Why it’s Stupid to Call a Theme a “CMS Theme”

Why it’s Stupid to Call a Theme a “CMS Theme”

Back when I started using WordPress I remember that the web was just starting to pick up on the idea of WordPress as a CMS. More and more designers and developers were using WordPress to build websites, rather than just blogs.

I was asked by someone to build a static website for them. Most of my previous open source CMS experience was with Joomla! but thought it would be overly complex for the job. Instead I decided to use WordPress. I sat down and started hunting for a “CMS Theme.”

There were lots of themes that I came across but most of them were geared towards blogging. I was adamant that I definitely only wanted something called a “CMS Theme.”

Now I realize that attitude was stupid, and is becoming increasingly stupid.


Because WordPress is the Content Management System and the theme is simply the theme. There’s no point in conflating the two. By calling a theme a “CMS Theme” you’re implying that it’s impossible to use WordPress as a CMS without it. However, there are now hundreds of themes out there calling themselves “CMS Themes.”

It is possible to use WordPress’ CMS functionality with any theme, whether it’s a blogging theme or a business theme or a gaming theme or a fried chicken theme. It’s pretty much a matter of setting a static front page, making some nice permalinks and off you go.

Of course, these days you can get funky with Custom Post Types and Taxonomies but you don’t need a theme to play with them. A tiny bit of coding aptitude or a plugin will get all of the results that you need.

WordPress = CMS

Theme = Theme

In the spirit of getting rid of outdated, outmoded words when it comes to our themes, I propose that we ditch the term “CMS Theme” because it’s stupid.