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.

A Newbie's Guide To WordPress ThemesAdvanced web site management tools like the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) have effectively simplified web design and web development for users.

This is a great thing for businesses planning to build a digital presence that is relatively simple and easy to manage.

Prior to blogging and the introduction of sophisticated CMS solutions, if you wanted a professional business site, you normally had to wait until both the web development and website design processes were completely done. This could mean waiting around for many weeks, even months!

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

A Revolution In Web Site Design

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

Very briefly, this is what used to happen before WordPress were introduced:

The first step would be to meet with a web developer or web site designer for a brief. After that, the design would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant spending time with a professional web designer discussing design elements of your website such as the, colors, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

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

Understanding WordPress Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and worked how it was intended to (and looking how a client had wanted it to look), was the site deemed to have been completed and ready for sign off.

The next step in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templating elements”. A website template allows design elements of the web site to be worked on separately from content on the page. Having templates helped make web site creation faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also allowed web site development agencies to expand their services to include businesses and clients with less money to spend …

Themes - An Introduction

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

As the number of businesses using “template-based” websites increased, web templates started being designed that could provide clients with various custom options, like the option to switch colors, styles, layouts

As web sites and website building tools developed, web templates also started evolving into website template “systems” that allowed users to customize their website’s visual aspects.

And then, a “blogging” software called WordPress was introduced and helped to start a new content management 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:

About WordPress Themes

A WordPress theme drives web templating systems much further.

The WordPress theme system controls and integrates the design elements of the website. It lets you add a “skin” over your site similarly to what a web template system does but it gives you complete control over the management, presentation and ability to customize your site’s template options.

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 above, a unique and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that how your site looks to visitors externally in no way affects how your site works internally to handle areas like content management and functionality.

Basically, what this means is that you can change the look and feel of your website as much and as often as you want without modifying your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WP website has been set up for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with a different 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.

Why is this important?

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

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WordPress site without the need of website code development skills. Just pick a WordPress theme you want, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your website design and modify elements like headers, page layout, style settings and more in minutes …

Themes - An Introduction

As WordPress is distributed as open source software, website designers all around the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress templating system.

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

The WordPress team maintains a FREE theme directory which allows WordPress users to access thousands of excellent web templates at no cost …

WordPress Themes - An Overview

(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for online publishing, more designers are now focusing on creating themes for a wider audience of WordPress site owners.

Themes range from minimal-looking, to designs that are simply spectacular and could easily cost thousands of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, most premium WP themes can be bought quite cheaply, especially when you compare the price to what it would have cost you if a website designer had to develop it from scratch.

You can see a number of WP theme galleries containing stunning examples of great WordPress themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of WordPress Themes

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

Easy Installation

WP themes are very easy to install on your site. Simply upload it to your Plugin folder via your WordPress dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress admin’s “Theme” section.

WP Themes - An Introduction

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large online community of commercial website developers who, collectively, make thousands of great-looking, high quality WordPress Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent design across all of the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This makes it possible to change the “look and feel” of your web site as often as you like without modifying your blog settings.
  • Many themes come with additional features and settings that allow you to customize the site’s layout, style and design elements to create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that enables you to update themes to newer versions without losing any customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically right inside the admin panel.
  • Themes helps you save thousands of dollars on website design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally quite affordable.

About Responsive WP Themes

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

A responsive theme enables a website to automatically resize to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms) …

A Newbie's Guide To Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for each device type. Users can navigate, read and display your site on a range of devices without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional themes.

Note: When selecting, 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 will display correctly across all devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards and practices of website design coding.

I hope that this basic overview has helped you gain a better understanding about WordPress themes, what WordPress themes are, how they can help you and your business save money, and how themes make customizing web sites easy.

To learn where to find the best themes for your website, visit this post: How To Find The Best Free And Premium Responsive WordPress Templates On The Web.


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now