Having a good design is as important as having good contents on your blog. A bad design may make the visitors leave the blog without reading a single line of your blog post.
So you need to be very careful while choosing a WordPress theme.
The great news is, WordPress has thousands of free and premium themes to choose from. And at the same time, it’s tough to find the right one.
To make things easier, I am going to share how to choose the right WordPress theme for your blog. And to save your time, I’ll also share a list of 10 best WordPress themes in the market right now.
But before we dive into all this, let’s tackle one very important question.
Should You Go With A Free or Premium WordPress Theme?
This is the first choice you need to make, whether to spend money on themes or not.
There are a lot of free themes out there. You can go with a free theme when you start a blog for fun or you are not serious about the blog yet.
But if you are serious about blogging, you should consider using a premium theme. It is worth the money you pay for it.
Let’s see what extra things you will get in a paid theme.
You can get support from WordPress’s customer service forum for free themes, but that doesn’t come anywhere close to what you get when you buy a premium theme. Most of them have a dedicated team to answer your support questions and get you going.
Better Code Quality
The quality of the code is usually better in paid themes. Yes, there are some good free themes but most of them are not comparable. This makes the site load faster and also makes it easier to edit.
Premium themes always come up with extra features. And most of them are created on frameworks. It makes sure that you are not going to lose any custom styling options when you update the theme. You will also get better Options Panel and Customisations.
Any given paid theme is not used on many sites when compared to free themes. Paying even a dime offers some differences that dramatically decrease the number of people who use that theme. There’s nothing worse than looking exactly like hundreds of others.
So it’s always better to go with a premium. But if you are in budget and don’t want to buy a premium theme now, at least choose a free theme that can be upgraded to a premium one, like the GeneratePress theme.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Your Theme
Now that you know whether to get a free or premium theme, let’s discuss about some important things that you should consider while choosing a WordPress theme.
As I said, there are a lot of themes out there, and there’s sure to be at least one that will suit your needs and be relevant to your topic. So whether you’re creating a personal blog or a professional blog, you’re bound to find a theme that suits you.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What’s your blog’s topic? There are topic related themes (Example: Tech Blog Themes) that are specific for certain topics, and there are general themes that you can deploy for most topics. Make sure you choose one that suits your topic.
- What’s your purpose? Is it to earn money from AdSense? Then choose a theme that’s AdSense friendly. Is it list-building? Then choose a theme that’s optimized for building your list.
- What Are Your Competitors Using? You need to check the style of your competitors. You may need to stand out by using different color palettes or different styles than them. Maybe go with simpler designs.
Simple & Clean Design
This one is very important. No matter what theme you choose, go with a simple and clean coded-design. This will affect speed which is important if you don’t want to lose your audience and want to rank higher on Google.
You can add more functionality if you want by using the hundreds of thousands of plugins available.
Responsive & Mobile Friendly
This isn’t just an option anymore. Before, it was optional if you wanted to opt for a mobile-friendly theme or not, but now, it’s more or less obligatory or you’ll lose 50% of the readers who view your site on mobile, and Google won’t rank you, because 50% of its searchers are using mobile devices.
Check the responsiveness and whether it’s mobile friendly or not from the demo of the theme. Use this tool by Google to check mobile friendliness
Easy to Use Option Panel
Most of the premium themes come up with options panel, which will help you to design your blog without dipping your toes into the code pool.
And also check the level of customization you get with the theme and make sure it suits your needs.
Speed & SEO Optimized
There are a plenty of WordPress SEO plugins that can make your site SEO Friendly. But you have to make sure that the theme is optimized for SEO, or Google bots will have a hard time indexing your content.
Not to mention the importance of speed and how it affects user experience. Slow page loading makes people exit the page right away and ultimately decreases your ranking on Google.
Page Builders Friendly
Page Builders is growing rapidly and your theme must support them if you want to customize your post and make it look better. Some themes may overlap with some of the Page Builders plugins, so make sure to test drive it.
Most of information on the Internet is published in English, but you can still tap into many of the underserved markets by translating your content automatically with plugins like WPML.
Even if you don’t intend to start off right away with multiple languages, you should still make sure that your theme supports it, so when you want to make the transition, you can do it without changing your theme.
Ratings & Customer’s Feedback
When it comes to finding the right theme, there’s nothing better than seeing feedback from customers. Check both the positive and negative comments and see which ones apply to your situation.
Check the problems and how the support team has dealt with them. It’s important to have a good understanding of the theme you’re going to use and its pros and cons before installing it.
