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 WordPress ThemesThe introduction of powerful web site publishing tools like the WordPress CMS platform has effectively simplified web design and web development for non-technical users.

This greatly benefits non-technical users thinking about getting a web presence that is relatively simple, easy and inexpensive to manage.

Before blogging and the introduction of powerful and simple content management systems, if you needed to get a website for your business, you would have to wait until both the website development and website design processes were completely done. This process could mean waiting for many weeks, even months!

WordPress themes helped change all this. In this article, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how they save you money on web development costs, and how WP themes let you easily customize your website.

Website Design Evolution

More businesses will benefit from a revolution in web design that has been going for a number of years now. If you are a business owner, you will want to learn more about this, because it can save your business thousands of dollars on website development or web design costs.

Let’s take a look at what normally took place before WordPress was developed:

The first step would be to meet with a website development agency or website designer for a brief. After this, the design itself would be decided upon. This meant time and money being spent with someone with web site design skills going over areas of the site such as the, colors, formats, graphic elements, content, etc.

Every page of your website then had to be hand-coded with the elements and scripts coded around the content. All 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 needed to make your site work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

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

Then, web design “templates” were introduced”. A web site template allows the ”look and feel” of the web site to be worked on separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped make the process of building web sites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also enabled website developers to work with smaller businesses and clients with less money to spend on marketing …

Understanding Themes

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

As the number of small businesses using “template-based” web design services increased, web templates started being developed that provided different customizable settings, such as colour palettes, the ability to specify different formats and page layouts, etc …

As websites and website editor applications developed, website templates also began evolving into website template ”systems”, letting users control their site’s visual aspects.

And then, a “blogging” tool called WordPress was introduced and helped to start a new web revolution …

WP Themes - An Introduction

(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 template system one step further.

The WordPress theme system controls and unifies every aspect of your site’s design. It allows you to add a “skin” to your site in a similar way that a template system does but it also also provides you with more control over the management, presentation and customization aspects of template features.

As per 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 the above states, one of the unique features of WordPress is that the way your website displays to site visitors on the outside is an entirely separate system from the way your content is managed.

Basically, what this means is that WP themes let you change the appearance of your site as much and as often as you like without modifying your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WP website has been configured 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 your site will look completely different.

This is important. Why?

Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your website’s design is completed. You can get your business website built quickly and start with any theme you want, and completely modify the look, feel and design of your site in seconds, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!

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

Understanding Themes

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, website designers can design themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WordPress template system.

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

The WordPress team maintains a FREE directory of WordPress themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of great themes at $0 cost …

Understanding Themes

(WordPress.org – Free WP Theme Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider range of users.

Themes range from functional-looking, to designs that are visually stunning and would typically cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to design. Surprisingly, most WP themes can be purchased quite cheaply, especially when you compare the price to what it would have cost you if a website designer had to build it from scratch.

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

Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Themes – Benefits And Advantages

Here are just a few of the benefits of using WordPress themes over using traditional web design:

Fast Installation

WordPress themes are really easy to install on your site. Just upload a zip file that contains the plugin to your Plugins folder via your administrator login and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free theme directory at WordPress.org) directly inside your WordPress site’s admin area.

WP Themes - An Overview

Additionally …

  • WordPress has a growing online community of professional website developers who make thousands of quality WordPress Themes available to WordPress users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent look across all your blog’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This makes it possible to change themes as often as you like without modifying the website’s settings.
  • Many WordPress themes provide built-in features and settings that allow you to customize the site’s style and design properties and create a unique look to suit your needs.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that allows you to upgrade themes to newer versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically inside the dashboard.
  • Themes lets you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on website development costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally very affordable.

About Responsive Theme Design

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

A responsive theme allows websites to automatically readjust screen size to display smoothly over different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as different devices (e.g. laptops, iPads, cell phones, etc.) …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding Themes

Responsive themes are also optimized for different platforms. Users can navigate, read and load a site on most device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to install additional browser tools.

Note: When downloading WordPress themes, it’s a good idea to choose a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that the content and layout of your 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 article has helped you gain a better understanding of themes, what themes are, how themes help your business save money, and how themes make it easy to customize a WP site.

To learn where to search for great themes for your website, see this page: Finding The Best Free And Paid Responsive WordPress Web Themes On The Net.


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