How to Choose a WordPress Theme for Your New Blog

Let’s talk about how to choose a WordPress theme for your new blog. After we choose the perfect theme, we can install and activate that baby, and start customizing your site! 

Your theme is essentially the template for the look and layout of your website. It’s the aesthetic side of your blog, where you can plug all of your brand colors and fonts in and create a gorgeous, user-friendly site. 

There are a gazillion WordPress website themes out there and so many options for a unique site. But there are a few things that you absolutely need in a WordPress theme.

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If your theme is bloated with data and plugins that weigh it down and slow it down, it’s bad for optimization and for blog traffic. 

The best way to choose a lightweight theme if you aren’t super tech savvy? 

Ask Google, or ask your favorite tech person! I have some recommendations for lightweight themes listed below.


Most themes these days are mobile-responsive, but this one is an absolute MUST, so make sure whatever theme you choose is responsive on mobile devices. 

The words ‘mobile responsive’ or ‘mobile friendly’ should be listed under the theme details, but always double check the preview of your theme before activating it. 


Ideally, your theme has customizable options that allow you to create the look and design that you want on your site.  

If you’re a newer blogger or coding isn’t your favorite thing in the world, you’ll want to use a theme that has easy customization options. 

Recommendations below. 

These three things are the essentials, and if you find a theme within that realm, you’re golden.

I use the Astra theme on all of my sites and highly recommend them! 

They have a free and paid version, and although I’ve used other themes over the years, Astra is by far the most customizable, user friendly, lightweight theme I’ve ever used.



Although there are a lot of great themes to choose from, and everyone will find their own favorites, Astra is among the best.


You’ve done all the prep work and now you’re ready to set this baby up right! 

Download Astra here.  

It will automatically send a zipped file to your Downloads folder on your computer. 

Next, login to your WordPress dashboard. If you recall from our previous guide on downloading WordPress, you can login by typing your domain name and adding wp-admin to the end of it. 


Click on Appearance and then Themes. It’ll look something like this:

On the Themes page, click the button at the top that says ‘Add New’.

From here you’ll click the option to ‘Upload a Theme’ and select the zip folder for the Astra theme you just downloaded to your computer. 

Hit Install. 

This will be the same for any theme that you have purchased or downloaded.  

You can also download a theme straight from your WordPress dashboard if there is a theme that you like in the library. To browse for themes there, you’ll go to Appearance, Themes, and then ‘Add New Theme’.

Once you Install your theme, you’ll head back to the Themes area in WordPress and Activate your theme.

Now it’s time to dig into the new theme and customize your blog. 

Take my word for it: it’s A-OKAY to keep it really simple for now! 

The design process can be stressful and overwhelming, especially after all of the work you’ve already put in.  

But we don’t have to do evvvvverything today. 

The truth is, the ‘look’ of your website doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, especially in the beginning. 

Yes, we want our blogs to be organized, clean, and professional. But great helpful content is wayyyy more important than anything else. 

So, just set up your basic customizations and then get to work on building up your blog content. 

Don’t stress too much over things like logos and branding. If you already have them ready, great! But if not, these things can all come in time. 

Go into your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance, and go to Customize. This is where you’ll make all the customizations on your theme. 

We’ll cover this in part 8 of this 10-part starter guide: Customizing Your New Blog on WordPress >>>

Previous sections in this 10-step guide: 

Step 1: Defining Your Blogging Goals
Step 2: Choosing Your Blogging Niche
Step 3: Choosing Your Domain Name
Step 4: Choosing Your Website Hosting
Step 5: Pointing Your Domain to Your Host 
Step 6: Downloading WordPress 
Step 7: Choosing Your WordPress Theme

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