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 Introduction To ThemesAdvanced content management technologies like the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) have effectively simplified web design and web development for business users.

This greatly benefits business owners planning on getting a web presence that they can fully manage by themselves.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of advanced CMS solutions, if you wanted a professional business website, you would have to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed. This could take weeks, even many months!

The development of WordPress themes have changed all this. In this article, we take a look at what WordPress themes are, how WP themes help your business save money on website design costs, and how themes let you easily customize your site.

Web Design Revolution

More businesses today are benefiting from a tremendous change in website design that started many years ago. If you are a business owner, you will want to learn more about this, because it could save your business a lot of time and money on web development or web design costs.

Let’s take a look at what used to happen before WordPress came along:

First, you would discuss your requirements with a web site developer or designer. Next, the actual “web design” itself had to be decided upon. This meant spending time with someone with web design skills going over things of your web site such as the, colours, formats, page elements, content, etc.

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

Themes - An Overview

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and worked how it was intended to (and looking how the client had wanted it to look), was the website considered as being completed and ready to go live.

Then, web design “templates” came along”. Web site templates allow design elements of the web site to be worked on separately from content on the page. The development of ready-made templates helped to make the process of web site creation faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also allowed web development firms to expand their services to include businesses and clients with less money to spend on marketing …

A Basic Guide To Understanding Themes

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

As the number of web development companies adopting “template-based” websites increased, templates were designed that provided clients with different customization features, like color palettes, the ability to select different styles and styles, etc …

As web sites and website building applications developed, website templates also began transforming into website template “systems” that let users manage the visual elements of a website.

And then, WordPress came along and helped to start a new web revolution …

A Basic 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:

About WordPress Themes

WordPress themes push website template systems even further.

The WP theme system controls every aspect of your web site design. It allows you to add a “skin” over your entire site much like a template system does but also provides you with complete control over the management, appearance and ability to customize your site’s template options.

According to 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 states, one of the unique features of WordPress is that the way your web site looks to visitors on the outside is kept independent of the way your content is managed.

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

Why is this great for small businesses?

Because when your site is built with WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your website’s design is done. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any theme you want, and completely edit the look, feel and design of your site in a few minutes, whenever you want … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site without requiring web code programming skills. Simply pick any theme you like, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your website design and customize elements like header images, layout, styling options and more in less than a few minutes …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WP Themes

Since WordPress is distributed as open source software, thousands of website designers all around the world can create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP template system.

This means that thousands of high quality WordPress themes can be downloaded by WP users. WP are generally distributed for Free under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or sold as Premium (paid) WordPress themes.

The WordPress team keeps a FREE directory of WP themes which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of great WordPress themes at no cost …

Understanding Themes

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now starting to create themes for a wider range of users.

Themes range from functional-looking, to elegant designs that are visually beautiful and would typically cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, themes are quite inexpensive.

You can view several WP theme galleries containing many examples of great themes in this page:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of WP Themes

Here are just some of the many benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over using website development applications that require traditional web design:

Ready To Go To Work In Very Little Time

Themes are quite easy to install on your site. Just upload a zip file containing the plugin to your Plugin folder via your WP dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the themes directory at WordPress.org) directly from within your WP dashboard.

Understanding WordPress Themes

Additionally,

  • WordPress has a large community of professional theme designers and design companies who make thousands of excellent WP Themes available to users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all of your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your website’s content. This allows you change the “look and feel” of your web site as often as you want without modifying the website’s information.
  • Many WordPress themes provide additional built-in functionality and settings that enable you to customize the site’s layout, style and design elements to create a unique look to suit your business.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that lets users update the theme to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically right inside the site’s administration interface.
  • WP themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally quite affordable.

Responsive Theme Design

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

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

Understanding Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different platforms. Users can navigate, read and display the site on different devices without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to have installed additional display elements.

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

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

In our next article in the article series on helping you understand features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to find the best themes for your website.

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