WordPress Themes Explained

This tutorial explains what WordPress themes are, what makes WordPress themes unique, and the benefits of using WordPress themes to improve the design of your website or blog.

WordPress For Business - An Introduction To ThemesFlexible website management tools like the WordPress CMS have effectively simplified web design and web development for web users.

This greatly benefits business owners planning to start a website that is relatively simple, easy and inexpensive to manage.

Before blogging and the introduction of powerful CMS applications, if you needed a professional business site, you normally would have to wait until both the web development and web design processes were completely done. This process could mean weeks, even months of waiting around!

The introduction of WordPress themes changed all this. In this article, you will learn what themes are, how WP themes help you save money, and how themes let you easily customize your site.

A Revolution In Website Design

More website owners have been benefiting from a change in web design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you own a small business, you may want to know more about this, because it can save your business thousands of dollars on website development or website design costs.

Let’s briefly go over what typically took place before WordPress was introduced:

First, you would discuss your project with a web site developer or designer. Next, the actual design would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant spending time with someone with web design skills going over things of the site such as the, colours, formats, visual elements, content, etc.

Every page of your web site then had to be hand-coded with all of the elements and scripts coded around the content. The pages were then assembled together into a website using hyperlinks and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along with every other file needed to make your website work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

Understanding WP Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything had been tested and was functioning how it was intended to (and looking how a client had imagined it to look), was the site considered as being completed and ready for sign off.

The next phase in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templates”. A web template allows the design of the website to be worked on separately from content on the page. Having template elements helped to speed up the web development process and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed web designers to expand their services to include businesses with smaller budgets …

A Basic Guide To Themes

(image source: www.dreamweaver-templates.org)

As more businesses started choosing “template-based” websites, templates started being designed to provide clients with different customization features and options, like the option to choose different colors, styles, layouts

As websites and website editor applications evolved, web templates also started to transform into web template ”systems”, letting users manage the visual aspects of a site.

And then, a “blogging” software called WordPress came along and helped to start a new business website revolution …

Understanding WordPress Themes

(WordPress – A Content Publishing Revolution)

To learn more about content management systems and the benefits of the WordPress CMS, see the tutorial below:

The WordPress Theme

A WordPress theme takes web templating systems much further.

A WordPress theme controls and unifies every aspect of your web site design. It allows you to add a “skin” over your entire site in a similar way that a template system does but it also also provides you with more control over the management, presentation and ability to customize the template features.

As per the official WordPress site …

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php).

(source: WordPress.org)

As stated above, one of the unique and revolutionary features of the WordPress theme is that the way your web site appears to site visitors on the outside is an entirely different system from the management of your content.

Basically, what this means is that a WP theme lets you change the appearance of your website as much and as often as you like without affecting your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WP site has been set up for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the web site. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your website’s design is done. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any theme you want, and modify the entire look, feel and design of your website in mere minutes, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site without requiring web coding knowledge. Simply pick a theme you want, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your website design and customize elements like header images, page layout, style settings and more in less than a few minutes …

Themes - An Overview

As WordPress is distributed as open source software, website designers all around the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress templating system.

This means that thousands of great WordPress themes can be downloaded by WordPress users. Themes are normally distributed for Free under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be purchased as Premium (paid) WordPress themes.

The WordPress team maintains a FREE directory of WP themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of great themes completely free of charge …

Themes - An Overview

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As WordPress becomes more popular, more designers are now focused on developing themes for a wider range of users.

Themes range from bare-looking, to designs that are visually spectacular and could normally cost many hundreds of dollars to design. Surprisingly, most WordPress themes are fairly inexpensive.

You can view a number of WordPress theme galleries that include various examples of great premium WP themes in this post:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits

Here are just some of the many benefits of using WordPress themes over choosing web development tools that require traditional web design:

WordPress Theme Installation Is Easy, Simple & Quick

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your admin login and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress themes repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WP site’s admin area.

WP Themes - An Overview

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large community of professional website designers who contribute thousands of fantastic WP Themes available to users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent design across all of your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your website’s content. This allows you replace themes as often as you need without affecting the site’s information.
  • Many themes provide built-in features and options that enable you to customize your site’s layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your preferences.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that enables users to update themes to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically directly from within your admin panel.
  • WP themes lets you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free WordPress themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WordPress themes are normally quite affordable.

Responsive WP Themes

Many theme developers are now developing “responsive” themes for the WordPress platform.

A responsive theme allows websites to automatically reconfigure the layout to display smoothly over different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms) …

Themes - An Introduction

A responsive theme is also optimized for each platform. Users can navigate, read and display a site on various devices without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to have installed additional display elements.

Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your website will display correctly across all of your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore should comply with the latest standards, practices and techniques of website design and web coding.

I hope the above article has given you a better understanding of WP themes, what themes are, how they help you and your business save money on web development costs, and how themes make it easy to customize a website.

In the next blog post in our article series for new WP users on understanding basic WP features, we show you where to find great themes for your blog.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now