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.

Understanding WordPress ThemesThe development of content management applications like the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) has effectively improved web design and web development for website owners.

This is fantastic news for business owners wanting a web presence that is relatively easy to manage.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of powerful CMS software, if you needed to get a professional site built for your business, you typically had to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, even sometimes many months of waiting!

WordPress themes have changed all this. In this blog post, you will learn what WP themes are, how they can help you and your business save money on website development costs, and how themes help you easily customize your WordPress site.

Web Design Evolution

More website owners have benefited from a change in web design that has been going for several years now. If you own a small business, you will want to know more about this, because it can save your business thousands of dollars on web development and web design costs.

In a nutshell, this is what typically happened before a CMS application like WordPress came along:

First, you would meet with a web developer or web site designer for a brief. Next, the “web design” would be decided upon. This meant time and money being spent with a professional web site designer going over things of your website like the layout, colours, formats, page elements, content, etc.

Each page of your site then had to be individually created with all of the elements and codes written into your page content. All of the pages were then assembled into a website using links and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files needed to make your site work – script libraries, images, media, etc.

Themes - An Introduction

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and functioned how it should (and looking the way the client had imagined it to look), was the website deemed as being finished and ready to go live.

The next stage in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “web templating elements”. Website templates allow the design of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. Having templates helped to make creating websites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also enabled website designers to service businesses and clients with smaller budgets …

WP Themes - An Overview

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

As more web site development agencies started adopting “template-based” websites, web templates started being introduced that offered different custom features, such as color palettes, the ability to pick different page layouts or elements, and so on.

As web sites and web editor applications developed, web templates also began to transform into website templating ”systems”, letting website owners and web developers customize their website’s design components.

Then, WordPress was developed and helped to start a new website revolution …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding Themes

(WordPress – A Content Publishing Revolution)

To learn more about content management systems and the benefits of the WordPress CMS, see the tutorial below:

The WordPress Theme

A WordPress theme expands web templating systems further.

The WordPress theme system controls and integrates every aspect of your website design. It lets you add a “skin” to your site much like a website template system does but it provides you with more control over the management, presentation and customization of template settings.

As WordPress describes in its official web 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 and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that the way your website looks to visitors on the outside does not affect the management of your content.

Basically, what this means is that you can modify the design of your website as much and as often as you like without modifying your website’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if your website has been configured for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the site. All e-commerce features, site settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because with WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your website built quickly and get started with any WordPress theme you want, and completely modify the look, feel and design of your website in a few minutes, whenever you want … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WP site without having web design skills. Just pick a theme you want, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, page layout, styling options and more in a few seconds …

Understanding WordPress Themes

Because WordPress is made available as open source software, website designers from all over the world can create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress templating system.

This means that thousands of great WordPress themes can be downloaded by WP users. Themes are normally 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 maintains a FREE theme directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of great themes at no cost …

Understanding Themes

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for online publishing, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider range of uses.

Themes vary from corporate-looking, to jaw-dropping designs that are visually breathtaking and could easily cost many hundreds of dollars to create. Surprisingly, themes are very inexpensive to purchase.

You can see several WordPress theme galleries that include stunning examples of great premium WP themes here:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits And Advantages Of Using WP Themes

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

Easy To Install

Themes are really easy to install on your site. Just upload the plugin file to your Plugins 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 WP site’s admin area.

Understanding Themes

Additionally,

  • WordPress has a thriving online community of commercial website designers and design companies who, collectively, contribute thousands of excellent WP Themes available to WordPress users. Many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent design across all your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, layout, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This allows you swap the “look and feel” of your web site or blog as often as you want without changing the underlying content of your web site.
  • Many themes provide built-in functionality and settings that let you easily customize the site’s layout, style and design elements and create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that enables users to update the theme to newer theme versions without losing its unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, import, install and update WordPress Themes automatically directly from within your dashboard.
  • Themes lets you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are typically quite inexpensive.

About Responsive Theme Design

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

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

Themes - An Overview

Responsive themes are also optimized for different platforms. Users can scroll, read and display a site on various devices without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional themes.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that the content and layout of your site will display correctly on all of 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 web coding.

Hopefully, the above overview has given you a better understanding about themes, what themes are, how themes help you and your business save money on web design costs, and how WP themes make it easy to customize a site.

To learn where to find great themes for your website or blog, see this page: Where To Get Great Premium And Free Responsive WordPress Templates On The Net.

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

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