WordPress can and is considered as the “factory that makes web pages.” Starting as a simple blogging platform, it has evolved, changed and became one of the most used website building platforms of today. But how does WordPress manage to achieve this?
Simple. The platform itself has been made very versatile and accommodating, not just for the simple blogger, but for major players like The New Yorker, Disney, Time Magazine, Mercedes-Benz and a lot other professional businesses that use WordPress to power their online presence. A part of the answer is the WordPress Theme (we’ll keep the rest for later articles).
Do you know what are the WordPress Themes? How they are used? What can they do? Keep reading on and learn all about these little packages of data that have changed the way sites look today.
The basic definition of a theme is “a preset package containing graphical appearance details”. It includes the shapes, colors, functions and the look and feel of the site. In terms of WordPress, a theme is everything you see on the site. All the little graphic details, the appearance of the site, the colors of the buttons, the design of particular items on the site, the layout of the site…
I’m not going to bother you with more of these, but sum up the professional definition of a WordPress Theme: a collection of files that work together in producing a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog.
In simplified terms: a WordPress Theme governs how the site is displayed and can be instantly changed without major modifications of the code.
Back in the day when WordPress was in its early stages, the users of WordPress-powered sites needed to use hacks like the application of a new CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) in order to change the look of the site. While this was not such an issue with expert developers, more inexperienced users usually messed up their sites and needed professional help to fix this problem.
The need for a simpler customization technique was evident, and it was on February 17th, 2005 when the WordPress 1.5 version was released that a template/Theme system was introduced to WordPress. On the announcement page of the site, Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of WordPress wrote: “we have created an incredibly flexible theme system that adapts to you rather than expecting you adapt to it. You can have your entire weblog run […] just like before, or you can literally have a different template for every single different category. It’s as much or as little as you want.”
One of the first official themes on WordPress was the template/theme named Kubrick, featuring a simple, clean design and it has been one of the most widely used templates ever. After the introduction of Themes in WordPress, the whole thing exploded with virtually unlimited customization options.
Now that we have established what WordPress Themes are and how they came about, it is time to explain what they can do and provide you with a list of the best WordPress Themes today.
A Theme provides you with a way to have complete control over how each aspect of your WordPress site looks like. It allows you to customize every part of the site, and you can have a different page for a different thing – you can run a personal blog on one page and have an online shop on another page on the same website.
Almost any WordPress Theme is completely customizable, allowing the user freedom to upload their logo, change colors, backgrounds, add sliders, widgets, menus, and a lot more, and they don’t even need to know anything about writing code or web design.
More experienced developers usually lean towards developing a new Theme for personal or professional use or even to post it as a submission to the WordPress Theme Directory. Developing a completely new Theme gives the user the option to create a completely unique website, while also to make some cash by selling the theme to interested parties. That is why today there are thousands of WordPress themes available, some completely free and some with a price tag.
I’ve stated before that the WordPress Theme allows the user a lot of customization options. But if the user is not a professional developer with the knowledge to create a whole new theme from scratch, they will need to install a theme before they are able to customize it. The user can select any theme from the WordPress Themes Directory or one of the many WordPress Themes offered by independent developers.
Before you make any decisions, read through my list of the best and most popular WordPress Themes that you can apply to your website. All of these are responsive themes, meaning that you can customize a lot of aspects and create your unique website.
Avada – the best selling theme of all times, this multi-purpose theme can be used to create your whole website, with drag & drop options and thousands of customizations available.
Divi – a very popular theme that can be used for various purposes, this theme has a drag & drop builder, custom layouts and a lot of other customization options.
BeTheme – a multi-purpose theme that is efficient, fast and with minimal server requirements, this one is easy to customize and rearrange per your liking.
Ultra – a very flexible theme, this one supports any type of website and offers an array of pre-set designs and a lot of add-ons and custom options.
Jupiter – this theme can be used for creating various sites with plenty of optimization and customization options.
The7 – a multi-purpose theme that comes with a Visual Composer and a lot of options for customization and creating a unique website, along with free updates with bug fixes.
Flatsome – this is a responsive theme that can be applied to different applications, with a custom page builder, especially fit for creating business sites.
Bridge – a theme with which you can create a unique website, this one comes with excellent features, a lot of design options and customizations.
Impreza – this theme can be customized per your liking and with the ready-to-use demos and automatic updates, it is very versatile and user-friendly.
OceanWP – a theme that can be used for different types of websites, this one allows customization of the header, colors, and sliders, is compatible with several page builders, and unlike the others on this list, the OceanWP theme is free to use.
Above I’ve explained the definition and the humble beginnings of the WordPress Theme. I think it is safe to say that the development of the WordPress Theme and the freedom to customize it per the user’s liking is what has shaped the Internet today, and has led to the emergence of so many beautiful, creative websites.