Hi Guys,

This is the inaugural #anseoanswers blog post and its all about WordPress themes!

We have the lovely Tracey from @mummakeupbag to thank for this one.

Here’s her question.

What is a Theme?

I suppose there’s no point in rabbiting on (first time I’ve ever typed that in my life) about Themes and how to set them up etc with describing what they are and how they work. As my grandfather used to say ‘if you start from the start you’re starting right’. I actually don’t think my grandad ever said that but its sounds more authentic. Anyway here we go!!

So a basic website is made up of two things (it’s actually made up of like 150 million things but for the purpose of explaniation we’ll say 2) Coding and Styling.

Coding is the contents and functionality of your website, for example the text and pictures on your blog posts or the buttons that, when clicked, allow someone to submit a form or add a product to cart on a website. This is done using different coding languages such as PHP, Javascript, HTML etc.

Styling is exactly what you’d expect, the style of your website. This includes everything from your choice of font to your colour scheme to the size of your logo. This is achieved by using CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets. So you have a file on your site that manages the style of pages etc and that’s called a CSS file. We’ll mention your CSS file a little later.

A Theme is a combination of coding and styling that changes the appearance of you site on the front end of your site and allows you to control this style from the backend of the site. So, if your website/blog was a house, a theme is both paint and a paint brush. That was actually an amazing analogy fair play to me!

Money Talks. Style Doesn’t Have To!

So where can I find a good WordPress Theme?

This is more or less what Tracey originally asked on #anseoanswers! (I hope!)

There a 2 types of themes Free and Premium.

In general Free themes can be installed directly from your WordPress dashboard.

On WordPress.com websites premium themes can be purchased from you dashboard but this isn’t the case in WordPress.org (Self Hosted) websites.

Third Party (Manual Upload) themes cannot be installed on WordPress.com websites but can be on Self Hosted sites. This is one of the main reasons that Self Hosted WordPress sites are so much better than .com’s . These Premium themes, in general, are developed by third party developers who sell them on various websites.

Free WordPress Themes

Free themes (in general) have limited options and customization options but if you find one that you think looks awesome go for it! To install a theme directly from your WordPress Dashboard, simply click Appearance and then Add New on the themes page. Once in there you can simply search or install any theme you like the look of. A picture paints a thousand words so here are 2 of them 🙂

Premium WordPress Themes

Premium themes are quite simply the bomb (I might have that etched onto my headstone). There are lots are lots of places to find really cool themes that you can customize to within an inch of their life.

If I had to choose ‘ The Best Theme in the World’ I simply couldn’t but here are a couple of themes I use and love.


Enfold is right up there as the best theme in the world IMHO. It has a huge range of features and integration’s without the need for lots of plugins etc. In a word its epic and is first on the list for a reason!

Here’s the product page for Enfold.


Lots of blogs and news websites have evolved into ‘magazine’ style sites. Newspaper is the best magazine theme out there. Its awesome!

You’ll find more info here.


Grid layouts are the future of websites because they operate so well on mobile and lets face it thats whats most important. Carrie uses grids really well and its at an introductory price of only $19 (plus VAT). No Brainer.

Here’s Carries Link

We could be here for a decade choosing themes and building a list but those three are brilliant!

Theme Resources

If the above theme’s don’t tickle your fancy here are some resources where you can find themes for yourself, click one of the logos to be brought to the WordPress section of each site.

WordPress Themes resource themeforest

All three links above lead to themeforest because Iliterally couldn’t do my job as efficiently as I do without it. At the time of posting this post there were 10,618 WorPress templates on themeforest. It’s a resource for premium WordPress Themes and theres tonnes of other stuff on there too. Definitely my go to website for themes and I often sent clients there to pick a theme that they might like rather than me having to develop the telepathic segments of my brain to read minds (who has the time!).

WordPress Themes resource pipdig

Pipdig provides some really elegant, modern designs. They have a very limited range compared to themeforest but a hugely enormously massive amount of beauty bloggers have used pipdig’s themes so its definitely worth mentioning. Quick self indulgent example: I recently met with a pretty well know YouTuber who gave me some 6 sample sites that they liked the look/design of. 5 of the 6 examples were pipdig themes.

WordPress Themes resource Template Monster

Template Monster were building and selling website templates before WordPress was even born. No Website Themes blog post would be complete without a special hat tip to the Monster. Fair Play lads!!!

There are so many more but the above examples are three of the best. If you know of any that I haven’t mentioned feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

A Quick note on Premium Themes

As I mentioned above, generally, Premium WordPress themes are downloaded from a third party website, like themeforest, pipdig etc. Because they are not downloaded directly from within your own dashboard they need to be manually uploaded to your website. Grand!

For a theme to work with WordPress (or Blogger or any other CMS) it needs to meet certain criteria. For the purpose of this example we will use the fact the a theme needs to have a style.css file in its main directory to be verified by your website as a valid theme.

If you upload a theme and you see the following error which means that a valid theme setup wasn’t found in the file you have attempted to upload.

If you so see this error, its usually for the following reason…

Premium themes sometimes come bundled with other files such as plugins to enhance the funtionality of the theme or maybe a user manual to walk you through all the wonderful options the theme has to offer. Because of these extra features your style.css file may not be in the main directory of your file and may be stored in a folder which is inside another folder which will prevent your site from validating the file as an acceptable WordPress theme format.

Here’s the simple fix:

Open the file you just downloaded from the third party site and extract it to your PC. Once that’s done you should see a mytheme.zip file (where mytheme is the name of your newly purchased theme). This mytheme.zip file is the one you should upload to your site.

That’s definitely the most common reason for theme upload errors but if you do have any other issues just give us a shout and we’ll help you sort it no problem.

And…. We’re Done!

Hopefully this answered you question Tracey, thanks a million for getting in touch, having a subject makes the process so much easier.

Oh, also, we are running a competition on Twitter and the prize is 2 tickets to our next Anseo Workshop in Athlone in September. To enter just ask us a question on Twitter using #anseoanswers.

Post Number one done!

There will be many more posts coming so thanks for reading and have a wonderful day or evening depending on when you’re reading this.


It’s honestly completely random that I chose two balding men with glasses as GIFs here!!