In a separate post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.
If you haven’t yet discovered WordPress themes and what makes WP themes so revolutionary in terms of web design, then go here to read the post: An Overview of WordPress Themes
In this blog post, you will learn where to browse hundreds of free and paid themes for your WP site. 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 avoid having to deal with problems like lack of support and poor theme coding.
As we’ve explained in our previous article, a WordPress theme is a unique type of web design template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically in the WP content management system.
Many talented website designers and website development agencies create themes for WordPress. Consequently, members of the WordPress community have access to thousands of quality themes covering a wide-range of uses and applications.
Finding Great Great Themes For WordPress: Your Time-Saving Guide
Let’s say you were to browse over to Google and type a key phrase like this:
- best WP themes
- best paid themes for WordPress
- best paid WordPress themes for artists (or whatever your business, area of interest or blog 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, 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 start, you should know that WordPress offers both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in another post. For now, please note that we will only cover the topic of finding 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 site’s web design.
Free vs Paid WP Themes
Next, it’s useful to know that you will easily find many Free and Paid WordPress themes being made available. Free themes for WordPress are normally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they are sold as Premium (paid) themes.
Theme Marketplaces & WordPress Theme Design Houses
There are mostly two kinds of places where WordPress themes can be found. The first place is in theme marketplaces and WordPress theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme stores.
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 customers shop 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 theme design houses typically will develop both free and commercial WordPress themes, and can vary in size, from an individual designer or a small team of developer, to large theme design and development companies.
Most commercial or independent theme shops 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 the best WP themes for your blog.
Choosing The Best Themes For Your Website Or Blog
(WordPress.org – WP Themes Directory)
The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to find WordPress themes for free. 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 many 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 directory is not only a trustworthy and reputable place to download themes for your WP site, but it also relies on a review team to review and ensure that each theme in the directory complies with specific standards of quality and security.
To browse thousands of excellent 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 activate it directly from within your WordPress admin panel with a couple of clicks.
Use WP Theme Feature Filters
WordPress provides a filtering function inside the dashboard 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 orange color design, with a four-column layout and a full-width template, or themes that support custom menus, etc.
Note: in the article mentioned earlier where we present an overview of WordPress themes and discuss the importance of using “responsive” themes, we explained how responsive themes allow your site to be viewed correctly on all devices (e.g. your computer, smartphone and tablet) …
You should use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filter lets you do just that …
… and find only 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. Additionally, many free themes are professionally designed and offer a number of customizable settings, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.
The ”cons” to 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 urgent support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most free themes ask users 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 more than a year since any updates were made, then we advise you to think twice 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 money on a premium theme. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for you and for your business.
Now that we’ve seen how to find free WP themes in the WordPress theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet your specific criteria, let’s turn our attention to finding premium 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 responsive support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:
ThemeForest is one of the biggest and best-known theme directories online.
ThemeForest lets many professional WP theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are well over 17,000 premium themes to choose from (some starting 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 personal blogs and administration sites, etc.
- Corporate – themes suitable for business sites and marketing purposes.
- Creative – themes for portfolios, writing professionals, etc.
- Directory Listings – themes that suit sites about employment opportunities, dining out & restaurants, tourism directories, etc.
- eCommerce – themes for e-commerce, event bookings and registrations, etc.
- Education – themes that suit sites related to training, etc.
- Entertainment – themes for entertainment blogs, music venues, etc.
- Mobile – e.g. retina-ready 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 retail stores, trades or professionals (plumbers, medical practitioners, etc.)
- Technology – themes related to technology, affiliate marketing, seo, product reviews, direct sales, 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)
Go here to discover quality premium WordPress themes in the ThemeForest marketplace:
(click on the above images to view more 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 directory, but you can easily find themes for WordPress and search through their theme categories (e.g. Magazine or Business themes, etc.) using their dropdown “Themes” menu …
Browse through hundreds of great themes crafted by independent WordPress theme developers in the Creative Market theme directory here:
(click on the above images to browse more themes at Mojo)
Mojo is a directory for premium 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 WP themes, but you can easily find WP themes and narrow your search with theme categories (e.g. Portfolio or Business themes and theme frameworks, etc.) using the dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …
Visit the site to find quality premium WordPress themes in the Mojo marketplace here:
Now that we have looked at WP theme aggregators, let’s take a look at commercial theme vendors.
Commercial And Independent Theme Development Firms
SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of high quality WP themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.
(click on above images to view more SoloStream themes)
Woo Themes creates great themes for WordPress that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and offers a membership option that lets you access all themes in their WP theme portfolio.
(click on the images above to see all themes from WooThemes)
StoreFront Themes specializes in 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 browse all StoreFront themes)
StudioPress provides 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 designs with beautiful frames for the content and unprecedented control of the framework.
Many web developers like the Genesis framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps this framework frequently updated to reflect best coding practices and to make sure that it always remains 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 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 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 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 above images to browse more StudioPress themes)
WP Theme-Checking Tools
To round things up, here are a couple of useful WP theme-related tools worth keeping in mind:
What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that lets you easily detect what WP theme a website is using.
This is a great resource if you have come across a WordPress site that you like and would like to know what WP theme the website or blog is using.
Tip: If you can’t tell whether a site runs on WordPress or not, go here for a great tutorial that helps you tell whether or not a web site is powered by WordPress: Is Your Site Built With WordPress?
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 is powered by the WordPress CMS platform, but it will also list the WP theme being used by the site and list any WP plugins detected.
- To use this tool go here: What WordPress Theme Is That.com
- To learn more about this tool go here: Does My Site Run On WordPress?
A word of warning: If you decide to use FREE themes for your WordPress site, we recommend sticking with the reviewed and approved WP themes listed in the official WordPress theme repository.
A well-known strategy used by a number of hacking groups and cyber criminals is to put up websites and directories offering “Free” themes for WordPress all over the web and then distribute modified themes with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on search engine results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free themes for WordPress”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to stick with the official WordPress directory, or use established and reputable theme merchants.
If you have any concerns about whether a WordPress theme that you have installed on your site may be infected with malware 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 them you have installed on your site for signs of suspicious code and then presents you with a report as shown in the screenshot below …
(TAC Report Page – Screenshot Source: Plugin, WordPress.org)
We hope that you have found the information on how to find great free and premium themes for WordPress useful.
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