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 Business - An Overview Of WordPress ThemesFlexible website publishing systems like WordPress have effectively simplified web design and web development for users.

This is great for individuals or businesses planning to start a website that is simple and easy to manage.

Before blogging and the introduction of easy-to-use CMS technologies, if you wanted to build a website built for your business, you typically would have to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This could mean waiting for many weeks, even months!

The development of WordPress themes helped change all this. In this article, we will explore what WP themes are, how WP themes save your business money on website design costs, and how WP themes make it easy to customize your website.

A Revolution In Web Site Design

More website owners have been benefiting from an evolution in website design that started a number of years ago. If you are a business owner, you may want to learn about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on web development or website design costs.

Let’s briefly take a look at how things typically worked in “traditional” web development before software like WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your requirements with a web site developer or web designer. After this, the ”look and feel” of your web site itself had to be discussed and agreed upon. This required spending time and money with someone with website design skills going over areas of your web site such as the, colors, 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 of the pages were then assembled into a website using links and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with every other file required to make your website work – script libraries, images, media, etc.

A Basic Guide To Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and was functioning the way it should (and looking how the client had wanted it to look), was the site deemed to have been finished and ready to go live.

The next stage in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “website templating elements”. A web template allows the ”look and feel” of the web site to be created separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped speed up the web creation process and resulted in lowered production costs. This also allowed web site designers to expand their services to include businesses and clients with smaller budgets …

WP Themes - An Introduction

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

As the number of website development agencies using “template-based” web design services increased, web templates were introduced that could offer expanding custom options, such as color palettes, the ability to pick different layouts and content styles, etc …

As websites and website building applications evolved, website templates also began to evolve into website templating “systems” that allowed users to customize the design elements of a site.

And then, a “blogging” tool called WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new website 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 drive website templating systems one step further.

The WP theme system controls every aspect of your site’s design. It allows you to add a “skin” to your entire site similarly to what a web template system does but also gives you more control over the management, appearance and customization aspects of the template features.

As per 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 in the quote above, a unique and revolutionary feature of the WP theme is that the way your site displays to site visitors is controlled independently of the management of your content.

Basically, what this means is that you can modify the design of your site as much and as often as you like without touching your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WordPress website has been set up for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your site. All e-commerce features, settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

Why is this such a big deal?

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

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WP site with no website design knowledge necessary. Just choose any WP theme you like, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your web design and modify elements like header images, page layout, style settings and more with just a few mouse clicks …

Understanding WP Themes

Since WordPress is distributed as open source software, hundreds of web design companies all around the world can create themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP template system.

This means that loads of great WordPress themes can be downloaded by WP users. WordPress are generally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be purchased as Premium (paid) themes.

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE theme directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent themes at $0 cost …

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

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

WP themes vary from professional-looking, to designs that are quite spectacular and would typically cost many hundreds of dollars to create. Surprisingly, themes can be purchased fairly cheaply, especially when compared to what it would have cost you if a web designer had to build it from scratch.

You can see a number of WP theme galleries that include many examples of great themes in this page:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

WordPress Themes – Benefits

Here are just some of the many benefits of choosing WordPress themes over using web building tools that require traditional web design:

Installation Is Easy And Quick

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

Themes - An Introduction


  • WordPress has a thriving online community of professional web developers and development companies who make thousands of great WordPress Themes available to users. Many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent “look and feel” across all of your site’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This allows you change WordPress themes as often as you want without modifying the underlying content.
  • Many WordPress themes provide additional built-in functionality and options that let you easily customize your site’s layout, style and design properties and create a unique look to suit your business.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that enables users to upgrade themes to a newer theme version without losing its unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, upload, install and update WordPress Themes automatically from the dashboard.
  • Themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website design costs. Free WP themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are typically quite affordable.

Responsive WordPress Themes

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

A responsive theme enables websites to automatically readjust screen size to display smoothly over different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as across different platforms) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

A responsive theme is also optimized for each device type. Users can scroll, read and display your site on various device platforms without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional display elements.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that the content and layout of your site will work correctly across your visitors’ devices, it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards of website design.

We hope that this basic overview has given you a better understanding of WP themes, what WordPress themes are, how themes help you save money on web design costs, and how themes make customizing web sites easy.

In the next article on helping you understand WP features, we show you where to find great themes for your blog.


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie


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