In another article, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about themes and what makes WP themes so special, then go here to read our post: About WordPress Themes – A Guide For Non-Technical WP Users
In this article, you will learn where you can discover many fantastic free and paid themes for your WP website or blog. 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 how to avoid experiencing problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in another article, a WordPress theme is a unique kind of web template that is used on WordPress-driven websites and blogs and designed specifically with the WP platform in mind.
Many talented web designers and web design companies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of exciting WP themes covering an extensive range of uses and applications.
Finding WP Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to open up Google and search for the following:
- best free WordPress themes
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for authors (enter whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in your search listings.
So, to help you save time and make your life easier, let’s just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we start, you should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different post. In this post, we’ll only be covering the topic of finding themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, as these give you more freedom, more options and more control over the design of your blog.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s important to know that there are thousands of Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WordPress themes are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be listed as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces vs Commercial Theme Design Companies
There are mostly 2 kinds of places where you can find themes. The first is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme companies.
WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are big theme stores. WordPress theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers find 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 WP plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent theme development firms can design both free and commercial themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme development companies.
Most commercial 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 find great themes for your website or blog.
Where To Find WP Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WP Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to find free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WP themes. The reason for this, is because –as some free software users have learned– 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 WP directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your WordPress site, but it also relies on a review team comprised of dedicated and hard working volunteers to review and ensure that each theme listed in the directory meets specific quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official WP Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WP dashboard with a few mouse clicks.
Use The WordPress Theme Filters
WordPress provides a filtering function inside the admin area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colors, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a orange color design, with a three-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another post where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will work across all devices (e.g. your PC, tablet and smartphone) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring back only WP themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and come with a number of built-in customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside to using free WP 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 immediate support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free themes will ask you for a donation to help cover costs of providing support.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been more than a year since any changes were last made, then it’s best to think twice about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your site is still quite 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 any money on paid themes. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for your site and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific requirements, let’s 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 ongoing support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Marketplaces
ThemeForest is one of the largest and most popular WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 15,000 premium themes listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the above images to view more themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and parenting blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for design, cv and resume writing, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites related to directory listings, dining out & restaurants, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for stores, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage consellor blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing environmental issues, 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)
Go here to browse many great themes in the ThemeForest theme website:
(click on the images above to see all Creative Market themes)
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 Wedding themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the above images to browse more Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory 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 go through all of their WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Responsive or eCommerce themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WordPress themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s look at commercial and independent theme vendors.
Commercial And Independent WP Theme Shops
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of professional quality premium WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to see more themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates stunning premium themes that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offer a membership option that gives you access to all themes in their WordPress theme collection.
(click on the above images to browse all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront specializes in WP themes for e-commerce. StoreFront 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 WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key designs with beautiful frames for the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many website developers prefer using this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework regularly up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that themes are always compatible with the latest WordPress version, but because you can update your themes 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 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 themes from StudioPress 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 themes from StudioPress)
Let’s finish this post with a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That is a free WP theme-checking tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a site is using (including parent and child WP themes).
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme the site is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site uses WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a website uses WordPress: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Web Site And WP-Checking Tools
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 not only confirm whether or not a site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WordPress plugins detected.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn more about this tool go here: Does My Blog Run On WordPress?
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known tactic used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even display on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress theme repository, or use established and trusted theme download sites.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site could contain malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WordPress theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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