What is the Difference between Themes and Template?
WordPress has soared in popularity across the world and very often users interchange the words theme and templates. But there are certain distinct differences that power users will tell you about. Two kinds of businesses require WordPress themes and templates. First are those who have an internet-only business model while the second category are those who know that their next set of customers are on the internet and they need to have a heavy online presence in order to create the right catchment area for the brand. We will discuss the same in detail in the following passages. In simple terms, a template is a single page layout within a Premium WordPress Themes. A theme, therefore in technical terms is the complete design of the website.
Delving down in history to understand the evolution of themes
WordPress has gained popularity over other web design technologies only because of the multiplicity of themes it offers and the ease of use it offers in online publishing. Earlier when designers used to upload pages on the web, everything had to be manually coded in HTML like paragraphs, tables, background colour and Microsoft frontpage automated the process which is now HTML 5.
Hypertext markup language is immensely beneficial for creating web pages where non-linear reading occurs. XML or extensible markup language helps when you must create a family tree or organizational charts in terms of hierarchy in a platoon or military unit. You get to create 50 rows and 100 columns in XML. Cascading style sheets are best created using Dreamweaver software wherein you can spot the missing tags and other such omissions. But in a WordPress theme, the web designer has already done all the coding, you just to buy and install the theme. The moment you install the theme from the WordPress admin area, the theme files are then downloaded to the web server automatically.
Everything that you wanted about your web page will be found within the zip file that you need to unzip. The stylesheet is the most important part of the WordPress theme and everything regarding its typography –like colour selection, headers, footers, sidebar positioning, font face, font style, margins, indentation, line spacing is contained in the theme.
Freemium themes are offered in the official WPtheme directory while paid themes can be obtained from WordPress marketplaces like ENVATO or through resellers or WordPress designers. Resellers of WordPress are making millions of dollars as WordPress affiliates and millions of themes have been sold to website owners till date. The scalability, ease of use, the responsiveness of WordPress themes is unmatched.
WordPress templates, you will find within the theme when you install the theme on your machine and unzip the zip files. You will see a vast collection of folders that are the nuts and bolts of the theme and within each folder will be many more folders. Some files in these folders are templates that you can select for your website. If all this sounds complex, then leave the design aspect to professionals, else if WordPress interests you, read on to sharpen your concepts about WordPress.
Have a look at the Example – Best HTML Templates
Let us get a bit technical for power users
In the WordPress universe, the theme is where all templates have been categorized. Every template can be saved with different content while maintaining the overall style and flow of the website. Updating the HTML/CSS of one of your themes will update all other templates in the theme. WordPress theme frameworks allow users to change many options and ensure that the site renders perfectly on every kind of device.
Example: The emails that you send from the drag n drop email builder functionality in your website are sent using a predefined template. It could be a plain or custom designed template.
Archive.php is one template that you will see in all themes and it lists out all content published till date on the website either in single post view or archive view. In some themes, this archive.php may be replaced by a template single.php also which details all the single blog posts.
Tweaking WordPress themes
There are separate files that can be applied to every page in WordPress and this ensures you get a different template for different pages. A bit of programming knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP goes a long way in tweaking the theme to include or exclude a template. You just cannot install a template on the web server like you install a theme through the WordPress admin area on the dashboard.
Special templates can be created for separate pages like you might want to create just two sidebars, when the theme may have only one sidebar. Such customizations can be done by a freelance web designer if you do not have the time or in-house expertise.
Refer to template hierarchy to learn
All users of Drupal call templates as themes as this is how things work in the Drupal universe.
- Page templates in WordPress further add to the confusion. Themes can help business owners manage their website on their own by controlling the appearance of the website.
- Referring to the template hierarchy can help you figure out which template can be used on which area of the website.
- Installing a single template is not possible in WordPress yet, and you need to install a WordPress theme to do that.
- HTML and CSS together makeup themes and templates but creating your themes and templates require you to have advanced professional knowledge of HTML and CSS.
- Creating a single page template is far easier than creating a theme.
Special templates have special design features that can deliver special effects on screen. Themes will help you create an awesome online identity for yourself and help in laying the foundation of a brand that lasts a century.
Using page editors to full effect
If you desire a special contact us page for your website that is quite different from others, then you can do so through the full -width template with no sidebar. Not all WordPress themes have special templates and you can see them in the page editor. The page attribute box located just right to the page content
Understanding what theme frameworks do
Power users entrusted with the task of maintaining WordPress websites can turn or off certain features which they think can help in increasing the connection with consumers. Turning off or on certain features was impossible to do with a regular theme but you can now accomplish the same using theme frameworks. No prior programming knowledge is required in order to turn off or on certain features from within WordPress.
To understand page templates as a functionality better, you should understand the same with an example. If a business wants to add an automated sitemap in order to help users navigate the site better, then it can be done so using a page template. The whole idea behind creating automated sitemaps through page templates is to help visitors make the minimum number of hoops in order to find the information they desire.
If your theme, comes with just one default template then it would be tough to tweak it but if it has several page templates then it can be done easily through page templates.
If your theme offers all the functionalities that you desire, then its fine else you need to hire a developer to extend the theme with a custom page template. But not every theme can be extended as most websites seek mobile-friendly features to rank high in search engines. Also, it needs to be kept in mind that additional page templates can be created in only certain themes; if possible. Certain limitations do exist in WordPress but 99% of your requirements can be met through standard templates selling across the globe at interesting price points.
Responsive templates are the need of the hour as users view the same website and application from different devices depending on what they are carrying or battery level.
Last but not least, having good backups of your site content is a good practice and power users of WordPress often insist on it. There are themes for every occasion, event, cause and you need to have a discerning eye to spot the best theme for your business. Regularly updating the themes will help ion creating respect in the eyes of visitors who will love you for your thoughtfulness and inventiveness in designing your websites.
Through beautifully designed themes, you can give the big boys in your field a run for their money by walking away with their cream customers who might have an eye for good design and appetite to purchase the themes that you offer.
Sometimes freelance web designers also come up with extraordinary themes, features, functionalities that are not offered by commercial players. Any changes to these themes require permission from copyright owners, so it’s best to tweak freemium themes if customizations are heavy. Winning in the WordPress universe is easy, if you do things in the right way, then good results are bound to happen.