Your website is often the first interaction leads have with your brand. It’s also where prospects make a purchase, learn about your products, and read about your company’s mission.
That’s why customizing your website to accurately represent your business, welcome your visitors, and make them want to spend time on your website is integral to your growth.
Part of customizing the design of your WordPress website entails choosing a theme. And since you already know that you can make customized tweaks and style changes to your theme of choice on templates, posts, and web pages, this naturally leads to a question:
Can I use multiple themes in WordPress?
Maybe you want your homepage to have a different theme than the rest of your website so it stands out among other web pages and provides a memorable welcome for visitors, or maybe you’re looking to customize product or service pages to better highlight your brand.
Turns out there’s an app — a plugin, actually — for that.
Multiple Themes: WordPress
In this piece, we’ll review the steps necessary to use multiple themes on different pages of your WordPress website.
Use Multiple Themes for Different WordPress Pages
- Back up your website.
- Turn off caching plugins.
- Enable the plugin for multiple themes.
- Decide where you’ll use multiple themes on your website.
- Modify and customize your themes.
- Note the limitations of the plugin.
1. Back up your website.
To prepare your website for multiple themes, you’ll first want to perform a complete backup of your WordPress website prior to making any changes.
This will save every aspect of your site the way it is at the time of the backup — including all posts, links, comments, designs, and more — in case anything is erased or your website is corrupted.
There are a number of reasons why your site could be erased or corrupted, including activating multiple themes on your site. That’s why properly backing up your site is so valuable — you’ll have the opportunity to effectively restore your site in the event that any content is lost.
2. Turn off caching plugins.
While enabling your new theme, you might not be able to see the changes you’re making to your website due to the fact that caching plugins cause older versions of your pages to be displayed. So make sure to turn off all your WordPress caching plugins.
This allows you to view the changes you’re making to your website in real-time. By turning off your caching plugins, you’ll prevent yourself from seeing older versions of your site while enabling your new themes.
3. Enable the plugin for multiple themes.
Install the plugin for multiple themes on your website — the plugin you’ll need is called Multiple Themes.
4. Decide where you’ll use multiple themes on your website.
Once you have installed the plugin, go to Appearance to view your new plugin. Now you can determine where you’ll use the multiple themes on your website.
You can either add a new theme to your homepage or to a specific web page on your site — let's cover how to do this next.
Change the Theme on Your Homepage
To use the Multiple Themes plugin on your homepage, go to Settings > Site Homepage. Here you can choose a different theme of your choice for your website’s homepage in the dropdown menu. Once you’ve picked a theme, click Save All Changes.
There are a couple of ways to change the theme on a web page — there isn’t a right or wrong when choosing between these options. It's more about preference and what exactly you’re trying to achieve with your multiple themes.
Change the Theme on a Web Page: Method One
The first option is to choose and assign different themes to specific web pages or posts based on the permalink, or the URL, of that page.
For example, if you want all of your blog posts that share a URL structure to have the same theme, then you’ll use this method and select URL Prefix.
To do this, scroll down to the option for URL Prefix and select it, Then click on the theme you want to use in the dropdown menu.
Finally, enter the URL prefix that corresponds to all of your blog posts, e.g., yourwebsite.com/blog. Then click Save All Changes.
Change the Theme on a Web Page — Method Two
The second option is to choose a unique theme for specific web pages or posts based on a unique keyword. The plugin will search your page for the keyword and apply your chosen theme wherever the keyword is identified in the URL.
To do this, scroll down to the Query Keyword section and click on your theme of choice in the dropdown menu. Then, fill in your Query Keyword in the box.
For example, if you want to change the theme for all testimonials on your site, you could enter Testimonials in the Query Keyword field and add it to every corresponding URL.
You can also use this option to add a Query Value to have a unique theme added to all URLs that contain your keyword and value.
For example, say you have a blog on your website and want a specific theme to be used for a writer named Alice. You’d enter a relevant keyword under Query Keyword (something like "Blog") and then enter Alice into the box that says Query Value. Then click Save All Changes. All of Alice’s posts will have the same theme.
Once you’ve decided how and where you’ll implement your theme(s), you can further customize them in Advanced Settings. There are options to choose themes that appear on all of your website’s pages, change your website’s main theme, pick which themes are used for specific URLs, and more.
For instance, if you want to add multiple themes to different posts and web pages separately, click Advanced Settings, choose For All Pages and/or Posts, and pick themes individually.
5. Modify and customize your themes.
Modify and customize the themes by heading to Appearance > Theme Options. You’ll find a guide on various ways WordPress allows you to customize your themes and details about how you can view those changes in a preview as well as activate them in a way that meets your specific needs.
It’s important to note that when you apply multiple themes to different pages and posts, your website doesn’t automatically change your current/ active theme. Instead, you’ll have to activate your new theme temporarily to modify and customize it appropriately.
To do this, click Customize under the Appearance tab and modify the theme to your liking. Once complete, save your settings and go back to Themes. Then, you can reactivate your old theme.
6. Note the limitations of the plugin.
As with anything, it’s important to remember the limitations of the multiple themes plugin. This will allow you to plan how you’ll incorporate the themes on your website.
Multiple WordPress Themes on One Domain
Remember, your only options when it comes to using multiple WordPress themes on one domain include changing the theme of your homepage or the theme of one of your web pages or posts by URL or query keyword.
If you’re looking to make changes to your site’s themes in any other way, you’ll have to create a different website with a new theme entirely — that is, build a multisite network in WordPress.
What This Looks Like in Practice
You’ve assigned multiple pages with different themes based on URL or keyword to help streamline your site. So what does this look like in practice?
Consider your homepage. You want this page to stand out, grab attention and help generate visitor engagement. Here, you might want to use something like the Twenty Twenty-One theme which is bold, simple, and to the point
When it comes to product pages, meanwhile, you’ll want a theme designed to showcase multiple products and make it easy for users to click through and discover more. Here, it’s worth considering a theme like Storefront.
It’s also a good idea to include an "About Us” page on your site that offers visitors insight into your mission, values, and goals. Consider using something like the Go theme which is simple and straightforward to help direct user attention exactly where you want it.
Start Using Multiple Themes on WordPress
Maybe you want your homepage to have an entirely different look from the rest of your WordPress website. Maybe you want one of your web pages to stand out from your other pages. Or maybe you’re looking to define specific functions for each separate page.
Whatever the reason, follow the steps above to achieve a unique and custom look on your WordPress pages and posts.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.