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

WordPress Themes Explained

Flexible website management platforms like WordPress have truly simplified web design and web development for anyone wanting to start a website.

This is great for individuals or businesses planning to run a digital presence that is relatively easy to manage.

Before “blogging” and the introduction of powerful and effective content management systems, if you needed to get a site for your business, you normally had 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 have changed all this. In this post, you will learn what WordPress themes are, how WP themes save you money on web design costs, and how themes make it easy to customize your website.

Website Design Evolution

More website owners today have been benefiting from a tremendous change in website design that started a number of years ago. If you are a small business owner, you will want to know more about this, because it could save you thousands of dollars on web development or website design costs.

In a nutshell, this is what typically happened before WordPress came along:

The first step would be to discuss your requirements with a web developer or designer. After this, the “web design” would be decided upon. This required spending time with someone with web site design skills discussing areas of your site like the, colors, formats, visual elements, content, etc.

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

(image source:adobe.com)

Only once everything passed testing and was working how it was intended to (and looking how a client had wanted it to look), was the site considered to be finished and ready for delivery.

The next stage in the evolution of business website design was the introduction of “website templating elements”. A website template allows design elements of the web site to be worked on separately from content on the page. The introduction of template elements helped to make the process of developing web sites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also enabled web site development firms to work with small businesses and clients with smaller budgets …

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

As more website development companies started using “template-based” web design services, templates were developed to provide clients with a range of customizable features, like color palettes, the ability to specify different styles or elements, etc …

As websites and web building tools developed, website templates also started evolving into website template “systems” that enabled users to control their web site’s visual components.

Then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new digital 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:

About WordPress Themes

WordPress themes improve website template systems further.

A WP theme controls and unifies all of the design elements of the web site. It lets you add a “skin” to your entire site in a similar way that a web template system does but it provides users with complete control over the management and customization of template settings.

As described in 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, one of the unique and revolutionary features of the WordPress theme is that how your site appears to site visitors on the outside is kept independent of the management of your content.

In plain English terms, what this means is that you can modify the look and feel of your website as much and as often as you want without touching your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if you have set up your website for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of the web site. All e-commerce features, site and plugin 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 have to wait until your site’s web design is done. You can get your business website built simply and start with any theme you like, and completely modify the look, feel and design of your site in mere seconds, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!

Even better, you can easily install a theme on your WP site without having website code programming knowledge. Just pick a WP theme you want, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and customize elements like headers, layout, typography and more with just a couple of mouse clicks …

As WordPress is distributed as open source software, website design companies can design themes specifically for the WordPress CMS platform using the WordPress templating system.

This means that loads of high quality WordPress themes are made available to WordPress users. WordPress are normally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or sold as Premium (paid) WP themes.

The WordPress development team keeps a FREE theme directory which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent themes for free …

(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)

As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their digital presence, more designers are now starting to develop themes for a wider range of uses.

Themes range from bare-looking, to designs that are quite impressive and would normally cost many hundreds of dollars to create. Surprisingly, most premium WP themes can be bought very cheaply, especially when compared to what it would have cost you if a web designer had to develop it from scratch.

You can see a number of WP theme galleries that include various examples of great premium WP themes here:

(Browse Thousands Of FREE WordPress Themes!)

WordPress Themes – Benefits

Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over choosing applications that require traditional website design:

Easy To Install

Themes are really easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your WordPress administrator login and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from within your WordPress dashboard.

Additionally,

Responsive WordPress Theme Design

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

A responsive theme allows a website to automatically readjust screen size to display smoothly over different screen sizes and resolutions, as well as different platforms) …

A responsive theme is 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 browser elements.

Note: When purchasing 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 across all 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.

We hope that this basic overview has given you a clearer understanding of themes, what WordPress themes are, how they help your business save money, and how themes allow you to easily customize your WordPress site.

In the next blog post on understanding basic features and functionality of WordPress, we show you where to find the best WP themes for your blog.

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"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya

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