In a previous article, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you would like to know more about WP themes and what makes WordPress themes so special, then make sure to check out the post here: A Practical Guide To WordPress Themes
In this blog post, we explain where you can search for free and paid themes for your site. 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 poor theme coding.
As explained in another article, 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 professional web designers and website development firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of professional themes designed for many purposes.
Finding WordPress Themes: How To Avoid Information Overload
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and type key phrases like the following:
- best themes for WordPress
- WordPress themes free
- best paid WordPress themes for writers (type in 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 things 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 get started, you need to know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll cover these differences in another post. For now, let’s just cover themes for the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) in this post, which gives you more freedom, more options and more control over your web design.
Free vs Paid Themes
Next, it’s important to know that you will find thousands of Free and Paid themes being made available. Free WordPress themes are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be licensed for use as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.
WP Theme Marketplaces vs Commercial Theme Design Companies
There are mostly 2 places where you can find WordPress themes. The first place is in theme marketplaces and WP theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent WP theme shops.
WordPress theme marketplaces and theme directories are big theme aggregators. theme developers (both commercial and independent) list their themes (both free and paid) in the marketplace or directory and buyers search for 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 WordPress plugins and templates for other web applications (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
Commercial and independent WordPress theme design houses can design both free and paid themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of theme developer, to large web and theme design and development companies.
Most commercial theme design houses 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 WP theme directories .
Let’s now show you where to search for great WordPress themes for your website or blog.
Finding A Great Theme For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – Theme Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the largest and best place to download free WP themes. In fact, it’s probably the only free theme 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 contain malicious code and put 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 code-savvy volunteers to review and make sure that each theme uploaded to the directory meets their standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of great-looking 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 WordPress theme in the WordPress theme directory and not only find what you are looking for, but also easily install and activate it directly from inside your WP dashboard with only a few clicks.
Use WordPress Theme Filtering
WordPress has a built-in filtering function inside the admin area that lets you narrow down your search for themes based on criteria like Colours, Layout and Features …
This makes it easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a pink colour design, with a 2-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in an earlier post where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how these allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. the computers, tablets and smartphones used by visitors to browse your site) …
It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you search across its entire database of free themes …
… and display only WP themes that use “responsive” design standards …
Pros & Cons Of Using Free Themes
The obvious “pro” to using free WP themes is that there is no cost to download and use the theme. An added plus, is that many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of customizable options, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” of 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 developer to provide urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Many freely distributed themes ask for donations to help cover support costs.
When downloading free themes, therefore, check to see when the theme was last updated. If it’s been well over a year since any change was last made, then you should think carefully about using it, as the WordPress software is frequently updated and this can create conflicts and errors with older code.
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 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 for converting 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 requirements, let’s turn our attention to premium 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, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known WordPress theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme creators showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,500 premium themes to choose from (some starting from as little as $3) …
(click on the images above to view 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 personal blogs and news editorials, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for legal sites or advertising purposes.
- Creative – themes for video galleries, galleries, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about directory listings, classifieds, business directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to tutoring, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, music venues, 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 shops, trades or professionals (repairers, engineering, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to hosting, newsletters, etc.
- Wedding – e.g. themes for wedding sites and marriage celebrant blogs
- Miscellaneous – themes suitable for writing or discussing political 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 emails you theme update notifications)
Browse thousands of great premium themes in the ThemeForest directory here:
(click on the images above to view more Creative Market themes)
Creative Market is another leading WordPress 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 WordPress themes in its marketplace, but you can easily browse hundreds of WordPress themes and search through their theme categories (e.g. Landing Page or Photography themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of quality premium WordPress themes crafted by independent WordPress theme designers in the Creative Market directory here:
(click on the images above to view more themes at Mojo)
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 (e.g. BuddyPress or Photography themes and theme frameworks, etc.) by choosing the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find great themes in the Mojo marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme directories, let’s take a look at commercial theme vendors.
Commercial WP Theme Vendors
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to browse all themes from SoloStream)
Woo Themes creates eye-catching WP themes that are very popular and highly sought after by website users and offer a membership option that lets you access all themes in their growing WP theme collection.
(click on the above images to view all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in creating WordPress 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 browse all themes from StoreFront)
StudioPress develops WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that enables users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress website, and provides a self-updating design architecture, turn-key site 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 the framework frequently up-to-date to reflect best practices for coding and to make sure that it always remains 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 using the Genesis framework use something called “child themes,” which are like a paint job that sits on top of the theme framework and gives your site its unique design.
If this all sounds way too technical, there’s no need to feel concerned about it. StudioPress themes are very easy to work with, just like all other WordPress themes. The great thing about choosing themes from StudioPress is that you pay one low price 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 StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a few more useful WordPress theme-related tools worth knowing about:
What WordPress Theme Is That.com is a free WP theme-checking tool that lets you easily detect what WordPress theme a website uses (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 is being used on the site.
Tip: If you don’t know if a site was built using WordPress or not, we have posted a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell if a website 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 the site is powered by WordPress, but it will also list the WP theme being used and list any plugins it detects.
- To use this online tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That
- To learn more about using this tool go here: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Site And WP-Checking Tools
A word of warning: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we strongly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.
A commonly-used strategy employed by a number of hacking groups and syndicates that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up sites and directories offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and then distribute themes containing malicious code. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress.org theme directory, or use established and reputable sites.
If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your blog may be infected with potentially malicious or unwanted code, use a free WordPress plugin like Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) to run a scan of your theme files. This plugin searches the source files of every them you have installed on your site for signs of malicious code and outputs a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found this information useful.
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