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.

Themes - An IntroductionThe introduction of flexible content publishing applications like the WordPress CMS platform has truly improved web design and web development for business users.

This greatly benefits entrepreneurial-minded people thinking of building a web presence that is simple, easy and inexpensive to manage.

Prior to “blogging” and the development of powerful CMS solutions, if you wanted a professional business site, you had to wait until both the web development and website design processes were completely done. This could take weeks, even many months!

The development of WordPress themes helped change all this. In this blog post, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how they can help you save money, and how WordPress themes make it easy to customize your WP site.

Revolutionary Website Design

Businesses will benefit from a change in website design that has been going for many years now. If you own a business, you will want to know more about this, because it could save your business a lot of time and money on web development and web design costs.

In a nutshell, this is what typically happened before system like WordPress was introduced:

The first step would be to meet with a website development firm or web designer for a brief. After this, the actual design of the web site would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant time and money being spent with a professional web site designer going over things of the site like the layout, colours, styles, visual elements, content, etc.

Every page of your website then had to be individually created with all the elements and codes written into the page content. The pages were then assembled into a website using hyperlinks and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along with every other file required to make your website work – script libraries, graphic images, media, etc.

WP Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and worked the way it should (and looking how a client had wanted it to look), was the web site deemed as being completed and ready for delivery.

The next step in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templating elements”. A web template allows the ”look and feel” of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped to make building websites faster and resulted in lowered production costs. This also enabled web development firms to expand their services to include smaller business clients and clients with less money to spend …

Themes - An Overview

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

As the number of website development agencies choosing “template-based” web design services increased, web templates started being developed that provided different customizable options, like the ability to choose different colours, styles, layouts

As websites and website building tools developed, website templates also began evolving into website templating “systems” that permitted users to manage their website’s design aspects.

Then, a “blogging” application called WordPress came along and helped to start a new online publishing revolution …

Themes - An Introduction

(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 takes web templating systems much 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 it gives you more control over the management, appearance and customization aspects of all template settings.

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 quote states, a unique feature of a WordPress theme is that the way your site displays to visitors on the outside does not affect how your website is configured internally to handle areas like content management and functionality.

In plain English terms, what this means is that you can modify the look and feel of your website as much and as often as you want without touching your site’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if you have configured your site for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your site. All e-commerce features, site settings and product information will remain unaffected, but the site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your site’s web design is done. You can get your business website built quickly and start with any theme you want, and then completely change the look, feel and design of your WordPress site in seconds, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WordPress site without requiring any web code editing skills. Just choose a theme you want, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more in a few seconds …

A Newbie's Guide To WordPress Themes

As WordPress is distributed as open source software, thousands of website designers anywhere in the world can create themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP templating system.

This means that loads of high quality WP themes can be downloaded by WP users. Themes are normally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) themes.

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE theme directory which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of excellent web templates for free …

Themes - An Overview

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their digital presence, more designers are now focusing on creating themes for a wider range of uses.

WP themes range from minimal-looking, to designs that are beautiful and would typically cost many hundreds of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, most premium WordPress themes can be bought fairly inexpensively, especially when compared to what it would have cost you if a website designer had to develop it from scratch.

You can view several theme galleries containing stunning examples of great themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits And Advantages Of Themes

Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over choosing website development tools that require traditional web template design:

Fast Installation

Themes are really easy to install on your site. Simply upload a zip folder that contains the plugin files to your Plugin folder via your dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the themes repository at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress site’s admin area.

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WP Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large online community of commercial theme developers who, collectively, contribute thousands of excellent WP Themes available to users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent “look and feel” across all your site’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, 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 want without affecting the content.
  • Many WordPress themes come with built-in features and settings that allow you to easily customize the site’s style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that allows users to upgrade themes to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically from the site’s administration interface.
  • Themes helps you save thousands of dollars on web development costs. Free WordPress themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WordPress themes are normally quite inexpensive.

Responsive Themes

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

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

WP Themes - An Introduction

A responsive theme is also optimized for each device type. Users can navigate, read and load the site on most device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to have installed additional display elements.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your web site will work correctly across your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of web design.

We hope that the above article has provided you with a good understanding of WordPress themes, what WP themes are, how themes help you save money on website development costs, and how WP themes make customizing sites easy.

In the next article in the article WP beginners on understanding basic features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to find the best WP themes for your 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