Today’s Question:

 Ok, Emma… help me make this site pretty… How do I customise it to look like it does in my mind?

Hey DreamDoer,

You’ve made such great progress through this “How to set up your website” series… you’ve already:

… and in this article, we start making your site pretty!

Here’s a quick reminder as to where we are in the series…

Now that you are clear on what you want to achieve, and the purpose of the website… It’s time to bring it to life… and make it pretty through themes and plugins.

If you click on the “home” button

[or website name – Top Left in the back end of your website],

you’ll see your website, and a “hello world” post…

It’s not very glamorous… is it!

Now quite the look you had in your mind?

Well, this is where the customisation begins!

Let’s making your blog look pretty, shall we?

Help me make my wordpress website pretty - Themes and Plugins | A 4 part series | How to set up your own website - part 4

The first thing you need to decide on, is a theme.

Ps… if you spot an * next to any link, please note that it is an affiliate link – which basically means that the kind folk who you buy from, buy me a cup of coffee [or a little more] to say thanks for me sending you over ?


Your blog theme… is the design, the structure, and the layout… all rolled into one.

It’s what makes your blog look different to another.

Here are some ideas to get you going on the web design trends that are out there.
Follow [Inspired] by Emma’s board Website Design Trends on Pinterest.

Now, there are varying options of themes out there, some free, some paid for, some cheaper… and some are hell-of-a expensive!

Let’s cover them in a bit more detail, shall we?


Themes: Options, Options, Options… where to start?

They range in different prices… and I’ll run through a few of them for you:


When I started off with wordpress, I went hunting for all the free wordpress themes I could find.

I got lost in the “Add:Plugin” section

I pretty much found a whole lot of average.

What you need to know: Wordpress have their Free themes [Which you’ll download from the plugin tab]… Like this one [each year they bring out a theme… here’s the 2015 theme]:

But in my experience, you’re paying for what you get, and you need to get stuck in with a whole lot of code to achieve what you want.


Paid for themes:

Once you get sick of customising the free themes… it’s time to look at the paid options.

Some are cheaper than others, but I’m only going to talk from what I know… and what I’ve heard of.

I use Elegant themes* – and their incredible DIVI* theme… it’s $69 per year.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 3.32.37 PM

Other people have loved the themes that are in ETSY [hint: make sure that you search for wordpress ones and be careful with your choice – to make sure it’s what you are needing, looking for and wanting… prices range between $30 and $500!]

The first theme I used was the ProPhoto theme [as a photographer], and it goes for $179… but for me… DIVI* has given me a lot more customisation and functionality for a lot less price!

Plugins: What are they?

These are little apps you bolster onto your website to really make it rock, and work better.

Think about your phone… you have a camera, but you also have a few photo apps to help you make your photo’s gorgeous… same thing… plugins help your website look [and function] gorgeously!

You can grab my checklist of favourite plugins in your gift box [plus, you’re sooo going to be binging on all the goodies inside there, it’ll feel like christmas for your business].

The WordPress Plugins that I can’t live without?

  1. WordPress SEO by Yoast: It’s awesome for SEO – you need it, trust me! Plus they do a fab job of helping you determine just how well set up your blog is.
  2. Coschedule*: This has been my lifesaver [which I wrote about here] being able to schedule posts to social media, from the back end of my blog… rocks! And it’s also an editorial calendar… double win!
  3. Disqus: I was looking for an alternative to Akismet, that didn’t require people to go through too many hoops in order to leave a comment… I like the Disqus option so far.
  4. Shareholic: Help peeps share your post on their social media.
  5. Pinterest pin it button: So that peeps can pin your images.
  6. Mailchimp: To Link your email subscribers form to your page, and it works easily and effortlessly with the DIVI subscribe module [thank goodness]!
  7. Pop-up Ally [from Ambition Ally]: Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of pop up plugins… what I have found is that their free discreet “exit” pop-up, is pretty sweet, and non-obtrusive.


Which Theme and Plugin do you use to make your site gorgeous?

Em sign