WordPress users of all backgrounds, whether beginner or advanced, know that the options for pre-designed design assets that you can download are endless. From WordPress themes, WordPress templates, Elementor Template Kits, and many others, web creators have a lot of variety to choose from.
In this post, we will evaluate the differences between WordPress themes, WordPress templates, and Elementor Template Kits. By doing this, we can fully understand the multiple resources available to web creators when creating a polished WordPress site. WordPress themes and templates alike can even be considered the building blocks of any WordPress website design workflow. For this reason, knowing the ins and outs of what these resources are can help every designer make an educated decision of whether a theme, a template, a template kit, and really any pre-designed design elements.
Knowledge is power, and every web creator wants their website to be powerful, with optimal performance and visual design assets that leave a lasting impression on every visitor.
What Are WordPress Themes?
A WordPress theme is the foundation for the complete design of a WordPress site, determining its general look and functionality by controlling the website’s front-end design. When we say the foundation for an entire design, what we mean is all of the web design components: color palettes, backgrounds, headers and footers, typography, page layouts, sizing, positioning, etc.
WordPress Themes and WordPress Templates are oftentimes mistakenly interchangeable. Themes on the WordPress repository usually force you to use a certain layout with limited customization. Theme markets use pre-designed layouts, and they are often bloated, slow and often they bundle a page builder that you’re forced to use.
In practice, a WordPress theme operates through a CSS stylesheet, which controls the design elements we mentioned earlier. As you may or may not know from basic HTML & CSS knowledge, stylesheets are flexible in that they can be applied to an entire site, or to specific elements as indicated by the designer or developer.
As you may know, WordPress themes are available for download in a number of places. They can be found in the official WordPress theme directory, or from a variety of WordPress theme marketplaces. You can even create your own WordPress theme, but that’s a discussion of it’s own. Once you have chosen your desired theme, you download and install the theme via your WordPress admin dashboard, and the theme files are then automatically downloaded to your web server. Once you apply a theme, it will be applied to your placeholder content and change the visual look of your site.
What Are WordPress Templates?
WordPress templates differ to WordPress themes in that they only pertain to certain website pages, and not to an entire website. In other words, a template is a single-page layout that’s available within a WordPress theme. Some WordPress themes actually come with different templates of their own, which can even include multiple variations of one type of page. For example, a theme may include a template for a blog post page, but that template will come in two versions: a full-width version and a narrow-width version.
The way WordPress templates are used is that they are applied to individual pages in the WordPress page editor. As such, there are often special templates for designated page-types, such as an archive page or a homepage.
In the context of Elementor, a “template” is one specific part of your theme. For example, you would have separate templates for your site’s:
- Blog post design
- Blog list design
You can then assemble these templates into a complete website, kind of like legos. To save time, Elementor even offers a feature called Template Kits that gives you pre-built sets of all the templates that you might need to create a cohesive design.
What Is the Difference Between a WordPress Theme and a Template?
In its simplest form, the difference between WordPress themes and WordPress templates is the number of pages each one pertains to. Themes affect the design of your entire site, and templates affect the layout of a single page on your site.
Another area where themes and templates differ is in terms of quantities; You can only have one WordPress theme active on your site at a time, yet you can have multiple templates on your site. Not only that, you can have one template for your blog, and another for your portfolio. In fact, one page on your website can even include more than one template. Meaning, you can have a Header template on one page, but a separate Footer template for that same page. Most commonly, when using templates, you’ll use a separate template for each area of your site.
What Are Templates Kits?
Template Kits are the perfect example of how templates are used for individual pages on a site. Elementor Template Kits are sets of page templates that are available as collections, which are centered around a certain theme or website-type.
If you take a look at our Templates Library, you’ll see what we mean. Template Kits are built as a group of individual templates intended to use for one cohesive site. For example, our real estate website template kit consists of templates for each page that a standard real estate company will need to use, as well as templates for individual components, namely pop ups, headers, footers, contact forms, and so on.
What’s unique about Template Kits is that they are built with a certain business goal or user persona in mind. For example, our online course website template kit. This website is geared towards marketers and industry-experts who want to create and deliver content in the form of an online course.
Based on this design persona, we already knew without much prior user research that the people using this template kit will be looking to target an audience that consists of well-seasoned internet users interested in a modern education medium such as online courses. We inferred from this that the website should have a modern, tech-savvy style to it with a design language that speaks to young professionals, for example, looking to grow their skills and develop their careers.
What Is the Difference Between a Template and a Template Kit?
They may sound synonymous, as it is true that both WordPress templates and Template Kits contain pre-determined design elements that can be used on a page-by-page basis or even on a component-based basis. However, Template Kits are, by default, a collection of templates that are not only theme-based, but are a “full package deal” which include every page and design component that a web creator will need to build a site of a certain category. More so, template kits are easier to edit and make them your own, while templates are more hard-coded.
There are, of course, many other differences between templates and Template Kits, including the following:
- Our Template Kit will include every page you need for a complete website: a homepage, a contact us page, an about us page, a gallery/project exhibition page when relevant, a blog archive and a single post page, as well as headers, footers, general pop ups, 404 pages, and so on.
- In the future, with Elementor Template Kits, you will be able to download an entire kit in one single click or choose which parts of our kit the download – in contrary to some WordPress themes (not templates) that don’t have this ability to import demo content.. some have it and some don’t, also from those who do have it, some have the ability to choose which part of the demo content to import and some don’t).
- With Elementor Template Kits, you have the flexibility to use Global Colors, Global Typography, Theme Style, etc., with the option to make exceptions and give different definitions to specific images, texts, title names, etc. as needed.
What Is the Difference Between a Template Kit and a Theme?
Template Kits are similar to themes in that each template in the kit uses the same color scheme, typography, spacing conventions, essentially the same brand assets and motifs. However, these kits are also different to themes in that you have more options to make your own design customizations;
Some more differences between Template Kits and WordPress themes:
- Many WordPress themes depend on external WordPress plugins in order for everything to be displayed properly. This means that in addition to installing the theme, you need to install additional plugins so that the website will function and display properly.
- You often need to use CSS coding in order to customize a theme or a template.
- Very often, WordPress themes will use shortcodes to build the content. In those cases, replacing the theme will cause the content to “break” and force you to rebuild the site. In contrast, Elementor Template Kits build the content directly inside Elementor, without shortcodes, and so if you use Elementor to create your content, changing the theme won’t “break” the content’.
You can choose, for example, to use a template element from the kit, yet unlink it from the template so that you can make specific changes to it in one instance. However, other places on the site where that template was used will not be affected by your “one-off” change.
Knowledge Is Power
Now because you have a better understanding of which WordPress resources are available for your site, you can see why assets such as Template Kits will make your web creation process even more robust, smooth and simple to complete. The scope of what you can do with WordPress sites knows no bounds, and maximizing the potential of Template Kits, WordPress themes, templates and page builders will allow you to breed better results than ever before.