What are the themes and plugins?

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Usually when we are looking for information and guides to customize our WordPress website, we repeatedly come across the terms themes and plugins, but do we really know what they are and how important they are for our website?

Well, regarding the importance, the answer is simple, the way our website looks and how practical it is to use it has to do with the attraction and the level of response it will have on the user. If your content is of quality and original, the aesthetics and performance of your site must be too.

Below, we explain a little more about each one.

Themes

Themes or templates are the set of programming files that give the basic appearance to your website, blog or store. That is, they are a base that defines the main structure of the site and provides us with a pre-defined style of colors, shapes and effects for the elements of the web.

The Theme or Template, usually determines the following basic aspects:

  • The background color, the style of the footer and menus.
  • The structure: how and where the content is displayed within each type of page/post, groups of images, slider, titles, menus, products, among others,
  • Typographies: the appearance of texts such as titles and buttons.
  • Colors: of buttons, backgrounds, typographies, among others.
  • Icons: shopping cart, search engine, social networks, among others.
  • From where you edit each of the customization details

But that's not all, as the most complete themes usually integrate pre-built plugins with which you can prepare your website to achieve certain functionalities or a certain way of editing. For example, they may include:

  • Specific functionalities focused on a specific sector (e.g. reservations in an office or online sales of a take-out).
  • A specific visual builder that facilitates page design with drag-and-drop tools (as with Divi or Beaver Builder).
  • Demo pages with standardized layouts that you can edit and adapt.

When choosing a good template, we must also take into account the optimization of this and not choose a template with features that we do not need because it overloads the web unnecessarily.

Choosing a good template is a very good start, but you have to be clear that it is not enough to just install a cool template and "go for it". It requires adaptation, design and customization work to turn it into something genuine and useful for your business.

Take a look at the most popular themes catalog on the market:

Plugins

A plugin is a fragment or component of complementary code made to extend the functions of web applications that serve to make the user experience much more comfortable and complete.

When we install a plugin, we acquire a new feature. If, for example, you have a WordPress blog and you want to add a small online store to sell some products, you should install the WooCommerce plugin that adds the store functionality to your website.

There are countless plugins; they range from the most basic to the most complex functionality and are available from multiple developers. We develop custom plugins ourselves when the project requires it.

There are some plugins that are free, others are paid and most are "freemium" so they have a free version that can be extended with more and better features if you pay the price.

As these are new code fragments that are related to the theme, database and other plugins, there may be incompatibilities between them that generate all kinds of errors. That is why it is important to choose the right plugins and not to overload your website with too many plugins that slow down your site. In future posts we will talk about the plugins that we consider most useful and essential for WordPress. You can download great plugins from this site:

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