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 ThemesAdvanced web publishing technologies like the WordPress CMS platform have effectively improved web design and web development for business owners.

This is a great thing for non-technical users planning to build a website that is relatively simple and easy to manage.

Prior to “blogging” and the introduction of powerful and effective CMS tools, if you needed a website, you would have to wait until both the web development and website design processes were fully completed. This process could mean waiting for weeks, sometimes even many months!

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

A Revolution In Website Design

More website owners today have been benefiting from a tremendous change in website design that started a number of years ago. If you own a business, you will want to learn more about this, because it can save you a lot of time and money on website development and web design costs.

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

The first step would be to meet with a web developer or designer for a brief. After this, the actual design would be decided upon. This meant time being spent with a professional web site designer discussing elements of the web site like the, colors, formats, page elements, content, etc.

Each page of your website then had to be hand-coded with your elements and codes inserted into the page content. All the pages were then assembled together into a website using hyperlinks 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 WordPress Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and functioned the way it was intended to (and looking how a client had wanted it to look), was the web site considered to have been completed and ready for sign off.

The next stage in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “website templates”. A web template allows the presentation of the web site to be worked on separately from content on the page. Having template elements helped to make creating web sites faster and resulted in lowered production costs. This also allowed website developers to expand their services to include small businesses and clients with less money to spend …

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

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

As more small businesses began adopting “template-based” websites, templates started being introduced that provided clients with a number of custom options, like color palettes, the ability to select different styles, formats, elements, layouts, and so on.

As websites and web building tools developed, web templates also started to transform into web templating ”systems”, letting users and web designers control their web site’s design aspects.

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

Understanding WordPress 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 expands website template systems further.

A WordPress theme controls and integrates every aspect of your web design. It lets you add a “skin” over your site much like a template system does but also gives you more control over the management, presentation and customization of your site’s template features.

As stated 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 stated in the quote above, a unique and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that how your site displays to site visitors on the outside is controlled separately from your site’s functionality and content management.

Basically, what this means is that WP themes let you change the appearance of your website as much and as often as you like without modifying your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have configured your site for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your website. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

Because when your website is built with WordPress, you no longer need to spend weeks or months waiting for your website to be done. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any theme you like, and customize the entire look, feel and design of your WordPress site in seconds, whenever you choose … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site with no website code editing knowledge necessary. Simply pick any WP theme you want, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress lets you change your web design and customize elements like headers, layout, styling options and more in less than a few minutes …

WP Themes - An Introduction

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, commercial web designers can create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP templating system.

This means that loads of high quality WP themes are made available to WP users. WP are normally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or they can be purchased as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

The WordPress team keeps a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of great web templates at $0 cost …

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

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

WordPress themes range from functional-looking, to creative designs that are visually stunning and would typically cost thousands of dollars to design. Surprisingly, WP themes are quite inexpensive to purchase.

You can see several WP theme galleries containing many examples of themes in this article:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of WordPress Themes

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

WP Theme Installation Is Easy, Simple And Quick

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

A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large community of professional web designers who contribute thousands of excellent WP Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent design across all of your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This allows you swap themes as often as you like without deleting the site information.
  • Many themes come with additional functionality and settings that enable you to customize the site’s style, layout and design properties and create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that enables you to upgrade themes to newer versions without losing its unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import, install and update WordPress Themes automatically inside your admin panel.
  • Themes lets you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically very affordable.

About Responsive Theme Design

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

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

Understanding WordPress Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and display your site on most if not all device platforms without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to have installed additional browser elements.

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

Hopefully, this basic overview has helped you gain a better understanding about WP themes, what themes are, how WP themes can help you save money, and how themes make customizing sites easy.

In the next article in our article WordPress newbies on basic WP features, we show you where to search for great themes for your website.

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