The BEST WordPress Theme (updated January 2019)
Looking for a curated list of the best WordPress themes? Look no further.
I know you have a lot of options both free and paid. I also know that when you’re starting out you may not want to rush right out and purchase a premium theme. The good news is that you DON’T HAVE TOO. There are plenty of great free (and paid themes) you can use and I’m going to share with you my favorites.
I created this list also to scratch my own itch. So many people suggest different themes it’s a bit dizzying what themes you should actually consider getting and what themes you can safely ignore. If you’re wanting to simply know what my personal favorites are, you can jump to the bottom of this page. Thanks!
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A THEME
Speed and design are critical to me, as well as the ability to edit the theme with ease. For design, I simply like having a nice homepage with a call to action, or a homepage that acts as visual menu for the rest of t
I know a lot of premium themes have a lot of bells and whistles and while the demo may look super nice, in practice is just slows down your website. Case in point is the Jarvis theme. Looks awesome, but you can over do the parallax images and the short codes to create a website that becomes one big mess.
So for me, the theme should have a nice blog template with a sidebar (as well as the option to NOT have a sidebar) and enough area to run ads if I so choose to. It should also have the ability to create nice looking pages with different sidebar options. You’re going to want that sort of flexibility as you won’t always want every page to have a sidebar, nor do you want your sidebar free pages to be super wide and weird looking.
You want a theme where the designer has take some time to think about the end product. I typically go with a design that is as simple as possible but also meets the user expectations. So for a website on how to create a website like the one your on, the design needs to be a step up from what I would normally create for a content website.
Anyways, let’s jump into the list. Please note, all links open in a new tab.
Best Blank Slate Themes For Page Builders
These themes are fast and properly coded with an emphasis on speed and the ability to customize the appearance using a page building plug-in like Elementor. If you get one of these themes you’ll be very disappointed with the way the theme looks out of the box.
That’s because these themes are design to be customized to your liking. So if you’re looking for something already pre-designed that will just work, these may not be for you.
However, it’s still a good idea to at least become proficient with one of these themes so you’re able to make any sort of website you want without needing to code.
*note: all open in a new tab
Generate Press (Free + Upgrade) – One of the best, if not the best WordPress theme available. Generate Press is fast and is perfect for any sort of blog or content website. It works well with both Elementor and the Beaver Builder plug-in. The free version limits you a bit in terms of the over all look and appearance, but it’s still flexible enough to get a good website up.
Astra (Free + Upgrade) – Astra markets itself as being one of the fastest themes available and I agree! I use Astra on two content websites I own and the sites load in under a second! Astra is lightweight and best of all, you can download a plug-in called Astra sites – which gives you a bunch of templates to customize yourself. For a tutorial on how to use Astra go here.
OceanWP (Free + Upgrade) – OceanWP is the last of the freemium themes. Like it’s two brothers, Astra and Generate – OceanWP works with both Elementor and Beaver Builder. It’s really a matter of picking which on you like to work with the most.
Simple (Free!) – The theme that WebsiteCreativePro.com is built on. What can I say, I loved Simple because it has the ability to have a nice custom homepage while keeping the rest of the pages simple for mobile. The only drawback is that there are no templates to download. You’re 100% on your own figuring the simple theme out unless you pay for support.
Ultra (Paid) – The bigger, more feature rich brother to Simple. Ultra has a design to fall in love with as well as the ability to download templates so you can quickly customize your site just right. Side note, Simple and Ultra come with their own built in page builders.
Avada (Paid) – The best selling theme for WordPress. It’s the theme I strongly suggest anyone starting out to get. Why? It’s been the best selling theme for years and years. It’s a one time purchase and you get updates for life. You can only use Avada on one website however. To use it on two, you’ll need to purchase a second license. BUT, it’s the best selling theme for a reason.
DIVI (Paid) – The best page building theme available today. You can make any sort of website with DIVI without knowing how to code. It has an intuitive, built in drag and drop editor that you’ll love.
Best Themes For Bloggers
For bloggers, the focus is on the actual blog content design, a call to action, good category and tag pages and the ability to have deep linking with content that is easy to find.
I like my blog or content websites to have the ability to have an optin form on the homepage over a hero image or some helpful way to showcase the most important pieces of content.
*note: all open in a new tab
Shamrock (Free) – Clean white design, imposing header and a sidebar! Your standard blog design. Classic and effective.
SugarBlog (Theme Forest) – The theme I use on EdgeofDavid.com (my blog). It has a design can be crafted into something elegant or cool. Again, like a lot of premium themes it has a lot of bells and whistles. Keep the design light and go for speed. I like this theme because you can choose what boxes at the top show what blog posts (it’s best to show your best content off) while also showing the related blog posts. It also looks great on mobile.
NOVA Blog (Theme Forest) – Made by the same team of the Sugar Blog. I just really like their designs! NOVA Blog is just sexy. If you have a website with a predominantly female audience, check this theme out.
Maker Pro (StudioPress) – Cool, minimalistic design. Get a fast loading design with a pro look without it being overwhelming.
Pro Blogg (Free) – Heavy focus on the content with a magazine style homepage. A cheap mans version of the Sugar Blog
Love Craft (Free) – Sexy feminine design. Perfect for a female oriented blogger.
Authority Pro (StudioPress) – Easily the best personal branding theme out there. If you’re a coach or consultant, or you’re trying to position yourself as such, check out Authority Pro.
