WordPress Complete Tutorial 03: Using WordPress Themes on WordPress.com

This is the third post of my WordPress Complete Tutorial series.

For all tutorials in this series, please visit:

In the last post, we created a blog on WordPress.com. We will continue working on that blog, the topic of today is the themes.

Change Your Theme

How the blog is displayed is based on the theme used. Let’s go to the blog we created, ZackLive.WordPress.com, At the bottom of the page, we can see this blog is using a theme called, Wu Wei which is designed by Jeff Ngan. Let’s try some other themes.

WordPress.com Themes

Go back to Admin Panel, you can visit Admin Panel by adding wp-admin to your blog’s URL, in this case, it will be: http://zacklive.wordpress.com/wp-admin.

Click Appearance->Themes. There are a lot of great themes listed here. Most of them are free to use, some Premium themes require you to purchase.

We go with some popular themes. Click Popular under Browse Themes in the middle of the page. These are the most popular themes on WordPress.com. You can find some well-designed themes here. We will try INove theme for this time.

Scroll down the page to the bottom, you’ll find INove theme. Or type INove in the search box to find it.

WordPress.com INove Theme

It shows the name of the theme, a short description and tags. Tags describe the features of the theme, such as two-columns, right-sidebar.

Now click on Preview to see how it works for your blog, or click on Activate to use this theme. I’ve activated INove theme, let’s see what’s the difference.

WordPress.com Blog Theme

A totally new blog! Just one click you’ve got a new design of your blog. And it’s all free, what can be better?

Sidebar and Widgets

You may notice that INove has a right sidebar, which is different from the default theme. We can edit the sidebar from Admin Panel.

WordPress.com Widgets

Click Appearance->Widgets.

Widget is one of the most amazing things of WordPress. It’s a small tool which contains different features, such as showing latest posts. You can add or remove these widgets to your blog by drag-and-drop. You don’t need to edit any code to change the layout of your blog.

Widgets are usually used in sidebar. Sidebar is like a container for widgets, you put widgets into a sidebar so that the widgets can be functional.

Some themes have only one sidebar, others may have several, there is no limitation to the number of sidebars, it’s all based on the design of the theme.

INove theme has one sidebar, right sidebar. You can drag-and-drop your favorite widgets into it. It’s better that we put some thing that will help readers to find out more about our blog in the sidebar. Like Categories, Recent Posts and so on.

After modifying the sidebar, we need to refresh our blog to see how it works.

WordPress Sidebar

We’ve got the new sidebar now. If you want to remove any widget, just drag and drop it off the sidebar area.

WordPress Menu

Let’s set up the menu for the blog.

Go to Admin Panel, click on Appearance->Menus.

Wordpress Menu

The left hand side is inactivate, because there is no menu for now. We can create a menu by entering a name for the menu and click Create Menu. Here we use “My Menu” as the name.

WordPress Menu

Ok, we’ve got our menu. We need to allocate the menu to theme – select a Theme Location for the menu. There is only one menu location in this theme, the Primary Navigation. We choose My Menu for this location and click Save.

WordPress Menu Item

We can set up items for the menu now. The first item we need is a Home button which is a link back to the home of the blog. We will add a Custom Link to the menu. Enter the URL of the blog, in this case, it’s “http://zacklive.wordpress.com” and “HOME” as Label. Click Add to Menu.

We have our first item for the menu, let’s add more. Check the Page of “About” and click Add to Menu. Do the same to our only category, “Uncategorized”. So that there are three menu items. We can edit and remove them by clicking the triangle on the items.

WordPress Menu Edit

Remember to click Save Menu when finishing editing. Refresh the blog to see the new menu.

WordPress Blog Menu

Everything works fine.


In this tutorial, you learned:

  • Changing WordPress Theme
  • Editing Sidebar and the concept of Widget
  • Editing Blog Menu

In the coming tutorial, We’ll go through other settings of WordPress.

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