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 IntroductionAdvanced website management applications like WordPress have effectively improved web design and web development for anyone wanting a website.

This is great for businesses planning to run a website that is easy to manage.

Before blogging and the introduction of powerful content management systems, if you needed to build a web site built for your business, you normally would have to wait until both the website development and website design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, even sometimes months of waiting!

WordPress themes changed all this. In this post, we take a look at what WordPress themes are, how WordPress themes help your business save money, and how WordPress themes allow you to easily customize your WordPress site.

Web Design Revolution

More website owners today are benefiting from a change in web design that started many years ago. If you own a small business, you may want to learn about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on website development and website design costs.

Let’s briefly take a look at how things typically worked in “traditional” website design before WordPress were introduced:

First, you would discuss your project with a web site developer or web designer. After this, the “web design” itself would be decided upon. This involved spending time and money with someone with web site design skills going over elements of the site like the layout, colors, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

Each page of your web site then had to be hand-coded with your elements and scripts coded into the page content. The pages were then assembled together into a website using hyperlinks and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along with all other files needed to make your website work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

WP Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and was performing the way it was supposed to (and looking the way the client had imagined it to look), was the web site considered to be completed and ready to go live.

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

Understanding Themes

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

As more web development companies started choosing “template-based” web design services, web templates were developed to offer clients with various customizable options, such as color palettes, the ability to specify different content styles, formats, elements, layouts, and so on.

As websites and website editing tools developed, web templates also began to transform into web templating ”systems”, enabling users to customize their web site’s visual aspects.

And then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new content management revolution …

A Basic Guide To 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:

WordPress Themes

A WordPress theme pushes the idea of a web templating system further.

A WP theme controls every aspect of your web site design. It allows you to add a “skin” over your site much like a template system does but it also also provides you with complete control over the management and ability to customize 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 stated in the quote above, one of the unique features of a WP theme is that how your website displays to visitors on the outside is kept independent of how your website is configured in the backend to handle areas like content management and functionality.

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

This is huge! Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer have to spend weeks or months waiting for your website to be completed. You can get your website built quickly and start with any WP theme you like, and then completely modify the look, feel and design of your website in seconds, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site without the need of web design skills. Simply pick any theme you want, install it on your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your website design and modify elements like headers, page layout, style settings and more in a few seconds …

Themes - An Introduction

Since WordPress is distributed as open source software, hundreds of website designers can design themes specifically for the WordPress CMS platform using the WP templating system.

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

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

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now focusing on developing themes for a wider audience of WordPress users.

Themes range from minimal-looking, to designs that are quite beautiful and could normally cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to design. Surprisingly, WP themes can be purchased quite cheaply, especially when you compare the price to what it would have cost you if a web designer had to code it from scratch.

You can view a number of WP theme galleries that include stunning examples of great premium themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits And Advantages Of Using Themes

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

Ready To Go To Work In Minutes

Themes are really easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your 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 WordPress site’s admin area.

Understanding WordPress Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large community of professional web developers who, collectively, make thousands of fantastic WordPress Themes available to WordPress users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all of the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This means you can change themes as often as you like without changing your settings.
  • Many themes come with built-in functionality and options that let you easily customize the site’s layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your business.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that allows you to upgrade the theme to a newer theme version without losing any unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload, install and update WordPress Themes automatically directly from your admin panel.
  • Themes allow WordPress users to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are typically quite affordable.

Responsive Theme Design

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

A responsive theme allows a website to automatically reconfigure the layout to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms) …

Understanding Themes

A responsive theme is also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and display the site on all devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to have installed additional display elements.

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your website will display correctly across all of your visitors’ 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.

We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of themes, what WP themes are, how WP themes help you and your business save money on web development costs, and how WordPress themes allow you to easily customize a website.

To learn where to find great WP themes for your blog, click here:


"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