Metro Pro (StudioPress) – Masculine, aggressive design. If you’re looking for a theme that looks awesome with strong colors like red and black, this is your theme.
Best Multi Purpose Themes
Multi-purpose themes bridge the gap between blogs and business websites.
Maybe you want to blog and sell info products and courses, BUT you want a nice homepage to introduce people to your website, or maybe you have a business and also want to blog. Whatever, multi-purpose themes are these sort of flex themes that can do both fairly well.
*note: all open in a new tab
Sydney Theme (Free + Upgrade) – Like the WLOW theme, but a bit more feminine.
X Theme (Theme Forest) – X is a theme that comes with it’s own page building plugin as well as multiple demo content you can download and install. This used to be one of my favorite themes and for a while I thought it may overtake Avada, but they’re not quite an Avada killer just yet.
Avada Theme (Theme Forest) – The best selling theme on Theme Forest is a multi-purpose business theme. This is my #1 suggestion for those building their first website.
Flash Theme (Free + Upgrade) – A good theme for a content heavy website. It also has a lovely homepage design with a magazine feel and a call to action at the top.
Aspire Pro (StudioPress) – Bold homepage design with the ability to have an optin box and links to whatever pages or post you think are important.
Studio Pro (StudioPress) – Gorgeous homepage, fast loading. Just a very professional, stunning design.
Best Themes For Niche Websites
Niche sites or content sites as I like to call theme focus on providing information on a specific topic, narrowed topic, in other words a niche.
Niche sites make their money primarily from ad revenue and affiliate marketing. For niche websites I like to go for themes that are light, fast and have an overall simple design to get people reading, clicking and sharing. Email marketing is an after thought generally with these sorts of themes.
*note: all open in a new tab
Simple (Themify)- I love the Simple theme because I can have a call to action at the top (maybe an email opt-in form), over a gorgeous image and then I can showcase the blog posts below.
My Blog (My Theme Shop) – A simply awesome theme for niche websites. It enables you to set your most important pages to the top while looking good on mobile.
Rowling (Free) – Simple magazine style layout.
Hueman Theme (Free + Upgrade) – Another, cool magazine style layout with a 3 column design.
Word X (My Theme Shop) – Magazine style layout with the images that “My Blog theme” also has. A great option for any AdSense content publisher.
Daily Dish (StudioPress) – Flexible. Good font styles, easy to read and a nice simple layout. Daily Dish is great for both blogs and niche websites.
Magazine Pro (StudioPress) – Another solid magazine design. Good layout, and optimized for mobile and speed.
Kouki Theme (Free) – Minimal, stylish blog with a heavy focus on the content. Featuring a hamburger menu. Cool!
Where To Get WordPress Themes?
You can get themes from the WordPress theme database, market places or from design studios. Market places feature designs from multiple design studios and the WordPress database is free.
You should consider getting a paid theme as they are updated and the developer cares about them more as they are making money.
Theme Forest – The only marketplace I ever buy themes from. The have a wide range of themes for pretty much any sort of website. The best themes on the market place right now are Avada (the #1 selling theme for a reason). You’re obviously free to pick any theme you like. For example, one of my favorite themes from Theme Forest is the Sugar Blog theme. It’s not popular, I just stumble upon it when I was looking for an easy to use blogging theme.
I personally like and have used themes from:
My Theme Shop – Not the fanciest themes, but definitely some of the most effective themes. Particularly if you’re building a niche content website. Website that make thousands of dollars a month from ad revenue are powered by My Theme Shop Themes because their optimized for conversion and speed.
Themify me – My favorite shop. As a creative person, I personally like their designs way more than My Theme Shop. Ultra and Simple are two great themes to build any sort of website on.
One quick note about Studio Press, They do require you to be a bit comfortable jumping into the HTML and CSS. They have walkthrough guides, but you’ll be needing to copy and paste and write a little bit of HTML to get the site looking like the demo. Not too difficult if you don’t know how to code, just thought it should be something you’re aware of.
MY PERSONAL FAVORITES
Alright, I listed out a ton of great themes. I’m starting my first site Dave. What theme should I use?
My #1 suggestion is to use Avada from Theme Forest. It’s a multi-purpose theme with a great page builder and templates you can easily install and customize without any tech skills
Some suggest using DIVI, I like DIVI. It’s better than Avada in a lot of ways in terms of customization BUT if you use DIVI you’re stuck with DIVI. Yearly payments for updates and the theme use a special builder that sort of locks your content into DIVI. Making switching themes in the future a total headache.
For a free theme, I would take the time to learn the Simple theme from Themify Me. It’s very flexible BUT it has a learning curve.
If you’re not crazy about Avada, then get Ultra. Again Themify is one of my favorites and if you look through the demo for Ultra you’ll see that their designs are simply gorgeous.
If you want a minimalistic theme, go with Kouki. I use it, I love it and it’s free!
Last would be the Sugar Blog theme. If you’re looking for a solid blogging theme that is easy to setup fast, this it the theme for you.
Don’t be cheap and try to get premium themes for free
Download free themes from the WordPress theme directory and only the WordPress theme directory.
Themes have to be vetted before thy can be made available for download.
Otherwise, if you find a website that offers a premium theme for free, it’s because the theme may have malicious code or hidden links.
What theme do you use?
This website is built with the Ultra theme from Themify. If you like my design, then take a look at Ultra
What are some of your favorite themes? Let me know!