It is hard to imagine life without blogs. They have become the voice of millions of people who want to document their life and adventures, or just speak their minds. Blogs have made the world a smaller place, allowing news and ideas to be seen and heard from anywhere on the globe.

One of the most popular sites for free blogs is WordPress.com. According to the site, more than fifty-eight million blogs worldwide have found their home at WordPress.com.

WordPress Themes

What is a theme? Think of a theme like a cellphone. No matter how high-tech the phone might be, its basic function is to make calls and send SMS messages. The difference lies in its design, specifications, and brand. In the same way, a blog’s basic function is to share a thought or a message. What sets a blog apart from another is its look and structure.

A blog is a blog. But a WordPress theme adds functionality and design elements to a blog. For anyone who has started a WordPress blog, one of the most exciting experiences is choosing a theme. There are many themes available to choose from, each reflecting the blog’s personality and branding by providing templates that add to the site’s aesthetics. Indeed, with a wide array of attractive themes, there are no more excuses for bad blog designs.

Free Versus Paid Themes 

There are also two kinds of themes: free and paid. Free themes are usually the first choice for new bloggers. These are pre-designed and generic themes that usually follow the same structure of the default theme.

Paid or premium WordPress themes allow the user to configure the look and feel of the blog. You can choose the color scheme of the theme, plus get access to an options panel. However, their uniqueness and quality comes at a price of up to $30 or more for a premium WordPress theme.

What’s the Difference? 

Premium themes show more of an investment of time and resources. Because of this, the design is better than most free themes. Considering that many free themes are already appealing, having a paid design offers a much higher quality theme.

Great designs are fueled by codes, and paid themes are generally well-coded compared to their free counterparts. Theme designers have to provide quality to their premium themes; otherwise designers face angry complaints from buyers, an onslaught of trouble-shooting concerns, and reputational risks to their names.

One of the limitations of a free theme is that it will not include an options panel which easily allows a blogger to update a theme.  This is an especially helpful feature for the blog newbie.

The bottom line: The design of your blog is important. If you make the investment for a paid WordPress theme, excellent design is just about guaranteed.

How to Install a Theme

 To install a free theme, simply log in at WordPress.com and click “Appearance” on the lower left side of the Dashboard. Then click on “Themes.” You can choose the theme you like by clicking on “Activate.” 

To install a premium theme, do the same process as above. But instead of choosing “Activate,” you first have to purchase the theme before downloading the ZIP file. Go to “Tools” and select “FTP File Manager.” You then find “WP-content”>”Themes”>”Upload.” Upload your premium theme. Go back to the Dashboard and click on “Appearance” again. The theme will then appear in your “Available Themes”  – PUT SCREEN SHOT OF THEME ADMIN PAGE HERE.

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