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What WordPress Theme should I use?

By in Blog, WordPress, WordPress themes | 6 comments

Having worked with WordPress over the past year or so, I’ve been able to use many themes, both free and premium for the projects I’ve worked on (both personal and for clients), and have learned quite a bit from all the tweaking I’ve done on multiple themes.

When you decide to have a self-hosted blog or website using the WordPress publishing platform, choosing a theme is probably the most important thing you’ll do from a design perspective because it will dictate how your site will look to the world. You want your site to reflect who you are, whether you’re a person or a company. You also want it to be unique – standing out is an important factor in attracting traffic to your site.

If you’re on a really tight budget, there are lots of really nice looking free themes available out there. I’ve definitely done my share of searching for free themes that are easily customizable and can recommend a few resources. Keep reading – I’m providing some links to some awesome themes (some are free!) available online:

Note: Keep in mind that free themes can all be customized (such as colors), so you can still personalize a free theme!

Smashing Magazine is always a wonderful resource for anything related to web design. In May of this year (2009), they released a list of “100 Amazing Free WordPress Themes for 2009“. Definitely worth at least a look! Click on the link and it will open in a new tab/window and take you directly to the post!

If you’re looking for some premium themes, I recommend the following (all images are links to each respective website – links will open in a new tab/window):

WooThemes Woo Themes have some very popular premium themes, but they also offer some really awesome free themes that are just as nice, and perfect for those who just can’t afford to purchase a theme. To see what they have available, click on the image to the right and it will open a new tab or window and take you to the Woo Themes site. From there, click on “Our Themes” in the menu area, and you’ll be able to use the filter they have an see only their 6 free themes as well as their premium themes.

WordPress ThemesI’ve worked extensively with iThemes themes – they are very easy to work with as well as being very flexible. Their Flexx theme in particular has 1,056 layouts to choose from – between colors, version, design layout itself (side bars, top/bottom feature bars, etc.), and is one of my favorites. Their prices are reasonable and competitive, and their themes are all SEO optimized. They have great support, and the information alone contained in their website is worth a visit.

WordPress Themes by StudioPressStudioPress also has some really great themes that are quite popular for the same reasons as iThemes – they’re easy to use. They have a great support forum to work with, and their site is also full of useful information. Like iThemes, their themes are also reasonably priced and SEO optimized. I’ve developed client websites using their themes and they are definitely worthwhile premium themes to check out!

Elegant Themes is a site that is actually quite affordable, with some really beautiful and unique themes! If you’re willing to spend $19.95 USD per year, you will have full access to all of the available themes for that full year to be used on your sites. I use one of their themes for my personal blog, and I admire the artistic look of these themes as well their functionality and easy of use. They are definitely Elegant Themes!

WP Remix ThemeFinally, there is the WP-Remix theme, which provides over 50 templates from one theme alone! I used to use this theme on UC Web Creations and absolutely loved the flexibility it provides, as well as the professional look it provides. If you’re looking for a good theme to create a Content Management System (CMS) site as opposed to a blog, this theme is well worth considering. The available page templates themselves will inspire your site content!

So, which theme will you choose for you site? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a tough time choosing, and you may end up wanting to have more than one website just so you can use several themes! Have fun choosing!


  1. There are some good free themes out there but the large majority are pretty bad. It comes down to how much time are you willing to spend searching for a free theme when you can just pay a few bucks and get a gorgeous theme that often comes with support from the designer. For those of you not wanting to waste your time check out the authors listed above or you check out my site for a list of all professional themes.

    BTW, I dugg this. 🙂


    July 30, 2009

  2. I completely agree – when I first started using WordPress, I spent hours searching for a decent free theme and came to the same conclusion you just mentioned – it was easier to spend a little money to get a really awesome theme (or a few, actually!) than to keep scourging the internet for decent-looking free themes. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment!


    July 30, 2009

  3. I designed my theme, but if I was going to pick another it would be Thesis which looks very nice and feature complete. It costs $87 and I haven’t bought nor worked with it.
    .-= Richard X. Thripp´s last blog ..Egregious Failures =-.

    Richard X. Thripp

    August 26, 2009

    • There are tons of nice designs out there; what you choose just depends on what you want your site’s look and feel to be!


      August 29, 2009

  4. Hi Ursula,

    Also, any tips on what the look and feel of your site should be? for example, I am building tow sites, one for my consultancy and one as a customer service blog for clients.

    How do you decide on what an effective colour scheme should be? What features do you need to make sure it has? How do you check mobile compatibility?

    Otherwise, thanks for all the links!


    July 18, 2011

    • Hi Deven! The look and feel of a site depends on what you’re trying to communicate to your visitors – if it’s mainly a blog, then a blog feel (with the blog on the home page) would work best, whereas a business site should have the blog on a separate page. Color schemes really depend on the customer’s preference, but vibrant colors tend to look the best. Mobile compatibility is a complicated topic – some themes are built with mobile compatibility, and sometimes you need to use a plugin to provide the mobile compatibility – I’m still researching this one as it can definitely get complicated and not always easy to handle. Let me know if you need any further clarifications – thanks!

      WP Gal

      August 13, 2011

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