Powerful web publishing tools like the WordPress CMS platform have effectively simplified web design and web development for business owners.
This is great news for business owners thinking about running a website that they can easily manage themselves.
Prior to “blogging” and the development of powerful content management systems, if you needed to get a website built for your business, you would have to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed. This process could mean waiting for many weeks, even months!
The development of WordPress themes have changed all this. In this post, you will learn what themes are, how they save you and your business money on website design costs, and how WP themes help you easily customize your WordPress site.
Web Site Design Evolution
More website owners have been benefiting from a revolution in web design that started many years ago. If you own a business, you may want to learn about this, because it could save your business thousands of dollars on web development and website design costs.
Let’s briefly take a look at what happened before tool like WordPress came along:
First, you would discuss your project with a website development firm or web site designer. After this, the “web design” would be decided upon. This involved time being spent with someone with web design skills discussing design elements of your website like the layout, colors, styles, page elements, content, etc.
Each page of your web site then had to be hand-coded with all the elements and codes written into the content. The pages were then assembled together into a website using hyperlinks and custom coded navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files required to make your site work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.
Only once everything passed testing and functioned the way it was supposed to (and looking how the client had imagined it to look), was the website deemed to have been finished and ready for sign off.
The next step in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templates”. Web site templates allow presentation elements of the web site to be created separately from the page content. The development of template elements helped speed up the process of developing web sites and resulted in lowered production costs. This also enabled web development agencies to service small businesses and clients with smaller budgets …
(image source: www.dreamweaver-templates.org)
As more web site development agencies started using “template-based” websites, web templates were introduced to offer clients with expanding customization settings, such as the ability to switch colors, styles, layouts
As web sites and website editor tools developed, web templates also started evolving into web templating “systems” that allowed website owners to customize their web site’s visual elements.
And then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new business website revolution …
(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 pushes the concept of a website templating system further.
A WordPress theme controls the design elements of the website. It allows you to add a “skin” to your entire site similarly to what a web template system does but it provides users with more control over the management, presentation and customization of your site’s 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).
As the above quote states, one of the unique features of a WordPress theme is that the way your website appears to site visitors externally in no way affects the way your website works in the backend to handle areas like content management and functionality.
In plain English terms, what this means is that you can change the appearance of your website as often as you like without affecting your website’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if WordPress site 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, settings and product information will remain unaffected, but your site will look completely different.
This is important. Why?
Because when you use WordPress, you no longer need to wait until your website’s design is done. You can get your website built simply and start with any theme you like, and then change the entire look, feel and design of your website in a few seconds, whenever you decide … and as often as you like!
Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site without requiring website code editing skills. Just pick any theme you like, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your website design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more with just a couple of mouse clicks …
Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, commercial website design companies from all over the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress templating system.
This means that thousands of high quality WordPress themes are made available to WP users. Themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) WordPress themes.
The WordPress development team keeps a FREE directory of WP themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent website templates for free …
(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)
As the popularity of WordPress soars, more designers are now focused on creating themes for a wider audience of WordPress users.
WordPress themes range from professional-looking, to artsy designs that are simply beautiful and would typically cost hundreds to many thousands of dollars to develop. Surprisingly, most WP themes can be purchased very cheaply, especially when compared to what it would have cost you if a website designer had to develop it from scratch.
You can view a number of WP theme galleries containing stunning examples of great themes here:
(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)
WordPress Themes – Benefits
Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over using tools that require traditional web template design:
WordPress themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your WP dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the themes directory at WordPress.org) directly inside your WP admin’s “Theme” section.
- WordPress has a thriving community of professional web designers who make thousands of great WordPress Themes available to users. And many of these themes are 100% free to use!
- Themes give sites a unified and consistent look across all your site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, layouts, etc …
- A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This means you can change WordPress themes as often as you like without disturbing your site content.
- Many WP themes provide additional built-in features and options that let you customize the theme’s style, layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your taste.
- Many themes are built using a framework that lets users upgrade themes to newer theme versions without losing any unique customizations (e.g. styles)
- WordPress allows you to search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically right inside the admin panel.
- Themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WordPress themes are typically very affordable.
Responsive WP Theme Design
Many WP theme developers are now developing “responsive” themes for the WordPress CMS.
A responsive theme allows websites to automatically reconfigure the layout to display smoothly over different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms) …
Responsive themes are also optimized for each platform. Users can scroll, read and display your site on most devices without having to readjust their browser settings, 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 your web site works on your visitors’ devices, it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore should comply with the latest standards and practices of website design and coding.
Hopefully, the above overview has helped you gain a clearer understanding about themes, what WP themes are, how WP themes can help you save money, and how themes make customizing sites easy.
To learn where to find great WordPress themes for your website or blog, see this post: How To Find Great Free And Paid Responsive WordPress Themes On The Web.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group