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.

A Basic Guide To Understanding ThemesThe development of content publishing platforms like the WordPress CMS platform has effectively improved web design and web development for non-technical website owners.

This greatly benefits business owners planning to start or build a website that they can fully manage by themselves.

Prior to blogging and the introduction of user-friendly CMS applications, if you wanted to build a web site for your business, you had to wait until both the web development and web design processes were completely done. This process could mean weeks, even months of waiting for the work to be done!

WordPress themes helped change all this. In this blog post, you will learn what themes are, how themes save you and your business money on website development costs, and how WordPress themes make it easy to customize your website.

A Revolution In Website Design

More website owners today are benefiting from a change in web design that started many years ago. If you own a small business, you may want to know about this, because it can save you thousands of dollars on website development and website design costs.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened before CMS applications like WordPress were introduced:

The first step would be to meet with a website developer or website designer for a brief. Next, the actual design itself would be decided upon. This involved time being spent with a professional website designer going over areas of your site such as the layout, colours, styles, page elements, content, etc.

Each page of your site then had to be individually created with all of the elements and scripts coded into the content. All pages were then assembled into a web site using hyperlinks 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 elements, etc.

Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and worked how it was supposed to (and looking the way a client had imagined it to look), was the web site considered to have been completed and ready to go live.

The next phase in the evolution of web design was the introduction of “web templates”. A website template allows the presentation of the web site to be created separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped to make the process of web site creation faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also allowed web development companies to work with business clients and clients with less money to spend …

Themes - An Overview

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

As the number of businesses using “template-based” websites increased, templates started being developed to offer a number of customizable options, such as color palettes, the ability to specify different formats or header, footer and navigation elements, etc …

As web sites and website editor applications evolved, web templates also started transforming into web templating “systems” that allowed website owners and website developers to manage their website’s design components.

Then, a “blogging” software called WordPress was developed and helped to start a new digital publishing revolution …

A Newbie's Guide To 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:

WordPress Themes

A WordPress theme drives the idea of a web template system much further.

A WordPress theme controls the design aspects of your web site. It lets you add a “skin” over your entire site in a similar way that a web template system does but it gives you more control over the management, presentation and ability to customize template features.

As WordPress has stated in its official 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 in the quote above, a unique and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that how your web site displays to visitors is a completely separate system from your site’s content management settings.

Basically, what this means is that themes let you change the look and feel of your site as often as you want without touching your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if your 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 your website. All e-commerce features, site settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

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

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WP site with no website coding knowledge required. Simply pick any WordPress 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, page layout, style settings and more with just a couple of mouse clicks …

WordPress Themes - An Overview

Since WordPress is open source software, website design companies anywhere in the world can create themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP template system.

This means that thousands of high quality WordPress themes can be downloaded by WP users. Themes are normally distributed for FREE under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

The WordPress team maintains a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which allows WordPress users to access thousands of excellent web templates for free …

Understanding WordPress Themes

(WordPress.org – WordPress Theme Directory)

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

WP themes vary from functional-looking, to creative designs that are quite spectacular and would typically cost hundreds to many thousands of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, most premium themes can be bought quite inexpensively, especially when compared to what you would have had to pay if a website designer had to code it from scratch.

You can view a number of WordPress theme galleries containing various examples of great premium themes in this article:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits & Advantages

Here are just some of the many benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over using traditional website design:

Ready To Start Using In No Time

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free WordPress theme directory at WordPress.org) directly from your WP dashboard.

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WP Themes


  • WordPress has a thriving community of commercial website designers and design companies who make thousands of quality WP Themes available to users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent design across all your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your site’s content. This allows you replace themes as often as you need without affecting your website’s underlying content.
  • Many themes come with built-in features and options that let you easily customize the site’s style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your preferences.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that enables you to upgrade the theme to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload, install and update WordPress Themes automatically directly from the dashboard.
  • WordPress themes lets you save thousands of dollars on website design costs. Free WP themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically very inexpensive.

About Responsive WordPress Theme Design

Many WP theme developers are now developing themes that incorporate “responsive” web design.

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

Understanding WordPress Themes

A responsive theme is also optimized for different platforms. Users can navigate, read and load your site on all devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to have installed additional display elements.

Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your web site displays well across your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of website design.

I hope that this article has given you a clearer understanding of themes, what WP themes are, how themes help you and your business save money on website design costs, and how themes make customizing sites easy.

To learn where to search for the best WP themes for your blog, click here:


"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