WordPress Themes – elements of themes and important things to know

So many Themes to choose from.  How to decide which Theme to use?

The answer is to first decide whether you want your blog titles displayed on the Home page (Front page) with “tabs” at the top and / or in another location of your blog (e.g. in the Sidebar) for your blog PAGES, or if you want a STATIC Home page.

WORDPRESS PAGES in the sense of Pages that you the blogger create, are for static or fixed content, e.g. About this Site, About Me, Contact Me.  The Home page is of course, like for any website, the first or starting “page” of your WordPress.com blog / website.

A STATIC Home page means fixed content on the Home page of your site, and this means that if you have blog posts you will need to set up a Page for your Blog Titles to be displayed.

See this page  here for instructions on how to choose a Static Home page for your blog, or have your Blog Post titles displayed on the Home page.

My WordPress.com blog “Stop Fires in Australia” has a static Home page and a Page in the “Menu” ( a Menu being links to WordPress Pages ) which links to the Blog Posts.  In addition, my “Stop Fires in Australia” blog has special features, which are 3 blocks of important text which appear at the bottom of the Home page, and Footer content which appears in 3 columns or blocks at the bottom of the Home page and all other Pages.

Click on the Link below to view the site. I am providing links to some of my blogs, to show various blogging topics and to demonstrate different WordPress Themes in action.


The blog above uses the Sela Theme .  This Theme allows for 3 Home page featured areas which don’t appear on the other Pages. There is Footer content on each Page arranged in 3 columns. You can try working with the Sela Theme yourself, or you can find out how to use it by reading the  WordPress Guidelines.

A Theme that allows for a WordPress Page to be set as a Featured area on the Home page is the Edin Theme.  The difference between using the Sela Theme and the Edin Theme is that with the Sela Theme, I used text blocks to add in what I liked for the three areas at the bottom of the Home page of the “Stop Fires” blog (above the Footer areas); but with the Edin Theme the Featured area on the Home page is derived from one of your WordPress pages.  In other words, the content of a chosen Page is featured at the top of your Home page, with the Blog Post titles underneath it.

Just because a WordPress Theme has options like Featured Areas on the Home page, doesn’t mean that you have to use them of course.  You might like other layout components or elements of the Theme, and that can be reason enough to choose the Theme.

Some WordPress Themes only have a Sidebar and no Footer widget area (e.g. the Bold Life theme that I use for Fascinating Animals, and some only have a Footer area that you can customise and no Sidebar, e.g. the Radcliffe2 Theme (being used for this blog you are reading now); and some have two Sidebars, e.g. the Yoko Theme used for my blog “Our Lovely World.

The main differences between WordPress.com Themes are number and placement of Sidebars and Footer areas (where you can configure Widgets like “Recent Posts” or “Follow this Blog”), and the use of Featured areas on your Home page.

The Featured areas can be Blog Posts with a particular tag e.g. “Featured” which can be displayed as a Slide-show at the top of your Home page, OR the content from one of your WordPress Pages featured on your Home page.

A snippet below showing the Customize Widget options for the Sela Theme.


My blog WordPress Guidelines explains what the above means.  My WordPress Guidelines blog uses the Apostrophe 2 Theme which sets out Blog Posts in tiles.  This Theme also has “Primary” and “Secondary” sidebar areas, which simply means a darker area at the top of the Sidebar on the right for prominent links / Widgets, and a lighter coloured section below that for apparently not so significant information.

Sidebars are usually located on the right-hand side but some Themes allow you to choose which side (left or right of the home page) to put the Sidebar on.  To select a Theme which has your preference of Sidebar placement or location, click on Theme in your blue dashboard (under Personalize) then click on Column.


You will then see choices similar to below.  Click on your choice to see the Themes with that option (noting that clicking on Free will show the Themes you don’t have to pay for).   You can click on one of the other icons shown in the strip above, to search for a Theme that you like, and / or type a search term into the Search field / box next to the magnifying glass.

column options

The number of Columns refers to how the main content is set out on the Home page of your blog, i.e. in one column (as for my blog Fascinating Animals) or in 3 or 4 columns.  Experiment with trying out different Themes.  My WordPress Guidelines guides you through this process, and in no time at all you will be an expert and will be able to help others too with setting up their WordPress.com blog.

If you are wondering how to find a WordPress.com Theme with another particular feature or option, click on Themes in your blue dashboard, and then click on the picture of a Theme thumb-nail that appeals to you, to scan through the information about the Theme options.  You can use Ctrl + F or the Search function of your computer to search the Theme information page for something particular that you are looking for.  It is also an idea to visit other blogs, and if you find a Theme that you like, contact the blogger (if you can), and ask what Theme she / he is using.

There is a way of finding the Theme of a WordPress blog without asking the Blogger, and that method is in my WordPress Guidelines. 


You may see advertisements on this blog.  This is because this blog uses the free WordPress.com platform.  If you don’t like the ads, just brush them away like you would with an annoying bug

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