If you’ve been following along with our WordPress tutorials you will know that, up to this point, we have bought a domain name and website hosting, installed WordPress using cPanel, and set up a coming soon page so that your site visitors land on a professional page while you work on your website in the background.
In this WP tutorial, we are going to go ahead and install a new theme to your website!
By the end of the tutorial, you will have a gorgeous theme installed with a pre-made starter site in place for you to customize and tweak to your heart’s content!
In my last article, I went through what a WordPress theme is, where to find WordPress themes and which WordPress theme I believe is best, especially if you want a theme that will grow with you and your business.
In that article, I explained why I believe that the Blocksy WordPress Theme is an excellent choice for anyone building a website from scratch.
And one of the best things about the Blocksy WP theme is that its free option is in many ways a hang of a lot better than some premium themes out there so you really can’t go wrong!
In today’s WordPress tutorial, I will go over how to install the Blocksy theme and how to choose a starter site to kick off your business website design.
Install The Free Blocksy WordPress Theme
The easiest way to install the free Blocksy theme is to install it directly from the WordPress Admin Dashboard (this is true for any theme you would like to use).
1. Log into your WordPress admin Dashboard.
2. Click on “Appearance” in the left-hand menu.
3. Click “Themes” – Your Themes Admin Dashboard will now open.
4. Click “Add New” – You will see the “Add New” Button at the top of the page.
5. Type “Blocksy” into the search box on the right-hand side of the screen.
6. Click the “Install” button.
If the theme has been installed correctly you should see the following:
Congratulations! You have just installed your first WordPress theme! Easy right?
7. Go ahead and click the “Activate” button.
If you visit your website now you will notice that the homepage still doesn’t look like much! It should look a little something like this:
Don’t worry, we will be fixing this soon!
Blocksy Theme Dashboard
When the Blocksy WP Theme is activated you will be taken to the Blocksy Theme dashboard.
You will notice that new menu items have now been added to the Appearance Menu.
Before we begin working with the Blocksy Theme, there is one last thing to do…
Install the Blocksy Companion Plugin
The Companion plugin is an awesome extension to the Blocksy WP theme. With it, you will be able to install ready-built Blocksy themes and starter sites that give you a head start when building and customizing your site. This is a massive time saver and you are sure to love the finished product! The plugin also adds all sorts of cool features and functionality to make your website better and faster.
To install the Blocksy Companion plugin, scroll down the Blocksy Dashboard until you get to the downloads section.
Click “Install Blocksy Companion”.
When the Blocksy Companion has been successfully installed, you will see a new menu item added to the WordPress Admin Dashboard.
You will also notice that a “Starter Sites” menu item has been added to the Blocksy dashboard.
Click the “Starter Sites” menu item and let the magic begin!
Blocksy Starter Sites
What Are Blocksy Starter Sites?
Blocksy starter sites are ready-made, prebuilt websites that have been designed and built to be modern, fast, and beautiful with exceptional attention to detail in each design.
You will see that when the Starter Site page loads, a library with over 25 ready-built sites will be displayed. This is one of the Blocksy theme’s many awesome features! Simply choose one of these starter sites, install it and Blocksy will create your entire website for you.
You will obviously still need to customize and tweak the site to suit your business but by using a starter site, all the heavy lifting will be done for you. Exciting right?!
And you will see that these Blocksy starter sites are absolutely gorgeous! They have been designed by professional website designers, especially for you to use and customize. And the best part is that all of these sites are completely free to use!
Blocksy Starter Site Library
If you scroll down the Blocksy Starter Site page you will see that there are plenty of different website designs to choose from! From restaurant website designs all the way to charity website designs.
Under each starter site design, there is a button to preview the starter site. Click the “Preview” button to open a demo of the starter site.
When looking through the starter sites, try to visualize what your website could look like if you use one of these themes. Bear in mind that we will be customizing the starter themes as we go along but obviously, the closer the starter site is to the design you would like for your site the fewer customizations you will need to do.
