A theme is basically a “skin” for your WordPress installation. WordPress runs your site, but the default theme is pretty ugly. The good thing is that you can make your site unique by changing the theme. In the WordPress admin panel, there are a few themes that come built-in. If you’ve used Dreamhost, then you get 30+ themes built in for free. You can find them under the “Appearance” tab on the left of the screen. But that’s not even the cool part.
If you Google “free wordpress themes,” you’ll get hundreds of absolutely free themes to choose from. You can make the site look just about any way you want it to! Try to find something that matches the goals and “personality” you’re trying to achieve.
I’ve created a short video that shows you how to download and install a WordPress theme for your site. It might come in handy!
And if you want to go even further, you can purchase professional themes. These are different from the free versions in that they are more customizable, usually have some sort of technical support, and you can recommend them to your friends in exchange for a small percentage of the purchase price if someone decides to pick one of these themes.
If you want to go the professional route, I have had great success with Woo themes. They have powered my site through its last three revisions. Their free selection is nice, and they even have a permanent buy-1-get-multiples-free offer for the professional themes they offer. Trish McFarlane uses Headway and let me muck around the admin panel for a while. It’s pretty sweet. If you click through to the Headway site, you can see the gallery that shows other sites using the theme on their own blogs. It can be customized as little or as much as you like, depending on your comfort level.