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 OverviewThe development of powerful content management applications like the WordPress CMS platform has truly simplified web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

This is great news for entrepreneurial-minded people planning to build a website that they can manage themselves.

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

WordPress themes helped change all this. In this post, we take a look at what themes are, how themes save you money on website design costs, and how themes help you easily customize your WordPress site.

Web Site Design Evolution

More businesses have been benefiting from a revolution in website design that started a number of years ago. If you own a business, you may want to learn more about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on web development or website design costs.

Let’s briefly review what happened before WordPress were introduced:

First, you would discuss your project with a web development firm or designer. Then, the actual design had to be decided upon. This meant spending time with a professional web site designer discussing elements of the site such as the, colors, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

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

Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything had been tested and performed the way it was supposed to (and looking the way a client had wanted it to look), was the site deemed as being finished and ready to go live.

The next phase in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templates”. A web template allows the design of the web site to be created separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped speed up the process of developing web sites and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also allowed web development agencies to service small business clients and clients with less money to spend on marketing …

WordPress Themes - An Introduction

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

As the number of small businesses using “template-based” websites increased, templates were developed that could provide clients with expanding customizable options, such as the option to switch colours, styles, layouts

As web sites and web editing applications developed, web templates also started evolving into web template “systems” that permitted website owners to control the design elements of a web site.

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

WordPress Themes - An Overview

(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 web template systems even further.

The WP theme system controls the design areas of a website. It lets you add a “skin” over your entire site much like a web template system does but it provides users with more control over the management, appearance and customization aspects of all template features.

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, a unique and revolutionary feature of a WordPress theme is that the way your website displays to visitors does not affect the management of your content.

In plain English terms, what this means is that you can change the look and feel of your website as much and as often as you want without affecting your site’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if you have set up your website for e-commerce, replacing the 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 the site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to spend weeks or months waiting for your web design to be completed. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any WP theme you like, and modify the entire look, feel and design of your site in mere minutes, whenever you want … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site with no web code programming knowledge required. Just pick any WP theme you like, install it on your site 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 Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, web designers all around the world can design themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WordPress templating system.

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

The WordPress team maintains a FREE directory of WordPress themes which allows WordPress users to download, access and install thousands of excellent themes at $0 cost …

Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)

As WordPress becomes more popular, more designers are now focusing on developing themes for a wider audience of web users.

WordPress themes range from bare-looking, to exciting designs that are quite impressive and would typically cost many hundreds of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, themes can be bought fairly cheaply, especially when compared to what you would have been charged if a web 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!)

Themes – Benefits And Advantages

Here are just some of the many benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over choosing website development applications that require traditional web template design:

Be Up And Running In No Time

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Just 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 free WP theme repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WordPress admin’s “Theme” section.

Themes - An Introduction


  • WordPress has a growing community of professional theme designers who contribute thousands of quality WP Themes available to users. And many of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent design across all of your site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your website’s content. This makes it possible to change WP themes as often as you like without changing the blog settings.
  • Many WordPress themes come with built-in functionality and options that allow you to easily customize the site’s layout and design properties and create a unique look to suit your business.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that enables you to upgrade the theme to a newer theme version without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import, install and update WordPress Themes automatically right inside your dashboard.
  • Themes allow users to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free WP themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically quite inexpensive.

Responsive Themes

Many theme designers are now creating themes that incorporate “responsive” functionality.

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

Understanding WordPress Themes

A responsive theme is also optimized for each device type. Users can scroll, read and load your site on a range of devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to install additional browser tools.

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

We hope this overview has given you a better understanding about themes, what themes are, how WP themes help your business save money on website design costs, and how WP themes make customizing websites easy.

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


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie