Once you have installed WordPress, you can begin customizing it with themes and plugins.

The appearance of your WordPress site is controlled by the site's theme: the design and layout of the site's HTML templates. By default, WordPress only includes basic themes that offer limited layout options. However, other people and companies have produced thousands of free and paid themes that you can install on your web site.

The theme recommended in class is Astra, which is used on this DTC site. The simplest way to install Astra is from within your WordPress site:

  1. Log into your WordPress site.
  2. Go to Appearance > Themes. You will now see all the themes currently installed in your WordPress. You can only have one theme active for your web site, but you can have many inactive themes installed.
  3. Click on the Add New button near the top of the theme window. You will now be able to browse and search all the themes that developers have posted to WordPress.org.
  4. In the Search Themes box at the upper right of the theme list, type "Astra". You will get one or two results, but only one is "Astra". (Don't choose the wrong one, like "Astral".)
  5. Hover your mouse over the theme image to see some links about it. You can click on it to get a pop-up window with more info. Then, click its "Install" button.
  6. To make Astra the active theme for your site, click on "Activate".

Once you have installed a theme, you can access its customization options under Appearance > Customize. Consult Astra's Customizer Settings guides for more information about:

The remaining customization options in Astra are general to most WordPress themes:

  • Menus — read about creating and managing menus
  • Widgets — read WordPress's guide about Widgets
  • Home Page Settings — essentially the same as your options for a Static Front Page
  • Additional CSS — read WordPress's guide about Custom CSS to learn how to add your own CSS style coding, which is useful for customizing the theme's appearance.

Once you are done using the WordPress Customizer, you must click on the "Publish" button to save your changes.

The video below introduces basic installation and customization of Astra. Although the video reviews the 2018 version of Astra, much is the same.

The video below from Ferdy Korpershoek goes into much more detail about Astra's options. He is using the Elementor pagebuilder instead of Beaver Builder, but otherwise his explanations are pretty good.