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Yes, an active WordPress theme is required for all WordPress websites. This is because WordPress does not contain any built-in display structure and depends on a WordPress theme to display the website’s content to the visitor.
Why Is An Active Theme Required
As I mentioned in my other article “Do I need plugins on WordPress?” WordPress Core contains all the necessary elements to build a fully functional website but depends on a theme to control the visual aspects of a website.
Some of the visual aspects controlled by a WordPress theme include but are not limited to the following:
- Layout: Themes control the unique layout of each element and page on your website on desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices.
- Typography: This determines how all the text elements (heading paragraphs, etc) are going to look on your website. Specifically the fonts, font size, font weight, letter, and line spacing, etc.
- Colors: Themes are responsible for the default colors used on pages and the individual elements on the website
- Media: They are also responsible for loading in and displaying images and other media items in the correct location.
Without an active WordPress theme, these integral visual aspects of a WordPress website would not be defined, therefore the website will not be able to be displayed to the visitor.
Types of WordPress Themes
There are three main types of WordPress themes that you can choose from. They are free, premium, or custom-coded themes.
These are simple themes with basic functionality or lite versions of premium themes that are available for free. Free themes can be found and downloaded from different websites around the web but the built-in WordPress repository is by far the most trusted and has the largest collection of free themes.
The good thing about free themes is that they allow WordPress users who don’t yet have the budget for a premium theme to get started with their website. However, not all free themes are made equally so depending on your selection you can end up with a theme that does more harm than good to your website.
Premium WordPress themes are high-quality themes that are often bundled with premium plugins that add advanced features and functionality to them. They are commonly sold at a price range of $20 USD to well over $75 USD. Although this may seem expensive they are well worth the price for what they offer.
Premium themes also offer customer support and are well documented compared to free themes.
These are themes that are developed and tailored to the specific needs and wants of an individual or business. They allow you to have a unique theme with a custom design that no one else can purchase or download.
There are two ways to acquire a custom theme. You can hire a developer to create one for you which typically costs around $1,500 USD – $5,000 USD. Alternatively, you can develop it yourself but you will require in-depth knowledge of web design and web development.
How to Select a WordPress Theme?
Here are some things that you should consider If you decide to use a free or premium theme.
- Does the theme offer the features that you want for your website?
- Is the theme well documented and does the developer offer customer support?
- Does the theme have a responsive layout for desktop, tablets, and smartphones?
- Is the theme compatible with the most popular plugins?
- Can the theme work with the Gutenberg, WPBakery or Elementor page builders?
- Does the theme have good reviews and ratings?
- Is it optimized for SEO?