What are WordPress Themes
WordPress themes are basically templates that determine the overall design and layout of your website. There are thousands of both free and premium themes available for WordPress, so choosing the right one can be a bit overwhelming. Unlike WordPress templates, themes are required to power the foundation of your website.
When selecting a theme, you should consider things like the overall look and feel you want for your site, whether you want a responsive design (which is important for mobile users), and whether you want to use a pre-made or custom-designed theme.
Choosing the right theme is an important step in creating a successful WordPress website. Once you’ve selected a theme, you can begin installing it on your site.
how do wordpress themes work
Behind-the-scenes, WordPress themes control all of the code and styling of your site. This includes everything from the colors and fonts to the layout and design.
Themes also handle code that controls how different features work on your site. For example, if you want to add a social media share button to your posts, you would need to use a theme that has that functionality built-in or install a plugin that adds it. Plugins are essentially 3rd party software (free and paid) that will enable your theme/site to enable a new feature such as slideshows, animation and more (that might not necessarily come with your theme). More on WordPress plugins in another post.
WordPress themes are made up of code written in HTML, CSS, and PHP. If you’re not a developer, don’t worry – you don’t need to know how to code to use a WordPress theme. However, if you want to make customizations to your theme beyond the options provided by the WordPress Customizer, you will need to know at least a little bit of code.
selecting the right theme for your website
When choosing a WordPress theme, there are a few things you should keep in mind
The first being the overall look and feel of your site. Do you want a minimalist design or something more colorful and robust?
Your site’s purpose will also play a role in choosing the right theme. If you’re creating a site for a business, you’ll want to make sure your theme includes features like contact forms and integration with social media. On the other hand, if you’re creating a personal blog, you might want to choose a theme that includes post formats (like video and audio) so you can easily share different types of content.
where to find wordpress themes
Finding a free or premium WordPress theme is quite easy. Here are a few popular ways to find and download a new theme:
1. Go to the WordPress.org theme repository. This is a collection of over 4,500 free WordPress themes that have been reviewed and approved by the WordPress team.
2. Search for themes on WordPress.com. If you have a WordPress.com account, you can browse and install themes from there (note that not all themes are available on WordPress.com).
3. Find third-partytheme shops that sell both premium and free WordPress themes. Some popular theme shops include Themeforest, StudioPress, and ThemeMonster.
Depending on your theme needs, budget, and preferences, you should be able to find a suitable theme from one of these sources.
how to install a wordpress theme
Installing a WordPress theme is a fairly straightforward process. Once you’ve downloaded or purchased your theme, you can follow these steps to install it on your WordPress site:
what are wordpress templates
WordPress templates are used to control the structure and layout of individual pages on your website. While themes determine the overall design of your site, templates help you create specific pages that look and function the way you want them to. These are specifically helpful if you are not a designer and want something that looks nice, fast.
There are a number of different template types available in WordPress, so it’s important to select the right one for your needs. For example, if you want to create a landing page or an e-commerce store, you’ll need a different template than if you want to create a blog post or an about page.
Like themes, there are thousands of different templates available for WordPress, both free and premium. To find templates, you can search for them on ThemeForest, WordPress Directories or find theme shops that sell them. Even individual designers can create a template and unique layout, depending on your needs.
how to install a wordpress template
Installing a WordPress page template is different than installing a WP theme. This will depend on whether or not you are using a theme that supports templates and the import process. For example, something like Elementor has an easy upload feature from within the page whereas other page builders need to be imported to the WordPress dashboard.
quick review: The Main Difference
In case you want a quick review, WordPress themes and templates serve different functions:
Themes are responsible for the overall design of your website while templates are used to control the structure and layout of individual pages. Themes are also required for WordPress to function, whereas templates are nice for design but not necessary to power your site.
At this point, you might ask – do you need to download or purchase a theme and a template? The answer is no – themes generally come with a few default templates that you can use. However, if you want more control over the layout of your pages or want to create a custom page template, you will need to either create one yourself or download a custom template. There are page builders nowadays that come with both themes and templates, making website creation a breeze.
Which Is Better For Your Website (Templates vs. Themes)
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing a WordPress theme or template. It depends on your needs, budget, and preferences. However, here are a few general tips to help you make the right decision:
If you’re creating a website for a business, it’s generally better to use a premium WordPress theme with features like contact forms and social media integration. This will give you the flexibility and functionality you need to create a professional website.
If you’re creating a personal blog, it’s often better to use a free WordPress theme that includes post formats (like video and audio) so you can share different types of content easily. This will give your blog a more personal feel and help you stand out from the crowd.
When choosing a WordPress template, make sure to select the right type for your needs. If you want to create a landing page or an e-commerce store, you’ll need a different template than if you want to create a blog post or an about page. There are of course other considerations for e-commerce (not covered in this post) such as marketing integrations, checkout field customization and more.
If you’re not sure which theme or template is right for you, it’s often best to start with a free option and upgrade to a premium option later if you need more features or functionality. This will help you get a feel for what’s available and allow you to experiment with different options before spending any money.
Building Your Own Theme Using Pagebuilders
There are a number of different WordPress page builders available that allow you to create a custom theme without any coding knowledge. This is a great option if you’re not familiar with code or if you want to create a unique design for your website.
Some popular WordPress page builders include Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi Builder. These plugins come with a variety of features and options that allow you to create a custom theme without touching any code.
I’ll admit, I’m very biased and use Elementor Pro for this entire website but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own research into the others. They each have their own pros and cons. The setup I’ve used on this site is to use Elementor’s global styling features to control individual design features such as buttons, headings, colors, fonts, etc. Once the overall global settings of the design I want are created, it’s simply a matter of adding new pages and rearranging as needed. This post isn’t a full tutorial on Elementor but here are some other posts I’ve written on the matter.
To get started with any of the page builders mentioned above, not just Elementor, simply install the page builder plugin of your choice and then begin creating your custom theme. Quite often, there is a walkthrough or documentation on their individual website’s to get you started.
Most page builders come with a library of pre-built themes or templates that you can use as a starting point. Once you’ve found a template you like, simply edit it to match your needs.
final theme-vs-template thoughts
Whether you’re using a theme or an individual page template for your design, it’s important to remember that you can always change things up later. If you’re not happy with your current design, don’t be afraid to experiment with a new theme or template.
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes and templates available, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your website. And if you have the access to your own designer or developer I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a question or two about what to consider for your goals.