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.

WP For Beginners - An Introduction To WordPress ThemesThe introduction of web publishing applications like the WordPress CMS platform has effectively simplified web design and web development for web users.

This is a great thing for non-technical users planning to start a website that they can manage by themselves.

Before blogging and the development of powerful CMS tools, if you needed a web site, you normally had to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed. This could mean weeks, even many months of waiting for the work to be done!

WordPress themes changed all this. In this blog post, we look at what themes are, how they save you and your business money on website design costs, and how themes let you easily customize your site.

Website Design Revolution

More businesses today have been benefiting from a revolution in web design that has been going for many years now. If you are a small business owner, you will want to learn about this, because it can save your business thousands of dollars on web development and website design costs.

Let’s briefly take a look at how things used to work in “traditional” website development before CMS solutions like WordPress came along:

First, you would meet with a web developer or designer for a brief. After that, the actual ”look and feel” of the website would be decided upon. This involved spending time with someone with web site design skills discussing areas of your web site such as the layout, colours, styles, visual elements, content, etc.

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

WP Themes - An Overview

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and worked how it should (and looking the way the client had wanted it to look), was the website deemed as being completed and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” were developed”. A web template allows design elements of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. Having templates helped speed up the process of developing web sites and resulted in reduced costs of production. This also allowed web developers to work with business clients with less money to spend on marketing …

A Basic Guide To Themes

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

As the number of small businesses choosing “template-based” websites increased, templates were introduced that could offer different customization features and options, like the option to switch colours, styles, layouts

As websites and website editor applications evolved, website templates also started transforming into web template ”systems”, letting users customize their site’s visual elements.

And then, a “blogging” software called WordPress was introduced and helped to kick off a new online publishing revolution …

A Newbie's Guide To 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:

The WordPress Theme

WordPress themes improve web templating systems much further.

The WordPress theme system controls 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 also provides users with complete control over the management, presentation and customization aspects of template settings.

As the official WordPress site puts 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 above, a unique and revolutionary feature of a WP theme is that the way your website appears to visitors on the outside does not affect the management of your content.

In plain English terms, what this means is that a theme lets you modify the appearance of your site as much and as often as you want without modifying your website’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if you have set up WP site for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your 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 with WordPress, you no longer have to spend weeks or months waiting for your site to be completed. You can get your business website built simply and start with any theme you want, and then customize the entire look, feel and design of your site in minutes, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WordPress site with no web design skills necessary. Simply choose a WordPress theme you like, install it on your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more in less than a few minutes …

WordPress Themes - An Overview

Because WordPress is open source software, hundreds of website designers all around the world can design themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WordPress template system.

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

The WordPress team maintains a FREE theme directory which allows WordPress users to download, access and install thousands of great website templates for free …

A Basic Guide To Themes

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As WordPress becomes more popular, more designers are now focusing on creating themes for a wider audience of WordPress site owners.

Themes range from minimal-looking, to designs that are visually spectacular and would typically cost hundreds to many thousands of dollars to create. Surprisingly, most themes can be purchased quite inexpensively, especially when you compare the cost to what it would have cost you if a web designer had to code it from scratch.

You can view a number of WordPress theme galleries that include stunning examples of great themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits

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

Easy And Fast To Install

WordPress themes are really easy to install on your site. Simply upload a zip folder that contains the plugin to your Plugin folder via your WP admin user login and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from your WP admin’s “Theme” section.

A Newbie's Guide To WP Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a thriving community of professional website designers who, collectively, contribute thousands of great-looking, high quality WP Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent “look and feel” across all the blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your website’s content. This allows you swap WordPress themes as often as you want without changing the site’s settings.
  • Many themes come with built-in features and options that let you easily customize the theme’s style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that lets users update 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 inside the admin panel.
  • WordPress themes allow users to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are typically very inexpensive.

About Responsive Themes

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

A responsive theme allows a website to automatically resize to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different devices (e.g. laptops, iPads, cell phones, etc.) …

Understanding WP Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and load the site on most device browsers without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional display elements.

Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your web site will work correctly on all devices, it also means that the theme is newer than non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of web design coding.

I hope that this overview has helped you gain a clearer understanding of WordPress themes, what WP themes are, how WordPress themes help you save money on website design costs, and how themes make it easy to customize your WordPress site.

To learn where to find great themes for your website, go here:


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group