WordPress requires a theme for it to work and become a website. A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.
A WordPress theme provides all of the front end styling of your WordPress site.
Most WordPress themes provide:
- Overall design or style of your site
- Font styling (color, style, font-family, kerning, line-height and more)
- Widget locations (Specific content collection that can appear in multiple locations on a website)
- Page layouts (or templates)
- Shop page layouts
- Blog, page, post styles – additional stylistic details
Not all themes are created equally. Many themes underperform and plenty of others over perform. Some themes are poorly coded and cause problems; slow websites, crashes and more. Other themes are expertly coded and run fast and efficient.
Back in the old days (1997), I would code my own themes. Later on I used other developers ‘free’ themes. Eventually I started buying themes to save development time and be able to build a WordPress websites at competitive prices.
Some paid themes I’ve used:
Several years ago a company named Elegant Themes was selling themes that were very well coded, so I started using those. As time went on they came up with the Divi theme (Teazen was using Divi). Divi has become the #1 WordPress theme in use today. It has a huge following and is well supported by Elegant Themes support staff, as well as Facebook pages and Divi specific development websites:
… the list goes on.
What is the best theme? There are plenty of ‘experts’ who pontificate on that subject:
For us developer, to have to jump into an unfamiliar theme can be a difficult proposition. You often need a road map to figure out how it is crafted together and how that relates to its doing its job. There certainly is a learning curve. Some themes have a huge learning theme (Avada WordPress Theme), others almost none at all.
I first began using the Divi theme in 2013. In the past few years I’ve only used Divi when developing new websites. I’ve had so much fun working with the Divi theme and interacting with other Divi developers that I’ve dedicated a Divi specific website to support the Divi community. But Divi isn’t for everybody.
The web developers of today don’t have the background in coding that some of us old guys grew up with. They grew up finding and using shortcuts to accomplish what us coders created years ago. For example, displaying content in uniform rows that compress and or stack depending what device they are being displayed on (desktop, iPad, mobile phone) involves some tricky coding. Since this need occurs on almost every website I developed a WordPress plugin called simple grid. My plugin give other Divi developers the ability to put in columnar data with the click of the mouse, saving them hours of coding.
If one doesn’t know about my Simple Grid plugin and can’t find their way around the code, developing content that requires columnar formatting will prove to be a difficult hill to climb. Likewise, a developer jumping into an unfamiliar theme will also have a rough go. It is for these reasons that most developers will recommend a specific theme to their clients. Of course they will want to work in a theme that they are familiar with and have used many times before.
Depending upon the complexity of a particular website, changing an existing theme should be thought out very carefully. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if said developer is going to be managing that website for days, weeks, months and years it makes sense to be in familiar territory.
A web development company or specific develoer may have changed out the theme to something they were familiar with. This tells the site owner they will be the main developer when it comes to content. Because they are familiar with the particular theme, they will then know how it performs with the various plugins; WooCommerce, payment gateways, etc. and be able to work quickly and efficiently in it.
Going forward, you will want to consult with your previous developer and current developer on any theme additions and or changes as to future enhancements, functions, and extensions.