Have you ever planned a theme party? Like say a Hawaiian Luau? To keep the theme cohesive – you would need to create the party location to look just like a tropical paradise. Complete with the right decorations, hula skirts, tableware etc. All this would give your party a Hawaiian feel. And when your guests arrive they would probably go “WOW! What an awesome party!”
A WordPress theme is just like the Hawaiian Luau theme party. It provides your website with a cohesive look and feel. And it gives your website an identity. So that your website visitors can also go “WOW! What an awesome website.
Here are the three points to help you get a better understanding of themes:
- Concept of a theme
- Do we always need a theme?
- How is a theme useful?
So let’s wade in and go through these three points.
1. Concept of a theme
The easiest and the most simplistic way to think of a WordPress theme is as a way to “skin” your website. With each “skin” you get a new set of colors, fonts and images.
Of course, a theme is much more than just a “skin”. It is a collection of files that work together to create a unifying design for your website. This collection of files are called template files.
A theme modifies the way your website looks (the design) without changing the core WordPress software.
You’re probably thinking – Does WordPress need a theme?
2. Do we always need a theme?
The answer to that is simple – YES! You always need a theme. But don’t panic. WordPress comes packaged with a default theme. So straight out of the box, WordPress will set up a website with the default theme.
Changing the default theme on your website is also extremely simple.
3. How is a theme useful?
Here are three reasons why a theme is used:
a) Separation of the presentation layer
A WordPress theme separates the presentation layer (template files) from the core WordPress files.
Let’s take an example. Everyday you dress to go to work. And everyday you probably wear a different set of clothes. But your body does not change. Only the clothes on your body change.
Similarly the presentation layer (theme) of WordPress can be dressed up any which way but WordPress at the core does not change. So, this makes it easy to make changes to the way your website looks without affecting the core.
b) Themes can be changed
Just like your clothes, your theme can be changed. Let’s say after a year you decide to redesign your website. You don’t have to worry about losing your content. All you would need is to change to the new theme.
c) Themes provide a consistent look
A theme unifies a website. The color, fonts etc. all have a standard look across the website. Think of it like a uniform that the policeman wears. With a standard look your website becomes identifiable.
Can I just willy-nilly get any theme?
While there are thousands of themes available, care should be taken while choosing a theme. Especially when choosing a free theme. A little research needs to be done to ensure that it is the right theme for your business and the theme is by a reputable developer/company. I will soon be writing an article on choosing a theme.
OK! What’s next?
Now that you understand that you must have a theme for WordPress. And you understand the theme concept and how a theme is useful. The question to ask yourself is – Are you ready to choose a theme? A theme that will WOW, visitors to your website.
Then, it’s time to start to look for that theme that will make your website identifiable. Check out my resources page to find links to reputable theme developers to get you started. If you still feel unsure don’t hesitate to Contact Me. I will be more than happy to answer your questions.