Updated March 12, 2016
Once you’ve got your WordPress site up and running, you may want to change the default theme (design) that comes pre-packaged. To do so, you’ll first need to choose a theme (here’s what I use). After that, installing it is simple. Here are the steps.
1. Download the zip file(s)
Themes generally come packaged in a zip file. For Genesis, download the zip files of both Genesis Theme Framework and your desired child theme.
The zipped file is what you will need for the following step, so if your computer automatically unzips zipped files, locate the zipped version on your computer before moving on.
2. Upload the Genesis Theme Framework
Because we are working with a 2-part system in this tutorial, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work.
I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first using this process:
Login to WordPress. Then from your Dashboard go to Appearance > Themes:
Click the Add New link or box:
Click the Upload Theme button at the top of the screen:
Choose the zipped file you downloaded in the previous step and click the Install Now button:
3. Upload your child theme
Use the same steps above to upload your child theme.
(If your theme does not use a child theme, you’ll skip this step.)
4. Activate your child theme to make it show up
After your child theme is uploaded, you need to activate your child theme, NOT Genesis. The Genesis framework needs to be present in the background, but your child theme is the one to activate:
If you don’t see how to activate your new child theme immediately, you can go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and hover over your child theme until you see the activate button.
(If your theme does not use a child theme, you will simply activate the main theme.)
5. Customize your theme
Once your theme is activated, you may want to use the Customizer to tweak the design. To get to the Customizer from your Dashboard go to Appearance > Customize:
Not all themes are integrated with the Customizer, but any that are reputable, should be.
Don’t forget to read my design dos and don’ts before you make to many tweaks!