Theme Me Baby!

Once you understand how WordPress Themes work you’ll be blown away! Change every page in your site with ONE CLICK? A dream come true for an old school web designer like myself.

But there’s always a ‘but‘ right?

Why do WordPress theme designers supply people like us with ‘free’ themes? If it’s just to have a link or two back to their sites that’s OK in my opinion. That’s a small price to pay for a nice free theme. Kudos to them!

Successful free theme developers will actually charge, say, Joe of ‘Joe’s Car Hire – Istanbul’ for a link to his site to appear in the footer (the text at the bottom of every blog) of the free theme. If 10,000 people download and use that theme lucky old Joe just got ranked #1 in Google for ‘car hire istanbul‘ thanks to all those back links! (Provided his site was Search Engine Optimized in even the most basic way).

So, as I say, in my book that’s fair enough but be aware that many free themes simply don’t work properly, are not necessarily updated when WordPress is updated and can clash or don’t work with some plugins.

Not looking to scare you here but any WordPress theme can be ‘hacked’ if the designer/creator has installed what is known as a ‘back door’ to bypass your passwords and maybe instigate something a bit ‘dodgy’ at some future date.

OK, OK! This is generally (maybe) unlikely if you are careful but don’t just download a bunch of free themes willy nilly.

My advice to you? If in doubt get a free theme from designers who also offer paid premium themes.

When you’re not making any money it makes sense to always explore the ‘free’ option I know. So fine, practise on a free theme and once you know that you want to get serious simply get a better theme and ‘switch’ in your dashboard.

N.B. The time will come when you’ll need some ‘Support’ help for your theme in the future to ‘tweak’ your theme just the way you want it, or something ‘breaks’ and free themes won’t offer support. Good premium theme sites most certainly do.

Look at it from the other side: say you’re making $100 a week in Adsense with a blog and Google suddenly closes your account down because they’ve discovered that Joe’s Car Hire, Istanbul is a porn or gambling site – Woh! Heavy duty stuff, because in Google’s eyes if you link to ‘bad neighbourhoods’ then maybe you’re not too nice yourself! At best your rankings in Google will suffer.

Here’s a personal horror story of my own…

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That being said let’s look at a video on installing themes ( having scared the crap out of you :-) !!!

I recommend and link to some ‘safe’ free themes after the video.

Relevant links for this tutorial:

  • WordPress Codex (if you want a free theme get it from here, rather than a web search for ‘free WP themes’, as I hope maybe check the themes they feature here for skullduggery)
  • Woo Themes – offers a few free themes as do….
  • Elegant Themes and…
  • Solostream



Managing Director at Big Buzz Projects
Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.

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