WordPress

WordPress Themes Info

WordPress themes allow for quick changes of the visual design and layout of a WordPress site.

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What are WordPress Themes?

From the WordPress Codex on wordpress.org

WordPress Themes are files that work together to create the design and functionality of a WordPress site. Each Theme may be different, offering many choices for site owners to take advantage of in order to instantly change their website look.

WordPress includes several default themes in each new installation.

WordPress Themes typically consist of three main types of files, in addition to images and JavaScript files. One is the stylesheet called style.css, which controls the presentation (visual design and layout) of the website pages. The second is the optional functions file (functions.php). The other files are the template files which control the way the site pages generate the information from your WordPress database to be displayed on the site.

What is a Theme?

Fundamentally, the WordPress Theme system is a way to “skin” your website. Yet, it is more than just a “skin.” Skinning your site implies that only the design is changed. WordPress Themes can provide much more control over the look and presentation of the material on your website.

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). For an introduction to template files, see Stepping Into Templates.

Choosing a Theme

There are 100's (if not 1000's) of WordPress themes available. What to choose?

1. Choose a theme with clear and easy to use navigation.
2. Choose a theme with calls to action and great marketing potential on the Home page. Most themes now have slideshows on the home page, for example.
3. Check the theme options. Can you easily add or switch common options?
4. Does the theme have Free Lifetime Updates? WordPress has frequent security and coding updates; so should your theme.

  • Is the theme widget ready?
  • Is it optimized for WordPress 3.5+?
  • Can the footer text and links be changed?
  • Good design structure:  CMS style front-page, SEO sttructure, fast loading, etc.
  • Does the theme have shortcodes for creating columns, display boxes, etc.

Free Themes vs Premium Themes

Free Themes

One of the best free WordPress themes available is the Default Theme that comes pre-loaded with every WordPress website: Twenty Eleven (2011). The 2011 theme is simple but elegant and works perfectly.

You can choose other free themes in the Appearance section of every WordPress website. However most WordPress users quickly veer away from using random free themes. The main drawback to WordPress free themes is: Free themes do not necessarily work correctly. While all themes in the WordPress Directory are free of malware and viruses – each theme in the WordPress Directory is not individually tested by WordPress staff for correct functioning. I have worked with several WordPress Directory themes over the years that did not work correctly.

When free themes don't work correctly, they often give confusing and seemingly random errors that a WP novice will not be able to trace and fix. Or they don't work at all.

Premium Themes

WordPress Premium themes come in many varieties.

Consumer Note: Just because a theme is labeled ‘Premium' and has a cost to purchase it – does not mean that most would consider it to be ‘premium'. Also, everyone has different skills level, view, design needs, etc. So one person's ‘treasure' in a premium theme may be a ‘junk' theme for your use.

However, there are some theme structures that are really helpful for beginners. And which can be modified by more advanced users – so the theme grows with the design.

Genesis Framework: Best WordPress Premium Themes in Our Experience

In our opinion – the overall best themes for Beginners to More Advanced Users: Studiopress Child Themes, running on the Genesis Theme Framework.

Why?

  • Awesome SEO. Yoast (author of WordPress SEO plugin) is a consultant and code contributor
  • Mobile Responsive HTML5 Designs
  • Injects schema.org metadata for SEO
  • Lifetime free updates
  • Great theme support with large and active user community
  • Genesis framework standardizes many WordPress functions; easy to use
  • And more!


 

More Info on WordPress Themes

wordpress.org/extend/themes
codex.wordpress.org/Using_Themes
codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons

 

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