Step 3: Design Your WordPress Blog – Choose a WordPress Theme

You’ve almost made it!

It’s time to make your blog look great and customize it!

I’m sure you have a few ideas about how you want your blog to look. That’s awesome!

If you’re just a beginner, you’re probably asking yourself: how do I customize the design of my blog? How can you adjust the design without much experience in blogging?

In this part of the tutorial, I’ll show you how you can design your WordPress blog with no prior experience.

You’ll learn a few quick tips to make your blog look beautiful, professional, and modern.

Remember: You will learn WordPress simply by using it

When you are just starting with WordPress, this step can feel a bit overwhelming and daunting. But don’t worry, you will learn how to use WordPress like a pro in a couple of weeks.

It will take some playing around and learning by doing to become familiar with WordPress.

So whatever you do, just keep going!

WordPress is the most popular and powerful blogging system worldwide. It gives you an opportunity to start a successful blog from scratch.

You only need to learn a few features to start a blog, so don’t worry if the system feels daunting in the beginning.

That said, if WordPress feels confusing, remember that it’s normal. Every blogger has gone through this learning process, and so will you.

Alright, let’s see how you can change the design of your blog, step-by-step.

What you need before you customize your blog:

In order to change the look of your WordPress blog, you will need to have installed WordPress on your hosting.

To do this first, make sure to click here to create a hosting account on Bluehost and follow the step-by-step guide for setting up your hosting and domain in the previous part of this guide.

Let’s get started!

(If you can’t wait any longer to start writing your first blog post, feel free to skip to Step 4: Start Blogging of this blog setup tutorial.)

Please note: This guide contains affiliate links to products I use, trust, and recommend. If you choose to purchase a product using these links, I may receive a small commission for referring you – at no extra cost to you.

How To Change the Design and Look of Your WordPress Blog

You probably have some idea about how you wish your WordPress blog to look to your readers. Every blogger has slightly different preferences and a beautiful design is often just as important as great content.

Therefore, feel free to find a design that you feel comfortable with. Remember: you will be working with it a lot.

In WordPress, the templates that determine how your blog will look like are called “Themes”. Thus, a WordPress Theme is in control of the entire design and layout of your blog.

Luckily, you can easily choose a theme you like from thousands of great options out there. Whether you choose to buy a theme or use a free theme is totally up to you. There are plenty of awesome themes available that are 100% free to you.

Option 1: Use Free WordPress Themes

Free WordPress themes are a great way to start if you are a beginner blogger. They can work well, but they lack some of the tools that paid themes give you.

Most often, these tools are the ones that help you make your blog successful.

If you have an extra $50 – $90 you can invest in your blog business, use a paid premium theme. The money will pay itself back.

If it feels like a big buck at this point, I totally understand. Just use a free theme for a few weeks and learn your way around WordPress that way.

Using one of the pre-installed themes that come with WordPress is perfectly fine at first. You can find them under “Appearances > Themes” in your WordPress Dashboard. I’ll show you this in more detail in just a minute.

Why should I use a paid theme for my blog?

Since there are so many free themes available, why would you pay for one?

Paid themes are most often much more customizable and powerful in the long run. They usually come with helpful builder tools and solutions for managing your blog more easily.

These premium themes also have much better support staff to help you with your questions. They are there for you to solve any problems you may have with the theme.

All in all: it’s perfectly OK to start your blog using a free theme. You can learn how to use WordPress and understand the features of the system first.

Option 2: Save Time and Create a Better Design Using a Paid Theme

If you can invest in a paid theme, I have a couple of recommendations for you:

Please note: This guide contains affiliate links to products I use, trust, and recommend. If you choose to purchase a product using these links, I may receive a small commission for referring you – at no extra cost to you.

Divi is an incredibly user-friendly and powerful theme – I use it for nearly 100% of my projects nowadays. Divi is easy to learn, intuitive, and highly customizable.

Divi allows you to easily change the design of any of your pages, including the blog page. And in case you have any questions about how to use the theme, the customer support is fast and friendly.

Also, Divi comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. There is no risk in trying it out!

When you purchase a licence for Divi, you can also access the entire Elegant Themes selection of over 70 further themes and plugins, too.

Needless to say, countless professional bloggers use Divi, and it’s quickly on its way to become the best WordPress theme for beginner bloggers, too!

