In an earlier post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of using WP themes and what makes WordPress themes so revolutionary in terms of website design, then go here to read the post: An Introduction to WordPress Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where to search 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 make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid having to deal with problems like lack of customer support and poor coding.
As explained in another post, a theme is a special kind of web template used on WordPress-driven blogs and designed specifically in the WP content management system.
Many skilled web designers and website development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of excellent WordPress themes designed to cover many purposes and needs.
Finding Great Great Themes For WordPress: Let’s Simplify Things!
Let’s say you were to fire up Google and type something like this:
- best free WP themes
- WordPress themes free
- best responsive WordPress themes for artists (or whatever your business, area of interest or website is about)
Chances are that you are going to get an overwhelming amount of junk to sort through in your search results.
So, to help you save time and make your life 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 should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in a different article. To keep things simple, please note that we will only be covering 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 WP Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that there are both 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 can be licensed for use as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces And Directories vs Commercial Theme Stores
There are two kinds of places where WP themes can be found. The first place is in WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second type of place are the commercial and independent WP theme shops.
Theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories are large aggregators of themes. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and customers search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
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 WP theme agencies can create both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of developer, to large web and theme development companies.
Most commercial theme design firms sell 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 WordPress theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for the best themes for your website.
Finding Great Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download free WordPress themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme directory you should use when looking for free WordPress themes. The reason for this, 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 and even your entire business at risk.
The WP theme directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your WP site, but it also uses a theme review team comprised of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets their standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:
Look For Free Themes Without Leaving Your Own WordPress Dashboard
Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every WP theme in the WordPress.org directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with just a few mouse clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Feature Filter
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 predominantly pink color design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the post where we discuss the importance of using “responsive” WordPress themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will display correctly on all devices (e.g. PCs, tablets and smartphones) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and display only WordPress themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WordPress themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme on your site. An added plus, is that 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 ”cons” to 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 immediate 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 over one year since any change was made, then think carefully 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 theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded could be exactly what 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 theme directory and ways to filter your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to paid themes.
Paid WordPress 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 ongoing 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 largest and most popular WordPress theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,000 premium WP themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view more ThemeForest themes)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WP themes in a range of categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for personal blogs and green living blogs, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for government sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, cv and resume writing, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes ideal for sites about directory listings, classifieds, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for selling products online, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for music and bands blogs, cafes, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, charities, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for beauty products, trades or professionals (repairers, chiropractors, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to apps, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for topics related to activism, parenting 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 find great premium WP themes in the ThemeForest themes site:
(click on the images above to browse all Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through thousands of 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 WordPress themes in its directory, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:
(click on the above images to see more 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 browse hundreds of WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium themes in the Mojo theme directory here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme directories, let’s turn our attention to commercial WordPress theme design companies.
Commercial Theme Vendors
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a great selection of high quality WP 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 great themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and also offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing WordPress theme collection.
(click on the images above to browse more WooThemes themes)
StoreFront specializes in creating 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 browse more StoreFront themes)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that allows you to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key site 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 this framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that it always remains 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 look and feel.
If this all 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 images above to see all themes from StudioPress)
Here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free WordPress theme-checking tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website or blog is using (including parent and child themes).
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WordPress theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you don’t know if a site uses WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a site is powered by 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 if the site has been built using WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used on the site and list any plugins it detects.
- To use the online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That?
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Is My Site WordPress?
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the WordPress themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known method used by many hacking groups and networks that engage in cyber-crime is to put up websites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google for phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s safer, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org directory, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you are in doubt about whether a WordPress theme installed on your site may contain malicious or unwanted code, you can use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your theme files. The plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and then outputs a report with the results …
(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot Source: WordPress.org Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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