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 Beginners - An Overview Of WordPress ThemesFlexible content management systems like WordPress have effectively simplified web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

This greatly benefits entrepreneurial-minded people thinking about starting a website that they can manage.

Prior to “blogging” and the introduction of powerful and simple content management systems, if you wanted to get a website for your business, you would have to wait until both the website development and website design processes were completely done. This could take many weeks, sometimes even months!

The introduction of WordPress themes have changed all this. In this post, we take a look at what WP themes are, how themes can help you and your business save money, and how WordPress themes allow you to easily customize your website.

Evolution In Web Site Design

More website owners have been benefiting from a revolution in website design that started a number of years ago. If you own a small business, you may want to know more about this, because it could save you a lot of time and money on web development or web design costs.

Let’s go over what typically took place before a CMS software like WordPress was developed:

First, you would discuss your requirements with a web development company or web designer. Then, the “web design” itself would be decided upon. This involved time and money being spent with a professional web site designer discussing design elements of your website such as the layout, colors, styles, page elements, content, etc.

Every page of your website then had to be individually created with all of your design elements and codes written into your page content. The pages were then assembled together into a web site using links and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with every other file required to make your site work – script libraries, images, media, etc.

WP Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and worked how it should (and looking how the client had wanted it to look), was the web site considered as being completed and ready for delivery.

The next step in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templates”. A web site template allows design elements of the web site to be created separately from the page content. The introduction of template elements helped to make building web sites faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also enabled website designers to work with businesses and clients with less money to spend …

Themes - An Overview

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

As more small businesses started adopting “template-based” web design services, web templates were designed that provided clients with expanding customization settings, like the ability to choose different colours, styles, layouts

As websites and website editing applications developed, website templates also started to evolve into web templating ”systems”, enabling website owners to control the design elements of a website.

And then, WordPress was introduced and helped to start a new content management revolution …

Understanding WP Themes

(WordPress – A Content Publishing Revolution)

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

About WordPress Themes

A WordPress theme pushes web template systems further.

A WordPress theme controls the design aspects of a web site. It allows you to add a “skin” to your site much like a website template system does but it also also gives you more control over the management, appearance and customization of template features.

As the official WordPress site describes it …

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 in the quote above, a unique feature of the WP theme is that the way your web site appears to site visitors does not affect the way your website is configured internally to handle areas like content management and functionality.

In plain English terms, what this means is that you can modify the appearance of your website as often as you want without modifying your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if your site has been set up for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the web site. All e-commerce features, settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer need to spend weeks or months waiting for your website to be done. You can get your business website built simply and get started with any WordPress theme you want, and change the entire look, feel and design of your site in mere minutes, whenever you want … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WordPress site without having web design knowledge. Just pick any theme you like, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your entire site’s web design and customize elements like headers, page layout, typography and more in less than a few minutes …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WP Themes

As WordPress is distributed as open source software, hundreds of web designers can create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress template system.

This means that loads 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 sold as Premium (paid) themes.

The WordPress development team maintains a FREE directory of WP themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of great web templates for free …

Understanding WordPress Themes

(WordPress.org – WordPress Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now focusing on creating themes for a wider range of users.

WordPress themes range from bare-looking, to dynamic designs that are breathtaking and could easily cost thousands of dollars to create. Surprisingly, themes can be purchased quite cheaply, especially when compared to what you would have had to pay if a web designer had to build it from scratch.

You can see several WP theme galleries containing stunning examples of great themes in this article:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of WP Themes

Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over using tools that require traditional website design:

WordPress Theme Installation Is Easy, Quick And Simple

WordPress themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload it to your Plugin folder via your administrator login and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from your WordPress admin’s “Theme” section.

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a thriving community of commercial web developers and development companies who contribute thousands of great-looking, high quality WordPress Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all the site’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This means you can change the “look and feel” of your web site or blog as often as you need without affecting the underlying content of your web site.
  • Many themes come with additional built-in functionality and options that allow you to easily customize your theme’s layout, style and design properties and create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that allows users to upgrade themes to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically from your site’s administration interface.
  • WordPress themes allow WordPress users to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are normally quite affordable.

Responsive Theme Design

Many theme designers are now developing “responsive” themes for WordPress.

A responsive theme allows websites to automatically resize to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as across different platforms) …

WP Themes - An Overview

A responsive theme is also optimized for each platform. Users can scroll, read and load a site on all device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to install additional themes.

Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your website will work correctly on all of your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards and practices of website design and web coding.

We hope that this article has provided you with a clearer overview of themes, what themes are, how themes can help your business save money on website development costs, and how WP themes make customizing websites easy.

To learn where to search for great WP themes for your website, see this post: How To Find Great Premium And Free WordPress Templates For Your Business Site Or Blog.


"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