Video by MarionBlack
Added Dec 12, 2018

Author MarionBlack
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Choose a New Theme

If you're reading this or watching the video then chances are that you chose your theme when you first created your WordPress website and you're not happy with that first choice. But how to choose a different theme from the thousands of free (and premium) themes available? The answer is the 'Feature Filter'.

Everyone who takes their online business seriously should have a test website for trying out new themes and plugins without breaking their real (live) website. Free members can have two SiteRubix sub-domains and Premium members can have lots. You only need one website to be a successful affiliate marketer but you don't want to wreck that by trying out different themes and plugins on your live website. What would your visitors think if your website changed its appearance every few minutes?

If you don't already have a test website on SiteRubix then go ahead and make one now - just select the first theme you see. It doesn't matter which theme you choose because we're going to change it.

In your test website you'll want to go to Appearance > Themes. You can select 'Add New' at the top of the page or 'Add New Theme' at the bottom of the page. Either will take you to the 'Add Themes' page where you'll want to select 'Feature Filter'.

Under the 'Layout' section you'll need 'Responsive Layout' as Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly. Currently over 60% of online browsing is done from a smart phone or tablet so you'll want to capture that market.

Now you can consider the 'must haves' for your website's appearance. Do you want one, two, three or four columns? If two columns then do you want the sidebar on the left or right? People read from left to right so which is more important your content or your widgets? Content is King.

Remember every box you check will reduce the number of results and make your theme selection easier. Check too many boxes and there won't be very many themes that meet your criteria. Let's go for a balance. Remember that the choices are yours not mine I'm just showing you examples.

Now you can choose something that catches your eye. Install it on your test website and then customize it.

Once you have your test website looking just the way you want then you can apply the customization to your real website. Some themes have an Export feature so if the one you chose has that then you can Export all your customization and Import it to your real website.

If you're not happy with your new theme choice for any reason there's a money back guarantee (just kidding, it's a free theme) so you can go back to 'Add Themes' and try a different one.

Thanks for watching and happy theme hunting.

More Training by Marion Black - Sorted

As always I'm here to help you,



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Recent messages
tbowyer Premium
Hi Marion.

Thank you for this—sure wish I'd watched it before I splashed out on the badly-supported ShuttlePro theme I ended up with.

I'd just add that for me, one of the most important attributes a good theme must have is that it is well supported, with a comprehensive library of on-point help files.

Regards,
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MarionBlack Premium
Yes, whenever I'm looking for a new theme or plugin I like to check the support forum to see what problems other people have discovered and how they have been resolved.
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Barney44 Premium
GREAT Marion!
Have been reading all the Wordpress stuff on changing theme only to find it all combined in one place and easy to understand. (From confused to educated.) Would have saved me at least 2 hours time if I’d looked here first. (Good lesson learned)

Wonderful idea of having test site. Had not thought of having dedicated site for testing.

Thank you

Barry
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MarionBlack Premium
You're welcome, as always, Barry.
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GShaw Premium
Hi Marion,

I have gone through your above training a couple of times. I have a couple of questions for either you or the community..

Each time I changed my theme on my test website none of the images showed up? I also didn't seem to have the same options available .... example .... responsive doesn't seem to be available to choose.

One final question for now, the themes available on WA are free themes and not pro .... right? This adds some restriction to what is available. Am I correct?

Thank you for all your work and assistance.

Greg
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MarionBlack Premium
It wouldn't be good if thousands of websites looked exactly the same with exactly the same images. The preview of the theme is just a preview of what it could look like with "some" images. You'll want to find your own images to use. Try pixabay.com

This video was done quite some time ago, Greg. In WordPress, things change rapidly. There's no need to have "responsive" as an option as all the themes at WordPress are now responsive. The principles shown in the video still work, but now there are different options available.

There are thousands of free themes to choose from. I've been doing this for years and never needed to buy a pro theme.
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GShaw Premium
Hi Marion,

Thank you for your response.

Again, what I don't understand is why when I install a theme on my practice site is there no images at all? It doesn't seem to matter what theme I try.

My challenge right now is also learning what each option represents so I can understand more what I want my theme to look like. ie, how are columns represented, grid layout, eCommerce and so on.

Thank you again,

Greg
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Danos Premium
Hey, so If we want to be able to customize and optimize the layout and add things to my website we have to purchase the template offered by the company that made the template? It's saying I have to purchase it from whoever before I can use the optimizer options setting?
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merlynmac Premium
It depends on the theme. Some will let you customize a bit but then require you to purchase to customize more or use certain features.
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BenjisDad Premium
the content is the most important thing on your site right now, get as much content as you can up. you do not need to buy a premium theme if yuo do not have the budget. if you do, go for it.
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MarionBlack Premium
There are thousands of free themes available, Dan. There's often no need to purchase a premium theme. My theme of choice is Weaver Xtreme it doesn't have a premium version just a premium plugin to add extra features that I don't need. It's the most versatile and customizable theme I've seen in all my years using WordPress.
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mosesdam Premium
Thank you for your suggestion, for newbies like me, i need suggestions
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cris1018 Premium
Yes! This is exactly what I needed today in addition to Marion's video.

