This post is part of the series Websites 101
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So far in our Websites 101 series, we’ve discussed what WordPress is, and why you need to have a website. What we haven’t discussed are the basic building blocks of a WordPress website. That time is now. Let’s talk about the basics of WordPress themes.
Look and Feel
At their core, WordPress themes are all about the look and feel of your site. They control the appearance of your website by presenting your content in specific ways. This can be as detailed or minimalistic as you’d like. It’s all up to you and what look you’re going for.
The basic concept of themes comes from the idea of separation of concerns. Themes should do one thing: presentation. Your theme should be composed mostly of CSS and HTML to control layouts, and do minimal functionality changes. If the presentation of your content relies on specific functionality, it can be built into a theme. The rest of the work should be left to plugins.
A theme is like a template for your content and should come with several pre-built templates for you to add content. Among these are pages and posts. More advanced themes will offer multiple layouts for pages and posts, as well as other content types. Now that Gutenberg is out, themes can even lock in blocks for specific templates to make editing even easier than before. A good theme lets you focus just on your content because you know that all of the presentation and templating is done for you.
Finding and Picking Themes
Finding a good theme can be hard. There are so many places around the Internet where you can get themes that it’s hard to tell the good from the bad. One very popular theme shop is ThemeForest by Envato. I liken ThemeForest to Walmart. There’s a lot of junk there, but you can still find good stuff if you look hard enough. I prefer theme shops like StudioPress (now a part of WPEngine), but that’s just my opinion.
Picking a theme can be even harder once you find a good theme shop. It is important to remember that you want your theme to be lean. Themes that pack their offerings with features tend to have bloated code that drags down performance. Search for themes that fit your needs and nothing more.
What themes can do for you is a long and varied topic. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re overwhelmed by just the basics of themes, that’s okay. Need help picking a theme? That’s what we’re here for. Contact us today and we’ll help you choose a theme that’s right for you, or we can build you a custom theme.
Continue reading this series:
Websites 101: What’s a WordPress Plugin?