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What is a WordPress Theme: A Complete Guide for Beginners!

Are you looking for a way to customize the look and feel of your WordPress website? If so, then you’ll want to know all about WordPress themes!

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about choosing and using a WordPress theme on your site, no matter what website you build. We’ll also explore some popular options and provide helpful tips along the way. So let’s get started!

What is a WordPress Theme and How Does it Work?

A WordPress theme is a set of files that dictate how your website looks and functions. It contains all the code necessary to display content, structure layouts, and control many other aspects of your website’s appearance. It also controls the font, colors, layouts, and other elements.

When you install a WordPress theme, it changes how your site looks, making it easier to create an aesthetically pleasing design that matches your brand.

Do You Need a Theme in WordPress?

Yes, you need to install a theme in WordPress. It is essential for controlling the overall look and feel of your website. Without a theme, your site will appear broken and incomplete. Themes also give you control over how different parts of your site display content, making it easier to customize your design quickly.

That said, there are many free and paid WordPress themes available, so you’re sure to find one that is perfect for your website.

What is the Difference Between a WordPress Theme and a Template?

Many people use the terms “theme” and “template” interchangeably, but they are not the same. A WordPress theme is a collection of files that control how your website looks and functions. A template is a single file within a theme that controls how one particular element or page appears on your site.

For example, a template may control how your blog post page looks. It will dictate the font, colors, and layouts used on that page. A theme will contain many different templates for different elements of your site, such as blog posts, pages (home, about, contact, etc.), headers, footers,  and more.

Ultimately, templates are part of a WordPress theme. That said, you don’t need to understand the difference between a theme and a template to use WordPress successfully.

What is the Difference Between a WordPress Theme and a Plugin?

Another common source of confusion is the difference between a WordPress theme and a WordPress plugin. A theme controls the overall look and feel of your website, while plugins are add-ons that extend the functionality of your site.

For example, you might install a plugin to add contact forms or an e-commerce store to your website. These plugins are not part of your theme and usually require some setup to get them up and running.

How To Install a WordPress Theme?

Installing a theme is easy. All you need to do is log into your WordPress site, go to the “Appearance” tab in the left-hand menu, and select the “Themes” option. Then, you can either upload your own theme or select one from the free WordPress theme directory.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Types of WordPress Themes

There are many types of themes available for WordPress websites. Here are some of the most popular:

1. Parent Themes vs. Child Themes

A parent theme is a complete WordPress theme you install directly on your site. A child theme is a “subtheme” of the parent that inherits all of the functionality and features of the parent, but allows you to customize or add additional code without modifying the original theme files.

Using a child theme is generally recommended as it is much easier to update and maintain than a custom theme. Plus, you can make changes without affecting the parent theme, which makes it easier to troubleshoot any issues that might arise.

But this difference shouldn’t confuse you! Most of the WordPress themes you see (and the theme you will use) are parent themes. This shouldn’t worry you.

2. Free Themes vs. Premium Themes

WordPress offers a large selection of free themes, but many users opt to purchase premium WordPress themes. These are typically more feature-rich, better designed, and easier to customize than their free counterparts.

Premium themes also come with added benefits, such as more options for customization and support from the theme developers. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of theme is right for your website.

At Iconic Blogging, for example, we use Hello Elementor (a free theme) and Elementor Pro (a premium website builder).

3. Niche Themes vs. Multipurpose Themes

Niche themes are themes built for a specific purpose, such as blogging or e-commerce. They come with features and designs tailored to meet the needs of a particular industry.

On the other hand, multipurpose themes are more flexible — they allow you to create any website, from personal blogs to e-commerce stores. They come with various features and designs that make it easier to customize your site for any purpose.

Which type of theme you choose depends on your website’s specific needs — if you only need to create a basic blog, then a niche theme might be all you need. But if you plan to launch an online store or a membership website, then a multipurpose theme might be the better choice.

No matter which type of theme you choose, it should be responsive and optimized for mobile devices, search engines, and loading speed. This will ensure your site looks great and functions properly on all devices.

Niche and Multipurpose Themes

Let’s see some examples of multipurpose and niche WordPress themes.

WordPress Portfolio Themes

A WordPress portfolio theme is a theme designed specifically to create a portfolio and showcase your work. These themes are perfect for photographers, videographers, makeup artists, interior designers, and fashion designers, among others.

Read more: 30+ WordPress Portfolio Themes to Make an Online Portfolio!

WordPress Magazine Themes

A magazine theme is made to beautifully display content in a magazine style. These themes are great for content-rich websites looking to showcase articles, news, and other written content. 

Recommended reading: Top 15 Magazine Themes to Use for a Magazine!

WordPress Restaurant Themes

A restaurant theme, on the other hand, is for restaurant owners. They can use it to create a website for their restaurant. 

Recommended reading: 20+ Best Restaurant Themes for Restaurant Owners!

