In another post, we provide a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes themes so attractive to web site owners, then make sure to check out our post here: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this blog post, we show you where you can look for free and paid themes for your WP website or blog. You will also learn about the different types of WP theme resources and get tips on how to make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid having to deal with problems like lack of product support and poorly-coded themes.
As explained in our previous post, a WordPress theme is a unique type of web template that is used on WordPress-powered sites and designed specifically with WordPress in mind.
Many individual website designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of high quality themes covering a wide-range of uses.
Finding WP Themes: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to open up Google and search for key phrases like this:
- best paid WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best free WordPress themes for writers (or whatever your business, area of interest or blog is about)
You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of 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 really 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 separate article. For now, let’s just focus on 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 site’s web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are thousands of Free and Paid themes being made available. Free themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be listed as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces And Directories Commercial And Independent Theme Agencies
There are two kinds of places where themes can be found. The first is in WP theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WordPress theme stores.
WP theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are big aggregators of themes. 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 marketplace.
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 theme vendors can develop both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme developer, to large theme design companies.
Most 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 the best themes for your website.
Finding A Great WordPress Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Themes Directory)
The official WordPress.org theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WordPress themes for free. 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 learned– downloading free software, add-ons, apps, templates or themes from untrustworthy places can put your computer, digital presence and even your entire business at risk.
The WordPress.org directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your website, but it also uses a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and make sure that each theme listed in the directory meets high quality and security standards.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Directory, go here:
Look For Free Themes Inside Your Own WP 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 within your WP dashboard with just a couple of clicks.
Use WP 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 easy to find what you are looking for. For example, you could search for themes with a gray color design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in another article where we discuss the importance of choosing “responsive” WP themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed correctly across all devices (e.g. computers, tablets and smartphones) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you do just that …
… and find only WP themes that are “responsive” …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free WP Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that it costs nothing to download and use the theme on your site. 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 downside of using free WP 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 personal support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most freely distributed 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 updates were last made, then it’s best to think carefully about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your site 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 any money on premium themes or even on custom theme design. Who knows, the theme you downloaded for free may just be the thing that works for you and helps to convert your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, it’s time to turn our attention to finding premium themes.
If you are looking for themes with stunning design, or professional quality yet highly affordable WordPress web design themes with a distinctive look, unique customizable options and responsive support, you can search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
WP Theme Marketplaces And Directories
ThemeForest is one of the biggest 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 listed (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to browse all themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for general blogs and e-magazines, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for medical sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes suitable for visual galleries, writers, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about travel, buy & sell, , etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for film & tv 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. home sales, etc.)
- Retail – themes for specialty stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, landing pages, 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Go here to browse many quality premium themes in the ThemeForest website:
(click on the above images to view all themes on Creative Market)
Creative Market is another leading WP theme directory where you can browse 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 marketplace, but you can easily go through all of their WordPress themes and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market directory here:
(click on the above images 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 WordPress themes, but you can easily go through all of their WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories from the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WordPress themes in the Mojo marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial WP theme design companies.
Commercial WP Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality 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 creates stunning premium themes for WordPress and offer a membership option that gives you access to their entire WordPress theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to view all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes creates beautiful e-commerce themes for WordPress. Their themes also integrate well with some of the most powerful e-commerce platforms and plugins available.
(click on the above images to view all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework that lets you 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 your content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many website developers like the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that it is always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update themes built using the Genesis framework without losing any customizations you may 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 design.
If this all sounds way 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 entitles 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 browse more StudioPress themes)
Here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WordPress theme-checking tool that allows you to easily detect what WP theme 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 the site 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 if a site is WP-driven: Is It A WP 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 not only confirm if a site has been built using WordPress, 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 more about using this tool go here: Is My Site WordPress?
We said this earlier and it’s worth repeating again: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A commonly-used tactic employed by many hacking groups and syndicates that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes and plugins containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for key phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress.org repository, or use well-known and trusted sites.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may contain potentially malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to perform a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and then presents you with a report …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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