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What is a WordPress Theme?

WordPress is a content management system that allows you to manage text, pages, various media, and to create menus, etc.  It reduces the work required to create a website.

To use the analogy of a house, WordPress represents the walls, roof, plumbing and wiring while the theme adds the wall paint, tiles, benchtops, and shelving.  The furniture is the content. They all complement each other. No WordPress means no theme. No theme means no content.

There are basically three ways of using WordPress to create a website:

  • Programmed using languages such as PHP, Javascript, CSS and HTML
  • Fully drag, drop and click with no programming
  • The hybrid way whereby a programmer builds onto WordPress and a theme with the languages mentioned above

The dictionary.com site offers the following as one of its definitions of the word theme:

a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.

And a WordPress theme is a unifying or dominant idea. Without a theme installed on WordPress there is no website. Themes come in thousands of flavours, some of them niche by nature.  For example, there are generalist themes such as Avada; a theme for creating a freelance database; and themes for event planning.

Themes can be free, or they can cost between A$30-$170 (theme only).

A theme includes:

  • A suggested colour scheme (though changeable)
  • A layout or format for the site, and the position and size of images (again, can often be modified)

It does get more complex than the story so far: the more expensive themes feature page-builders, giving you almost limitless page layouts. Also, WordPress comes with a huge array of optional plug-ins which add an infinite array of added functionality to work hand-in-hand with the installed theme. An example of a plug-in is the Woocommerce online shop.

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Site Updated:

23 July 2017