WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

WordPress Themes Explained

The development of website publishing platforms like the WordPress CMS platform has truly simplified web design and web development for users.

This greatly benefits individuals or businesses planning to run a digital presence that they can manage themselves.

Before blogging and the development of powerful and effective CMS technologies, if you wanted a website, you had to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed. This process could take weeks, even many months!

The development of WordPress themes changed all this. In this blog post, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how WP themes save your business money on website development costs, and how themes help you easily customize your WP site.

Web Site Design Evolution

More website owners today are benefiting from a great change in website design that started many years ago. If you own a small business, you may want to know about this, because it can save you a lot of time and money on web development or website design costs.

Very briefly, here’s what normally happened before software like WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your project with a web site development company or designer. Then, the “web design” would be discussed and agreed upon. This involved time being spent with a professional web site designer discussing elements of your website like the layout, colours, styles, page elements, content, etc.

Every page of your website then had to be individually created with all the elements and scripts coded into your content. All pages were then assembled into a website using hyperlinks and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along with every other file required to make your website work – script libraries, graphic images, media elements, etc.

(image source:adobe.com)

Only after everything passed testing and performed how it was intended to (and looking the way a client had imagined it to look), was the site considered to have been finished and ready to go live.

Then, website “templates” came along”. Website 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 website development process and resulted in lowered production costs. This also enabled web site developers to service smaller business clients with smaller budgets …

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

As the number of businesses using “template-based” web design services increased, templates started being designed that offered various custom features and options, like colour palettes, the ability to pick different layouts and elements, and so on.

As websites and web editing tools evolved, website templates also began evolving into web template ”systems”, allowing website owners to manage the design elements of a site.

And then, a “blogging” application called WordPress was introduced and helped to kick off 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:

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes push the concept of a web templating system one step further.

A WordPress theme controls the design areas of a web site. It allows you to add a “skin” over your entire site in a similar way that a template system does but it also also provides you with complete control over the management, appearance and customization of all 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 stated above, a unique feature of WordPress is that the way your website displays to visitors is kept independent of the management of your content.

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

This is important. Why?

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

Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your site with no web code development knowledge required. Simply choose any theme you want, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and customize elements like header images, page layout, typography and more with just a couple of mouse clicks …

Since WordPress is made available as open source software, commercial web design companies from all over the world can design themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP templating system.

This means that loads of great WordPress themes are made available to WP users. WordPress are usually distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or they can be purchased as Premium (i.e. paid) WP themes.

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE directory of WordPress themes which allows WordPress users to access thousands of excellent website templates completely free of charge …

(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)

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

Themes vary from minimal-looking, to artsy designs that are simply impressive and would normally cost many hundreds of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, WordPress themes can be purchased fairly cheaply, especially when you compare the cost to what you would have had to pay if a web designer had to build it from scratch.

You can view a number of theme galleries containing stunning examples of great premium themes in this page:

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

Benefits Of WordPress Themes

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

Installation Is Easy & Quick

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

Additionally,

Responsive WordPress Themes

Many WP theme developers are now developing WP themes that incorporate “responsive” functionality.

A responsive theme enables a website to automatically readjust screen size to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as across different devices (e.g. PCs, iPads, smart phones, etc.) …

A responsive theme is also optimized for different types of devices. Users can scroll, read and load a site on all devices without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring the website owner to install additional display elements.

Note: When purchasing WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will the theme ensure that your web site will display correctly on all devices, it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore should comply with the latest standards, practices and techniques of web design coding.

We hope that the above article has provided you with a good overview of WP themes, what themes are, how they help you and your business save money on web development costs, and how themes make customizing websites easy.

In our next blog post on helping you understand features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to search for the best WP themes for your blog.

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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