The best Wordpress themes are the ones you don’t have to change much to get what you want.
When I first started out trying to make a living online, I did a lot of things wrong.
Because I didn’t know and nobody told me.
The only reason I used wordpress was because a friend of mine named Bill told me to use it. Turns out Bill was right. I’m glad he introduced me to Wordpress.
But what he didn’t tell me was what theme to use.
What to Look Out for When Choosing from the best Wordpress Themes
It really depends entirely on what you want to do. You wouldn’t want to use a theme designed for a bakery if you want to start a travel blog.
Very soon you’ll realize there are tons of free themes, and some of them are quite good. When I first started out, I used free themes exclusively.
A shortage of money will always make you choose the free option, and I say if you’re just starting out and you only have a small amount of money (or none) to start with, then choose a free theme.
Make sure you choose one that is closest to what you want your site to look like.
Don’t make the mistake I made of liking one part or aspect of the theme, and then trying to make changes to it to make the rest of it ‘exactly’ like I wanted.
I spent hours / days and even weeks messing with the free theme to change the font, colors, button shapes, images, spacing, headers, navigation areas, search bars, sidebars, comments and footers to try to make them match what I had envisioned in my head.
Although I saved some money, it was really, now that I think about it, a very bad use of my time.
Remember… your goal is to create a successful blog or website and make money online.
Your goal is not to learn programming, html, css, databases or php.
You should spend your time writing content, marketing and learning what people want.
THAT is what will make you money.
Learning the ins and outs of design, programming and server management will NOT make you money.
I have a very good friend from Switzerland who lives in Miami now. He speaks 6 languages fluently. One day we were talking and he said during the course of our conversation that ‘Languages don’t make money’.
They are a means to an end.
And that is EXACTLY how I feel about getting involved in the technical part of web development.
You being good at HTML or CSS won’t make you money.
Learn what you need to in order to build your blog; but if you spend more than a few hours on a task it is better to let it go and then get back to the real business of content development, marketing or research in your niche.
So why am I telling you this when the topic is supposed to be about the best wordpress themes?
Because I know from first hand experience how you can waste a lot of time with designing your site and I want you to avoid the same mistakes I made.
The best wordpress themes are the ones that are closest to what you want without you having to spend time messing with them.
After a couple of stubborn years dealing with freebie themes, I started buying themes.
But I didn’t just buy a single theme (since I make a lot of websites and blogs). I bought a ‘family’ of themes.
After a while, I narrowed it down to two that I really like and use most often.
I’ll get to why I like them in a moment, but what I looked for was:
- A theme that had a framework upon which you could load a child theme
- ‘Child themes’ already made for various niches and styles
- One that makes it easy to do common customizations, like changing the font, size, colors, turning on and off commenting, adding stuff to the theme (like autoresponder code), etc. etc…
- Themes that are well coded.. i.e the programming is good. Not sloppy code.
Over the course of the last 7 years, the two that I like and I think excel in creating really superb themes are:
Themify themes and Genesis themes.
They both make it easy to customize and the child themes they offer are really beautiful and very professional looking.
In addition to how modern and up to date their designs are, they are both very well coded and fast.
I bought both of their ‘full’ packages which gives me access to all their themes for a lifetime. Was it expensive? Yes and no.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I hated parting with the one time membership money. boo-hoo….
But am I glad I did it and joined them? Absolutely Yes. Any regrets? Nope.
So lets take a look at each of them:
You can find thesis themes at:
What Themify does VERY, VERY, VERY well is to make changes simple.
The way Themify works is by allowing you to ‘build’ a page, creating ‘blocks’ or segments of the screen with a specific function.
You can have each segment full width, or divided into areas on a row.
I know my explanation is probably not very good, but once you understand what its doing, its super easy to build the exact page that you have in your head.
The above image shows you what kind of segments you can add, and you add them by row.
You can divide rows into 2, 3 ,4 or more areas, so that on any row, you can specify multiple areas.