FYI folks... the link above goes over how to choose, and how to CHANGE!

Excellent info, and timely as many people are having issues with themes that are outdated or no longer supported.

Check it out. Don't forget to click "next page" at the bottom of each, as there are a few and all have need-to-know content.

Thanks again Zed!
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smartketeer Premium
Thanks!
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Derrence Premium
Thank you, thank you, thank you Marion!!! Really big help for me. I lost my template theme building my 1st website and everything else. Trying to rebuild website now and getting template theme for it. My website is preachingtheword.siterubix.com. When I go there I get a blank, black screen. Very frustrating. Have been to site support with the problem. Waiting for their answer now.
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MarionBlack Premium
It looks like they may have fixed it already, Derrence.
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Derrence Premium
No. They just say there is no problem with my website. I still have no theme template for my website.
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MarionBlack Premium
Your website has Ad Mag-Lite theme. Try a different theme and see if you can find one you like. All themes have to be customized to add your own images etc.
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Derrence Premium
Thanks Marion. I am just now learning how to use wordpress.
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MarionBlack Premium
Try to keep things simple at first. You can add more bells and whistles further down the track.
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agychin Premium
HI! Thanks for the sharing.
What if I am in the midst of building of website with all the the contents in it and in the end, I realized that the 'Theme' I've chosen is not suitable. Is it possible for me to change to a new 'Theme' from the existing one?
Appreciate your advice.

Thanks a lot,
Agnes
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Clittle1 Premium
Yes it is! Go to "wordpress" for you site. Then once there look at the left and click on "appearance" then "themes" then "install new themes"
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smartketeer Premium
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agychin Premium
Thanks for the prompt feedback. Appreciate it.
Agnes
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agychin Premium
Thanks for the great help. Appreciate it.
Agnes
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MarionBlack Premium
Yes. Just remember to always do a backup before you make any major changes to your website.
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Singqueen Premium
HI Marion,
I cannot locate "responsive" under the layout portion. I hate the design of my website (I'm a newbie) and could really use some help (of course I moved my free website to a purchased domain so I don't have a test site either). If you could help me it would be appreciated
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Aditya92 Premium
It's no longer there as an option, now it's compulsory. All new themes must be responsive to get into the http://wordpress.org repository.
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Marion. Choosing a theme can be very time consuming and hard to do. What many people are afraid of is choosing a new theme and then having lots of work to do in fixing all of the things that changed with a new theme, but lots of work is just part of this business and we should never be afraid to make changes just because we don't want to put in some elbow grease.
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MarionBlack Premium
Good to see you Steph. It's been way too long.
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NinahHunter Premium
This was good timing for me, too. I remembered reading something similar, probably from you, Marion, and didn't know then how to save it to my favorites. I do have new website promoting WA and am not happy with the theme, which is going to cost $50+ if I wanted to get the pro version. The theme, BTW, is Period.

So, that leads me to another question, which I'll also throw out to the community, as well. I plan to transfer over a Shopify website and domain name, which store I've had inactive for several months. I probably won't do much with it here, yet, but after seeing we can do eCommerce through WooCommerce (and I found training on how to transfer Shopify to WooCommerce), thought I'd get it out of Shopify anyway (at $29/month).

Do you know enough about eCommerce themes to suggest what to look for? I presume those also need to be responsive. I did explore themes and search for eCommerce ones, which exist. Do you know if those come with WooCommerce plug-in or have their own store-like options? I did set up a free website for this on which I can test out themes before I move it to the domain I own.

Thanks.

Ninah
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MarionBlack Premium
I'm not doing WooCommerce so I'm not in position to recommend a particular theme. Perhaps the community can help with that.
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wendyg53 Premium
I didn't think about doing a test site. I just thought I would swap themes on a real web site if I was so inclined. But I didn't think it through. You have a good point about visitors getting confused.
So I think I am going to play around with my site rubrix site, get comfy, and when everything looks good - put it all up on a real site. I think it will be good practice if nothing else. Thanks for another great training video Marion. :-)

Wendy
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MarionBlack Premium
That's the way I like to do it Wendy.
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carterr7634 Premium
After you create a fake website and figure out the theme you want for your real website should you just delete the fake one or leave it to use later on for a real site and just change the domain name and ... well everything into your next niche site? Or is that a bad idea because of something to do with leaving it inactive with random non-useful information
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TheOldSilly Premium
I keep a "fake" website just for testing new plugins on, and trying to learn how to adjust/modify html codes, things like that. No need to delete it.
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MarionBlack Premium
I keep "fake" websites to try out new themes and plugins etc.
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EYalpur Premium
Thank you so much Marion! Great article & easy to understand!

The theme I installed doesn't allow font editing for the header or content... So I'll install another theme...

