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 Themes - An OverviewThe introduction of content publishing platforms like the WordPress CMS platform has effectively improved web design and web development for business owners.

This greatly benefits businesses planning to start or build a web presence that is simple, easy and inexpensive to manage.

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

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

A Revolution In Website Design

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

In a nutshell, this is how things worked in “traditional” website development before WordPress was introduced:

The first step would be to discuss your requirements with a web development company or website designer. After this, the actual “web design” would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant spending time with someone with website design skills discussing areas of your web site such as the layout, colours, styles, visual elements, content, etc.

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

A Basic Guide To Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and performed the way it should (and looking the way the client had imagined it to look), was the web site deemed as being completed and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” were developed”. A website template allows the presentation of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. The introduction of template elements helped to speed up the process of developing websites and resulted in lowered production costs. This also allowed website development firms to work with businesses and clients with less money to spend …

Themes - An Overview

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

As the number of web development companies using “template-based” web design services increased, templates started being introduced that could provide clients with a number of customization options, such as colour palettes, the ability to select different page layouts and elements, etc …

As websites and website editing tools developed, web templates also began transforming into web templating ”systems”, permitting website owners to manage their website’s design components.

Then, a “blogging” tool called WordPress was introduced and helped to kick off a new business website revolution …

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

A WordPress theme drives the concept of a website templating system further.

The WP theme system controls and unifies every aspect of your website design. It lets you add a “skin” to your site much like a template system does but it provides users with complete control over the management and customization of your template features.

As described 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 the above quote states, one of the unique and revolutionary features of WordPress is that the way your site displays to visitors on the outside is an entirely separate thing from your site’s functionality and content management.

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

This is huge! Why?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your business website built simply and start with any theme you want, and completely edit the look, feel and design of your website in seconds, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WP site without the need of website code programming knowledge. Simply choose a WordPress theme you like, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and modify elements like headers, page layout, typography and more with just a few mouse clicks …

Understanding Themes

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, web design companies anywhere in the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress CMS platform using the WP templating system.

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

The WordPress team keeps a FREE theme directory which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of excellent themes at $0 cost …

Understanding WordPress Themes

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

As the popularity of WordPress increases, more designers are now focused on creating themes for a wider range of uses.

WP themes vary from minimal-looking, to jaw-dropping designs that are stunning and would easily cost many hundreds of dollars to design. Surprisingly, most themes are fairly inexpensive to purchase.

You can view several theme galleries containing various examples of great premium WP themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits

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

Be Up And Running In Very Little Time

WP themes are quite easy to install on your site. Just upload a zip file that contains the plugin files to your Plugin folder via your WordPress administrator section and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the themes directory at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress site’s admin area.

A Basic Guide To Understanding Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a growing online community of professional theme designers who make thousands of fantastic WP Themes available to WordPress users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent “look and feel” across all your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This means you can replace the “look and feel” of your website as often as you need without disturbing your underlying content of your website.
  • Many themes provide built-in functionality and options that allow you to easily customize the theme’s layout and design properties and create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that enables you 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 inside your dashboard.
  • Themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free WP themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically very affordable.

Responsive Themes

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

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 platforms) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different platforms. Users can scroll, read and load a site on various devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to install additional themes.

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

I hope that the above overview has helped you gain a better understanding about WP themes, what themes are, how they can help you and your business save money on web design costs, and how themes make customizing your web design easy.

To learn where to find the best themes for your blog, see this page: How To Find The Best Paid And Free WordPress Web Templates For Your Business Online.


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com