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 For Beginners - An Introduction To ThemesPowerful web publishing applications like WordPress have truly improved web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

This is a great thing for entrepreneurial-minded people thinking of getting a website that they can fully manage themselves.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of user-friendly CMS solutions, if you wanted to build a web site built for your business, you had to wait until both the website development and web design processes were completely done. This could mean weeks, even sometimes months of waiting!

WordPress themes helped change all this. In this blog post, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how themes save your business money on website design costs, and how themes help you easily customize your website.

A New Development In Web Site Design

More website owners today are benefiting from a tremendous change in website design that has been going for several years now. If you are a small business owner, you will want to learn about this, because it can save you a lot of time and money on website development or web design costs.

In a nutshell, this is how things typically worked in “traditional” web design before WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your requirements with a web developer or web designer. After that, the actual design itself had to be discussed and agreed upon. This meant spending time and money with a professional web site designer discussing areas of your web site like the layout, colors, formats, page elements, content, etc.

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

WP Themes - An Overview

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and was working how it should (and looking how a client had imagined it to look), was the site considered to be finished and ready for sign off.

The next step in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “web templates”. A website template allows the presentation of the website to be created separately from the page content. The development of ready-made templates helped to make the process of site creation faster and resulted in lowered production costs. This also allowed web site development agencies to service business clients with smaller marketing budgets …

Themes - An Introduction

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

As the number of web site development companies adopting “template-based” web design services increased, web templates were developed to provide clients with different customizable features, such as the ability to choose different colours, styles, layouts

As web sites and web editor tools evolved, website templates also began to evolve into website template “systems” that let website owners and website designers control the design components of their web site.

And then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new online publishing revolution …

Understanding 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 takes the concept of a website template system even further.

The WordPress theme system controls the design elements of a website. It lets you add a “skin” to your site in a similar way that a web template system does but it provides users with more control over the management, appearance and customization of all template settings.

As WordPress 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 stated in the quote above, one of the unique features of WordPress is that the way your web site appears to visitors is a different system from how your content is managed.

In plain English terms, what this means is that you can change the look and feel of your site as often as you like without modifying your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have set up your website for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your web site. All e-commerce features, plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

This is huge! Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer need to spend weeks or months waiting for your website to be completed. You can get your website built simply and get started with any WP theme you like, and then edit the entire look, feel and design of your website in minutes, whenever you want … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your site without needing any web coding knowledge. Simply pick a theme you like, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your site’s design and modify elements like header images, page layout, typography and more in less than a few minutes …

Understanding WordPress Themes

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

This means that loads of high quality WP themes can be downloaded by WordPress users. Themes are generally distributed for FREE under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or sold as Premium (i.e. paid) WordPress themes.

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

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WP Themes

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

As more users turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their digital presence, more designers are now focused on developing themes for a wider range of users.

WP themes range from bare-looking, to exciting designs that are quite impressive and could typically cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to design. Surprisingly, most themes are fairly inexpensive to buy.

You can view several WordPress theme galleries that include many examples of great premium themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits & Advantages Of Using WP Themes

Here are just some of the benefits of using WordPress themes over choosing applications that require traditional website design:

Ready To Go To Work In Very Little Time

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Simply upload it to your Plugins folder via your WordPress administrator area and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from within your WP site’s admin area.

A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a large community of professional website developers who, collectively, make thousands of great-looking, high quality WP Themes available to users. Many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent look across all of the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This makes it possible to change the “look and feel” of your site as often as you want without disturbing your site information.
  • Many themes provide additional built-in features and settings that allow you to easily customize your site’s layout, style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that enables users to upgrade the theme to newer versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically inside the site’s administration interface.
  • WordPress themes allow users to save thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically quite inexpensive.

About Responsive WP Themes

Many WP theme developers are now creating themes that incorporate “responsive” design protocols.

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. PCs, iPads, smart phones, etc.) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different platforms. Users can scroll, read and display your site on a range of device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to have installed additional display elements.

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your web site works on all of your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of website design and coding.

Hopefully, the above article has given you a clearer understanding of WordPress themes, what WordPress themes are, how they help you save money, and how WordPress themes let you easily customize your site.

In our next blog post in our article WordPress beginners on basic features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to find the best themes for your website or blog.


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