The Ultimate Resource Guide To Finding the Best WordPress Themes
Finding the Best WordPress Themes
In a separate article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about themes and what makes themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then go here to read the post: An Overview of WordPress Themes
In this article we show you where to browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WordPress site. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a special kind of web design template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many individual website designers and website design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community enjoy access to thousands of uniquely-designed themes covering a wide-range of applications.
Finding the Best WordPress Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to browse over to Google and type something like the following:
- best paid WordPress themes
- best WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for artists (type in whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of information to sort through in the search results.
So, to help you save time and make things easier, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a separate post. For now, please note that we will only cover the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this article, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are both Free and Paid themes made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces vs WordPress Theme Agencies
There are mostly 2 kinds of places where you can find WordPress themes. The first place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme developers.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are big aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software marketplace.
Some of the larger marketplaces don’t just sell WordPress themes. They can also sell WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WP theme development firms can design both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of designer, to large theme design and development companies.
As you will see, many commercial or independent theme stores sell their themes exclusively on their own web sites, but some will also list their themes in marketplaces and directories, or even create a free or “lite” version of their themes for free directories .
Let’s now show you where to find the best WordPress themes for your website.
Where To Find the Best WordPress Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason why, is because –as many free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can contain malicious code and place your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also relies on a theme review team to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Repository, go here:
Look For Free Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use Theme Feature Filters
WordPress has a built-in filtering function inside the dashboard area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly pink color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed without problems across all devices (e.g. the PCs, smartphones and tablets used by visitors to browse your site) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and bring back only WordPress themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using the Best Free WordPress Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme on your site. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The “cons” to using free WordPress themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the developer to provide urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed themes will ask you for a donation to help cover their costs of providing support and updates, bug fixes, etc..
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been over a year since any changes were last made, then we advise you to think twice about downloading it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website is still relatively new, it’s a good idea to start with a free theme until you have a better idea of the kind of site design that would work best for your site before spending money on premium themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for you and your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding premium themes.
The Best Premium WordPress Themes
If you are looking for themes with stunning web design, or professional quality yet highly affordable WordPress web design themes with a distinctive look, unique customizable options and great support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WordPress Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the largest and best-known theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WP theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,500 premium themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to browse all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and green living blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for visual galleries, crafts, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to travel, buy & sell, community resources, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for online shopping, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for gossip blogs, restaurants, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, churches, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for travel, trades or professionals (repairers, engineering, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and romance tips and advice blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, green living sites or blogs … even themes you can use if your site is still under-construction!
Go here to browse many great themes in the ThemeForest site: ThemeForest
(click on the above images to see all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can search through many quality premium themes from independent theme creators.
As stated on their website …
“Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.”
Creative Market doesn’t just sell WP themes in its directory, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Business themes, etc.) from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market marketplace here: Creative Market
(click on the above images to view more themes at Mojo)
Mojo is a marketplace for premium-quality WordPress themes where theme vendors are strongly encouraged to provide customers with lifetime support and upgrades.
According to their website …
“Mojo is a marketplace where anyone can find, rate and buy quality themes & templates in one trusted place.”
Like Envato and Creative Market, Mojo doesn’t focus exclusively on WordPress themes, but you can easily find WP themes and search through their theme categories by choosing the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WordPress themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here: Mojo Themes
Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s look at commercial theme developers.
Commercial Theme Design Houses
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates functional premium themes for WordPress and offers a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their WP theme portfolio.
(click on the above images to view more themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating WP themes for e-commerce. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to see all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress provides the best WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like the Genesis framework not only because it ‘s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that themes are always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you have made to your theme.
This is because StudioPress themes use something called “child themes,” which are like “skins” that sit on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this all sounds too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned about it. StudioPress themes are easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing StudioPress themes is that one low price allows you to receive unlimited support and updates, and you can install your themes on unlimited domains.
For more details, click here: StudioPress.
(click on the images above to see all StudioPress themes)
Let’s finish this article with a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WP theme and plugin search tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme and plugins a website uses.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme is being used on the site.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site runs on WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a site was built using WordPress: Is Your Site Powered By WordPress?
Using this tool is very simple. Just enter the site’s domain name into the field and click the search icon or hit “Enter.” The tool will then not only confirm if a site has been built using WordPress software, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use the tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn how to use this tool go here: How To Check If a Website Was Built With WordPress
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known method used by a number of hackers and cyber criminals is to put up websites offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and distribute themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org repository, or use established and trusted theme download sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site may be infected with potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WordPress theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin, WordPress.org)
I hope that you have found the information on how to find the best WordPress themes useful.
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