Searching for the perfect WordPress theme for your website can be overwhelming. With literally thousands of themes at your disposal, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of what to consider. Free or premium? Niche or general? Minimalist or bold?
That’s not even taking into account the dozens of different directories, marketplaces and independent foundries promoting themes and the question of which is the best place to start looking. Take a second. Breathe. We’re here to help.
We’ve compiled below a list of places where you can find the WordPress themes best suited for your needs, separated by free themes and premium themes.
Ask yourself: what do I want from this theme? After all, a tech company with cash to spend will be looking in different places than a casual blogger on a budget. However, this isn’t to say that free themes don’t have their advantages.
Check out our list below:
Of course, the main advantage of free themes is their cost – or lack thereof. But take note that free doesn’t necessarily translate to poor quality.
The official WordPress.org Themes directory, for example, contains thousands of free themes that have all been subjected to a strict reviewing process by the WordPress team.
There are also marketplaces (some listed deeper in the article) specializing in premium themes known to offer high-quality free themes as a promotional tool.
That said, there are some disadvantages of free themes. Generally, they have fewer features compared to premium themes and have a limited capacity for customization. Free themes also lack warranties and have limited options for support, so updates can be seldom.
But for a website with a budget, a free theme might just be what you’re looking for. Here are some places to start looking:
Probably the best place to find high-quality free themes. There are over 2,000 themes available at WordPress, with various options for bloggers, small businesses, and companies.
Quality is guaranteed. All themes are reviewed and approved only if they meet strict standards, including accessibility for the user, core functionality, exclusion of plugins, and guaranteed privacy for the user.
The site’s Feature Filter also allows you to easily find the kind of theme you’re looking for.
ThemeGrade is a marketplace that offers both free and paid themes. There are over 1,600 free themes currently offered by the site that can be easily sorted with search filters.
Like its name implies, ThemeGrade reviews and grades themes, rewarding them with a Gold, Silver or Bronze ranking based on their design and SEO value.
ThemeGrade is also a good resource for reviews on other theme providers.
For those who want to expedite their search, FreeWPThemes.com might be the place for you.
The site is an index of WordPress themes, containing links to over two thousand free themes. FreeWPThemes.com digs through the thousands of themes found online and give you links to the best they find.
Themes are sorted by most recent first by default, but can also be filtered by category. This is especially helpful for those looking for themes geared towards news/magazine, technology, education, finance, cars, or some other niche.
If free themes aren’t quite cutting it for you, there are many options for premium themes available as well.
Probably the biggest advantage of premium themes rests in the potential for customization. Not only do customers gain access to countless color options, layouts and templates, they are also able to use certain features that might not be offered with free themes.
These features can include drag and drop builders (which lets you customize your site’s layout without having to write any code), buttons, shortcodes, and creating custom post types.
Premium themes also come with the reassurance of support, documentation, and regular updates to fix any bugs or promote new features.
However, the arsenal of features that come with premium themes can be a double-edged sword. The term for this is “theme bloat” – when a theme comes with so many features, the site’s loading speed and functionality become affected.
Still, there’s a reason why people pay money for the premium option. For those intrigued by the potential for customization, here’s where you should start your search:
ThemeForest is by far the largest marketplace for WordPress themes, currently offering over 2,600 premium themes and 31,000 templates and themes for other kinds of files. Hundreds of authors have their themes featured in the site’s library, so there are countless options to choose from.
ThemeForest offers themes starting from $2, one of the cheapest prices available today. They are also known for offering bundle options of different items in their marketplace; these items can include not only themes but also plugins, graphics and so on.
ElegantThemes is the brainchild of Nick Roach, who has developed 87 innovative, user-friendly, high-resolution themes that have made the website a great stop for premium theme shoppers.
Unlike the marketplace format of ThemeForest, ElegantThemes allows users to access its entire library of themes for the price of $69 per year. Each theme comes with various features, including sidebars, drag-and-drop page builders, and custom thumbnail images.
The final place on our list is StudioPress, the creators of the Genesis Framework.
Over 500,000 WordPress sites use the framework, which functions as a website builder and customizer at the price of $59.95. The Genesis Framework is crafted from a wide selection of child themes, which customers can select and customize.
As an added boon, StudioPress themes are search engine optimized: a huge draw for any website.