Many WordPress bloggers like to allow their visitors to select the style of the blog by using a unique add-on tool called a theme chooser for WordPress. Another name for this is theme switching.
What is a Theme Chooser for WordPress?
For users who are new to WordPress, downloading and installing more than one theme can feel like a daunting enough task. Allowing a visitor to automatically change the theme of your blog with a simple click of the mouse seems impossible, but it isn't. By installing a theme chooser add-on, your visitors can either manually select the blog's theme, or you can configure it to change the theme automatically every time the blog is reloaded or refreshed. The following steps will help you to install multiple themes on your Wordpress blog, and then find and install the theme switcher add-on that will perform the function you want.
Select and Download Multiple WordPress Themes
Wordpress offers hundreds of WordPress themes, including popular themes like Coffee Desk, Aeros, or Aspire. Before you spend a great amount of time scouring the internet for multiple Wordpress themes, always check this extensive list first. The odds are good that you'll find the themes that suit your particular needs. Whether or not you download the theme from Wordpress or elsewhere, the procedure to install the theme is always the same.
- Download the WordPress theme to your computer. It's usually a .zip file.
- Extract the zip file to an empty folder on your computer that you'll remember.
- FTP the entire folder to your web host, into the WordPress directory: "/wp-content/themes/".
- Select one of the themes as your default theme by selecting "Design" and then "Themes" and selecting the theme you want to use by default.
Once you've downloaded, unzipped, and transferred the WordPress theme folders into your themes directory, you're ready to move on to the next step and install the WordPress theme chooser of your choice.
Installing a WordPress Theme Chooser Add-On
In the administration panel, all you can do is select a single theme for your blog to use. However, by installing the appropriate add-on applications to your WordPress installation, you can provide your website visitors to select from any of the WordPress themes that you downloaded to your "themes" directory. The following add-on applications are the most commonly used.
- Theme Preview: This add-on will allow visitors to select from a list of all of the themes you have in your theme directory, and "preview" your blog with that theme. Although you've activated the default theme which all visitors will see initially when they visit your blog, this application allows visitors to change the theme during their visit, and you don't need to activate those themes. Installing this add-on is very simple. Simply upload the entire install folder to the "wp-contents/plugins" directory, activate the application under the "plugins" menu, and then access your blog site with a url like this: "http://your-site.com/index.php?preview\_theme=my-theme" and substituting then name of your theme for "my-theme."
- Theme Switcher: This plugin also allows your visitors to select from a list of your installed themes. Installation is a snap. All you need to do is download the php file provided at the link above into your "wp-content/plugins" folder, activate the Theme Switcher under the "plugins" menu, and then add the list item code as shown on the instructions at the plugin page. There are two formats you can use to present the list of available themes to your visitors, either a full list, or a dropdown menu.
There are a number of important reasons why any blogger may want to allow their visitors to select the blog theme that they like the most. While many bloggers are very particular about the header and theme of their blogs, visitors enjoy the novelty and flexibility of being able to actually transform the look of a blog they are reading into a style that they prefer. While this removes a bit of the formatting "power" of the blogger and places it in the hands of the reader, it's important to keep in mind that this flexibility will also make the visitor enjoy the visit more, and they will be much more likely to return to your blog again later. Theme choosers are excellent applications that allow you to present that bonus feature to your visitors.