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 Overview Of ThemesThe introduction of flexible web publishing systems like WordPress has truly improved web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

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

Before “blogging” and the development of powerful and effective content management systems, if you wanted a website, you would have to wait until both the website development and web design processes were completely done. This could take many weeks, even many months!

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

A New Development In Website Design

More businesses are benefiting from a revolutionary change in website design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you own a small business, you may want to know more about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on web development and website design costs.

Let’s briefly review what normally happened before CMS systems like WordPress came along:

First, you would meet with a web developer or designer for a brief. After this, the design itself would be discussed and agreed upon. This involved spending time with a professional web designer discussing elements of your web site such as the, colours, formats, visual elements, content, etc.

Every page of your website then had to be hand-coded with your elements and codes scripted into your page content. The pages were then assembled together into a website using links and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files needed to make your website work – script libraries, images, media elements, etc.

Understanding Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and performed the way it was intended to (and looking how the client had wanted it to look), was the web site considered to have been finished and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” were introduced”. Web site templates allow the ”look and feel” of the website to be created separately from the page content. The introduction of templates helped to make developing websites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed website development firms to work with business clients and clients with smaller marketing budgets …

A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

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

As the number of small businesses adopting “template-based” web design services increased, templates started being created that provided clients with various customizable features, like the ability to switch colors, styles, layouts

As websites and website editor software evolved, website templates also began to evolve into website template ”systems”, letting website owners and website designers manage their website’s design elements.

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

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding 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:

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes drive the concept of a website template system one step further.

A WP theme controls all of the design elements of the website. It lets you add a “skin” to your entire site much like a template system does but also provides users with complete control over the management, appearance and customization of template settings.

As WordPress states in its 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 a WP theme is that how your site appears to site visitors in no way affects your site’s functional aspects (e.g. content management and functionality).

Basically, what this means is that you can modify the design of your website as often as you want without touching your website’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if WP site has been set up for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with another 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 your site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because when your site is built using WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any theme you want, and then completely customize the look, feel and design of your WordPress site in a few minutes, whenever you decide … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site without the need of web coding skills. Just choose any theme you want, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and modify elements like header images, page layout, style settings and more in minutes …

A Basic Guide To Understanding WP Themes

Because WordPress is made available as open source software, thousands of website design companies can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress templating system.

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

The WordPress team maintains a FREE directory of WP themes which allows WordPress users to download, access and install thousands of great WordPress themes at $0 cost …

Themes - An Overview

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As the popularity of WordPress increases, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider audience of WordPress users.

WordPress themes range from functional-looking, to designs that are simply impressive and could easily cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to create. Surprisingly, most WP themes are very inexpensive.

You can view several theme galleries that include many examples of great WordPress themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of Themes

Here are just some of the many benefits of choosing WordPress themes over using traditional web template design:

Installation Is Easy And Quick

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

Themes - An Introduction

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a thriving community of commercial website developers and development companies who, collectively, contribute thousands of quality WP Themes available to WordPress users. And many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent “look and feel” across all of your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your site’s content. This makes it possible to swap themes as often as you want without affecting the underlying content of your blog.
  • Many WordPress themes come with additional built-in features and settings that let you easily customize your site’s style, layout and design properties to create a unique look to suit your business.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that lets users update themes to a newer theme version without losing any unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, upload, install and update WordPress Themes automatically within the dashboard.
  • WordPress themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free WordPress themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally very affordable.

Responsive Themes

Many WP theme developers are now developing “responsive” themes for the WordPress CMS platform.

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

Themes - An Overview

A responsive theme is also optimized for each platform. Users can navigate, read and display a site on different devices without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional themes.

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

We hope the above overview has helped you gain a clearer understanding about WP themes, what themes are, how they can help your business save money on web design costs, and how WP themes allow you to easily customize your WP site.

In our next article on basic WP features, we show you where to find great themes for your website or blog.


"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


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