Choosing your WordPress theme (the design template) is one of the most important decisions you are going to make on your website. The readers and the success of your blog or website are going to be largely at stake with the design of your site.
Oscar Wilde said:
“There is no second chance for a first impression”
I could not agree more.
When a new reader comes across your blog for the first time, you should strive to get a pleasant, yet professional impression, and make it easy for them to find the content that interests them. In addition, you will give yourself extra satisfaction and motivation on your website.
For both things, choosing a good theme that allows you to create an attractive design and style suitable for the content will be key.
Now, before I go any further, here is some very important advice:
If you are just starting out, don’t spend tens and tens of hours finding the perfect theme.
It is a very typical mistake because testing themes is fun and we tend to get tangled up with it. But in the beginning there is only one priority: you’re content. What’s more, to be specific, I would say that, before not having your first 10 finished contents, forget about the design.
At that time a free theme is more than enough, even if it is not exactly what you want. Of course, try not to go to a blatantly ugly design either
Then there will be time to focus more on the design and assess even if to buy a premium theme because the prices are affordable and the difference in the result is very large.
What is the best WordPress theme?
As many readers do not want to go into details, but simply take a good recommendation, I will start with a schematic summary of this post. In the rest of the post I already go into the details.
First of all, the answer to the question above is simple: there is no best WordPress theme, there is the best option for your case.
My two main recommendations are:
- The best universal theme(to make any type of design) and easiest to use, being 100% visual, is Divi. It is translated into Spanish and includes a powerful landing page designer (cover, sales pages, etc.). Also, with Divi, the other Elegant Themes themes and plugins are included for free.
- Among the free ones(“fremium” in this case because it also has a paid version), my favorite is GeneratePress due to its quality and because it is one of the few relatively free customizable
Both options have powerful companies behind them (guarantees you support and updates) and are known for their technical quality.
As free alternatives, it can recommend you, for example, Lovecraft or Ocean WP, both available in the official WordPress theme repository (more details below).
But these types of themes already have the downside of being that they are “either take it or leave it”. In other words, they are usually not very customizable. If they fit your design as is, great, otherwise you have little margin for changes and customization.
However, if you have technical knowledge of CSS and HTML, you can customize all these themes by creating WordPress child themes, but that requires knowing how to program with these technologies.
And a very important tip:
Never use themes from “pirated” or unknown sites. Always from well-known brands or the official WordPress repository (which has thousands of free themes).
In dubious sites, these types of payment issues are often hacked to get viruses and other types of malicious software, they are distributed and thus provide a gateway to hack the servers of those who install them. That is, by installing them, you are literally shoving the enemy into the home.
WordPress.com themes versus WordPress.org themes
The official repositories are different depending on the version of WordPress (.com or .org) and you can find them here:
- Official repository of WordPress.com: about 400 topics of which approximately 200 are free, the rest is paid.
- Official WordPress.org repository: +2,000 themes. All free. Payment themes for WordPress.org are purchased on the manufacturers’ websites.
If you don’t know the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org well, I highly recommend this post before choosing your theme:
The best premium WordPress templates
Once your blog is consolidated, we recommend that you consider using a professional payment theme.
In something as vital in a blog as the theme, a few dozen euros, which is what a paid theme typically costs, should not be a reason to rule out premium vs. free themes in a blog that has already become important. For you. Let’s not say, if it is already generating income for you.
Here in this section we are going to see only themes for WordPress.org since, in my opinion, if you plan to invest money in a theme you should invest it before in a professional WordPress platform with its own hosting and of good quality.
Among the professional topics, we especially recommend the following:
Divi de Elegant Themes: Ideal for non-technical users
If you want to be able to customize your blog to the maximum yourself, but you do not have technical knowledge that allows you to work at the CSS level or even program child themes, then you need a WordPress theme with a powerful visual editor .
And in recent months, the Divi theme of Elegant Themes has positioned itself as a reference theme (deserved).
