Flexible website publishing technologies like WordPress have effectively improved web design and web development for web users.
This is great for entrepreneurial-minded people planning on getting an online presence that they can manage.
Before “blogging” and the introduction of powerful CMS software, if you needed a professional website, you would have to wait until both the web development and website design processes were completely done. This could mean waiting around for many weeks, sometimes even many months!
The introduction of WordPress themes changed all this. In this post, we look at what themes are, how themes save you money on web design costs, and how themes allow you to easily customize your site.
Revolutionary Web Design
More website owners today have benefited from a tremendous change in website design that started several years ago. If you are a business owner, you will want to learn more about this, because it can save you thousands of dollars on web development and web design costs.
Let’s briefly go over how things used to work in “traditional” web development before systems like WordPress came along:
First, you would meet with a website developer or designer for a brief. Next, the actual “look and feel” of your website itself had to be discussed and agreed upon. This required spending time with someone with web design skills discussing areas of the website such as the, colors, styles, page elements, content, etc.
Every page of your website then had to be hand-coded with all the design elements and codes inserted into your page content. The pages were then assembled into a website using links and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, together with every other file required to make your website work – script libraries, images, media, etc.
Only once everything passed testing and worked the way it was intended to (and looking the way the client had imagined it to look), was the website considered as being completed and ready for sign off.
The next step in the evolution of website design was the introduction of “web templates”. Website templates allow “look and feel” elements of the website to be worked on separately from the page content. Having ready-made templates helped to make the process of developing websites faster and resulted in reduced production costs. This also allowed website development firms to work with business clients and clients with smaller marketing budgets …
(image source: www.dreamweaver-templates.org)
As more businesses started using “template-based” web design services, web templates started being introduced that could offer different customizable features, like color palettes, the ability to specify different menu styles, formats, header, footer and navigation elements, page layouts, and so on.
As websites and web editor tools developed, website templates also began to transform into website template “systems” that let users and web designers customize the visual components of their website.
Then, WordPress was introduced and helped to kick off a new content management revolution …
The WordPress Theme
WordPress themes drive the concept of a website template system even further.
A WP theme controls and integrates all of the design elements of the web site. It lets you add a “skin” to your site much like a template system does but it also gives you complete control over the management, appearance and customization aspects of template options.
As WordPress states on its 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, a unique and revolutionary feature of a WordPress theme is that the way your website appears to site visitors is kept independent of the way your site works in the back-end to handle areas like content management and functionality.
In plain English terms, what this means is that WordPress themes let you modify the design of your website as much and as often as you like without touching your website’s content and all the functionality you’ve built into it. For example, if WordPress website has been configured for e-commerce, replacing the theme won’t affect the content or the functionality of your website. All e-commerce features, settings and product information will remain intact, but your site will look completely different.
This is important. Why?
Because when your site is built using WordPress, you no longer have to spend weeks or months waiting for your website to be completed. You can get your business website built quickly and get started with any theme you want, and modify the entire look, feel and design of your site in minutes, whenever you decide … and as many times as you like!
Even better, you can easily replace any theme on your WP site without requiring any website code programming skills. Simply pick any WordPress theme you like, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress allows you to change your entire site’s web design and modify elements like headers, layout, typography and more with just a few mouse clicks …
Since WordPress is open source software, hundreds of website design companies can create themes specifically for the WP CMS platform using the WP template system.
This means that loads of high quality WordPress themes can be downloaded by WP users. WP is generally distributed freely under the terms of the GNU General Public License Definition, or they can be purchased as Premium (paid) WP themes.
The WordPress team keeps a FREE directory of WP themes which gives WordPress users access thousands of excellent WP themes at no cost …
(WordPress.org – WordPress Theme Directory)
As the popularity of WordPress increases, more designers are now starting to create themes for a wider audience of web users.
WordPress themes vary from corporate-looking, to designs that are simply breathtaking and could easily cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to create. Surprisingly, most premium themes can be purchased fairly cheaply, especially when compared to what you would have had to pay if a web designer had to build it from scratch.
You can view several WordPress theme galleries that include many examples of great WordPress themes in this page: [INSERT WPA-0004 URL HERE]
Benefits & Advantages Of Themes
Here are just some of the many benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over using website building applications that require traditional web template design:
Ready To Go To Work In No Time
Themes are really easy to install on your site. Simply upload the plugin file to your Plugin folder via your WordPress admin section and activate. Even easier still, you can install any of the themes listed in the free WP theme repository at WordPress.org) directly from your WP site’s admin area.
- WordPress has a growing community of professional theme designers who, collectively, make thousands of professional WP Themes available to WP users. Thousands of these themes are 100% free to use!
- Themes give sites a unified and consistent design across all of the blog’s elements, like pages, headers, footers, menus, etc …
- A “theme” works independently of your digital content. This makes it possible to replace WordPress themes as often as you want without affecting your content.
- Many themes provide additional functionality and settings that enable you to customize the theme’s style, layout and design elements and create a unique look to suit your preferences.
- Many WordPress themes are built using a framework that lets you update themes to a newer theme version without losing any customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
- WordPress allows you to search, upload, install and update WordPress Themes automatically right within the dashboard.
- Themes lets you save hundreds of dollars on website design costs. Free WordPress themes cost nothing and most “Premium”themes are normally quite inexpensive.
About Responsive Themes
Many theme designers are now creating “responsive” themes for WordPress.
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, mobile phones, etc.) …
A responsive theme is also optimized for each platform. Users can scroll, read and load your site on all device browsers without having to readjust their browser settings, or requiring website owners to have installed additional display elements.
Note: When downloading WordPress themes, we strongly recommend choosing a responsive WordPress theme. Not only will a responsive theme ensure that your website will work correctly on all devices, but it also means that the theme is newer than most non-responsive themes and therefore probably complies with the latest standards and practices of web design and coding.
I hope the above overview has helped you gain a clearer understanding about themes, what themes are, how they can help your business save money, and how WP themes make customizing your web design easy.
In the next article on basic WP features, we show you where to search for the best themes for your blog.
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