What Is A Wordpress Theme?

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A Wordpress theme can also be referred to as a template or skin.

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To put it simply, a Wordpress theme is the design of your blog or website. The theme literally determines how your website looks, it's what you see when you look your website or blog.

Each theme usually has it's own specific characteristics, which means not all themes are the same.

You will find some of the more complex themes have multiple widget areas and different templates for various pages, which means you can change the layout and look of your themes design.

Whereas the more basic or simple themes would be more uniformed throughout the entire theme with less options to change the layout or look of your blog or website.

There are numerous options available when deciding on your themes layout, the most common seem to be the two and three column theme layouts.

To try and explain how themes work without getting to "Techy" I would have to say that themes are made up of various php template files and rely on CSS to pull all of the pieces together.

These individual php files can basically be divided into various sections or components, which when called on by the CSS are all joined together to make up your overall theme.

Below is a very basic example of some common php files you would find in most if not all Wordpress themes.

  • Header.php
  • Footer.php
  • Sidebar.php
  • Post.php
  • Page.php

Wordpress themes are freely available from all over the web, but it's important to note that not all themes are created equal. Some "Free" themes can literally be more trouble than the free price tag associated with them.

There are a lot of themes that have been poorly written and contain a lot of coding errors, this can be detrimental to how well your site performs in the search engines, (Google, Yahoo, etc) So it's important you choose a theme that has been produced by an experienced Wordpress coder.

Wordpress.org offers a free theme directory where theme authors can share their themes with the Wordpress community, if you want to use a free Wordpress theme then I wholeheartedly suggest downloading it from the Wordpress Codex or website..

Usually the only condition to using one of these free themes is, the author of the themes ask you to leave the attribution link in the footer of the theme, this is a way the theme authors can promote their themes and build traffic for their blogs.

You can even create your own themes by using software's that build your themes for you. A good example of such a software is Artisteer, I have tried the free trial version of Artisteer but I wasn't totally sold on the product, Feel free to try it out for yourself, It is very easy to use and can also be a bit of fun, from memory it's PC only.

Then there are what are known as "Premium" themes.

These themes are often built by experienced web developers who sell their themes as a source of income.

In a nutshell, Premium themes are themes you have to pay for.

Usually these are sold in two ways, you can purchase a single user license, which means you get to use the theme on a single domain name or website, and a multi or developer user license, which means if you pay an additional fee, you can use the theme on multiple sites including sites you build for paid clients.

As an example of a premium theme, a very popular theme is the Thesis theme, I personally haven't used Thesis, but there are plenty of top bloggers around the world who do, that is why I mentioned it here, it is a very popular theme.

There are numerous benefits of paying for a theme, the main one being the quality of the code that makes up the theme, and then the quality of support .

Every week they have two new theme authors competing on who can produce the best Wordpress theme. This is a great idea for giving the theme authors some exposure and you, an opportunity to purchase a unique web design for a great price.

But like all themes, the quality of your theme depends a lot on who created it.

I love Wordpress themes, I have literally spent hundreds of hours sifting through the web looking at themes and honing my skills modifying and playing with the code that makes up a theme, and although I will admit I still have a lot to learn I can tell you I have enjoyed 99% of time learning what goes on behind the scenes of what makes a good wordpress theme work.

For any new comer to the web who wants to get started without any coding experience Wordpress themes are, In my humble opinion a Godsend.


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