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 IntroductionAdvanced web publishing platforms like WordPress have effectively simplified web design and web development for web users.

This greatly benefits businesses thinking of building a website that is relatively simple and easy to manage.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of easy-to-use CMS tools, if you needed to get a site for your business, you would have to wait until both the web development and website design processes were completely done. This process could mean waiting around for many weeks, sometimes even many months!

WordPress themes have changed all this. In this article, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how themes save your business money on web development costs, and how themes make it easy to customize your site.

Evolution In Website Design

More businesses have been benefiting from a revolutionary change in web design that started a number of years ago. If you own a business, you may want to learn more about this, because it can save you thousands of dollars on website development or web design costs.

Let’s briefly take a look at what normally took place before software like WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your project with a web site development company or designer. Then, the actual design of the website would be discussed and agreed upon. This involved time being spent with someone with web site design skills going over elements of the website like the, colours, formats, visual elements, content, etc.

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

A Basic Guide To Understanding WP Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

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

Then, website “templates” were introduced”. A web site template allows ”look and feel” elements of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. The introduction of template elements helped to make creating web sites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed web site designers to expand their services to include business clients with less money to spend on marketing …

Themes - An Overview

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

As the number of web development agencies using “template-based” websites increased, templates started being introduced that could provide expanding customizable settings, like color palettes, the ability to pick different menu styles and styles, etc …

As websites and web building software evolved, web templates also started transforming into web template ”systems”, letting website owners manage their site’s visual elements.

Then, WordPress was developed and helped to kick off a new online publishing revolution …

WP 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:

The WordPress Theme

WordPress themes push website template systems further.

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

As WordPress 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 in the quote above, one of the unique features of WordPress is that how your web site appears to site visitors does not affect the way your site is configured in the backend to handle areas like content management and functionality.

Basically, what this means is that WP themes let you modify the appearance of your website as much and as often as you want without modifying your site’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if your website has been set up for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the website. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

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

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your site with no website code programming knowledge necessary. Just pick a theme you like, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress lets you change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, layout, style settings and more in minutes …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding Themes

Because WordPress is made available as open source software, professional web design companies anywhere in the world can create themes specifically for the WordPress CMS platform using the WordPress template system.

This means that loads of great WP themes are made available to WP users. Themes are normally distributed for Free under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) WordPress themes.

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of great themes at no cost …

Understanding Themes

(WordPress.org – Free WordPress Theme Directory)

As more users turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now focusing on developing themes for a wider range of applications.

WP themes vary from professional-looking, to designs that are simply spectacular and would normally cost thousands of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, themes can be bought quite inexpensively, especially when compared to what you would have been charged if a web designer had to build it from scratch.

You can view several theme galleries that include many examples of great premium themes in this page:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits Of Using Themes

Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over using traditional web template design:

Be Up And Running In Minutes

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload it to your Plugin folder via your admin user section and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress themes repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WP site’s admin area.

Understanding Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a thriving community of professional web designers and design companies who contribute thousands of excellent WordPress Themes available to users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent “look and feel” across all the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your site’s content. This allows you change WordPress themes as often as you like without disturbing the underlying content of your website.
  • Many WordPress themes come with additional features and options that enable you to customize your theme’s layout and design properties to create a unique look to suit your preferences.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that lets you update the theme to newer theme versions without losing any unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically right within your site’s administration interface.
  • Themes allow WordPress users to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WordPress themes are normally very affordable.

Responsive Themes

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

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

WP Themes - An Introduction

Responsive themes are also optimized for each device type. Users can navigate, read and display a site on most if not all device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to install additional browser tools.

Note: When selecting, 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 across all of your visitors’ devices, it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards and practices of web design and web coding.

We hope the above article has given you a better understanding of WordPress themes, what themes are, how themes help you and your business save money on website design costs, and how themes make customizing websites easy.

To learn where to search for great WordPress themes for your website, click here:

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