In a separate article, we have written a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to learn more about themes and what makes WP themes so special, then make sure to check out this article: A Basic Guide To Understanding WP Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where you can look for free and paid themes for your WordPress website. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to make sure that you get the right themes for your needs and how to avoid dealing with problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.
As we’ve explained in our previous article, a theme is a special type of web design template used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed to work specifically on the WordPress platform.
Many website designers and website development houses create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users have access to thousands of uniquely-designed WP themes covering a wide-range of uses and applications.
Where To Find Great Great Themes For WordPress: Your Time-Saving Guide
If you were to browse over to Google and type the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- best free WordPress themes
- best paid WordPress themes for authors (enter 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 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 start, you should know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in a different article. To keep things simple, we’ll only 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 the design of your website.
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid WP themes made available. Free themes are normally distributed as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they can be listed as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WordPress Theme Marketplaces & Theme Development Firms
There are two different types of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second are the commercial and independent WP theme developers.
Theme marketplaces and WP 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 visitors search for these just like they would if they were shopping for apps on an app store or software directory.
Some of the bigger directories 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 WordPress theme developers typically design both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme designer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
As you will see, most commercial theme developers 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to find great WP themes for your blog.
Finding A Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Free WP Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download WP themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WordPress 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 contain malicious code and 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, but it also uses a review team comprised of dedicated and code-savvy volunteers to review and make sure that each theme in the directory meets specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, 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 directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and start using it directly from inside your WordPress dashboard with a few clicks.
Use The WordPress Theme Feature Filters
WordPress has a built-in 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 themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a blue color 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 using “responsive” themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed correctly across all devices (e.g. your visitors’ laptops, smartphones and tablets) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering option lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and bring back only themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free themes is that it’s free 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 features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The downside 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. Most free themes ask for donations 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 well over one year since any changes were last made, then think twice about using it, as the theme may have been abandoned by its developer.
If you’re just getting started and your website 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 money on paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for your site and for converting your site visitors into customers.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free themes in the WordPress theme directory and how to filter your search for themes that meet specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to premium themes.
Premium 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, 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 well known WP theme marketplaces online.
ThemeForest allows many professional WordPress theme designers to showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are over 17,000 premium WP themes listed (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to browse more themes on ThemeForest)
If you visit the ThemeForest theme directory, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in various categories, such as:
- Blog/Magazine – themes for bloggers and news editorials, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for corporate sites or marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for visual galleries, ebook authors, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, social directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for online shopping, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, cafes, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. responsive themes.
- NonProfit – themes for nonprofit organizations, churches, etc.
- Real Estate – themes for real estate and real estate listings (e.g. rentals, etc.)
- Retail – themes for health products, trades or professionals (repairers, dental practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to software, landing pages, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and dating advice 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)
Browse thousands of quality premium themes in the ThemeForest theme directory here:
(click on the images above to see more Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can search through many quality premium WP 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 marketplace, but you can easily go through all of their themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories from their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market theme directory here:
(click on the above images to view more WP themes at Mojo.com)
Mojo is a marketplace for premium-quality 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 WordPress themes and narrow your search with theme categories by selecting the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great premium WP themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WordPress theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent theme shops.
Commercial WordPress Theme Agencies
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality premium themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on images above to see more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes designs great themes and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WordPress theme portfolio.
(click on the above images to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes creates stunning 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 see all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress designs WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that lets users 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 web developers like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework regularly updated to reflect best practices for coding and to ensure that themes remain always compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but because you can update your themes without losing any customizations you may have made to your theme.
This is because themes built with the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the framework and gives your site its unique look and feel.
If this all sounds too technical, don’t worry 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 view more themes from StudioPress)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
Let’s finish this article with some useful WordPress theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free web tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website or blog 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 is being used on the site.
Tip: If you can’t tell if a site runs on WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a web site was built using WordPress: Is It A WordPress Website?
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 a site was built on WordPress software, but it will also list the theme being used and list any WP plugins it detects.
- To use this tool visit the website here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn how to use this tool go here: How To Check If Your Web Site Was Built Using WordPress
A word of warning: When choosing 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 websites and directories offering “Free” WordPress themes all over the web and then distribute modified themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WordPress themes from the official WordPress theme directory, or use well-known and reputable theme vendors.
If you have any doubts about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog could be infected with malware or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to scan your WP theme files. The plugin scans the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of malicious code and presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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