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 WP ThemesThe introduction of flexible web publishing technologies like WordPress has truly improved web design and web development for non-technical business owners.

This is a great thing for individuals or businesses planning to start or build a website that they can easily manage by themselves.

Prior to “blogging” and the introduction of powerful and simple CMS applications, if you needed to build a professional website built for your business, you would have to wait until both the website development and web design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, sometimes even many months of waiting!

WordPress themes changed all this. In this article, we will explore what WP themes are, how they help your business save money, and how themes allow you to easily customize your site.

Website Design Evolution

More website owners today are benefiting from a great change in website design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you own a small business, you will want to learn more about this, because it can save your business a lot of time and money on website development or web design costs.

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

First, you would meet with a website developer or website designer for a brief. Then, the ”look and feel” of the web site itself would be decided upon. This involved time and money being spent with someone with web design skills going over elements of your web site like the, colors, styles, graphic elements, content, etc.

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

Understanding Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

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

Then, web design “templates” were introduced”. Web templates allow the design of the website to be created separately from the page content. The development of template elements helped to speed up the web creation process and resulted in reduced costs of production. This also allowed website development firms to expand their services to include business clients with smaller marketing budgets …

A Basic Guide To Understanding WP Themes

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

As more small businesses began choosing “template-based” web design services, web templates were created to offer clients with various customization options, such as the option to switch colours, styles, layouts

As web sites and website editor tools evolved, website templates also started evolving into web templating ”systems”, which allowed users to manage the design aspects of their web site.

Then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new business website revolution …

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:

About WordPress Themes

WordPress themes push the idea of a web template system even further.

A WordPress theme controls every aspect of your web site design. It allows you to add a “skin” over your site in a similar way that a template system does but also provides you with complete control over the management, presentation and customization of your template options.

As stated in 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 above, a unique and revolutionary feature of WordPress is that the way your website appears to visitors in no way affects your site’s content management aspects.

Basically, what this means is that WP themes let you change the look and feel of your site as much and as often as you want without touching your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have configured WP website for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with a different theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your web site. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

Why is this important?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your website built simply and start with any WP theme you want, and completely customize the look, feel and design of your site in minutes, whenever you want … and as often as you like!

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site without requiring any web coding skills. Just pick any theme you like, upload it to your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your site’s design and customize elements like headers, page layout, styling options and more in less than a few minutes …

Understanding Themes

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

This means that thousands of great WP themes are made available to WordPress users. Themes are normally distributed for FREE under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) themes.

The WordPress team keeps a FREE theme directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent web templates at $0 cost …

Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

As the popularity of WordPress increases, more designers are now starting to create themes for a wider audience of WordPress users.

Themes range from bare-looking, to quirky designs that are quite beautiful and would normally cost many hundreds of dollars to create. Surprisingly, WP themes can be purchased very cheaply, especially when compared to what it would have cost you if a web designer had to code it from scratch.

You can view a number of WordPress theme galleries that include stunning examples of great premium themes in this post:

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits & Advantages

Here are just some of the many benefits of using WordPress themes over choosing traditional web design:

Ready To Use In Very Little Time

Themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload a zip file that contains the plugin to your Plugin folder via your administrator account and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress themes directory at WordPress.org) directly from within your WP dashboard.

Understanding WordPress Themes


  • WordPress has a large online community of professional website designers and design companies who, collectively, make thousands of excellent WordPress Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a consistent design across all the blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your web site’s content. This allows you change WP themes as often as you want without modifying the content.
  • Many WordPress themes provide additional built-in features and settings that allow you to easily customize your theme’s layout, style and design properties to create a unique look to suit your preferences.
  • Many themes are built using a framework that allows you to update the theme to newer versions without losing its unique customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress lets you search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically within the site’s administration interface.
  • Themes helps you save hundreds of dollars on web development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WordPress themes are normally very inexpensive.

Responsive Theme Design

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

A responsive theme allows websites to automatically resize to display smoothly across different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as different devices (e.g. computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for each device type. Users can navigate, read and load your site on most devices without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to have installed additional themes.

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that the content and layout of your site will work correctly on your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore should comply with the latest standards of website design and coding.

I hope that the above overview has helped you gain a clearer understanding about themes, what WordPress themes are, how themes help you save money on website design costs, and how WordPress themes make customizing your web design easy.

To learn where to find the best themes for your website, visit this page: How To Find Great Free And Paid Responsive WordPress Web Templates For Your Business Online.


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)