It’s 100% true that WordPress helps you have a website ready with full customization capabilities in no time. It provides every possible tool that a WordPress developer will require to have an impressive website ready from scratch.
When we talk about developing a feature-rich WordPress site, templates and themes are two crucial tools. But as a developer or site owner, you must have full clarity on what’s a template and what’s a theme. So, we came up with this blog post that is going to throw light on multiple aspects:
- The basic meaning and differences between WordPress themes and templates
- When to use each
- How they both can help developers develop a website
So, let’s get started.
Decoding The Meanings of Themes and Templates
We all know that themes and templates are great for WordPress development. But how does each resource help? For this, we first need to know the basic meaning of themes and templates.
WordPress themes are the basic layout of a website. Different themes are available in different color combinations, and each theme will have space for menu positions, example pages, sample blog posts, widgets, and other website components.
Themes feature files that developers can easily add to their WordPress sites and have an impressive layout ready in no time.
These themes are responsible for deciding how a website will look in real-time, which color scheme it will feature, and at which position the website components will be placed. Based on the type of theme you’re selecting, you can also get images and texts included in the themes.
All you need to do is replace certain aspects with your website-specific details.
For example, have a look at this theme from ExpressTech Systems. You can click on the Preview button to have a rough idea of how this theme looks.
Alternatively, you can download this theme and install it on a test site.
Note: The above screenshot has the Launch button for launching the 1-click theme demo, simplifying theme testing. Thanks to the InstaWP Launcher Chrome Extension.
As we can see, this theme has images and even text included. Developers only have to replace the text or images according to their requirements. Not much effort is required.
You need to keep in mind that one website will have only one theme active at a time. However, developers can change the themes without any worries. Developers can pick a preferred theme directly from the WordPress.com Theme Directory or other marketplaces like Elegant Themes.
Let’s introduce templates to you. And by template, we mean InstaWP templates here.
WordPress Templates are about layout and functionalities. Along with helping you decide how the website will look to end-users, templates will help developers add certain functionalities to the website.
Templates will help developers configure the website, have a plugin installed, and customize the page and post layout and everything else that you want to include in your website. You can also call InstaWP’s WordPress templates the blue-print of outlines of your live site.
WordPress Theme v/s InstaWP Templates
To provide you with better clarity on the purpose and meaning of themes and WordPress templates, have a look at this head-to-head comparison between them.
A WordPress theme is a complete website design package in which we decide the design, style, colors, and layout of a website. However, the template is one of the parts of themes and is a specific file that you can use to configure pages of a website.
When you create a template in InstaWP, you can add a theme to it, customize it, add block-based pages to it, define various formats for various page types, enable plugins, change configuration, and add content to it. It is more like a complete reusable website ready for dispatch or display.
WordPress themes decide the design of the entire website, but InstaWP templates can decide the configuration, design, and plugins for your site.
They both use different technologies. Themes use CSS stylesheets that play the part of controlling the design elements. For using themes effectively, having a basic understanding of CSS and HTML is important. Templates are more like configurations or WP instances.
These were the common differences between themes and templates. While they both differ from each other, they are crucial in designing a website.
Benefits of Using WordPress Templates
If you manage to find a reliable template and start using it for development, you’re going to bag multiple benefits such as:
Saving a great deal of development time
As templates have pre-built functionalities, developers don’t have to make any extra efforts to integrate these functionalities into the website. They can just pick a suitable template, enter the site details, and have a website ready in no time.
Saving development cost
If templates are not used, development teams have to put in more effort to have a site ready. You may even need additional resources for this at times.
Achieving design consistency
Using templates, it’s easy for anyone to maintain consistency in the layout and design of the entire website. Without much effort, these resources will help you achieve a cohesive look and feel across the website.
Having a seamless development experience
Most templates come with user-friendly customization options. Hence, developers don’t have to have any specific technical understanding to use them. Anyone can use them to get started with website development.
Access to responsive website designs
Many modern templates are designed to be responsive. They will automatically adjust to different screen sizes and devices.
Wide range of features
With a quality theme, it’s easy to have your hands on a wide range of features like contact forms, page templates, installed plugins, WordPress configurations, pre-set configurations, customer widgets, and many more. With the help of these features, development becomes easy and saves a great deal of time.