So, for example:
On the left you can see how the page looks.
Its composed of three rows (which you can see on the right – in the setup image).
The row is broken into two parts, the right hand is blank, but the left part has the three rows. The image of the guy is a large image set to display as the background of the entire full width section.
Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a tutorial on how to work with Themify.
It is meant to show you that Themify takes what could be very complicated and makes it very easy to work with to design your site.
They also make it very easy to change colors, backgrounds, animations, etc…
But the best thing about it is that it comes with many different themes or skins that you can load – that for the most part all you need to do is change the wording and some images and your site is all done.
Themify saves me hours (or days) of work just by being very easy to make design changes.
Their ‘Ultra’ theme is a framework on which you can load different ‘skins’ and you can import all the data from their demo site.
This saves you a ton of time setting it up. Once the demo data is loaded, you can just make quick changes and you’re done.
By the way, you don’t have to buy the ‘full’ membership like I did.
If you only want one theme from them, you can buy just a single theme.
If you do that, my suggestion is to get the Ultra theme since it probably offers the most flexibility.
Like I said earlier, if you see a theme that’s a really close fit to what you want, go with that one. Themify has excellent framework and any of the themes are worth it.
Their support team is really fantastic and if you get stuck, they usually answer within 12 hours or so. They are located in Toronto.
I’ve used Themify for about 4 years now and I have to say, they are my favorite.
The StudioPress themes are made to be used with the Genesis Framework.
What that means is that you load the Genesis Framework first, and the theme will be loaded afterwards.
What I like best about the Genesis Framework and StudioPress themes is they have an amazing variety of already developed themes ready to go.
I’ve given you two options for themes that will hopefully speed up the design work for your own site.
They did for me.
I use both of them… Themify and StudioPress, but to be honest I use Themify most.
Because I make a lot of websites for small businesses where the design choices are not my own.
Invariably, my clients will say “I saw a website that I just loved, can you make mine exactly like it?”
If I use Themify I can pretty much do it in no time flat.
However, for many of my own sites I use the Genesis framework and StudioPress themes, simply because I’ve learned (the hard way) that the more time I save myself, the more time I have to write content.
And the themes from StudioPress are very beautiful. And fast. And SEO optimized. And quick to set up.
You can’t go wrong with either of these choices.
It will be a personal preference.
But what you get from either is fantastic support if you have a question, very good and clear documentation and very well written code designed for performance.
Final note: Remember, the best wordpress themes are the ones that are closest to what you want your site to look like. Both Themify and StudioPress have many styles and designs that are modern, elegant and easy to implement.
Some of the themes available to you are made by Studiopress, and others have been developed by third parties.
It doesn’t really matter which one you go with, they are all really good.
(I am referring to the quality of the theme and framework here – as I said above, you should probably choose whichever one is closest to what you want your site to look like.)
Speaking of quality, It would be hard to beat the quality of the Genesis framework, which is the foundation of the Studiopress themes.
The Genesis framework was created with good code (as opposed to sloppy code).
It was developed especially to optimize your site for SEO, lightweight (in other words, well written code), and Genesis now supports Schema.org code, that allows you to output microdata on your site.
In addition to SEO optimized framework, the themes have been optimized by a search engine expert by the name of Greg Boser.
By using Genesis and Studiopress themes, you avoid much of the hassle of on site SEO work.
I have to say that their documentation for loading and setting up a site is top notch. It is step by step, illustrated and very well written.
It may take you a few hours if you’ve never set up a Genesis site before, but at the end of the few hours, you’ll have a complete site already set up.
All you have to do is to add images & content.
They have (as you can see on the left) themes for real estate, attorneys, general purpose, food, lifestyle, training, business, corporate, gallery and a lot more besides.
The most difficulty you will have will be picking out a theme among the dozens you have to choose from. (Why not get them all?)
They’re all really beautiful and very professional looking themes.
In addition to all the above, Genesis and StudioPress is so widely known, that there have been a lot of wordpress plugins developed specifically for genesis.