‘Fundamentally, the WordPress Theme system is a way to “skin” your web site. Yet, it is more than just a “skin.” Skinning your site implies that only the design is changed. WordPress Themes can provide much more control over the look and presentation of the material on your 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. Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php). ‘
Themes sit on top of the WordPress software/framework. WordPress is installed on your hosting service, and then a theme is uploaded to WordPress and activated.
There are a lot of different WordPress Theme providers and sellers. Some are free, many are not… Most of the themes that you can purchase are not too expensive. I have yet to pay more than $100 for a theme. The nice thing about the theme system of WordPress is that you can look for different themes based on a type of functionality, business type, graphic look, etc. You can see what the theme will look like before you purchase, and in nearly all cases, view a demo of the theme and see it in action as a live website.
While I experimented with free themes when I first started, I found that they are largely unsupported. So, if you are trying to troubleshoot an issue or having a difficulty making the theme look like the demo, you are on your own….and that can be quite frustrating. I have tried a few different theme suppliers and theme frameworks….some good, some poorly supported. Generally, themes are priced from $30 -$75. Quite a bargain, when you consider the amount of expense it would cost to hire someone to code for the same layout and functionality.
StudioPress.com – StudioPress themes require the purchase of a ‘framework’. This framework is the foundation of all of the themes that StudioPress sells. Typical price for the StudioPress framework and your first theme is around $95. Additional themes are typically around $35. They call their framework ‘Genesis’. The advantages of using the Genesis Framework are the following:
– Excellent Customer Service
– Built in Search Engine Optimization
– Site Security
– Themes are updated as WordPress does updates
– Purchase a theme once and use it on multiple sites
– Ability to adjust much of the themes look through widgets
Theme Forest – has many many developers and designers. The key to using a service like Theme Forest is this: select only themes where it is clear that the theme author is developing new themes (or updating and improving current themes), making good sales, and is supporting them well. You will have a question about the theme at some point, so support is key.
I have had good success with DanyDuchaine themes (search on Theme Forest) . He has several professional themes and they are well supported.
Another is developer named ThemeNectar (search on Theme Forest) which produces the very popular ‘Salient’ theme.