A theme is a template for your site — it creates the basic layout, which you can then customize to add a personal touch. You can switch themes any time, and as many times as you like, to find a theme that’s right for you. Note that if you’d like to upload third-party themes and plugins, you’ll need to be on the Business Plan or eCommerce plan.
There are many themes to choose from on WordPress.com, from super-sleek and minimal to fun and festive. You can quickly browse themes right in your dashboard: just hover over My Sites in the top-left corner of your screen, and select Themes.
The Recommended themes include themes that are built using the Block Editor first. Use the search box that will show if you scroll down to the ‘Advanced Themes’ section to look up a specific feature or theme name, or just toggle between free, premium, or all themes.
If you’d like the see how the ‘Advanced Themes’ looks with your posts and pages, hover over the three gray dots on the bottom, right-hand corner of the thumbnail and select Try & Customize.
This will load your posts and pages into the theme, and let you play with customizing tools. You’ll be able to preview your new look and try out different options, from a new tagline to new widgets:
Don’t worry: you’re the only one who sees this! Your blog and theme remain as-is for the public while you’re previewing. If you decide you want to use this new theme, click the Activate & Publish button at the top of the customizing tools:
If you don’t want to activate the theme, click the X and you’ll return to the grid of theme thumbnails.
If you’d like to run a more thorough search, you should give our Theme Showcase a try. There, you can find detailed information on all our themes, including a list of their features.
The Theme Showcase also allows you to make targeted searches for themes that meet your specific needs, from layout and color palette to features you can’t live without — just click on More and you’ll see all the available search parameters.
If you know which look you’d like to give your site but don’t care a great deal about particular features, just scroll down the page until you find something that catches your eye. Clicking on a theme will take you to a page with a detailed overview and the ability to check out a demo site. Or, if you’re sold, just click on Activate this design.
If it’s layout and features you care about the most, you can narrow your search significantly by choosing the number of columns your site should have, or filtering themes by the availability of features like a post slider, Custom Header, or Featured Images, to name a few.
Keep in mind that the Recommended themes use the page layouts built through blocks to be able to display your content rather than using theme options in the Customizer. For these themes, you can instead focus on the design features you see in the demo knowing you’ll be able to reproduce the layout of your choice with blocks.
Pick a theme that says “you”
You might not always have a clear vision for your site or blog when you’re just getting started — and that’s perfectly fine! Here are three guiding principles that’ll help you find the theme that’s the best fit for you.
Your style: You want to make your blog a place that you think is comfortable, visually appealing, and reflective of who you are. Some features and designs might look snazzy in the Showcase, but will feel wrong for you if they don’t channel your personality.
Choosing something that doesn’t speak to you will likely entail lots of tweaks to try and make it feel like “you.” Set yourself up for success by picking a theme you’ll like looking at every day.
Your content: If you know what your subject matter will be, you can further narrow the list of likely themes. If you love photography and know you’ll be posting images with most posts, you’ll want to consider photoblogging-friendly themes, where visuals get most of the attention.
If you’re more writing-oriented, there are many themes that make your text the star, including most of our minimal themes. There are also themes for specific purposes, like business, music, travel, or weddings.
What if you’re not sure what your site will feature, or you envision posting on a variety of topics? First, have no fear — that’s true for the vast majority of bloggers, especially when they start out. Second, there are plenty of themes that are well-suited for different types of posts. (We release new themes regularly.) Take a look, and see which designs attract you.
Your time and energy: Some themes can handle more customization than others. How much time and energy do you want to put into your theme, as opposed to the content you’d like to create? Be realistic about what you want to do and the time you can devote to customization. The last thing we want is for you to feel frustrated by your site — we want you to stick around and publish.
Change your theme
A few days (or weeks, or months) have gone by. You’ve seen a lot more other sites, and have been feeling more comfortable customizing yours. You may wonder if it might be time to change your theme.
To pick a new theme, go to My Sites → Themes to browse and make your selection.
Take your blog mobile
Many of your readers will not be reading your blog on a computer. They’ll be on phones and tablets of various sizes. Luckily, you can make sure that visitors can read your content on screens of all sizes.
The vast majority of our themes are responsive, meaning they automatically change their appearance depending on your visitor’s device, while trying to preserve as much of your original design as possible.
What’s next? In the following section, we’ll take the theme you chose and add personal touches so readers know without a doubt that they’re on your blog (and not just because you’ve used your headshot as the background image). Move on to Get Configured.