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 Themes - An IntroductionPowerful web site management technologies like the WordPress CMS platform have effectively improved web design and web development for anyone wanting a website.

This is a great thing for entrepreneurial-minded people wanting a digital presence that they can fully manage.

Prior to “blogging” and the introduction of sophisticated CMS tools, if you needed to get a web site built for your business, you had to wait until both the web development and website design processes were completely done. This could mean waiting for many weeks, even months!

WordPress themes changed all this. In this article, you will learn what WP themes are, how WP themes save you money on website design costs, and how themes make it easy to customize your site.

The Evolution Of Web Design

Website owners are benefiting from a change in web design that started a number of years ago. If you own a small business, you may want to learn more about this, because it can save you a lot of time and money on website development and website design costs.

Very briefly, this is how things used to work in “traditional” website design before a CMS software like WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your requirements with a website developer or designer. After that, the “web design” itself would be discussed and agreed upon. This required time and money being spent with a professional web site designer discussing areas of the website like the, colours, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

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

Understanding WP Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and was functioning how it was supposed to (and looking the way the client had imagined it to look), was the site considered to have been finished and ready for sign off.

Then, web design “templates” were introduced”. A web template allows the ”look and feel” of the website to be worked on separately from the page content. The introduction of template elements helped to speed up the web site creation process and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed web site developers to expand their services to include smaller business clients and clients with smaller marketing budgets …

Themes - An Introduction

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

As more small businesses started adopting “template-based” websites, templates were designed to offer expanding custom options, such as the ability to switch colors, styles, layouts

As websites and web building applications developed, website templates also started transforming into web templating ”systems”, which permitted website owners to customize their site’s visual elements.

Then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new website revolution …

A Newbie's Guide To 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 drive web templating systems further.

The WordPress theme system controls and integrates every aspect of your web site design. It lets you add a “skin” over your site similarly to what a template system does but it also also provides users with complete control over the management, appearance and ability to customize all template options.

As the official WordPress site explains it …

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 and revolutionary features of the WordPress theme is that the way your site appears to visitors on the outside in no way affects your site’s functionality and content management.

In simple terms, what this means is that a theme lets you change the look and feel of your site as much and as often as you like without affecting your website’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if WordPress site has been configured for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your site. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

Because when your website is powered by WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your website’s design is done. You can get your website built simply and start with any theme you like, and then completely customize the look, feel and design of your site in mere minutes, whenever you want … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WordPress site with no website code programming skills required. Just choose a theme you want, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress lets you change your website design and modify elements like headers, page layout, style settings and more in minutes …

Understanding WordPress Themes

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, website design companies can design themes specifically for the WordPress CMS platform using the WordPress template system.

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

The WordPress team keeps a FREE directory of WP themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent WP themes completely free of charge …

Understanding Themes

(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)

As WordPress becomes more popular, more designers are now focused on creating themes for a wider range of uses.

Themes range from professional-looking, to elegant designs that are breathtaking and would typically cost many hundreds of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, WP themes are quite inexpensive to buy.

You can view a number of WP theme galleries containing many examples of great WP themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

WP Themes – Benefits

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

Be Up And Running In Minutes

WordPress themes are quite easy to install on your site. Simply upload it to your Plugin folder via your dashboard 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.

WordPress Themes - An Overview


  • WordPress has a large community of professional website designers and design companies who contribute thousands of quality WP Themes available to users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all of the blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your website’s content. This allows you change themes as often as you like without changing the settings.
  • Many themes come with additional functionality and options that enable you to customize your site’s style and design properties and create a unique look to suit your preferences.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that allows you to update the theme to newer theme versions without losing its unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically from your site’s administration interface.
  • Themes allow WordPress users to save hundreds of dollars on web design costs. Free WP themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally quite inexpensive.

About Responsive WP Themes

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

A responsive theme enables a website to automatically readjust screen size to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as across different devices (e.g. computers, tablets, cell phones, etc.) …

Themes - An Introduction

Responsive themes are also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and load your site on a range of device platforms without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to have installed additional browser elements.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that the content and layout of your site will work correctly across all devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore should comply with the latest standards of website design and coding.

We hope that the above article has provided you with a good understanding of themes, what WP themes are, how they help your business save money, and how themes allow you to easily customize a web site.

In the next blog post on basic WP features, we show you where to search for the best themes for your website or blog.


"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum