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WordPress Themes | What Are They & How Do They Work?

There are several free and paid WordPress themes available. WordPress.org has a large collection of free ones in their Themes Directory. Each one comes with a different design, layout, and features. A user needs to choose the one that suits their taste and requirements for their website.

This is one of the things about WordPress that trips people up straight away. On one hand, WordPress (the back of the house) is the term used to describe the software. Technically known as a CMS (content management system) that runs a WordPress-powered website.

Just like in a restaurant, you need both the front end (WordPress Themes) and the back end (WordPress) to have a viable, functional website. So, even though they are different, you’ll not have one without the other. Remarkably, there are thousands of WordPress Themes (both free and premium) to choose from.

What Are WordPress Themes?  

WordPress Themes are interchangeable designs within the website that dictate the look and feel of the site’s front end. For instance, the part of the website that visitors see and interact with. Hence, for the WordPress Theme you use (the front of the house) sets the tone of the part of your website where visitors see and interact with the content you’ve created in the back of the house.

Comparatively, WordPress is like a restaurant. Even if you’ve never worked in the food industry, you likely already know that restaurants and cafes have two parts to their business. Such as the;

  1. Front of the house
  2. Back of the house

Though these are separate areas within the business, you can’t have one without the other. Whereas, in a restaurant, the back of the house is where all the yummy stuff gets made. People who eat at the restaurant don’t see this part.

But, if it didn’t exist, there would be no way for them to receive their food. Whereas, the front of the house, on the other hand, is where customers experience and appreciate the restaurant (in this case, the WordPress Themes).

How do you Modify WordPress Themes? 

In other words, WordPress Themes can be modified by adding plugins or by adding code to the functions.php file. Whereas, changes can also be made in the form of a child theme. Themes generally consist of three parts in addition to images and JavaScript files.

WordPress Themes & WordPress Plugins

The three parts are the style.css file, the WordPress template files, and an optional functions PHP file that will allow changes to be made to the theme. But, it’s important to realize, every WordPress Theme must have a unique style.css file.

However, this doesn’t mean that the styles can’t be the same but rather that the identifying information in the header needs to be different. Otherwise, you’ll have problems during the installation stage. If it is not a child theme, then it also needs to have at least an index PHP template file to control the display of content.

Additional online research links in regards to WordPress Themes file modification, design, and development.

  1. General Theme Editor
  2. Optimal WordPress Child Theme
  3. Responsive Theme
  4. Responsive Theme Framework
  5. Features and general Theme Options
  6. Default Theme Guide
  7. Parent Theme Training and Learning Guide

How do you Install the WordPress Themes?

WordPress Websites users may install and switch among different themes. Equally important, Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of  WordPress Websites without altering the core code or site content.

Comparatively, WordPress Websites require at least one theme to be present. Furthermore, every theme should be designed using WordPress standards with structured PHP, valid HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Additionally, Themes may be directly installed using the WordPress administration tools in the dashboard. Also, Theme folders may be copied directly into the themes directory, for example via FTP.

Likewise, the PHPHTML, and CSS found in themes can be directly modified to alter theme behavior, or a theme can as well be a “child” theme. In which it inherits settings from another theme and selectively overrides features.

Free vs Premium WordPress Themes 

WordPress Themes are generally classified into two categories. Including, the Free and Premium WordPress Themes. Above all, many free themes are listed in the WordPress theme directory, and premium themes are available for purchase from marketplaces and individual WordPress developers.

WordPress Themes

WordPress users may also create and develop their own custom themes. The free theme Underscores created by the WordPress developers has become a popular basis for new themes. Whereas a free WordPress Theme has limited features and no extra functionality. And which many larger and more professional websites require.

Surprisingly, some free themes have over 1 million downloads. However, Free themes are not unique when compared with their premium themes counterparts. Whereas, the WordPress Premium Themes should be feature-rich, responsive, and well supported by the vendor’s support staff.

What is the cost of Premium WordPress Themes?

Important to realize, Premium WordPress Websites Themes are much more affordable. Not to mention, hiring a designer to build you a custom theme is notably expensive. Generally, while, professional custom blog designs may cost upwards of $2,000, premium themes usually cost between $30 – $100.

However, there are no fixed standards or certification that designates a theme as being premium. In particular, anyone can build a WordPress theme, brand it as premium, and offer it for sale. As a matter of fact, if well received and demanded, you’ll receive quite a handsome lifetime income. Even though with time, general and demanding online support and help come handy.

How do I find free and premium WordPress Themes?

In general, the official WordPress Theme Directory is, of course, the best place to find all kinds of Free and Premium WordPress Themes.

So to say, if you’re on a budget, you’ll likely want to look no further. Whereas, as it stands, there are essentially just three places from which to obtain decent WordPress Themes. Such as;

  • On the official WordPress Theme Directory.
  • Through the WordPress theme shops; such as Themify, Elegant Themes, and StudioPress.
  • Online Theme marketplaces (the most popular of which is, without a doubt, Themeforest).

For online endeavors with even a small budget, though, there’s also the world of premium themes. The upsides to choosing a premium theme are significant, and will often include such things as more features, much better support, and more frequent updates.

Do’s and Don’ts while choosing the WordPress Theme 

There are thousands (10,000-plus) of WordPress themes out there. So many that it would take days on end to search through them all. So how do you narrow it down to find the perfect one for your site?

Choosing the right theme is obviously important. Inasmuch as the right one should give your content pizzazz, keeping it responsive across devices, while also loading in the blink of an eye. Yet with so many themes in the pool, it can be a rather daunting task to pick the best one possible.

However, before buying a theme, or investing your time in customizing one, be sure to always remember the do’s and don’ts when it comes to selecting the perfect WordPress theme.

Such as;

  1. Making a list of the Features you want ahead of time.
  2. Avoiding bloated themes.
  3. Selecting and AMP Ready and Responsive websites dominant to various devices. Such as the desktop, mobile, tablet, and other gadgets layout.
  4. Keep in mind the clarity in color features and options.
  5. Consider upgrading or seeking for a premium theme.
  6. Choose a font customizable theme.
  7. Before making a purchase, make sure that you’ll have thoroughly tested the theme and equally satisfied.

What are WordPress Plugins? 

WordPress Plugins architecture allows users to extend the features and functionality of a website or blog.  As of February 2019, WordPress.org has 54,402 plugins available. Each of which offers custom functions and features. Enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs.

However, this does not include the premium plugins that are available (approximately 1,500+), which may not be listed in the WordPress.org repository. These customizations range from Search Engine Optimization to Client Portals.

Particularly, used to display private information to logged-in users, content management systems, to content displaying features. Such as the addition of widgets and navigation bars. But, not all available WordPress Plugins are always abreast of the upgrades and as a result, they may not function properly or may not function at all.

Read More: WordPress Plugins | What are they & How do they Work?

Most WordPress Plugins though are available through the WordPress Websites Platform. Either through downloading them and installing the files manually via FTP or through the WordPress dashboard.

Basically, many third parties offer plugins through their designated websites, many of which are paid packages. In that case, Website Designers and Developers who wish to develop plugins need to learn WordPress’ hook system first. Of which consists of over 300 hooks divided into two categories. Including action hooks and filter hooks.

AMP Mobile Add-ons and Mobi Applications 

Important to realize, native applications exist for WebOS, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

After all, these applications, designed by Automattic, have options such as; adding new blog posts and pages,

  • commenting,
  • moderating comments,
  • replying to comments
  • in addition to the ability to view the stats.

WordPress Multi-user makes it possible for websites to host their own blogging communities. As well as control and moderate all the blogs from a single dashboard. Additionally, WordPress CMS (Content Management System) adds eight new data tables for each blog.

As of the release of WordPress 3, WordPress Multi-user platform has merged with WordPress.

WordPress Themes and Plugins Additional features,

Prior to version 3, WordPress supported one blog per installation. Although multiple concurrent copies may be run from different directories if configured to use separate database tables.

In addition, WordPress Multisite (previously referred to as WordPress Multi-User, WordPress MU, or WPMU) was a fork of WordPress. Especially created to allow multiple blogs to exist within one installation but is able to be administered by a centralized maintainer.

Generally speaking, WordPress also features integrated link management. Such as; a Search Engine friendly, clean permalink structure. For instance, with the ability to assign multiple categories to posts; and support for tagging of posts.

Automatic filters are also included, providing standardized formatting and styling of text in posts. For example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes. WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites. Especially, that have on the other hand linked to a post or an article.

Notably, WordPress posts can be edited in HTML, using the visual editor, or using one of a number of plugins that allow for a variety of customized editing features.

Summing up, 

Generally speaking, you’re in good company if you use WordPress to publish on the web. Important to realize, the general outlook of your website to your visitors, customers and target clients really matters. Not to mention, many famous blog sites, blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrities are using the platform.

In other words, by using the WordPress Websites Building Platform, you’ll not only be able to visualize your website design but you’ll view its outlook in real-time. Whereas, you’ll be able to enjoy both frontend and backend support capabilities.

In other words, WordPress allows you free access to limitless free and premium themes, plugins, and even affiliated add-ons. Allowing you to not only creatively craft an ultimately impressive website but equally too, responsive integration with external scripts.

In particular to your digital online marketing, social media lead conversion and even third-party media integration. Such as YouTube videos, Search Engine Scripts (Google Analytics), Monetization Programs (Google Adsense), API Keys (Google Maps) and even Certificates (Secure Socket Layer).

Resourceful References; 

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas to help narrow down your selection of WordPress Plugins and Themes for your Websites Design and Development Process. What’s great about WordPress is if you do decide to change themes down the road. You’ll have the flexibility to do so.

If you’re looking for more on selecting the right WordPress theme, check out this library of resources on Torque. And also, if you are looking for a WordPress Website Building Partner, the jmexclusives team is always ready for you. But, you can Contact Us for more services & solutions support. Or even share additional information and thoughts in the Comments Box below.

See more related and useful online topic links below.

  1. Content Design and Development Guides
  2. Get Started | Create a free Website and Blog
  3. The dos and don’ts of Choosing a WordPress Theme
  4. What Are WordPress Themes and Plugins and Where To Get New Ones?
  5. 38 Best Free WordPress Plugins for Your Website in 2019 (UPDATED)
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