Disclaimer: I am a long time TypePad blogger. However, I figure a well-rounded blogger should be familiar with more than one platform, so I've taken to dabbling a bit with WordPress.org.
While TypePad is second nature to me, WordPress isn't, so as I do stuff, I make notes and take screen shots, so I can remember how to do what I did the next time I need to do it.
And I've been posting those notes here on Active Rain so that a). I can find them again when I need them and b). maybe they'll save someone else a little time and a few headaches.
Themes are designs you apply to your blog to change it's appearance without changing the content.
First thing, find some themes that you like. Googling the words wordpress themes will return hundred of sites offering themes; most for free, some for sale at varying amounts. As a WordPress newbie, you probably want to stick with free until you get familiar with working in WordPress.
Two prerequisites for installing a new theme:
Choose a theme and click download. Here's a tip, if you see several you like, just go ahead and download each one as you come across it. The zip file will not take a lot of room on your hard drive. That way you don't have to try and find the theme again at a later date.
The downloaded file will be compressed as a .ZIP file. Unzip (extract) it with your Unzip utility. This screen shot is from CAM Unzip - my current favorite. As always, pay attention to where the unzipped file is placed on your hard drive. You can't upload it unless you can find it again. :-)
Start your FTP program. In the panel (usually the left) for your computer, drill down to the folder containing the theme files on your hard drive. Note the folder may be nested a few steps down. You will want to upload the folder containing the actual files, not a folder containing a folder of files. This screen shot is of WS_FTP ,
In the panel for the host server (usually the right) drill down to the WordPress theme folder. It is inside the WordPress content folder. You need to upload the folder containing your new theme files inside the WordPress theme folder.
(This sounds more complicated than it is. ) Mark sure the theme folder is selected, and click the upload arrow to begin the upload.
Now login to your WordPress account, and click presentation.
The Presentation tab will display all your Available Themes. The new theme you just uploaded will display in the list. Click on the name of the new theme to make it the Current Theme
One note: WordPress is a very democratic, user-driven community. Anyone and everyone can create a theme and offer it to the public. Some themes are created by brilliant professional programmers, and some aren't. If you try out a new theme, and make some customizations of your own ... and find the thing behaves wonky, it may not be a problem with your edits.... the theme may not be coded as well as it should be.... just find another theme...
Another tip: Look for themes coded with a "options page" .... an options page page lets you make several customizations of your own without touching the code.