This is a great thing for non-technical users thinking of running a website that they can easily manage themselves.
Before “blogging” and the introduction of advanced CMS software, if you needed to get a site built for your business, you normally had to wait until both the website development and website design processes were fully completed. This process could mean weeks, even sometimes months of waiting around!
WordPress themes have changed all this. In this blog post, we explore what themes are, how WP themes save you and your business money on web development costs, and how WP themes make it easy to customize your WP site.
A Revolution In Web Design
More businesses today will benefit from a revolutionary change in website design that began shortly after websites were first introduced. If you own a small business, you may want to learn more about this, because it could save you a lot of time and money on web development and web design costs.
Very briefly, here’s how things worked in “traditional” web development before a CMS tool like WordPress came along:
First, you would meet with a web development agency or designer for a brief. After that, the actual design would be decided upon. This meant time and money being spent with someone with web site design skills discussing elements of the website such as the layout, colors, formats, page elements, content, etc.
Each page of your web site then had to be individually created with all the design elements and codes scripted into your page content. The pages were then assembled together into a website using links and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files needed to make your website work – script libraries, images, media, etc.
Only after everything had been tested and worked the way it was supposed to (and looking the way the client had wanted it to look), was the website deemed to have been completed and ready to go live.
The next step in the evolution of business web design was the introduction of “web templates”. Website templates allow design elements of the web site to be created separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped speed up the process of developing web sites and resulted in lowered production costs. This also allowed web site development companies to work with small business clients with smaller marketing budgets …
(image source: www.dreamweaver-templates.org)
As the number of small businesses adopting “template-based” websites increased, templates started being created that could provide expanding customization options, such as colour palettes, the ability to pick different layouts or styles, and so on.
As web sites and web editing software developed, website templates also started to transform into website templating ”systems”, letting users and website developers manage the design elements of a web site.
Then, a “blogging” software called WordPress came along and helped to start a new online publishing 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 drives web templating systems further.
A WP theme controls every aspect of your web design. It allows you to add a “skin” over your entire site in a similar way that a website template system does but it also also provides you with complete control over the management, appearance and customization of the site’s template options.
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 states, one of the unique and revolutionary features of WordPress is that how your site appears to visitors on the outside is a different system from how your site works in the backend to handle areas like content management and functionality.
In simple terms, what this means is that a WP theme lets you change the look and feel of your site as often as you want without touching your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if your website has been configured 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, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.
This is huge! Why?
Because when your website is built with WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any WordPress theme you want, and completely customize the look, feel and design of your website in minutes, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!
Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WP site with no web coding skills necessary. Simply choose any theme you like, install it on your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your site’s design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more in minutes …
Since WordPress is open source software, web design companies anywhere in the world can design themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WP template system.
This means that thousands of high quality WordPress themes are made available to WordPress users. WP are generally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
The WordPress team keeps a FREE directory of WordPress themes which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of great themes at $0 cost …
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now focusing on developing themes for a wider audience of web users.
WP themes range from professional-looking, to designs that are simply beautiful and could typically cost thousands of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, most premium WordPress themes can be purchased quite inexpensively, especially when compared to what you would have been charged if a website designer had to create it from scratch.
You can see several WP theme galleries containing many examples of great WordPress themes in this post:
(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)
Benefits And Advantages Of Using WP Themes
Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over choosing web development tools that require traditional web design:
Easy, Quick And Simple To Install
WordPress themes are quite easy to install on your site. Just upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your WP admin user area and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the themes directory at WordPress.org) directly from your WP admin’s “Theme” section.
- WordPress has a growing online community of commercial theme developers who, collectively, make thousands of quality WordPress Themes available to users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
- Themes give sites a consistent “look and feel” across all of your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
- A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This means you can swap WordPress themes as often as you need without deleting the website’s information.
- Many WP themes provide additional built-in functionality and settings that allow you to easily customize your site’s style, layout and design properties and create a unique look to suit your needs.
- Many themes are built using a framework that enables you to update themes to newer versions without losing its unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
- WordPress lets you search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically directly from within your site’s administration interface.
- Themes helps you save hundreds of dollars on website design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally very inexpensive.
About Responsive WordPress Theme Design
Many theme developers are now creating themes that incorporate “responsive” functionality.
A responsive theme allows websites to automatically reconfigure the layout to display smoothly across different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as different devices (e.g. computers, iPads, mobile phones, etc.) …
A responsive theme is also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and load the site on different devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to install additional browser elements.
Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your website displays well across all of your visitors’ devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards, practices and techniques of website design and web coding.
I hope that this overview has given you a better understanding about themes, what themes are, how they can help your business save money, and how themes let you easily customize a WP site.
To learn where to search for the best themes for your website or blog, go here:
"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)