P.S. Do you use one or 2 of the 25 free domains we get as a premium member for your test sites?

Thank you so much!

Warmly,

Emrah
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MarionBlack Premium
Yes, I like to know what limitations there are (if any) so I have a test website using a domain name that I bought for my grandson. It's over a year old and he's not quite ready to play with it yet though he is 16. Maybe next year...
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TheBuilder Premium
Oh thank you very much my dear Marion. Since my first days here I was wondering about this. This lack of information was preventing me to move forward. Now that the chain is broken I will take off with many better websites.

I did not see the 'Responsive layout', what should I do. See attachment.
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MarionBlack Premium
They've changed it a bit since I made the video. I think all up to date themes have to be responsive now. You can check what your active theme looks like on different devices when you go to Appearance > Customize
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TheBuilder Premium
Good. Thanks for the tips.
I wish good health to you. Have a nice day.
Cheers
Usiba.
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WBoyer Premium
Great training video. Just one question. When I went to the optimizer it only had an About Optimizer link and when I clicked on it, it wanted me to upgrade to pro. Is that necessary? If not how do you get the basic version?

Thanks for all your help.

Bill
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MarionBlack Premium
Which theme did you choose? There's no shortage of free themes with lots of options so I don't see any need to upgrade to the pro version of any theme.
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WBoyer Premium
I picked the same one you had in the video. I'll go back and find a free one. Thanks for getting back with me. I really learned a lot from your video.

Thanks so much

Bill
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Osteo Premium
Hi Marion
You have answered quite a few nagging questions that I have had since I joined WA. I would have appreciated this training at the beginning. It was probably there all long and I didn't see it.
it's very interesting that training at WA seems to be an organic one like
" Seek and ye shall find"
Good stuff
Thank you.
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MarionBlack Premium
Kyle's lessons are in chronological order and focused on getting your website built and earning money. My tutorials are ad hoc, mostly in answer to members' questions. I published this particular tutorial a few months before you joined WA.

Thanks for watching the video.
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azgorilla Premium
What a great video. The choices of making it mobile friendly was a great choice.
Question: When you clicked the "two column" then you showed the final results. Where were the two columns located?

At the bottom of page, there were three short "paragraphs" , a large image at the top and then a line or two between them.

Am I missing something here? Columns and then a sidebar? Not sure what I am supposed to be looking for.

Thank you for any clarification.

Tom
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MarionBlack Premium
Thanks for your question Tom. I didn't realize that my video is a little out of date, there are no more 'theme name options'.

At the end of the video I didn't scroll all the way down the page so you couldn't see the 2 columns underneath the presentation page.

2 columns means 1 column for your text and 1 sidebar. 3 columns means 1 column for your text and 2 sidebars. I have 3 columns on http://freeandcheapebooks.com and 2 columns on http://wealthyaffiliatetv.com
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albinchero Premium
Hi Tom, Marion has confirmed that, I was not getting that clear too.
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azgorilla Premium
Wow! Now I understand! The two sites you refer to makes total sense when it comes to the 2 or 3 columns. I think I like the 3 column look. I'll use that one for my new site to "practice" with.

Another question that perhaps you can help us with.

When it comes to the different options for changing out site, have you put together any type of video and explanations that not only SHOW us the differences in each site along with the REASON for having such-and-such changes and perhaps their benefits?

That would be a fantastic teaching video.

Thanks again for clearing the foggy 2 and 3 column information.

Tom
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MarionBlack Premium
I normally use 2 columns but on the freeandcheapebooks.com site I wanted to add the 'Recently Added eBooks' (instead of Recent Posts) and there just wasn't enough room in a single sidebar.
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JenniferMc Premium
Wow, Marion, this video is awesome! It has helped me, no-end. Thank you very much, I have done all the training on setting up the theme, but this is so much easier to understand. Also, the training I did, did not show me how to make changes with the options page. So thanks again and all the best.
Cheers! Jennifer
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MarionBlack Premium
Yeah this video was done a couple of WordPress updates ago and when WordPress updated to 4.4.0 the Theme Options were discontinued. The only changes you can make now are through Customize or by creating a child theme
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Timea Premium
Thank you Marion! I just started to work on my website, and I'm not sure as I fill it up, should I "save and publish" my work like every day (every time I stop), or I when I finish the whole work- then I publish it?
And maybe you would have some good ideas how to use the theme filter if I'm looking for a website for blogging and affiliating other people's products?
Thank you for your time and care!
Timea
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MarionBlack Premium
Use Draft mode to keep saving your post/page until you've finished it then click on Publish. Don't think you have to wait until your entire website is 'finished' before you publish because every website is a work in progress (forever).

There are thousands of themes to choose from. Whichever one you choose is up to you. They're all suitable for blogging and affiliate marketing. If you find a website you like the look of on the internet you can check out which theme they're using at http://whatwpthemeisthat.com/
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Timea Premium
Thanks so much! You are very kind helping me out here!
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