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 web site publishing platforms like the WordPress CMS platform have effectively simplified web design and web development for website owners.

This is a great thing for businesses that want a digital presence that is relatively simple, easy and inexpensive to manage.

Prior to blogging and the development of sophisticated CMS tools, if you needed to build a professional website built for your business, you would have to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This could take weeks, sometimes even months!

The development of WordPress themes helped change all this. In this blog post, we will explore what themes are, how they can help your business save money on web development costs, and how WordPress themes let you easily customize your website.

Web Site Design Revolution

Website owners are benefiting from a revolution in web design that has been going for a number of years now. If you are a business owner, you may want to learn about this, because it can save your business a lot of time and money on web development or web design costs.

In a nutshell, here’s what used to happen before WordPress were developed:

The first step would be to meet with a website developer or web site designer for a brief. After this, the actual “web design” itself would be decided upon. This required spending time with someone with web site design skills going over elements of the web site like the layout, colours, styles, page elements, content, etc.

Each page of your web site then had to be individually created with all of your design elements and scripts coded around the content. The pages were then assembled into a web site using hyperlinks and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files required to make your website work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

A Basic Guide To WordPress Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and was performing the way it was intended to (and looking the way a client had imagined it to look), was the website deemed to be finished and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” came along”. A website template allows the presentation of the website to be created separately from the page content. The development of template elements helped make the process of developing websites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed web developers to expand their services to include business clients with less money to spend on marketing …

Themes - An Introduction

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

As the number of businesses adopting “template-based” web design services increased, templates were designed that could offer various customizable features, like the option to choose different colours, styles, layouts

As web sites and website editor applications evolved, web templates also began transforming into website template ”systems”, enabling website owners to manage their web site’s visual elements.

And then, a “blogging” software called WordPress was developed and helped to kick off a new web revolution …

WP Themes - An Introduction

(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

WordPress themes take the idea of a website templating system even further.

The WordPress theme system controls and unifies the design areas of a web site. It lets you add a “skin” to your entire site in a similar way that a web template system does but it also also provides users with more control over the management, appearance and ability to customize your site’s template settings.

As the official WordPress site states …

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, one of the unique features of the WP theme is that how your website appears to site visitors in no way affects how your content is managed.

In simple terms, what this means is that WP themes let you modify the look and feel of your website as much and as often as you want without affecting your site’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if you have configured WP site for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with another theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your website. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain unaffected, but your site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

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

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site without having web design skills. Just pick any WP theme you want, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, layout, typography and more in a few seconds …

WP Themes - An Introduction

Because WordPress is open source software, web designers can design themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WordPress templating system.

This means that thousands of great WordPress themes can be downloaded by WordPress users. Themes are usually distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) WordPress themes.

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

Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As WordPress becomes more popular, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider range of users.

WordPress themes range from bare-looking, to exciting designs that are simply impressive and would easily cost many hundreds of dollars to design. Surprisingly, most themes can be bought quite inexpensively, especially when compared to what you would have been charged if a website designer had to develop it from scratch.

You can see several WordPress theme galleries that include various examples of WordPress themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits Of Themes

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

Ready To Use In Minutes

Themes are quite easy to install on your site. Simply upload a zip folder that contains the plugin files to your Plugin folder via your dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the theme directory at WordPress.org) directly inside your WP site’s admin area.

Themes - An Overview

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large online community of commercial website developers and development companies who make thousands of great-looking, high quality WP Themes available to WP users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent look across all of the blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your site’s content. This allows you change themes as often as you need without deleting the underlying content.
  • Many WP themes come with additional functionality and options that let you easily customize the theme’s style and design elements to create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that enables users to update themes to a newer theme version without losing its unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import, install and update WordPress Themes automatically within your admin panel.
  • WordPress themes allow users to save hundreds of dollars on website design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are normally very inexpensive.

Responsive WP Themes

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

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

Themes - An Introduction

Responsive themes are also optimized for different types of devices. Users can navigate, read and load the site on various device platforms without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional browser tools.

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your website will display correctly on 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 web design and coding.

We hope this basic overview has helped you gain a better understanding of themes, what themes are, how themes help your business save money on web development costs, and how themes make customizing websites easy.

To learn where to search for the best WP themes for your website or blog, see this page: Where To Find Great Free And Premium WordPress Themes Online.


"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya


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