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How Can I Make it Look Like the Demo?

You get 114,000 results when you Google search WordPress “look like the demo”. How is that different from 114,000 women saying they want Angelina’s lips, Kate Middleton’s nose or Mila Kunis’ eyes? “Why would you want to look exactly like someone else” question aside, it can take a lot of time and effort to get there.

Because of how many people ask this question in support forums, a lot of overly complex themes have a “plastic surgeon feature” that allows you to import demo content, settings or both, allowing you to effortlessly make your website look like every other website out there that used it.


The real issue with so many people asking how their sites can “look like the demo” isn’t that it will lead to so many sites looking exactly like the demo, it’s the fact that an average user needs help doing something as simple as installing and setting up a WordPress theme. If you can install WordPress (famously) in five minutes and it’s so easy anyone can do it, I just can’t find a way to justify a theme taking a lot more than that to set up.

Why Do I Need This Again?

So, the “plastic surgeon feature” exists because high enough percentage of users struggled setting up their websites to look exactly like the demo did. Making it look any other way is at least as difficult, except this time there is no shortcut to it and you’ll have to do it yourself. Treating the symptoms by adding one-click setup helper doesn’t even begin to address the real problem the theme has – setting it up is frustrating and takes too much time.

Give the Man a Fish And You Feed Him For a Day…

This is the equivalent of a feature that makes your website look like the demo. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to use, you can probably do better than a theme that has a feature that makes it less impossible to set up.

…Teach a Man to Fish And You Feed Him For a Lifetime

Or in this case, make fishing so damn easy anyone can do it without you having to teach them. For every option a theme has, burden of making a decision is shifted from the person who created the theme to the one using it. Not only that, but abundance of theme options makes it more difficult for you to find the one you’re looking for.

Rather than making your site look like the demo, as easy or difficult a theme makes it to do that, you should focus on figuring out how you want your website to look before finding a demo you want to emulate. Once you know that, it’s easy to find a theme that can do it for you, there are thousands of themes out there waiting to be installed.

Beginning with the end in mind doesn’t make much sense if you’re picking your end result from a catalogue.

Featured image credits: Flickr

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Slobodan Manic
I love working with WordPress and doing it the right way. Themes and plugins I develop have a common #1 goal: Keeping it as simple as possible for users to publish their content.
Slobodan Manic


Web consultant with 10 years of experience in web development and web analytics.
Slobodan Manic
Slobodan Manic

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7 comments How Can I Make it Look Like the Demo?

  1. hehehehhehe You are funny here well when people start website, mainly newbies, they just want to get the feel of their dream site without coding, so they gun for just like the demo. But, no two sites are the same, content changes them all and the positions of Google badge, search bar etc also change that look like the demo. Nice post you have here.

    How do i make Cazuela theme header look like your header? hehehe I mean it.

  2. I bought a theme recently and I followed the (many) steps to make it look like the demo.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that. I didn’t keep the theme the same, but I wanted to start my customisation off from the point where the theme was fully setup, the same as the finished product that was marketed, and which caught my attention when shopping.

    I had an idea of how I wanted my site to look, then went shopping, found a theme that was as close to my idea as possible and then set the theme up as it was advertised.

    I don’t see the problem with people wanting to do this?

  3. I agree with Joe. I build wordpress websites for clients with limited budgets and I show them the demos as ‘mock ups’ that we can modify. It would be nice to present them the exact site with their content and make changes from there.

  4. Hi, ok, so after reading this, I suppose my question is, “can you plug in the exact theme that you choose, including content?” I have recently purchased a wordpress podcast site, which is suppose to be ready for your content using the existing set up and style. When I download the theme, (perhaps I have missed a step) it doesn’t look like anything. There is no template or theme transferred over whatsoever. Almost looks blank. Getting frustrated. I’ve heard wordpress is suppose to be easy – and I want to learn how to use it.

    Can you help?

    1. The point is not wanting to make it look like the demo. But, if you want exactly that, you could reach out to your theme author and ask for the demo data, that you can then import.

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