Avada Theme was my first paid WordPress theme I used and loved – and I still use it for a few projects where I don’t need all the features Divi has. Avada has heaps of customization options and it’s a bit cheaper than Divi Theme.

Therefore, Avada is my second recommendation for beginner bloggers – a great theme to get started with!

When you start your blog and choose a theme, don’t overthink it! It’s easy and quick to change your theme if you’re not happy with the one you’ve chosen.

So, just pick one and use it for some time. Learn how it works and be aware of the things you like and the ones you don’t like at all.

Ok, let’s take a closer look at how you can find, install, and activate a WordPress theme next. I’ll walk you through each step, so this is going to be easier than you think.

1: How to find a WordPress theme for your blog

To start off, log in to your WordPress blog using the login details from your web hosting provider.

You can open the login screen by typing the following URL into your web browser – remember to replace “yourblog.com” with your own domain name:

www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/

Simply enter your username and password into the fields and click the “Log In” button:

Beginner's guide: how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost

Once logged in, you will see your WordPress Dashboard. This is the basic starting point for everything you do for your blog:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

On the left-hand side, you see a dark, vertical menu. That is where you can access all the content on your WordPress blog, upload media, review comments, and change the design of your blog.

Go ahead and click on “Appearance”. This will take you to the Themes overview, where the active theme is the first one on the list (in my case the “Divi” theme):

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

Every WordPress blog comes with a couple of default themes installed for you: they’re called Twenty-Seventeen, Twenty-Sixteen, Twenty-Fifteen etc. They all are easy-to-use, professional-looking themes that do a great job for any type of blog out there.

In case you just wish to start writing, I recommend using one of these default themes at first.

My theme is a premium WordPress theme called Divi, which I mentioned above. I use it for almost every WordPress blog and website I create.

Divi an incredibly powerful and user-friendly WordPress theme for both total beginners and professional web designers, too.

For more details on Divi, check out the Divi website at Elegant Themes.

If you’re wishing to create and establish a successful blog to earn money by blogging, I can fully recommend using Divi. It’s my #1 recommended premium WordPress theme for all of my website and blog clients.

It does come with a price tag – but again, it’s an investment into your blog as a business just like any other, waiting to pay itself back in the future.

Click here to get Divi and gain access to 70+ other themes for free with Elegant Themes.

2: How to install a new WordPress theme

To install a new WordPress theme for your blog, click on “WordPress.org Themes” on the Themes overview page:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog

(In case you’re using another web hosting provider than Bluehost, the button might simply say “Add new”.)

This will take you to the themes directory with thousands of themes to choose from:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

If you hover over a theme with your mouse, you will see an “Install” button.

You’re almost done here already! If you see a theme you like, simply install it with one click.

Furthermore, on the top you can see a “Feature Filter” option as highlighted in the screenshot above. It allows you to filter through all these themes with criteria you can define yourself:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

Choose your filters (in this case, I’ve only chosen to see themes suitable for creating a blog) and click the “Apply Filters” button at the bottom. This will take you back to the themes overview, where you can find one that you like and install it like you saw in the screenshots above.

3: How to activate a new WordPress theme for your blog

Once you’ve found a theme you like and clicked “Install”, you see a button for activating the new theme with just one click:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

Go ahead and activate your new theme once you find one.

And that, my friend, is how you install a WordPress theme for your new blog!

Finally, don’t forget to admire the results of your work – take a look at the new design of your WordPress blog that you just installed and activated. Simply hover your mouse over the name of your blog in the upper left corner of the screen and click “Visit site” to see the newly-designed start page of your blog:

How to change the design of your WordPress blog - how to install and activate a WordPress theme

Congratulations! You just changed the design of your WordPress blog like a pro!

I hope you’re still with me! If you have any trouble going through with the steps above, let me know and I’ll help you through it.

And you know what? You’re all set to start creating content for your WordPress blog now!

Next Up: Start Creating Great Blog Content – Write Your First Blog Post

Now that your blog looks great, it’s time to start write your first blog post!

Creating awesome content is by far the most important part of blogging. After all, it’s what your readers are interested in when they visit your blog.

Creating content is also the fun part of blogging! You get to put your heart into every post you publish and in every story you share with your readers. 

Ok, let’s get your blog empire going and see how you can start writing your first blog post!

Click here for Step 4: How to Write Your First Blog Post

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