What’s the big deal with WordPress themes? How do they work, and why should you care?
If you are new to WordPress, here’s a crash course on why you should love WordPress themes as much as we do.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is open-source website software, created by lots of smart nerdy people who love taking pictures of food and bad computer jokes.
Over 25 million people, including the New York Times, eBay, and People Magazine use it. It is constantly being developed and improved, and it is quickly becoming the most popular software on the web.
Translation: it’s really cool and you get it FREE
How it Works
WordPress is like the skeleton of your site
Without boring you with too much detail, WordPress allows you to create an infinite number of pages, blog posts, images, videos, and lots more from a cool admin area in your browser.
It’s very user friendly too. For example, to create a new page, you login, go to Pages, then click “Add New.” It’s a no brainer!
No special program needed, it’s all controlled in your internet browser
You can think of WordPress as the skeleton of your site (maybe the entrails too). It handles all of the internal processes that you don’t really see, and it holds everything together.
If WordPress is the skeleton, then themes are the skin and clothing.
Themes vary just as much as clothing does: some themes look like your mom still dresses you, and others will get you phone numbers!
Along with the look of your site, themes change what your site can do. They add functionality to WordPress by extending it. For example, the default WordPress theme, Twenty Ten, adds the ability to easily change your header background image.
One of our themes, FitPro, adds a membership area that is not normally available. This is just an example, there is really no limit to what themes can do.
Themes are like little custom websites that make WordPress even more powerful
Many WordPress themes make setting up and customizing your own website incredibly easy. The designer will take pains to make everything n00b proof, like adding the option to change the colors of the site in a single click.
Plugins plug-in cool new features to your site
Plugins are cool little software add-ons for your site that plug-in to WordPress.
For example, need a contact form? Just download the Contact Form 7 plugin (free) and voila, you have a professional contact form!
Plugins are developed by smarty pants developers (like this one) that know a lot more than you and I do about the interweb. The cool part is that most plugins are free, although there are some fancy premium plugins you can get at very affordable prices.
Plugins are usually free, and there are over 13,000 of them and counting!
WordPress is king amongst popular open-source CMS website software
Here’s a snapshot of WordPress and competing software on the web:
WordPress sites: Over 25 million (not counting the 18+ million on wordpress.com)
Joomla sites: ~ 14 million
Drupal sites: ~ 8 million
*Disclaimer: These numbers are rough estimates, meant to give a relative view of competition, not exact numbers.
Try Before You Buy
You can give WordPress a test drive before committing to anything by going over to wordpress.com and creating a free site. Just play around with it, you won’t break anything (TWSS).
If you like the way it drives as much as we do, pick a great theme and start blogging!