earlier and double-click on the zip file within that folder.

Find the zip file for the WordPress template on your computer

9. Once you’ve done that, it will appear on your ‘Install Themes’ page within WordPress. Next click on ‘Install Now’.

Click 'Install now' for WordPress to upload the new portfolio theme

The installation may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your internet connection.

10. Once it has successfully installed you’ll be given new options for how you’d like to proceed. Click ‘Activate’. This will replace the default 2014 WordPress theme with the theme you’ve just installed.

Once the theme is uplaoded, activate it to see it in action on your live artist website

Now if you navigate to your site (in my case, it will have a different look. It will still look fairly dull, as we haven’t added any content, colours or styling.

Navigate to your domain name to see the theme in action

A word of warning

In rare cases, WordPress may have trouble uploading a compressed folder (the zip file). When you purchase a theme, you’ll also be given an uncompressed folder. If you have trouble uploading the theme via the WordPress Dashboard, you may need to upload the uncompressed file via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Here’s a link to a video with simple instructions on how to do this:

OKThat’s it! You’ve installed your website theme successfully. Now we need to alter a few basic settings in WordPress itself.


Go to Chapter 4 – Basic WordPress Settings >>>

<<< Go back to Chapter 2 – Installing WordPress

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