How to Modify WordPress appearance

Your website identity depends especially on the graphic theme: all the visual features of your site, such as colors, text size, background images or arrangement of blocks in pages. When you installed WordPress, you didn’t have the opportunity to choose the used stylesheet, and for good reason: it’s installed by default and it’s then up to you to find another and change it if you want. Let’s see how.

Theme changing

Choosing a theme is  very simple. in the administration interface, go to menu “Appearance> themes”. Here you will probably have one or two pre-installed themes that you can enable or disable at your leisure (see below).

wordpress theme interface

Let’s try to change the currently used theme  (here “Twenty Thirteen”) with “Twenty Twelve”, Click “activate” and refresh, your site’s new look is already in place,  nothing more to do (see the figure below).

wordpress theme activation

What if I want to try new and not included themes with WordPress ?

It’s possible to install new themes created by the community in various ways: Using the administration interface or by downloading files yourself.

Add a theme via the dashboard

To add a theme directly from the admin interface, choose the tab “Add new” up the theme selection page. Here you can search by keyword, upload a .zip containing a previously downloaded theme file or browse the latest ones added by developers :

add wp theme

When browsing the gallery (by searching or browsing the latest updated themes), you have an option to preview the final result through the “Preview” link below the thumbnails. when you click “Install Now”, WordPress will automatically download the requested theme and it will be added to the list of available themes.

Using a downloaded theme

In case you have downloaded a theme separately, for example directly from or any website offering WordPress themes, you can install it manually by placing files in the CMS tree.

Try, for example, to install the theme expound proposed on the official website of WordPress. Unzip the .zip file and place the expound folder in the : wordpress / wp-content / themes  directory of your installation. If you redisplay the list of themes in the administration interface, expound is now selectable for use on your site (see below):

uploaded theme wp

Adding widgets

Widgets are small blocks to add on the pages of your website. They provide information and specific functionality to visitors. For example, it could be a current time display, a calendar, weather forecast, mini games, etc. It’s an easy way to add dynamic content  without having to modify the site code.

Install a new widget

In the Appearance > Widgets menu, we see all the available widgets for the website in the center, and on the right the different areas where your theme can contain these widgets. In fact, the widgets can not be placed anywhere, they need one (or several) area of the graphic depending on how the used theme is designed. By default, WordPress has a number of included widgets.

To add a widget to a specific area (which is determined by the used style), you simply drag and drop it from the center to the “Main Zone” (the name may vary depending on your theme) on the right. Let’s add, for example, the widget “Tag cloud” with this method:

add widget wp

Once a widget is placed in the widget area, you can edit properties, which determine its behavior on the pages of your website. Let’s add the title “Keywords” and choose taxonomy “tags”, which will display a short list of the most used tags to mark published articles. The other option “Categories” offers the same display but for the categories of articles. Now click “Save”, then refresh the site’s home page; the new widget should appear in the selected area.


Deactivate a widget

Removing a widget is simple: just click on “Delete”. This will remove the widget and delete the applied settings.

widget remove

However, you can also choose not to display a widget, while keeping the options you’ve chosen such as title for example. For this, just move the widget to the “disabled Widgets” area at the bottom of the widget management page. You can then place it later on your site with the same settings.

Modify WordPress appearance;

Important to remember:

  • The appearance of the site is determined by the chosen theme.
  • New themes can be downloaded from the official library, or uploaded from any trusted site.
  • The widgets offer additional features in the peripheral zones of each page.


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