The great asset and surely the main reason why it is sweeping WordPress users is its tremendous customization capacity implemented with a very powerful visual layout tool that allows you to do practically anything while still being affordable for people without any kind of skill or technical experience.
There are even readings that the visual part Divi surpasses even consolidated specialized layout tools such as Visual Composer , tools that are not WordPress themes per se, but much more specialized tools designed expressly to be able to freely layout certain WordPress pages, for example, to create landing pages .
It should be noted that the Divi licensing model is somewhat particular, since Elegant Themes charges for access to all its themes (more than 80 different themes).
With this you have the right to use for life and on all your websites. The annual renewal is paid only for support and updates (which can be done without for many years).
Considering that they are only $ 89 (in its basic version, enough for 99% of users) and the quality of Divi, the prices of Elegant Themes are a gift, no more, no less. It is logical that they are sweeping.
And if you want to see a full Divi tutorial, take a look here:
StudioPress Genesis: Ideal for developing child themes
If you’ve already done a bit of in-depth research on WordPress themes, you’ve probably already stumbled upon Genesis. There are many comparisons like this that talk about Genesis and put it as a reference WordPress theme.
In fact, it is the theme that this blog uses or rather: it is the theme on which I have developed the child theme of Genesis that this blog uses.
Genesis has achieved tremendous popularity in recent years. And it is an excellent topic. It is robust, very light (it creates pages that are light and load fast), it is adaptive (responsive), SEO-friendly, etc., etc.
But the bad (and dangerous for you) of this success is that it leaves a crucial question in the background: it is not a suitable theme for any WordPress user profile.
This is so because this theme has been designed as a framework, that is to say, it has been designed to facilitate precisely what we have done in this blog: to develop new themes based on another theme that is already developed. That is the aforementioned child theme concept (and where Genesis itself would be the parent theme).
It is a very elegant technical approach because it allows you to greatly reduce the effort to create a new theme while also providing great advantages in terms of updates to the parent theme.
So much so that the simplest child theme imaginable would be a CSS file that simply modifies (replaces) some CSS rule of the parent theme, something that would take less than 5 minutes to create.
That way of working is the one that Genesis is oriented and with which the party that it offers is really taken advantage of. In fact, in StudioPress you will find dozens of themes with different designs created by Genesis itself, which is StudioPress, they have taken advantage of that themselves to create a large number of child themes with minimal effort.
And that is also the reason why, if you install Genesis, you will find a very small number of customization options and no visual editors. It is not intended to be a theme to facilitate the configuration visually for the user, it is a theme designed to facilitate the programming of new themes with minimal effort. That is what makes a framework a framework.
And that’s also what you have to be very clear about so you don’t get disappointed after buying Genesis.
Now, does this mean that Genesis is not for you?
Even if you are a “normal” user with no programming knowledge (or time or desire) to develop child themes, StudioPress already offers almost 50 made child themes.
If any of those designs fits you as is and you only need very minor modifications (in the fonts, etc.), then that may be an interesting option for you because you will get a technically excellent theme.
Minor theme settings like fonts etc. You can do them with plugins like the ones you can find on our plugins page and the large number of free plugins for Genesis.
But also, if you have some budget and want a really unique and personalized image, you can consider hiring a custom WordPress theme development based on Genesis. The popularity of Genesis has spawned many web designers specializing in Genesis.
The advantage is that by being able to create a child theme based on Genesis, this makes this option much cheaper, although grossly, even so for a professional result, think at least € 500-1000, in exchange you will have a professional and unique design.
In this link you have a small compilation of designers for Genesis.
And the price with about $ 59.95 (about € 53 approx., According to the change of the day)
Now, if you do not see it clearly, my recommendation is very clear: stay with Divi.
The best free WordPress templates
Unlike a few years ago, the truth is that nowadays offers on issues that count with designs very accomplished, despite being free, and are therefore very well to begin with.
