WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

Where To Find The Best WordPress Themes

In a separate post, we provide new WordPress users with a comprehensive overview of WordPress Themes.

If you haven’t yet discovered themes and what makes themes so attractive to web site owners, then go here to read our post: A Non-Technical User’s Guide To WP Themes

In this blog post, you will learn where to look for free and paid themes for your website or blog. You will also learn about the different types of WordPress theme resources and get tips on how to ensure that you get the right themes for your needs and avoid experiencing problems like lack of customer support and poorly-coded themes.

As we’ve explained in another article, a theme is a special type of web template that is used on WordPress-powered websites and blogs and designed specifically on WordPress.

Many talented web designers and web design firms create themes for WordPress. Consequently, WordPress users can access thousands of unique WordPress themes covering a wide-range of applications.

Finding Great WordPress Themes: Too Much Information … Where To Begin?

Let’s say you were to open up Google and search for key phrases like the following:

You are probably going to get an overwhelming amount of disorganized information to sort through in your search results.

So, to help you save time and make things easier, we’ll just cut through the clutter and make the process of finding great WordPress themes simple.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Themes

Before we start, you need to know that WordPress offers users both a hosted and a self-hosted version. We’ll explain these differences in another article. To keep things simple, we’ll 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 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 themes made available. Free themes for WordPress are generally distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or they will be sold as Premium (i.e. paid) themes.

WP Theme Directories vs Commercial WordPress Theme Design Companies

There are mostly two types of places where you can find themes. The first is in theme marketplaces and theme directories. The second place are the commercial and independent theme stores.

WordPress theme marketplaces and WP theme directories are large aggregators of themes. WordPress 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 marketplace.

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 WP theme developers typically will design both free and premium themes, and can vary in size, from an individual theme developer or a small team of theme designer, to large theme design and development companies.

Most commercial or independent theme stores 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 the best themes for your blog.

Finding A Great Theme For Your Website Or Blog

WordPress.org

(WordPress.org – WP Theme Directory)

The official WordPress theme directory is the biggest and best place to download WordPress themes for free. In fact, it’s probably the only free WP theme directory you should use when looking for free WP 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 website or blog, but it also uses a theme review team to review and ensure that each theme uploaded to the directory complies with specific quality and security standards.

To browse thousands of professionally-designed FREE WordPress themes from the official Themes Repository, go here:

http://www.wordpress.org/extend/themes

Find Free Themes Inside Your Own WordPress Dashboard

Useful Tip: You can easily browse through every theme in the WordPress.org theme directory and not only find a great theme for your website or blog, but also easily install and activate it directly from within your WP dashboard with a few mouse clicks.

Use The WordPress Theme Filtering

WordPress has a built-in 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 easier to find themes with specific features. For example, you could search for themes with a blue 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 using “responsive” WP themes, we explained how these ensure that your theme will display correctly on all devices (e.g. your visitors’ PCs, tablets and smartphones) …

It’s a good idea to use responsive themes, and the WordPress theme filtering function lets you do just that …

… and bring back only themes that are “responsive” …

Pros & Cons Of Using Free WordPress 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 provide a number of built-in customizable features, giving you great flexibility and choice in how you configure all of its various layout elements.

The ”cons” of using free WP themes are that your themes may not get updated as often with new features and bug fixes, and it’s unrealistic to expect the theme developer to provide dedicated support, especially if they are not getting paid. Most 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 updates were made, then you should 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 paid themes. Who knows, the free theme you’ve downloaded may just be the thing that works for your site and for your business.

Now that we’ve seen how to find free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org theme directory and ways to narrow down your search for themes that meet specific requirements, let’s turn our attention to paid themes.

Premium WP 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 great support, then search through the WordPress theme galleries of the “Premium” theme design agencies listed below:

Theme Directories

ThemeForest

ThemeForest is one of the biggest and well known WordPress theme marketplaces online.

ThemeForest lets many professional WordPress theme developers showcase their designs through their online marketplace. There are currently over 17,500 premium themes to choose from (you can find great themes from as little as $3) …

(click on the above images to see more ThemeForest themes)

If you visit the ThemeForest theme marketplace, you will be able to browse for specific WordPress themes in a range of categories, such as:

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 find quality premium themes in the ThemeForest site:

Creative Market

(click on the above images to view all Creative Market themes)

Creative Market is another leading WordPress theme marketplace where you can browse thousands of quality premium WordPress 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 themes for WordPress and narrow your search using theme categories (e.g. Minimal or Business themes, etc.) from the site’s dropdown “Themes” menu …

Browse through hundreds of great premium themes crafted by independent WP theme developers in the Creative Market marketplace here:

Mojo Themes

(click on the above images to see all Mojo themes)

Mojo is a directory 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 go through all of their themes for WordPress and narrow your search with theme categories by using the site’s dropdown “WordPress Themes” menu …

Visit the site to find great premium themes in the Mojo theme marketplace here:

Now that we have looked at WP theme marketplaces, let’s turn our attention to commercial and independent theme developers.

Commercial Theme Developers

SoloStream

SoloStream provides WordPress users with a selection of professional quality WordPress themes and the option of accessing all themes through a WordPress theme membership.

(click on above images to view all themes from SoloStream)

Woo Themes

Woo Themes creates eye-catching themes that are very popular and highly sought after by web users and offers a membership option that gives you access to their entire theme portfolio.

(click on the above images to browse all themes from WooThemes)

StoreFront

StoreFront Themes 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 images above to see all StoreFront themes)

StudioPress

StudioPress provides WordPress themes based on a framework (called the “Genesis” framework) that enables users to quickly and easily build a professional and search optimized WordPress site, and provides an auto-updating design architecture, turn-key site designs with beautiful frames for your content and unprecedented control of the framework.

Many website developers like this framework not only because it’s well-coded and well-supported (the development team at StudioPress keeps the framework frequently updated 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 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, 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 just 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 images above to see more StudioPress themes)

WP Theme-Checking Tools

Here are a few more useful WP theme-related tools worth knowing about:

What WordPress Theme Is That? – WP Theme Checker

What WordPress Theme Is That? is a free online tool that allows you to easily detect what WordPress 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 don’t know whether a site runs on WordPress or not, we have published a a great tutorial that shows you how to tell whether or not a site was built using WordPress: Tell-Tale Signs It’s A WordPress Site And WP-Checking Tools

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 whether or not the site was built using WordPress software, but it will also list the theme being used by the site and list any plugins detected.

Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

We suggested this earlier and it’s worth repeating it again: When choosing FREE themes for your WordPress site, we highly recommend sticking with the approved themes listed in the official WordPress theme directory.

A strategy that is commonly used by many hackers and syndicates that engage in cyber criminal activities is to put up sites offering “Free” WP themes all over the web and distribute themes and plugins with malicious code embedded in their files. In fact, some of these sites even come up on Google’s search results for search phrases like “free WordPress themes“, “best free WordPress themes”” etc. It’s best, therefore, to only download free WP themes from the official WordPress.org repository, or use established and trusted theme download sites.

If you are concerned about whether a WordPress theme installed on your blog may be infected with 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. The plugin searches the source files of every installed theme on your site for signs of suspicious code and presents you with a report with the results …

(Theme Authenticity Checker Report Page – Screenshot: Plugin)

We hope that you have found the information on how to find great WordPress free and commercial responsive themes useful.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

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