The default, since version 3.0 at least, theme for WordPress is Twenty-Ten. It is a very good theme. I use it on this site. So why am I telling you not to use it? Because some day you are probably going to want to tweak the theme for one reason or another. Change the width of the sidebar, change the menu text spacing, etc. The problem is that every time you update WordPress all the default theme files get overwritten erasing all your keenly crafted edits.
The solution is to make a copy of the Twenty Ten theme. If you Google the subject you will find several articles on making “child themes”. The whole child theme process is a little too complicated and confusing. I find it easier to just make a copy of the theme.
Making a copy is super simple. Just FTP to your WordPress theme directory: /wp-content/themes/ FTP the entire twentyten folder to your computer. All you have to do is make two changes. First, rename the folder to anything you like. I named my folder “mytwentyten”. Second, open the style.css file in a plane text editor. Wordpad will work fine. At the top of the file you will see the following header:
Theme Name: Twenty Ten
Theme URI: http://wordpress.org/
Description: The 2010 theme for WordPress is stylish, customizable, simple, and readable — make it yours with a custom menu, header image, and background. Twenty Ten supports six widgetized areas (two in the sidebar, four in the footer) and featured images (thumbnails for gallery posts and custom header images for posts and pages). It includes stylesheets for print and the admin Visual Editor, special styles for posts in the “Asides” and “Gallery” categories, and has an optional one-column page template that removes the sidebar.
Author: the WordPress team
License: GNU General Public License
License URI: license.txt
Tags: black, blue, white, two-columns, fixed-width, custom-header, custom-background, threaded-comments, sticky-post, translation-ready, microformats, rtl-language-support, editor-style, custom-menu
All you need to change is the theme name. I used: Theme Name: My Twenty Ten Save the file and you are ready to FTP your new mytwentyten folder up to your WordPress themes directory /wp-content/themes/
Done. Now when you log into your dashboard and click on “Appearance” you will see your new My Twenty Ten theme. Just click on activate to use it. Now you can tweak the theme to your hearts content and not have your work erased every time there is a WordPress update.