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.

WordPress For Business - An Overview Of ThemesThe introduction of web site management applications like the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) has effectively improved web design and web development for non-technical business owners.

This greatly benefits entrepreneurial-minded people that want to own a digital presence that they can manage themselves.

Prior to blogging and the introduction of advanced CMS tools, if you wanted to get a professional website built for your business, you would have to wait until both the website development and website design processes were completely done. This process could mean weeks, even sometimes many months of waiting for the work to be done!

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

Website Design Evolution

More website owners have been benefiting from a change in website design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you own a small business, you may want to know about this, because it can save your business thousands of dollars on web development and website design costs.

Let’s briefly take a look at what used to happen before CMS systems like WordPress came along:

First, you would discuss your project with a website development agency or designer. Next, the actual design had to be decided upon. This involved spending time and money with someone with website design skills discussing areas of the website like the layout, colors, styles, visual elements, content, etc.

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

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Themes

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything had been tested and was performing how it was intended to (and looking how a client had imagined it to look), was the website deemed to be completed and ready to go live.

The next stage in the evolution of web design was the introduction of “website templates”. A web template allows ”look and feel” elements of the website to be worked on separately from the page content. The introduction of ready-made templates helped to speed up the web site creation process and resulted in reduced costs of production. This also enabled web site development agencies to expand their services to include small businesses and clients with less money to spend …

WP Themes - An Overview

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

As more small businesses began using “template-based” web design services, web templates started being developed to offer a range of customization options, such as the ability to choose different colours, styles, layouts

As web sites and website building tools developed, website templates also began evolving into website template “systems” that let users manage their web site’s design elements.

And then, a “blogging” application called WordPress was introduced and helped to start a new content management revolution …

WordPress Themes - An Overview

(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

WordPress themes push the idea of a website templating system further.

A WP theme controls and unifies all of the design elements of your web site. It allows you to add a “skin” over your entire site much like a web template system does but it also also provides users with complete control over the management, appearance and ability to customize the site’s template features.

As the official WordPress site explains …

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, one of the unique and revolutionary features of WordPress is that the way your site displays to visitors on the outside in no way affects how your website functions internally to handle areas like content management and functionality.

In simple terms, what this means is that WordPress themes let you modify the look and feel of your site as much and as often as you want without touching your site’s content and all the work you’ve put into it. For example, if you have set up WP website for e-commerce, changing the entire look of your site with another theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the site. All e-commerce features, plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.

Why is this such a big deal?

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

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WP site without the need of web coding knowledge. Just choose a WP theme you like, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your website design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more in minutes …

Understanding Themes

Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, website design companies from all over the world can create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP templating system.

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

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of great WP themes for free …

WP Themes - An Introduction

(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)

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

WordPress themes vary from professional-looking, to designs that are simply impressive and would typically cost hundreds to many thousands of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, most WordPress themes can be bought fairly cheaply, especially when you compare the price to what it would have cost you if a website designer had to code it from scratch.

You can view a number of theme galleries containing stunning examples of WP 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 and advantages of using WordPress themes over using web building tools that require traditional website design:

Be Up And Running In No Time

WP themes are very easy to install on your site. Just upload a zip file containing the plugin to your Plugin folder via your dashboard and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free theme directory at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress site’s admin area.

WP Themes - An Introduction


  • WordPress has a growing online community of professional website developers and development companies who, collectively, contribute thousands of high quality WP Themes available to users. And many of these themes are completely free to use!
  • Themes give sites a unified and consistent “look and feel” across all of your site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
  • A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This makes it possible to replace themes as often as you like without modifying the underlying content of your website.
  • Many WP themes come with additional built-in functionality and settings that enable you to customize your theme’s layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your taste.
  • Many WP themes are built using a framework that lets users upgrade themes to newer versions without losing any customizations (e.g. styles)
  • WordPress allows you to search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically directly from within your dashboard.
  • WP themes lets you save hundreds of dollars on website design costs. Free WordPress themes cost nothing and most “Premium”WP themes are typically quite inexpensive.

About Responsive Themes

Many WordPress theme designers are now developing “responsive” themes for the WordPress platform.

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

Themes - An Overview

Responsive themes are also optimized for each platform. Users can scroll, read and display a site on a range of devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to install additional themes.

Note: When selecting, WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your web site displays well on your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore complies with the latest standards and practices of web design and web coding.

Hopefully, the above article has helped you gain a clearer understanding of themes, what WP themes are, how themes can help you save money, and how WordPress themes make customizing your web design easy.

To learn where to find great WP themes for your blog, see this post: How To Find Great Free And Premium WordPress Web Templates On The Web.


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