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.

Themes - An OverviewThe development of powerful web site management technologies like the WordPress CMS has truly improved web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

This greatly benefits entrepreneurial-minded people planning to start a website that is simple and easy to manage.

Prior to blogging and the introduction of sophisticated content management systems, if you wanted a business website, you would have to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, even sometimes many months of waiting!

The development of WordPress themes helped change all this. In this article, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how themes help your business save money on web development costs, and how themes help you easily customize your website.

The Evolution Of Web Design

More businesses today have been benefiting from a change in web design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you are a small business owner, you will want to know about this, because it could save you thousands of dollars on website development and web design costs.

In a nutshell, here’s what typically took place before WordPress were introduced:

First, you would discuss your project with a web developer or web designer. After this, the design itself would be decided upon. This required spending time with a professional website designer going over design elements of your site like the layout, colours, formats, visual elements, content, etc.

Each page of your website then had to be hand-coded with your elements and codes inserted into the page content. The pages were then assembled into a website using links and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along with all other files required to make your site work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and was functioning the way it was intended to (and looking how the client had imagined it to look), was the website considered as being completed and ready for delivery.

The next step in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “web templating elements”. Web site templates allow presentation elements of the website to be worked on separately from content on the page. Having ready-made templates helped make the process of developing web sites faster and resulted in reduced costs of production. This also allowed website development companies to service businesses and clients with smaller budgets …

A Basic Guide To Themes

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

As more businesses started adopting “template-based” web design services, templates started being introduced that provided clients with different customization features and options, such as colour palettes, the ability to specify different content styles, formats, elements, page layouts, and so on.

As web sites and web editing tools developed, website templates also started evolving into website template ”systems”, letting website owners manage their web site’s visual elements.

And then, WordPress came along and helped to start a new business website revolution …

Themes - An Overview

(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

WordPress themes drive web template systems even further.

A WP theme controls and unifies the design elements of the web site. It lets you add a “skin” to your site similarly to what a template system does but also provides you with more control over the management, appearance and ability to customize the template features.

According to 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 features of the WordPress theme is that how your web site displays to visitors is an entirely separate thing from 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 design of your site as much and as often as you want without touching your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have configured your website for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the web site. All e-commerce features, plugin settings and product information will remain unaffected, but your site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because when your website is built with WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your site’s web design is done. You can get your website built quickly and get started with any theme you like, and then change the entire look, feel and design of your WordPress site in seconds, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WP site with no web design skills necessary. Just pick a WordPress theme you want, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and customize elements like headers, page layout, style settings and more in minutes …

WP Themes - An Introduction

Because WordPress is made available as open source software, website design companies from all over the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP template system.

This means that thousands of great WP themes can be downloaded by WP users. WordPress are usually distributed freely under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or they can be purchased as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

The WordPress team maintains a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of great themes for free …

Understanding WordPress Themes

(WordPress.org – Free WP Theme Directory)

As the popularity of WordPress increases, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider audience of WordPress site owners.

Themes vary from bare-looking, to artsy designs that are visually breathtaking and would typically cost many hundreds of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, themes are really inexpensive to purchase.

You can view a number of WP theme galleries containing stunning examples of themes in this post:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits Of Themes

Here are just some of the benefits of choosing WordPress themes over choosing traditional web design:

Easy & Fast To Install

WordPress themes are very easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugins folder via your WordPress dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free theme repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WordPress admin’s “Theme” section.

WordPress Themes - An Overview

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a thriving community of commercial website designers and design companies who contribute thousands of great WP Themes available to users. And many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent design across all your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This allows you replace themes as often as you like without modifying your site’s underlying settings.
  • Many WordPress themes provide built-in features and options that let you customize the site’s layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that enables you to upgrade the theme to newer versions without losing any unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, import, install and update WordPress Themes automatically right inside the admin panel.
  • WordPress themes lets you save thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally very inexpensive.

About Responsive WP Themes

Many WordPress theme developers are now creating “responsive” WordPress themes.

A responsive theme enables websites to automatically readjust the web layout to display smoothly across different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as across different devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc.) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for each platform. Users can scroll, read and load the site on all devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to install additional browser elements.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing 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 should comply with the latest standards, practices and techniques of web design and web coding.

We hope that this article has given you a clearer overview of themes, what WP themes are, how they help your business save money, and how themes make customizing your web design easy.

In the next article on understanding basic features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to find the best themes for your website or blog.


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