Can I use a WordPress.com theme on a WordPress.org (self-hosted) website?

Marie asks…

I love the theme Motif and would love to use it for my business website. I have a package where I have wordpress as the hosting page. There is an option to upload a theme that has been downloaded as Motif is not part of the themes that is present on wordpress.org. Do you have a way that I can download the theme and add it onto the website?

The official place to download themes for your self-hosted blog is WordPress.org but as you mentioned, Motif isn’t included.

WordPress.org provides a rather ugly and cumbersome way of downloading a WordPress.com theme. You have to install something called SVN to download your theme from their SVN directory.

But I’ve discovered a site called Design311.com that hosts all the WordPress.com themes, making them available to download in a good old-fashioned zip file! :-)

Here’s the Motif page

Just click download, extract the Motif folder and then upload it to the ‘wp-content/themes’ directory on your self-hosted website. It should now be ready to activate through Appearance > Themes in your Dashboard.

Before you jump in though, please be aware of this message — that themes located on that website will not automatically update and therefore may break at any WordPress upgrade.

The chances are, it’ll continue to work for the foreseeable future, but… well… no guarantees :-)

Best wishes,
James

How to setup a blog about two different subjects

Shannon asks…

“Is there a way to divide blogs into sub categories? I would really like to have a blog about dogs and a blog about travel all on my website. Do you know the best way to do this?”

© Ashley Coombs

© Ashley Coombs

First of all, it might be a good idea to create two separate websites/blogs, one for each topic. That way, you can appeal to dog lovers and travel enthusiasts with the name, style, layout, content and so-on of each site.

Google is apparently looking more and more at the theme of a website to determine relevancy, and therefore page rankings for related terms. It’s possible therefore that you’d be putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage by throwing these two quite different subjects together. I say possible, because search engine optimization certainly isn’t an exact science.

Also, if I follow your blog because I love your stuff about dogs, I’m probably going to keep hitting “delete” every time I receive a post about travel. This might not be a problem if your content is amazing, but unless the standard is ultra high, I’m probably going to unsubscribe and follow a blog that’s exclusively about dogs instead :-) Continue reading

The perfect domain name!

Mike and I suddenly discovered yesterday that the domain name happy.guide was available!

Well, it felt like striking gold! PERFECT for our book and website called… Happy Guide :-) So we snaffled it up and put it to use right away…

And thankfully WordPress.com makes changing your domain name pretty effortless, redirecting visitors from the old address to the new address automatically. Yet another thumbs up for WordPress :-)

All the best,
James

How to have an empty sidebar on your WordPress blog

Ilko asks…

“Hello, for some reason I can’t remove the sidebar. When I remove all the widgets, some default widgets appears. Do you know how I can fix this? Thanks a lot :) “

On some themes, removing all the widgets produces just a blank sidebar. But on a lot of themes, removing all widgets causes a default set of widgets to appear in your sidebar. This is often something along the lines of Search, Archives and Meta.

I found you can get round this by simply adding a single, blank text widget to your sidebar. And I’ve just discovered this is also the official WordPress.com solution (see bottom of page) to this problem.

All the best,
James