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 ThemesThe development of flexible web publishing applications like the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) has truly simplified web design and web development for non-technical business owners.

This is a great thing for non-technical users that want a website that is easy to manage.

Before blogging and the introduction of easy-to-use CMS technologies, if you needed a professional business site, you had to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This could take many weeks, sometimes even many months!

The development of WordPress themes have changed all this. In this post, we take a look at what WP themes are, how they save you money on web design costs, and how themes allow you to easily customize your WP site.

Web Site Design Revolution

More website owners are benefiting from a change in website design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you are a business owner, you will want to learn about this, because it could save you a lot of time and money on website development or website design costs.

Very briefly, here’s what normally happened before tool like WordPress came along:

First, you would meet with a website developer or designer for a brief. After this, the ”look and feel” of the website itself would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant time and money being spent with someone with website design skills discussing things of your website such as the, colors, styles, page elements, content, etc.

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

Themes - An Overview

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and was working how it was supposed to (and looking the way a client had wanted it to look), was the site considered to be finished and ready for sign off.

Then, website “templates” came along”. A web template allows presentation elements of the website to be created separately from content on the page. The development of ready-made templates helped to make web site creation faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also allowed web development agencies to service small businesses with smaller budgets …

A Newbie's Guide To WP Themes

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

As more small businesses started using “template-based” web design services, templates were developed that could offer expanding customization features and options, such as the option to switch colors, styles, layouts

As web sites and website editing tools evolved, web templates also started to transform into web template “systems” that enable users and web designers to manage the design aspects of a web site.

Then, a “blogging” software called WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new web revolution …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding 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 take website templating systems one step further.

A WP theme controls and integrates every aspect of your website design. It allows you to add a “skin” to your entire site much like a template system does but it provides users with more control over the management, presentation and customization aspects of template settings.

As explained in 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, a unique feature of WordPress is that the way your web site displays to site visitors is kept independent of the way your content is managed.

In plain English terms, what this means is that a WP theme lets you modify the look and feel of your website as often as you want without affecting your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have configured WordPress website for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the website. All e-commerce features, settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your website built simply and start with any WordPress theme you want, and then customize the entire look, feel and design of your site in mere minutes, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site without having web code programming knowledge. Simply choose a theme you want, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress lets you change your web design and customize elements like headers, page layout, typography and more in a few seconds …

A Basic Guide To Themes

Since WordPress is made available as open source software, web design companies can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP template system.

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

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of excellent WP themes at $0 cost …

WP Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – WordPress Theme Directory)

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

Themes range from corporate-looking, to exciting designs that are simply breathtaking and would easily cost thousands of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, WordPress themes are fairly inexpensive.

You can see a number of WP theme galleries that include various examples of WP themes in this article:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits Of WP Themes

Here are just a few of the benefits of choosing WordPress themes over using applications that require traditional web design:

Ready To Go To Work In Minutes

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload the plugin file to your Plugins folder via your admin user account and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free WP theme repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WordPress dashboard.

Themes - An Overview

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a growing online community of commercial theme designers and design companies who, collectively, contribute thousands of great-looking, high quality WP Themes available to users. And many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent look across all of the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This allows you change WP themes as often as you want without disturbing the blog information.
  • Many themes come with additional features and settings that allow you to easily customize your site’s layout, style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that allows users to upgrade the theme to a newer theme version without losing any unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically right within your site’s administration interface.
  • Themes lets you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are typically quite affordable.

About Responsive Themes

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

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

A Basic Guide To WP Themes

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

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that the content and layout of your site displays well on all devices, it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of web design.

I hope that this overview has given you a better understanding of themes, what themes are, how WordPress themes help you save money, and how WordPress themes make customizing websites easy.

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

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