Flexible web site management tools like the WordPress CMS have effectively improved web design and web development for users.
This greatly benefits entrepreneurial-minded people thinking of running a website that they can easily manage themselves.
Before “blogging” and the development of sophisticated content management systems, if you needed to get a web site built for your business, you would have to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed. This could take many weeks, sometimes even many months!
The development of WordPress themes helped change all this. In this post, we will explore what WordPress themes are, how they save you and your business money on website design costs, and how themes make it easy to customize your WordPress site.
A Revolution In Website Design
More website owners will benefit from a great change in website design that started several years ago. If you own a small business, you will want to learn about this, because it can save your business a lot of time and money on website development or web design costs.
Let’s review what used to happen before WordPress was developed:
First, you would meet with a website development firm or web designer for a brief. Then, the design would be discussed and agreed upon. This meant time and money being spent with a professional web designer going over areas of your website like the layout, colors, styles, graphic elements, content, etc.
Every page of your website then had to be individually created with all of your elements and scripts coded around the content. All pages were then assembled into a website using hyperlinks and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with all other files needed to make your site work – script libraries, images, media elements, etc.
Only after everything passed testing and worked how it was supposed to (and looking how the client had wanted it to look), was the website deemed as being finished and ready to go live.
The next stage in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “website templating elements”. A web site template allows presentation elements of the web site to be created separately from the page content. Having templates helped to make developing web sites faster and resulted in lowered costs of production. This also enabled web site development firms to work with small business clients with less money to spend …
(image source: www.dreamweaver-templates.org)
As more small businesses started choosing “template-based” websites, templates were created to offer different customization options, like color palettes, the ability to specify different formats or elements, and so on.
As web sites and website building tools evolved, web templates also started to transform into web template “systems” that enable website owners and website developers to customize their site’s visual components.
Then, a “blogging” application called WordPress was developed and helped to kick off a new content management revolution …
The WordPress Theme
A WordPress theme takes the idea of a website template system further.
A WordPress theme controls every aspect of your web design. It lets you add a “skin” over your site similarly to what a template system does but also provides you with more control over the management, appearance and customization aspects of all template settings.
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 stated in the quote above, one of the unique and revolutionary features of the WordPress theme is that how your site looks to visitors is a completely different thing from your site’s functionality and content management.
In simple terms, what this means is that a theme lets you modify the appearance of your site as much and as often as you want without affecting your site’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WP website has been set up for e-commerce, changing the entire look of the site with another theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your web site. All e-commerce features, site and plugin settings and product information will remain intact, but the site will look completely different.
Why is this such a big deal?
Because when you use WordPress, you no longer have to spend weeks or months waiting for your site to be done. You can get your website built quickly and get started with any theme you want, and completely modify the look, feel and design of your WordPress site in minutes, whenever you choose … and as many times as you like!
Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WordPress site without requiring any web code programming knowledge. Just choose any WordPress theme you want, install it on your website and activate it. WordPress lets you change your site’s design and modify elements like header images, layout, style settings and more in minutes …
Because WordPress is distributed as open source software, professional web designers can create themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP template system.
This means that loads of high quality WP themes can be downloaded by WP users. Themes are usually distributed for FREE under the terms of the GNU License Definition, or sold as Premium (paid) WP themes.
The WordPress team maintains a FREE directory of WordPress themes which allows WordPress users to download and access, thousands of excellent WP themes at no cost …
(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)
As the popularity of WordPress soars, more designers are now focused on developing themes for a wider range of uses.
WordPress themes range from professional-looking, to quirky designs that are quite stunning and would typically cost thousands of dollars to commission. Surprisingly, themes are quite inexpensive to buy.
You can see a number of WP theme galleries that include many examples of great WordPress themes in this post: The Ultimate Resource Guide To Finding The Best Templates For WordPress
Benefits Of Using Themes
Here are just a few of the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over choosing traditional website design:
Themes are very easy to install on your site. Simply upload a zip folder that contains the plugin files to your Plugins folder via your WP administrator account and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the WordPress themes repository at WordPress.org) directly inside your WP site’s admin area.
- WordPress has a thriving online community of professional website designers and design companies who make thousands of great WP Themes available to WordPress users. Thousands of these themes are completely free to use!
- Themes give sites a consistent design across all your blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, layout, etc …
- A “theme” works independently of your blog’s content. This allows you replace the “look and feel” of your web site or blog as often as you need without modifying your underlying content of your website.
- Many WP themes come with built-in features and options that let you easily customize your site’s style, layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your needs.
- Many themes are built using a framework that enables you to update themes to a newer theme version without losing its unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
- WordPress allows you to search, upload and install WordPress Themes automatically right inside your admin panel.
- WordPress themes helps you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally very inexpensive.
About Responsive WP Theme Design
Many WP theme developers are now developing “responsive” themes for the WP CMS.
A responsive theme enables a website to automatically readjust the web layout to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms) …
A responsive theme is also optimized for each device type. Users can scroll, read and display the site on all device browsers without having to resize anything, or requiring website owners to install additional browser tools.
Note: When searching for WordPress themes, we recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your web site will display correctly across all devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards and practices of website design and coding.
We hope that the above overview has given you a better understanding of WP themes, what WP themes are, how they can help your business save money, and how WP themes make customizing websites easy.
To learn where to find the best themes for your website, visit this post: The Ultimate Resource Guide To Finding The Best Templates For WordPress.
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