There are so many themes out there for you to choose from but just making up your mind can consume an inordinate amount of time. The majority of them look really appealing but there are some issues to watch out for when deciding on the best free WordPress blog themes for your particular needs.
There are free WordPress themes (but free doesn’t always mean free) and there are premium WordPress themes (payment required).
I have used both types and definitely have a couple of recommendations that I can pass onto you.
How to Find High Quality WordPress Themes
- If you have no programming background, and no interest in fiddling with the code “behind the scenes” then I would suggest either a very simple free theme or an affordable premium theme.
- Check the developer’s summary about his/her product.
- You want to make sure, if using a free theme, that it has been designed, or updated, to work on the latest version of WordPress.
- Does the theme allow you to easily change the color scheme? Some come with 3 or 4 different color schemes that you can simply activate from the settings in the WordPress dashboard.
- Are you looking for just one theme or are you developing websites for others, in which case you might want one of the premium packages that provide you with several templates for the one price.
Free WordPress Themes vs Premium WordPress Themes
But before making your selectio,n decide if you prefer to stick to a free WordPress theme or to go for a paid version.
Sometimes, when you are first starting out, it might be difficult to know what to look for in the paid themes (as they usually come with “more bells and whistles”). I started off with a free theme but found that I needed to do too much tweaking to get it to validate as correct code and to get it to do what I wanted it to do. I have found some of the best WordPress premium themes much easier to work with in the end.
So, I took that knowledge and moved onto a premium theme (the Genesis Framework from StudioPress), being better armed to know what I was looking for. I have since used other free themes that I have been happy with but now I know what to check before selecting any old free theme.
Is a Free WordPress Theme the Way to Go?
I was fascinated by the information in an article published on WPMU that basically said, if you want to use a free theme, don’t search using the keyword phrase “free WordPress themes”. Why?
The article examined the top 10 search engine results, using checking tools, and found that many (not all) of the random themes selected, contained either encrypted code that could be used for malicious purposes or unnecessary links or code with mistakes. Others had no suspicious code inserts but, in their view, tended to be dated and tired-looking.
Now mind you, that post was published in 2011 but, even so, from the top 10 search results, they rated only 1 as safe; 8 were branded with ‘avoid’ and a 9th was regarded as debatable. You can read the rest of this article here: Why You Should Never Search for Free WordPress Themes. They elaborate on this advice about finding free clean WordPress themes.
Finding a Safe Free WordPress Theme
What I particularly liked about the article on WPMU, mentioned in the previous paragraph, is the fact that they provided good leads on how best to find free WordPress themes; but this time without using that search phrase.
And as a result, I did put this advice into practice myself when looking to convert a website to WordPress and was so impressed by the free theme that I found, that I have listed the company as a source for future premium themes. It happened to be a free theme from Woo. This company, like a number of sites that sell premium themes, offers a couple of free premium WordPress themes as part of their theme offering.
The Woo Themes site is a good example of a premium WordPress site that also offers free themes. And of course, their free themes provide a golden opportunity to impress (or woo) prospective customers just as they did me. I couldn’t believe the value that was offered with the free theme I selected. Of course, you don’t have support access unless you become a customer but then the support and WordPress tutorials are hallmarks of premium themes.
WordPress Themes I can Recommend
So if you are going down the track of looking for a free theme, I suggest that you start with premium sites (just search for “premium WordPress themes” ) and see if they have some free themes to offer as well as their paid themes. This should uncover some of the best free WordPress themes that are safe to use.
Alternatively, you can search for free + the name of a premium themes site. Given the need to make sites responsive now, I suggest that you revise your search phrase to include the word ‘responsive’: “best free responsive WordPress themes” and then append the name of one of the premium sites such as “Woo Themes”.
If you instead decide to go for a premium theme then I can highly recommend StudioPress themes that are powered by the Genesis Framework. If you are interested to learn more, you can read why I decided to use a child theme built on the Genesis Framework.
And based on my experience with their free themes, I would like to recommend WooThemes as well and I will certainly be thinking of them myself when I next need a premium theme.