How To Install A Blocksy Starter Site
1. Select A Starter Site
For this tutorial, I’ll install the Yogi starter site.
I like the Yogi starter site theme because it is quite a nice base for most businesses that don’t have an online store. It comes with a basic header and menu, along with a beautiful feature-rich footer. It also has a blog as well as some basic pages already built like the About page and the Contact page.
To install the Yogi starter site, click the “Import” Button.
2. Install The Blocksy Child Theme
When you click install, Blocksy will ask you to install a child theme.
What Are Child Themes?
Child themes are special types of WordPress themes that work hand-in-hand with the main WordPress theme (called a parent theme).
Child themes inherit all the functions, styles, and features of the main parent theme. You can then make changes to the child theme without breaking the parent theme.
Likewise, if the Blocksy parent theme is updated, then any customizations you have made to the child theme won’t be lost when the parent theme updates.
A child theme inherits the look and feel of the parent theme and all of its functions, but can be used to make modifications to any part of the theme. In this way, customizations are kept separate from the parent theme’s files. Using a child theme lets you upgrade the parent theme without affecting the customizations you’ve made to your site.WordPress Developer Resources
To install the child theme, click the circular checkbox next to the “Install Child Theme” option. Click “Next”.
3. Choose Page Builder
The next screen will ask you to choose which WordPress page builder you would like to use. You have the option to choose either Gutenberg or Elementor.
I recommend that you choose Gutenberg.
What Is The Gutenberg Page Builder?
Gutenberg is WordPress’s default page builder. It was designed to make creating and editing your content as easy, intuitive, and user-friendly as possible. You will see that it uses “blocks” to create content that can easily be added and arranged to create many different website layouts and designs.
I use the Gutenberg editor to build all my websites because it is so easy to use and I have found that my pages load quickly compared to other WordPress page builders that I have tried.
4. Install and Activate Plugins
The next Blocksy screen shows you which plugins the starter site theme needs – All the options are selected by default so you can just go ahead and click the “Next” button.
5. Import Content
This screen lets you choose what content you would like to install from the starter site theme.
I recommend selecting all the options available. This will pretty much create an exact copy of the demo site which you would have viewed earlier. Importing all the content will allow you to have all the website pages built for you along with the pictures, logos, etc. You can then use these pages as templates allowing you to edit and customize the pages as you like.
You will see an option on this screen called “Clean Install“. You can use this option if you would like to install and test a different starter site before committing to a design.
Congratulations! You are now installing your first Blocksy starter site!
It can take a little while for the site to install so you will need to be patient.
When the Blocksy starter site has been successfully installed you will receive the following message:
Click “View Site” to see what your site looks like!
If everything has gone well, you will see a duplicate of the Yogi demo site on your site. Pretty cool right?
If your site’s home page looks a little bit wonky you might need to activate a plugin that is included with the Blocksy theme called “Stackable – Gutenberg Blocks“.
To do this, head on over to “Plugins” in your WordPress admin panel. Here you will see the “Stackable” plugin. Click “Activate“.
If you need help finding your way around your plugins check out this tutorial: How To Add A Plugin To WordPress (Beginners Guide)
A thank you window will pop up asking if you would like to subscribe to the Stackable newsletter. If you would prefer not to subscribe click “Skip“.
A new window will open with a wizard to help you get set up. Click “Get Started“.
On the next page, you will be asked to select blocks that suit you. For now, you can enable all the blocks and then click “Next/Skip“.
On the next page, you can click “Finish“.
You will now come to a page with the settings and documentation for the “Stackable” plugin. You are welcome to close this page if you like, but, if you want to jump ahead and are curious about how blocks work, you can check out this article: How To Add Content To WordPress: The Gutenberg Block Editor.
Go ahead and refresh your website and you should be good to go!
The Blocksy WP theme is an awesome theme that allows you to install a starter site that you can use as a template when building your own site. As you’ve seen, the starter sites are quick and easy to import and install.
Keep in mind that I’m here to help, so if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below!