Templates from reliable resources are constantly updated so that security issues are not here to bother you. These updated templates are capable of addressing security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues with full perfection. Using such templates reduces the risk of security breaches and ensures your website remains protected.
Having an SEO-friendly website ready
Templates are mostly designed to be SEO-optimized. As designed for reuse, designers ensure that they have clean codes, have fast loading time, and use fully optimized layouts. So, when you use these resources, you will have websites that are already SEO-optimized.
All in all, WordPress templates are here to eliminate errors and complexities from the customary web development process. With their help, creating a professional and functional website is a child’s play. But, if you want to make the most of these benefits, you need to find a template from trusted sources and use the best practices that we will discuss next.
Where To Find Ideal Templates For Your WordPress Projects
If you’ve decided to start your next WordPress project template, you need to know the right place from where you can get them. Well, many marketplaces can help you, and we’re going to talk about the most trusted ones.
If you’re looking for premium themes and templates, ThemeForest is the right place to be. You can find a wide range of professional themes and templates for your projects.
GitHub can help you find open-source WordPress templates. But, you have to invest heavy time and effort to review the code quality of available options. Also, you won’t be able to find reliable support if you pick a theme or template from here.
Out of all the above-mentioned options, InstaWP is the only place where you can not only find suitable templates but also help you create one and monetize them.
Yes, this is what InstaWP does.
This versatile platform allows you to create, share, buy, download, and monetize templates with ease.
The platform offers a wide range of tools like pre-made configurations, DB editor, integrations, SSH, and many more to ease down the entire process of template creation.
As you create a shared template, you can sync it completely with the parent site.
You can share these templates with your team, link Git repositories, and get a sharable link for these shared templates.
InstaWP is here to empower developers so that they can create impressive templates for their WordPress sites that can also be useful for sandboxing.
Want to create your own template and resell/reuse it?
A Wise Advice
When you’re going to use templates from 3rd party sources or even develop them on your own, don’t make the mistake of using them before exhaustive testing. Templates that are not thoroughly tested for security and compatibility are going to give you serious headaches.
If a template is not compatible with pre-existing components of your website, it can impact the functionality of the live site. Templates without security testing can end up injecting cyber vulnerabilities into your main site.
This is why using staging sites is highly recommended. Staging sites are the replica of your live site and have all its features and functionalities. So, you can use picked templates and check their security, compatibility, and other aspects on staging sites. So, go ahead and get it.
Shaping an outstanding, functional, and captivating WordPress project is indeed a tough task. Yet, developers have to get indulged in it as WordPress is one of the most famous and viable CMS we have.
To simplify your job, it is better to create several InstaWP templates for the diverse requirements you often deal with. Doing so can help developers cut down development time, bring great customizations, and lead to the development of highly secured websites.
Are WordPress templates and themes the same?
No, WordPress themes and templates are not the same. Themes control the layout of a website, while templates work on the layout of individual pages or posts. If you are talking about InstaWP Templates, they are more like a reusable copy of a live site. They can have a theme, several plugins, a particular configuration, a set of dummy data, and so on installed on it.
Who uses a WordPress theme?
WordPress themes are useful for anyone who wants to have a design-centric WordPress site ready in no time – and for once. WordPress development agencies, freelancer developers, bloggers, and anyone who needs to have a quick site development turnout can use WordPress templates.
Does InstaWP offer instant site templates or themes?
Yes, InstaWP offers a wide range of templates through the built-in store in its platform that you can use with your existing WordPress site. You can also design your private and shared templates from scratch.
Are free themes/templates better than premium options?
Free themes and templates will have limited functionalities and customization capabilities as compared to premium ones. They will also not provide technical support to end-users. But, as they don’t involve investment, they are the right choice to make for someone who has a limited budget. You can find amazing free and premium templates when you build with InstaWP.
Do you need to know coding to use themes and templates?
No, coding is not required to use themes and templates. Both of them offer great customization capabilities that you can use to add or delete designs or functionalities. While coding is not essential, having some basic understanding will help you have advanced customization.
Should you sandbox templates and plugins?
Yes, you should always sandbox plugins and templates before using them on a live site. No matter how trustworthy a theme or plugin seems, sandboxing themes and plugins is a great move to make sure that picked themes and plugins are not messing up with your live site. WordPress Sandbox is the biggest savior for developers and designers, to be honest.