Themes have a huge part to play in the popularity of WordPress in general. Sure, the code base and functionality go a long way too but the fact that you can get a great looking website at the click of a button and simply change the look and feel of your design at will, any time you like is also a particularly attractive feature.
All that is obviously made possible by themes. Now, there are a lot of themes out there. Tens of thousands in fact, possibly more. Some are fantastic, some you’re better off avoiding for the next million years. But there is choice, there are options and our sites are better as a result of that.
Now as mentioned, not all themes are particularly good. The fact that anyone can build a theme within a few hours dictates that. But there are some great sources out there which will enable you to find great themes relatively easily and that is what we’ll be talking about today.
I’m going to run through a list of my top 5 places to find WordPress themes. This is by no means a complete list, but if you don’t find a theme that you like via the sites below you’re doing something wrong.
I’m going to kick off this list with ThemeForest as it is considered THE go-to place for WordPress themes. The difference with this source is that is doesn’t offer home brewed themes, it is a marketplace for all theme designers to peddle their wares.
You can only purchase single themes at ThemeForest but you can quickly and easily browse categories and demo live themes which enables you to specifically find the theme you want with ease. You can also see the number of sales each theme has done and how the theme rates and compares against others.
Usually the market gets it right and if you find a theme with a high rating or lots of sales, you can be relatively sure it’s a winner.
Another one of my favorite sites and I’m actually using the “Cool” theme from MyThemeShop on WPConvent.com at the time of writing. It’s a club style site where you can purchase individual themes for $59 a time or you can pay for annual access and download all of the featured themes and plugins as you see fit for $87 which is obviously much better value. Even if you only own a couple of blogs like me.
Part of the reason I like using MTS themes so much is down to the back end. The theme options panel, particularly on some of the newer offerings is second to none. You can customize pretty much every aspect of the design and layout. Although the themes are that high quality out of the box, not a great deal of customization is really needed.
WooThemes / WooCommerce
WooThemes originally started off as a regular single theme / theme club start offering and with the realize of its flagship ecommerce suite, WooCommerce, it’s kinda gone more towards the shop owner with its vast array of store front themes and plugins. But there are still regular blog themes available for purchase if you look deep enough.
WooCommerce has made it possible to users to sell single products from their blog right through to operate fully fledged online shops via their WordPress blog without the need for dedicated shopping carts such as Magento or Shopify.
I tend to use ThemeFuse when looking for commercial, non-blog type themes. I have a lot of clients who want a quick and easy (and cheap) website and combining a WordPress install with one of the fantastic looking professional themes offered by ThemeFuse is a great way to offer that.
As you can see via the link above, you can browse themes by category/niche, so if you wanted to build a site for a travel agent, you could browse travel and find lots of great themes at your disposal.
For business/commercial sites rather than regular magazine type blogs, personally I think there is nobody better. Of course, their themes are that good and the control panel powering offers so much flexibility and scale in the way of customization that even if you did want to use one as a regular blog you wouldn’t have issue.
In terms of out and out design, personally, I think StudioPress are leading the way. They create beautiful, crisp clean themes that will suit virtually any blog style or niche out there. You can check them out for yourself but once you view their portfolio you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Lots of whitespace, clean and consistent font styles coupled with elegant element placement. They truly are a thing of beauty.
That level of quality however does come at a premium. The current price for access to the “club” is $347 which is several multiples of the MyThemeShop price but if you want design quality, you’re going to have to pay for it.
All of the sites above offer a fantastic selection of themes at affordable prices. You’ll find some of the sites offer “club” type subscriptions too where you’d simply pay a flat, annual fee and in return you’d have access to all themes on the site. If you run lots of blogs or are prone to changing your template design more frequently then this could be a great option for you given the cost of membership often equates to the same price as a couple of single theme buys.