Although they do not reach the ability to personalize paid professional themes, they already have capabilities that should be sufficient for the vast majority of beginning bloggers.
When using WordPress.com you have to be aware that it is a platform that has the advantage of its simplicity of start-up and use, but it has many limitations related to its nature of free cloud service, among them the small number of available themes.
Therefore, you will find the best themes basically for WordPress.org, and being able to enjoy them requires creating a professional blog with WordPress.org.
And finally keep in mind that free WordPress themes can be risky if they are sourced from untrusted sources, sources other than the official repositories I’ve named a bit above, or well-known theme makers.
In other words, my recommendation is that you never download supposed free premium WordPress themes from unknown websites, sinister URLs that you find in any forum or unknown websites that you find in Google. If you do, there is a serious risk of malware loading into your WordPress installation.
Lovecraft (WordPress.com and .org)
Lovecraft is a general purpose theme with a very elegant design and quite customizable to be free.
Therefore, it seems to me one of the best options to use them as a theme to start a new blog. Of course you are going to have a blog with a good image and that will help you a lot to focus on what matters most at first: generating content.
Additionally, it is available on both WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The characteristics that stand out in this topic are the following:
- Let’s you use Logo + header image
- It is responsive
- 4 Color schemes, although in practice there are no major differences
- You have approx. 30 fonts for the titles and text of posts and pages
- 4 widget zones (sidebar and 3 zones in the footer)
- You are ready to configure a static home page by passing the blog to a tab (the scheme that we also use in Citizen 2.0)
- Templates available to create full-width pages (without sidebar)
Ocean WP is a freemium theme that has become very popular lately.
In its free version they already have quite a wide customization possibilities, among other things, it allows you to:
- You can define the structure of your website: width, position (or absence) of the side bars and many different ways to display the header and menu of the website.
- The typography and colors of all the elements of the web (body, titles, menu, titles, etc.).
- It has a top bar for social network icons and other elements (phone, email or personalized text).
- You can customize the blog page: what data to show or hide (author, date, category, comments, etc.) and different templates for the list of posts (large image, thumbnail grid, list of posts).
- Specific configuration of the display of some elements for mobile devices.
- And also a very important detail: OceanWP is specifically designed to be used in combination with builder page (page designer) Elementor.
- Of course, several others too, starting with Gutenberg (the one that comes with WordPress itself since version 5.0), but the compatibility with Elementor is especially relevant because, together with Divi Builder, it is the leader in this type of tool.
· GeneratePress (WordPress.org)
- GeneratePress is another theme that seems to me one of the best options to start.
- It is a modern, simple, light, fast and responsive theme (adapts to mobile devices). Of course, if you know Genesis,one of the professional themes that we recommend the most, it will be familiar to you … That is to say, I think they were inspired “slightly” by the default aesthetics of Genesis, but that is not bad for you.
Being a very recent theme, it is already among the most popular in the WordPress repository and that’s for a reason.
Other free themes
We have several more topics on the radar, such as Attitude, with which we will complete this page as they are reviewed.
A suggestion: if you want us to notify you of updates to this list and other blog content, subscribe below to our mailing list and get a gift book in passing that will be very useful for your website
This section will be released soon
Here we will talk about special cases, themes with a special purpose such as, for example, blank themes like this one, which are skeletons of “empty” themes to build custom themes from them or the open source Franck theme that, apart from being open source, it is totally oriented to optimize the blog speed.
Utilities and resources for topics
This section will also be released soon
In it, we will be adding all the interesting resources related to WordPress themes that we come across on a daily basis.
As a small appetizer of what awaits you, we bring you this fantastic WordPress theme detector:
- WordPress Theme Detector: This very useful site “sings” you for any WordPress site you indicate, the theme you are using. Ideal to find out what specific topic is using a site that you have seen and that you like. You no longer have to ask yourself what theme you use …