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7

themes

You just started a blog. Now what? Here comes one of the most exciting parts of setting up your blog: the search to find a blog theme that fits your blog’s style, content, and needs.

WordPress offers a directory of hundreds of free themes that you can access from within your WordPress Dashboard. Your choices, though, don’t have to end there. The WordPress themes available for you to choose from on many alternative sources, either free directories or theme shops, around the web are thousands and can cover all kinds of tastes. Find the perfect theme for your blog on this list of the best free and paid (premium) themes.

First, let me give you a few essential tips to help you make your choice easier.

Tip 1: Search for responsive themes only if you want your blog to be compatible with tablets and mobiles.

Tip 2: Always check the Demo (demonstration) of a theme you like to avoid disappointment later.

Tip 3: Read users’ feedback (comments, ratings) if available. It will help you find out if the theme is working properly.

Tip 4: Choose a premium (paid) theme to ensure you have better support services and no security issues.

Tip 5: Premium themes are regularly updated with new features and fixes, taking into consideration the users’ feedback. Your theme will be updated and working smoothly as fast as possible.

Tip 6: After you install a theme, you can preview it on your actual blog before you activate it. See how your content will look like and the placement of your widgets.

Here is a list of the best free sites and marketplaces offering quality WordPress themes:

Find free themes on:

> Your WordPress Dashboard. Go to ‘Appearance,’ click ‘Themes’ and then ‘Add new’ at the top of the page. You will see the official directory of free WordPress.org themes.

> www.justfreethemes.com: All the newest, best free themes are curated for you. It includes themes for blogs, businesses, news sites, and more. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see all the categories. Click ‘Best themes’ on top of the page to see the Top-10 for the best ones. You can see the ratings of a theme on the right-hand side of the theme’s page.

> www.fabthemes.com: Junk-free, user-rated free WordPress themes. Also, you can search themes based on color selection (Go to ‘Browse themes’).

There are a lot of websites where you can get free themes, but I’m only suggesting you these as they are the safe, trusted choice.

Find free, as well as paid options on:

> mythemeshop.com Buy single theme for just $19, or buy membership at $19/month (with a 30-day money-back policy). 121 great themes, 19 of them free plus 32 plugins. 24/7 direct support! 415155 Happy Customers!

> Themify.me Awesome drag and drop WordPress themes. Bonus: Buy any theme, get any second theme for FREE!  20% discount code instantly when you subscribe to the newsletter. Get All Themes for $89 only! 30-day Refund offered.

> themefuse.com 45+ Beautiful & original WordPress themes. Eye-candy designs.

> themeisle.com  : 30+ Free & Premium WordPress Themes plus plugins. Trusted by 471,039 users. Requires membership. It is the same price as buying a theme. At the end of the membership you can keep your theme but lose access to support and updates unless you upgrade. Lots of bonus perks like free 1-year shared hosting.

> www.theme-junkie.com  Save 30% on all their packages this month! All themes from $49, NOW $34 ! Lifetime access for $69 !  A small selection of the most beautiful looking Premium WordPress Themes on very affordable prices. Easily customizable themes and 35,000+ happy customers! Great value access to all 55+ themes!

> mojomarketplace.com 1335 WordPress themes with prices ranging from $25 to $79. Lots of themes for shop websites such as Joomla and Shopify as well. Choose between 95 WordPress Plugins to add functionality to your site. Big amount of 5.2m happy customers!

> teslathemes.com  Get 67 stunning WordPress themes! Single theme $58. Want all of them? Get them all for just $99!

> envatomarket Market with a huge variety of 10,975+ WordPress Themes! Top quality themes (quality team checked) and great support. Prices as low as $2! A lot of unique themes. In this marketplace you can also buy amazing photographs to add to your blog posts here.

> creativemarket.com  3,400 ready to use WordPress themes! Get themes for as low as $2 (really!). Create an account now and save 10% plus download 6 free products every week.

> modernthemes.net Free themes, as well as powerful Premium Themes for as low as $25 with free premium support and free updates forever!!! If you are an instagrammer you definetely want to check out this theme. Trusted by 100,337 users! In case you need help installing a theme, they will do it for you for only $15.

Happy theme-browsing! Hope you find your perfect theme!

Share with us your favorite theme in the comments!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my links, I earn a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Thank you!

12

start a blog

Have you discovered the reasons to start a blog? Have you found your niche already? Have you decided on a name for your blog? Then, you are ready to start a blog now!

Below are the step-by-step instructions for starting a blog with A2 Hosting which is the hosting provider I recommend. Before you leave this page searching for free hosting, I can’t stress enough the importance of owning your blog (its domain and hosting space). If you want to have a successful blog, you must have total control over it. Owning your blog means you are the one who decides everything about it, from how it will look to how to monetize it. On the other hand, if you use a free site, you don’t get to choose the ads that appear on your blog. Their rules apply on how you can monetize it, but most importantly, you risk losing it if the website hosting it has problems, doesn’t offer any technical support, or even gets shut down, and your blog gets deleted. You get what you pay for after all!

Why choose A2 Hosting? A2 Hosting is a top quality affordable hosting provider that has won multiple awards for being the best, fastest, and most reliable web hosting provider of 2017 (and 2016, and 2015) with additional awards for top customer service and top green hosting! They offer fast servers, ultra-reliable 99.9% uptime, unlimited storage, friendly support available 365 days a year (24 hours a day, every day) and Anytime Money Back Guarantee! Need I say more?! Sign up now and get all that, and more, for 51% OFF their regular pricing for your first invoice starting at $3.92/month (was $7.99) || £2.98/month (was £6.09) || 3.36/month (was €6.87)! [Coupon Code: ZIP51].

