In an earlier article, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about WordPress themes and what makes WordPress themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then make sure to check out this post: About WP Themes – A Guide For Newbies
In this article, we will show you where to look for free and paid themes for your website. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to ensure 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 type of web design template used on WordPress-driven blogs and designed specifically on the WordPress CMS platform.
Many skilled website designers and web design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community can access thousands of unique WordPress themes designed for a wide range of purposes.
Finding Great Great Themes For WordPress: How To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
If you were to browse over to Google and type something like this:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for blogs (type in whatever your business, search topic or blog 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 simple.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes
Before we get started, you need to know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a different article. For now, let’s just be covering 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 site’s web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that typically, you’ll find both Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WP themes are generally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be made available to users as Premium (paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories & Theme Development Firms
There are two different types of places where themes can be found. The first is in WP theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent theme development firms.
WP theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WP 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 marketplace.
Some of the bigger 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 shops typically will design both free and premium WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual developer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme design and development companies.
Many commercial theme design firms 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 the best themes for your website or blog.
Where To Find Great Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress 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 and even your entire business at risk.
The WP 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 comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory complies with certain quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of great-looking FREE WordPress themes from the official WordPress Themes Directory, go here:
You Don’t Even Have To Leave Your WP Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WP dashboard with just a few mouse clicks.
Use The Theme Filters
WordPress provides a filtering function inside the dashboard area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colours, Layout and Features …
This makes it easy to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a orange colour design, with a 3-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed without problems on all devices (e.g. PCs, tablets and smartphones) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring up only WordPress themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs you nothing to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of built-in customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside of 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many free 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 updates were made, then it’s best to think carefully about using it, as WordPress changes quite frequently and new features can create conflicts and errors with older code.
If you’re just getting started and your website or blog 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 any money on paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what works for you and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding paid WP themes.
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, you can 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 WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme creators to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,500 premium WP themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view more themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and environmental blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites and advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for portfolios, freelancers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to teaching, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. mobile-switching 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 stores, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Go here to discover quality premium WP themes in the ThemeForest theme website:
(click on the above images to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme directory where you can browse thousands of 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 WP themes in its directory, but you can easily find WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or Business themes, etc.) using the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WP themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the images above to see all Mojo themes)
Mojo is a directory for premium-quality WP 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 WP themes, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Business themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WordPress themes in the Mojo directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s turn our attention to commercial WordPress theme shops.
Commercial And Independent Theme Design Companies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view all SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs great themes and offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WordPress theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view all WooThemes themes)
StoreFront Themes creates gorgeous 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 above images to view more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework that lets users 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 website developers prefer using this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that it is always compatible with the latest WordPress version, 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 framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this sounds too technical, don’t worry 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)
WordPress Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WordPress theme-checking tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress theme and plugins a website is using.
This is a great resource if you ever come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site uses WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a web site was built using 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 the site was built on WordPress software, but it will also list the WordPress theme being used on the site and list any plugins it detects.
- To use this online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Does My Web Site 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 directory.
A well-known method used by many hacking groups and syndicates that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up sites offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and distribute modified themes and plugins containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress theme repository, or use established and trusted theme vendors.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site may be infected with malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your theme files. This plugin scans the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and then outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Source: WordPress.org Plugin Page)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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