In a separate post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of using WordPress themes and what makes themes so attractive to website owners, then go here to read the post: An Overview of WP Themes
In this blog post, we explain where to explore many wonderful free and paid themes for your site. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid experiencing problems like lack of support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previously-mentioned post, a theme is a special kind of web template used on WordPress-powered websites and designed to work specifically on the WordPress CMS platform.
Many website designers and web design houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of excellent WP themes designed for many website uses.
Where To Find Great WP Themes: How To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
If you were to go to Google and search for the following:
- best WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for churches (or whatever your business, search topic or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized 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 WP themes really simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we start, you need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a separate post. For now, please note that we will only cover themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WordPress themes are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be licensed for use as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs Commercial WP Theme Design Companies
There are mostly two different types of places where themes can be found. The first is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WordPress theme shops.
Theme marketplaces and theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers shop for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
Some of the larger theme stores 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 also develop both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme designer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Many commercial or independent theme companies 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 search for great themes for your website or blog.
Choosing Great Themes For Your WP Website
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WP 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 some free software users have discovered– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can place your computer, digital presence … even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website or blog, but it also relies on a team of theme reviewers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:
Search For Free WordPress Themes Inside Your Own WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from within your WP dashboard with a few mouse clicks.
Use WP Theme Feature Filter
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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with predominantly dark colour design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in an earlier post where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes ensure that your theme will display without problems across all devices (e.g. your computer, tablet and smartphone) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and display only themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it’s free to download and use the theme. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of built-in customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” of using free themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and you shouldn’t expect the theme developer to provide dedicated 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 more than 1 year since any change was last made, then you should 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, there is nothing wrong with using 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 a premium theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for you and for converting your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid WP 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, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and most popular WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme developers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,500 premium WordPress themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to see all ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and political blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for creative work, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about travel, classifieds, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for ecommerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for celebrity blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. commercial property, etc.)
- Retail – themes for retail stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and wedding 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!
When you purchase WordPress themes from ThemeForest, you will receive email notifications when a new update is available for your theme …
(ThemeForest sends you theme update notifications)
Browse lots of great WordPress themes in the ThemeForest themes directory here:
(click on the above images to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through many quality premium WordPress 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 WordPress themes in its directory, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WP theme designers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the images above to browse all themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a marketplace for premium 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. BuddyPress or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s look at commercial WP theme shops.
Commercial And Independent WP Theme Shops
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates functional premium themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and also offer a membership option that gives you access to their entire theme collection.
(click on the above images to view all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront creates amazing e-commerce themes for WordPress. StoreFront themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the images above to view more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers prefer using the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework regularly updated to reflect best coding practices and to make sure 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 a paint job that sits on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this all sounds too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned about it. StudioPress themes are very 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 above images to view more themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this article with a couple of useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free online tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website uses.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme the site is using.
Tip: If you don’t know whether a site runs on WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a website was built using WordPress: Is It A WordPress Blog?
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 whether or not the site has been built using WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any plugins detected.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn how to use this tool go here: The Easy Way To Tell If Your Blog Was Built Using WordPress Software
We suggested this earlier and it’s worth repeating it again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the approved WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A commonly-used tactic employed by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on Google’s search results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to only download free WordPress themes from the official WordPress directory, or use well-known and reputable sites.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site could be infected with malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WordPress theme files. The TAC plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and then presents you with a report with the results …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great WP free and paid responsive themes useful.
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