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 OverviewThe introduction of advanced web site management applications like WordPress has effectively simplified web design and web development for users.

This is terrific news for individuals or businesses that want a website that they can fully manage themselves.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of sophisticated content management systems, if you wanted to get a site built for your business, you would have to wait until both the web development and website design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, even months of waiting around!

WordPress themes have changed all this. In this post, we explain what WordPress themes are, how themes save you money on web design costs, and how WP themes help you easily customize your website.

Revolutionary Web Design

Website owners have benefited from a change in web design that started a number of years ago. If you are a small business owner, you will want to know about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on web development or website design costs.

Let’s review how things typically worked in “traditional” website development before WordPress were introduced:

First, you would meet with a web development company or designer for a brief. After that, the actual “web design” would be decided upon. This involved time being spent with a professional web site designer going over elements of the web site like the layout, colours, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

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

WordPress Themes - An Overview

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and was performing how it was supposed to (and looking how the client had imagined it to look), was the site deemed to have been completed and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” came along”. A web template allows design elements of the website to be created separately from content on the page. Having templates helped to make the process of web site development faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed website developers to work with smaller businesses with smaller budgets …

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

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

As more small businesses began using “template-based” web design services, templates started being introduced to provide clients with a number of customizable settings, like color palettes, the ability to specify different content styles, formats, header, footer and navigation elements, page layouts, etc …

As websites and website editor applications evolved, website templates also began evolving into web template ”systems”, which enabled users to manage their web site’s visual components.

Then, a “blogging” application called WordPress was introduced and helped to kick off a new digital publishing revolution …

WP 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 pushes website template systems further.

A WordPress theme controls and integrates the design areas of your website. It lets you add a “skin” to your entire site much like a website template system does but it provides users with complete control over the management, presentation and customization of all template settings.

As the official WordPress site puts 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 quote states, a unique and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that the way your website displays to visitors externally in no way affects how your content is managed.

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

This is huge! Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your website’s design is completed. You can get your website built simply and get started with any theme you want, and then edit the entire look, feel and design of your website in seconds, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site without having web code programming skills. Just pick any theme you want, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your website design and modify elements like headers, page layout, styling options and more in a few seconds …

Themes - An Introduction

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

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

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

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for online publishing, more designers are now starting to create themes for a wider audience of WordPress site owners.

Themes vary from bare-looking, to designs that are simply beautiful and could typically cost many hundreds of dollars to design. Surprisingly, themes are really inexpensive to purchase.

You can see several theme galleries that include various examples of great WP themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

WordPress Themes – Benefits & Advantages

Here are just some of the benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over using traditional web template design:

Be Up And Running In No Time

WP themes are quite easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your WP admin user area and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress dashboard.

Understanding WordPress Themes

Additionally,

  • WordPress has a large online community of commercial theme designers and design companies who make thousands of fantastic WP Themes available to users. Many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This allows you change the “look and feel” of your website as often as you want without affecting your blog settings.
  • Many themes provide additional features and settings that allow you to easily customize your theme’s style and design properties and create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that enables you to upgrade the theme to newer theme versions without losing any customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically directly from within the site’s administration interface.
  • WordPress themes lets you save hundreds of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically quite affordable.

About Responsive Themes

Many theme designers are now creating “responsive” themes for the WordPress platform.

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

Understanding WordPress Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different types of devices. Users can navigate, read and load your site on most if not all device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to install additional browser tools.

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

Hopefully, the above overview has helped you gain a better understanding about WordPress themes, what WordPress themes are, how WordPress themes help you and your business save money, and how themes make it easy to customize your web site.

To learn where to find great themes for your website, go here:

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