What Is a WordPress Theme and Which Is Right for Your Site?

Lorna Hordos / January 13, 2019

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So, what is a WordPress theme? Basically, a WordPress theme is a collection of templates and style sheets that define how a WordPress.com site is displayed.

Selecting an appropriate theme for your business or blog can amplify user experiences (UX), and when UX goes up, your traffic and sales should get a boost, too. Understanding that each theme has a different layout and feel, with a different need in mind, can help you choose the perfect one for your needs.

Style sheets

In the world of website design, a style sheet is like a blank page that knows where content should go and how it should be structured. In other words, it allows you to neatly fill in your site’s blank spaces with About Me and Contact pages, posts, as well as other necessities. Different style sheets offer different effects. For example, a style sheet for a newsfeed website or zine might arrange your stories in horizontal rows for maximum exposure, while a style sheet that’s meant for a corporate site might offer a more streamlined vertical layout.

Website theme basics

Themes (sometimes called templates, layouts, or designs) define the aesthetics of your website. Each theme typically has preset color schemes, special fonts, and font sizes that work together to reflect your business or blog’s persona. One WordPress.com theme might include a nature-inspired organic design with sand backdrops, while another could be boldly modern with vivid background hues. Even after you select a WordPress design, you can change it to suit your preferences by opening the Customizer from the My Site and reviewing your content (hint: you’ll find it by clicking going to Themes > Customize).

Food industry themes

Need a website for a bakery, catering service, or other food-based business? On the WordPress.com themes page, narrow down your options by entering keywords like “business” and “food” or “bakery” in the search bar. Scroll through the generated themes until you find one that might be right for your venture, then view it for a better idea of how it’ll portray your brand. As an example, if you’re running a coffee shop, you might go with the Sweet Life theme for its warm backdrop color options.

Corporate themes

So, what does a WordPress theme for a corporation look like? Well, if you run a small-to-mid-sized law firm, accounting business, or medical practice, a suitable website needs to convey your mission as well as style and professionalism. Consider the aptly-named Business theme, which carries a clean, contemporary vibe. Another option is the Corporate theme, a sleek WordPress design with custom layouts, responsive headers, and a flexible content slider that beautifully showcases your posts and pages.

Video-centric themes

WordPress.com provides numerous templates and style sheets for video-inclined content creators — like musicians, actors, vloggers, and even e-retailers — who want to share instructional videos. A DIY-store website, for instance, could generate more interest in their arts and crafts products (and boost UX) by creating a series of instructional videos. Such videos might teach guests how to paint with watercolors, use a loom, or program single board computers. Certain themes, such as Orvis, present image and videos in a way that helps them pop from the page.

What is a WordPress theme? It’s what you make of it. Regardless of your industry, it’s wise to try out various themes to become familiar with all the features they offer.

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