If it’s a free theme, check the reviews and comments on the theme page, and if it’s in a marketplace, like ThemeForest, then check the comments there.
You can also Google “(theme name) review” to find reviews by people who have used the theme.
Your budget is important to determine how much can you pay for a theme. What you get in a free theme is not the same as a $50 theme.
You need to see how much of your budget you can put aside for your theme. It’s an important aspect of your business.
Documentation & Support
9 out of 10 of you are choosing a theme to work with because you’re not a developer or designer. That’s why good documentation that can guide you is very important to benefit from the theme and use the features available in it.
And having a support team is also very important. If you face problems and want to fix them, it’s good to have the developers help you out.
Usually, you won’t get good support unless you pay for a premium theme.
Top 10 Recommended Themes For Bloggers
Now that we’ve talked about the top 10 characteristics to look for in the theme you choose, let’s check out the top 10 themes I would recommend, thus saving you a ton of time looking into the huge number of themes available.
The themes are not ordered from the best to the worst. They are all good options worth considering depending on what you specifically need.
This theme has taken the WordPress world by storm. It started as a free theme that was very fast and the code was very clean, unlike 99% of the junk free themes available.
With around 1.6 million downloads so far, this theme is killing it.
And now the team has created a premium plan to provide more support and more customization services for its customers to take complete control over their theme.
If you’re on a limited budget, you can start with the free option and then upgrade to the premium plan, which is only $49.95.
Created by Shane Melaugh, Thrive provides high-quality premium WordPress themes and plugins. I actually prefer them, and that’s why this blog’s theme is from Thrive Themes.
Their themes are geared more toward people who want to increase the conversion rate of their blog, which should be your goal if you’re serious about blogging and want to make more money from it.
The good news is that they’re working on Thrive Themes 2.0, which looks to be even more awesome than the current themes.
You can get Thrive Themes and the high-quality plugins they create (of which there are currently 10, including their famous Builder Thrive Architect) for just $228/year. That may seem like a lot of money, but the plugins you get help you do anything, saving you a lot of money.
The builder itself costs $70 to use it on multiple sites and get support for just 1 year. When you get them all together, you’re getting it at a bargain price.
One of the most popular themes created by Elegant Themes, which comes with their great page builder.
Divi helps you customize your blog without touching a single line of code while letting you see everything in front of you before you click the save button.
You can get it and all the other themes offered by Elegant Themes for $89/year or $249 for lifetime access.
You not only get the page builder, but also the bloom email opt-ins and monarch social sharing options. When compared to Thrive Themes you’re paying less, but you get more with Thrive Themes. If you don’t mind the difference, then go with the one-time payment here.
Created specifically to help boost the virality of your posts by focusing more on social sharing and getting more shares for your posts.
And it comes at a low one-time price of $35.
It’s a good option for blogs that focus on viral content and getting shares.
Created by the awesome Rafal Tomal. This design runs on the Genesis framework, which is highly optimized for SEO.
This theme is perfect for people who are building their personal brand. StudioPress was one of the first companies to offer paid themes, and they still have the best support.
You can get this theme for $130, or get all of their themes for just $500, including unlimited support forever on both options.
Another great theme provider focusing more on speed of the design. They also support all the popular page builders.
You can get the themes and use them on multiple blogs for $60/year or $249 for lifetime access.
Available on ThemeForest for $60, this theme provides you with a lot of customization options to optimize the site for your specific needs.
You can even see how you can customize it by checking the demo page.
With over 455k sales and an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5, this theme stands out as one of the most popular themes on the Internet. Note: I’m just comparing it to single themes, StudioPress sold way more when combining all their themes together.
This is probably one of the best free themes available on the market. It’s clean and fast, but you may need to do some customization to make it fit your needs.
Created by my brother who created the theme for this blog.
This is one of the few themes that focuses mainly on building your email list. Priced at $200, this theme is not cheap, but if adding a few more subscribers to your email list everyday is very important to you, then this theme is worth the price.
You don’t need to pay for plugins to create email forms or landing pages, which could save you a ton in itself.
This one is created specifically for food and recipe blogs. If you blog about one of these topics, I think this is the best available theme on the market.
You get it for $69 with 12 months of updates and support.
Over To You
A lot of options were covered in this post to help you choose the right theme for your business.
It’s a very important process that you need to consider. You have to choose your them wisely, but if you try to check all the different themes out there, you won’t get finished till next year, when more themes will be available, and you won’t really ever get finished at all!
What’s the #1 most important thing you think your theme should have? And what theme did you go with and why? Share your experiences with any of the themes you’ve tried below in the comments.