Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress have truly simplified the process of web design and web development.
This is great news for anyone wanting an online presence that they can fully manage themselves.
Prior to “blogging” and the introduction of easy-to-use content management systems, if you wanted a website, you had to wait until both the web development and web design processes were fully completed.
In a nutshell, here’s how things typically worked in “traditional” web design before WordPress came along:
First, you would discuss your project requirements with a web developer or web designer. Then, the “web design” itself had to be discussed and agreed upon. This meant time spent with someone with web design skills going over the layout, colors, styles, page elements, content, etc. of your web site .
Each page of your website then had to be individually created with all of the design elements and scripts coded around the content. All pages were then assembled together into a website using links and navigation menus and uploaded to your server, along will all other files required to make your site work – script libraries, images, media, etc.
Once everything worked the way it should and looked the way you imagined it, your website was ready.
Then, web design “templates” came along. Web templates allow the content to be separated from the presentation in web design. Having ready-made templates helped to speed up the web development process and allowed for mass-production of web documents. This lowered production costs and suited the needs of clients with lower marketing budgets.
As more small businesses began choosing “template-based” websites, templates were developed that offered a number of customization features and options, such as the ability to switch colors, pick styles, rearrange layouts and so on.
As websites and web editor applications evolved, web templates also began evolving into web template “systems”, which controlled all of the visual aspects of a website, i.e. its web design.
Then, WordPress came along and helped to kick off a new web revolution.
About WordPress Themes
WordPress “themes” take the concept of a web template “system” further.
The WordPress “theme” system controls the design aspects of a website and allows you to add a “skin” to your site much like a web template system does, but it also gives you more control over the “look and feel” and presentation of the material on your website.
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).
Because WordPress is Open Source software, it allows professional web designers from all over the world to create themes specifically for the WordPress platform using the WordPress template system.
This means that thousands of high quality WordPress themes are available to WordPress users. Themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or sold as Premium (paid) themes.
The WordPress development team maintains a FREE WordPress Theme Directory which gives WordPress users access to thousands of great themes at no cost.
As more businesses turn to WordPress for publishing and managing their content online, more designers are now focusing on creating themes for a wider audience of WordPress site owners.
WordPress themes range from simple, stylish and professional looking, to visually stunning and highly creative designs that would normally cost thousands of dollars to commission, but are surprisingly very inexpensive to buy.
You can view a number of WordPress theme galleries containing stunning examples of themes that you can have immediate access to further down the page.
Benefits And Advantages Of Using WordPress Themes
Here are just some of the unique benefits and advantages of using WordPress themes over choosing traditional web design:
- WordPress has a large and thriving (and growing) community of professional web designers who, collectively, make thousands of great-looking, high quality WordPress Themes available to WordPress users. Many of these themes are 100% free to use!
- Themes give sites a unified and consistent “look and feel” across all of the site’s elements, i.e. pages, headers, footers, menus, layout, etc …
- A “theme” works independently of your site’s content. This makes it possible to change themes as often as you like (and hence the “look and feel” of your site) without affecting the content.
- Many themes provide various features and options that allow you to easily customize the theme’s layout and design properties to create a unique look and style to suit your preferences.
- Many themes are built using a framework that allows you to update your theme to a newer theme version without losing any of your unique customizations (e.g. CSS styles)
- WordPress allows you to search, import and install WordPress Themes automatically from your site’s administration interface.
- Themes allow WordPress users to save thousands of dollars on web design costs. Free themes cost nothing and most “Premium” WordPress themes are typically very inexpensive.
You can easily install a theme on your site without any web design knowledge required. Simply choose a WordPress theme, upload it to your site and activate it. WordPress lets you change your entire site’s web design with just a couple of mouse clicks …
With WordPress, you no longer have to wait until your site’s web design is completed. You can get started with any theme you like, and then completely change the look, feel and design of your WordPress site in seconds, whenever you want … and as often as you like!
Responsive WordPress Themes
Many WordPress Theme developers are now creating “responsive” themes.
A responsive theme allows a website to automatically readjust itself to display smoothly across different monitor sizes and screen resolutions, as well as different platforms (e.g. computers, tablets, mobile devices) …
A responsive theme is also optimized for each platform. Users can navigate, read and load a site on different devices without having to resize anything, or requiring the website owner to install additional themes.
Now that you understand WordPress themes a little better, let’s show you where to find great WordPress themes for your website.
Choosing A WordPress Theme For Your Website
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Theme Directory, go here:
If you are looking for “mouth-watering” web design, or professional quality yet highly affordable WordPress web design themes with a distinctive look, unique customizable options and ongoing support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality professional WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
Woo Themes creates stunning eye-catching themes and offer a membership option that allows you to access all themes in their growing theme collection.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 7,000 premium themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $1) …
StoreFront specializes in e-commerce themes for WordPress. Their themes integrate well with powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins.
(click on the images above to browse more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework that allows you to quickly and easily build a professional WordPress website that is highly search optimized, and provides auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
One low price entitles you to receive unlimited support and updates, and install your themes on unlimited domains. for more details, click here: StudioPress.
(click on the images above to browse more StudioPress themes)
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A number of websites offering “Free” WordPress Themes have sprung up around the web and some of these have been found to be distributing themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites will even come up at the top of Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes”. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress theme directory, or well known and trusted sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site may contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
Hopefully this information has given you a better understanding of WordPress themes and why many people choose WordPress when it comes to building their websites.