Whether you are building your own website, or are in the process of working with a designer to get your site built, understanding the difference between WordPress themes, child themes and page builders is important.
The first thing to consider is how WordPress themes work.
WordPress themes are the design elements that make up the appearance of your website – kind of like the bodywork on a car.
The engine of the car is WordPress, the bodywork is the theme and the in-car entertainment system is the websites plugin. Simple.
WordPress themes explained
As I said, a WordPress theme is the set of elements that make up the design, or look and feel of your site.
Themes often include templates (Home page, About page, Services page etc.) that give each page a unique layout. A theme can also affect the layout of your menu items, logo and footer items.
The creation of WordPress themes is a market of its own, with theme designers from all over the world, designing and selling premium themes for anything from £10.00 to £100.00.
However, there are many FREE themes available direct from your WordPress dashboard, these can be previewed, installed and customised to match your design requirements.
Once a theme is either installed or uploaded (if it’s a premium theme), then you can customise it using the WordPress live customiser, or by adjusting the themes own design options.
WordPress child themes explained
A child theme is a theme that inherits its features and functions from the parent theme, but can be customised individually.
By customising the child theme, you are preserving the code on the parent theme; this is important because themes can often be updated by their developer.
If you had made design changes to the parent theme, when it was updated you may lose those changes, which is why customising a child theme is much safer.
Page builders explained
In addition to themes, are page builders. These are not themes (or child themes), but plugins that you install to give you more design customisation features.
Going back to the car analogy, think of a page builder as giving you the ability to add a spoiler or a set of chrome wheels to your car.
Page builders give you the ability to create amazing pages quickly and easily – many of them feature a ‘drag and drop’ interface, meaning you need to know very little (if anything) about coding.
So whilst a theme dictates how the overall look of a website is achieved, page builders do what they say on the tin – they give you the ability to build a page using individual design elements.
I hope this blog post has given you an insight into the difference between WordPress themes, child themes and page builders. If you want to know more, get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.