Minimalist WordPress Themes

For website owners looking for a minimalist and simple website, a minimalist WordPress theme is what you need. Check out this post to discover the best minimalist themes.

WordPress Business Themes

WordPress business themes target business owners who want a stunning website that shares their mission.

WordPress Ecommerce Themes

Thanks to ecommerce themes, you can create an online shop to sell your products.

3 Places to Find a WordPress Theme

There are three main places you can find WordPress themes: the official WordPress theme directory, the official website of the WordPress theme, and theme marketplaces.

1. WordPress Theme Directory

The WordPress theme directory is the official repository of free WordPress themes. It contains thousands of themes that are reviewed by the WordPress team, ensuring they meet the highest quality and safety standards.

This is a great starting point if you want a simple, easy-to-use theme that’s suitable for most websites. The directory is constantly updated with new themes, so it’s worth checking back regularly to see what’s available.

2. Official Website of the WordPress Theme

The official website of any WordPress theme is the best place to find information and support. Generally, you’ll be able to see demos, feature lists, documentation, and support forums. This can help you decide whether a theme is suitable for your website before you make a purchase. 

3. Theme Marketplaces

Theme Forest Marketplace for WordPress Themes

Theme marketplaces are websites that sell WordPress themes from multiple developers. These sites offer a wide range of themes for all types of websites and budgets, making them great places to find the perfect theme for your website. Popular theme marketplaces include ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, and Creative Market.

When shopping for a theme on a marketplace, read customer reviews and check the ratings. This will help you determine whether a theme is right for your website before purchasing.

No matter where you find a WordPress theme, it’s important to remember that simple and user-friendly themes are always the best. Prioritize themes that are easy to customize, responsive, and optimized for speed.

By choosing a suitable WordPress theme for your website, you can create a unique and attractive design that meets all your needs.

How to Choose a WordPress Theme?

Choosing the right WordPress theme is an important decision. It can be overwhelming, but with a few guidelines and careful research, you should be able to find the perfect theme for your website.

1. Consider Your Requirements

Before looking for a WordPress theme, it’s important to consider your website’s requirements. What type of website are you creating? Do you need specific features such as e-commerce integration or membership management?

By understanding your needs, you’ll be able to narrow down the selection of themes and find one that meets your criteria.

2. Customization Options

When choosing a theme, consider how much customization you need. Do you want to be able to customize the design of your website or just change the content? If you’re looking for more control over the look and feel of your site, then a highly customizable WordPress theme might be the best choice.

3. Responsiveness and Optimization

It’s also essential to ensure your chosen theme is responsive and optimized for mobile devices, search engines, and loading speed. This will ensure your website looks great and functions properly on all devices.

4. Support

When selecting a theme, ensure it comes with good support from the developer or theme marketplace. This will ensure you can get help if you encounter any issues with the theme.

5. SEO-Friendly

Finally, you should make sure the theme you choose is SEO-friendly. This will make it easier for your website to rank in search results and attract more visitors.

6. Integration and Extension

If you plan to use crucial third-party services or plugins, make sure the theme is compatible with them.  WordPress themes often come with support for popular plugins, giving you the ability to extend your website’s functionality.

5 Best WordPress Themes for Beginners

If you’re a beginner, you may want to start with an easy-to-use WordPress theme. Here are some of the best free and paid themes for beginners:

1. Avada

Avada is a popular multipurpose theme with lots of customization options. It offers many features, including responsive design, built-in sliders, and WooCommerce integration.

Avada - WordPress Theme

2. Divi

Divi is a popular drag-and-drop page builder WordPress theme. It offers many customization options and has many pre-built layouts that you can use on your website.

Divi WordPress Theme

3. Betheme

Betheme is a multipurpose WordPress & WooCommerce theme that stands out for its versatility and ease of use. It’s one of the top-selling WordPress themes on ThemeForest.

Betheme WordPress Theme

4. Bridge

Bridge is a theme that understands the needs of creative professionals. With over 500 ready-to-use demos, you can quickly find a design that suits your portfolio style and industry.

Bridge - WordPress Theme

5. Astra

Astra is a fast and lightweight theme that’s easy to customize. It comes with dozens of ready-to-use starter sites, allowing you to quickly create stunning websites without any coding.

Astra WordPress Theme Homepage

Empower Your Website with a Great WordPress Theme

You just went through the most important aspects of a theme and how it’s different from other tools.

Moreover, choosing the right WordPress theme is essential for a successful website. With so many available options, it can take time to figure out where to start when selecting one. However, by considering your requirements and understanding what features are essential for your site, you should be able to find the perfect theme that meets all of your needs.

Prioritize themes that are easy to customize, responsive, and optimized for speed. Whether you choose a free or paid option from our list of best WordPress themes for beginners or go with another choice entirely – make sure it offers everything you need to create a fantastic website!

Piaff Dibota

Piaff brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to the blogging world. Having worked as a content writer for multiple companies in different niches, he shares his blogging expertise through professional and engaging blog posts. 

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