WordPress Theme Demos


It’s easy to be disappointed after you purchase, download and install your newly minted WordPress theme. I certainly was. It didn’t look like the photos and the demo sites and I didn’t know why. Some old fashioned Googling was in order.

Upload the Demo Files

Sometimes these are called dummy files – probably a title for the entrepreneur trying to make a website that is starting to feel like a money pit. Turns out, it’s pretty easy to upload them and get rocking and rolling. You probably downloaded the demo files in your theme’s .zip file. If not, go to where you got the theme and download the demo files separately.

(Pro Tip: For some reason, to me anyways, the WordPress Admin menu never seems intuitive. The various controls you need to manipulate to upload/manage/create your site always seem to be hidden in a strange place. After spending too long clicking on every button, I found a plugin that lets you rearrange the Admin menu however you’d like. Find one you like and speed up your process by making custom menus.)

Back to the meat and potatoes. Navigate to the Tools menu and then select Import.

From those options, select WordPress.

Upload the Importable-Dummy-Content.xml file.

There’s a 50/50 chance that you don’t see any of those things. If not, the demo files are probably in your main theme button in the Admin panel. From there you’ll probably find a demo menu where you can enable the good stuff. You also might be confronted with some system warnings about memory limits and timeouts. I promptly ignored them and everything worked fine. Your mileage may vary.

A Few Tips

I’m not one to act like I know what I’m doing but I have learned a few things the hard way during this process. First and foremost, when the demo content was uploaded the software published every page. All 43 of them. I found this out about a week later. Oops.

Secondly, to avoid that and maybe some other problems, try a maintenance mode plugin. I got a generic free one from the plugin store. All it does is say that the site is under construction along with a progress bar. Handy for hiding all of your testing until you are up and running.

Rock n’ Roll

The demo pages are neat because they not only give you design ideas but also some insight into how the pages are built. You can peek at the code, look at the classic backend editor or even use a visual frontend editor. Look through a few, read up on site design and get started putting your content together. Don’t forget images, like this random Berlin graffiti. I’m no photographer and an even worse photo editor, but I took this on a Galaxy S5 camera phone and used the free editing software Gimp to try and make it pop. I call that progress.


Give theme demos a chance. You just might get inspired.

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