Let’s get started!

Click here to go to the A2 Hosting website. Here is a screenshot of what you will see:

A2 Hosting solutions

For starting your personal blog you need shared hosting. Go and click on ‘GET STARTED’ in the first column. (Alternatively, you can click on ‘Shared Hosting’ on the menu at the top of the page and choose the ‘LITE’ option). No matter what computer OS you use, leave it to "Linux Plans" as it is already set by default.

Registering a domain

Your first step is to register a domain for your blog (it will be your blog’s address, URL). As you can see, your 51% OFF discount coupon has been already applied to your order (the final price will be shown on the checkout page). You get four options:

A2-register-domain

Select the first option if you wish to register your domain with A2 Hosting. Write the name you have chosen for your blog carefully (notice that the ‘www.’ is already there and there is a drop-down menu for the ending). Then, click on ‘Check’ to see if the domain is available or taken. If available, you get a list with more name and ending suggestions. Go below that list and click ‘Continue.’

You will not need the 2nd or 4th option on the list. The 3rd option is there in case you decide to register a domain through a domain registrar like Namecheap (really cheap domains). NOW and for a limited time you can get  .COM domain for ONLY $0.88 !  Just use the coupon [COM88] (offer applies for new users and only for their first purchase.) Hurry up! It's a limited offer!  In that case, you will need to read further instructions there on how to change nameservers. For total beginners, I suggest you register a domain with A2 Hosting to keep things simple and as easy as possible.

After clicking ‘Continue,’ you are directed to the order configuration page.

A2 Hosting Order Configuration Page Image

There, you only need to do two things: select a billing cycle and pick a server location (the server closest to where your target audience is located). On the additional options, you can choose to have WordPress auto-installed, but in this post, I will show you how to do that yourself to give you the chance to get to know cPanel, your web hosting control panel, where you can manage your hosting account.

Choosing a billing cycle

When choosing a billing cycle, I strongly recommend that you select at least a 12-month duration. You are offered a 51% OFF of your first invoice, which means you get a 51% off one time discount! Remember, the offer is available for ONE TIME ONLY (your first purchase), and you will not get such low prices again after that. Take advantage of this offer by buying the longer duration for best savings!

A2 Hosting Billing Cycle image

On the right-hand of the page, you will see your order summary and the discounted price. Click on ‘Continue’ below that.

The next page is offering you add-ons for your domain (if you have purchased one with A2). It is highly recommended that you get ID Protection (it’s the middle choice) to hide your name, address, phone, and email as a site owner from becoming public (very important for your privacy).

A2-ID-Protection-image

Click ‘Add to Cart’ (you will be charged on a yearly basis), then click ‘Continue.’ Almost finished!

You are, finally, on the Review & Checkout Page. Once more, you can review the order summary on the right-hand side, where you can now see the final discounted price (make sure the ‘Apply promo code’ section has the promo entered). Clicking the orange ‘Checkout’ button leads you to the checkout page where you enter your personal details and billing information.

Fill in the billing information, create a password for your account with A2 Hosting, and then choose a payment method (Don’t forget to click on “Show All Payment Gateways” to see all your payment options). Before you click on ‘Complete Order,’ click on the box right above it to accept the terms of service. Now, click ‘Complete Order’ and you’re done.

A2 Hosting Checkout Page Image

You will get information on how to login to your hosting account sent to you by email (check your spam folder, too!). You have to keep this information somewhere safe so that you don’t lose it!

Installing WordPress

Use the name and password given to you in the email to login to your cPanel (control panel of your hosting, see your email for a link or add “/cPanel/” on your blog address). In the ‘SOFTACULOUS APP INSTALLER’ section, click on ‘WordPress A2 Optimized.’ On the next page, click ‘Install.’

softaculous screenshot

You now need to enter some information: On ‘Choose Protocol,’ select “http://” or “http://www.” (based on your domain name), or select “https://” if you have SSL security on your domain, then choose the domain you are installing WordPress to and leave the “In Directory” empty. Type site name and description (you can change that later). Create your admin account for WordPress (it is advised not to use “admin” as your username for security reasons and be sure to use a strong password). Choose your language. Finally, click “Install.” Your login details will be sent to you on the admin email you entered above, and you can see your blog links on the screen. (You can log into your blog by adding ‘/wp-admin/’ on the end of your blog’s address in your browser’s address bar). After login, you can see what a blogger sees when they log into their blog, the WordPress Dashboard.

Dashboard screenshot

Before you publish your first post, you need to configure your timezone and permalinks (your posts' link url structure). From the menu on the left, go to 'Settings', click 'General' and choose your timezone and date/time format. Then, go to 'Settings' again, click 'Permalinks' and select the 'Post name' option.

You can now begin customizing your brand new blog, whichever way you like. You can install a theme of your choice, install basic plugins, and start publishing your posts. Once you have a few posts up, you can start setting up backups, and adding more plugins and widgets to enhance the functionality and appearance of your blog.

That’s it! Welcome to the blogging world! Have fun!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my links, I earn a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Thank you!

Comment below to let me know if this was easy for you and, why not, leave a link to your new blog!