WordPress is the most popular software for building websites today, especially blogs.
Self-hosted sites, which use WordPress.org and not WordPress.com, require hosting and a domain. WordPress is then installed and you can access the dashboard and design and edit your site easily.
There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, including thousands of free blog themes and some premium themes.
In this article, we’ll help you find great themes for your new WordPress blog.
What Does Your WordPress Blog Need?
Before browsing different themes, you should make a clear list of things that you need.
There are so many themes to choose from that this is the only way to filter out the ones that are relevant to you. Simply browsing them to find one that looks good would take far too long.
Here are a few things to consider:
What features do you want on the homepage? Many themes have a designed homepage that doesn’t require much work on your end. If you want a custom homepage and not simply a list of recent posts, this is something to consider.
How good are your coding and design skills? You don’t need to be a developer to create a great WordPress blog, but you do need to know how to code if you intend on editing your theme. If you aren’t a developer at all, you’ll want to look for a theme that requires few changes in the layout, colors, and overall design.
What design features are you looking for? Do you want a full-width banner on the homepage? What about two sidebar menus? Knowing these things up-front can help you find the right theme.
Is the theme responsive? Ideally, you want a theme that will look great on any device or screen size, and not all themes are responsive.
Is there support for this theme? You can look at the WordPress forums and the theme developer’s site to see if there is a lot of activity going on in terms of support. Some themes have great support and you can find answers to questions you have or post your own questions and someone will help you quickly.
Other very important things that you’ll need on your blog, like a subscribe button for your mailing list, social media sharing and follow buttons will be available via various plugins and aren’t something you should really look for in a theme.
Where to Look for Blog Themes
There are three ways to go about searching for your theme:
Your WordPress dashboard
On the WordPress site
Various third-party websites
If you know the name of the theme you want, you can simply search for the theme directly from your dashboard and install it there. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, use the WordPress website to browse themes using the available filters. You can also do a Google search for a specific type of theme that you need (for example, blue WordPress theme with custom background) and you’ll find many different websites that sell themes.
Great Free Blog Themes
Here are a few great looking blog themes that you can use for free, each with a very different look.
This theme is aimed at photographers or blogs about photography, though with a little bit of creativity, it can fit a wide number of topics and industries. The homepage features a full-width slider where you can add images and text to feature your services, main topics, or photos. Underneath the main banner you can feature your latest posts and you have a sidebar on the right to add a calendar, recent and popular posts, a search box, etc. The theme is fully responsive so you don’t have to worry about how it will look on tablets or mobile phones.
This is a great theme for bloggers because of the homepage structure, especially if you have great images for each blog post. The layout features your post in a very Pinterest-style structure in three columns. You can feature a big background picture and the fonts look very professional. This is a responsive theme, which is a definite plus, and it is a very straightforward and modern design for blogs in any industry.
View a demo of Garfunkel here.
Full-screen images are getting really popular and they make a strong first impression if you choose the right image. This theme is all about the image and one-liner or blog title that you add to it. It looks very artistic and elegant and has a one-column layout. This is also a responsive theme and works on any platform or screen size.
View a demo of Adler here.
These are only a few of the great free themes that you can find.
Great Premium Blog Themes
Premium themes are usually packed with more useful features and in some cases even save you money because you can spend less time on development and design, and in some cases, you don’t have to buy certain plugins that you would need to purchase separately and add to some free themes.
This theme is available for $39 if you purchase a regular license. It has a very clean and modern design that is suitable for many different topics such as fashion, food, literature, and more. It is responsive and has multiple homepage layouts you can choose from and the pages are fully customizable so you can truly make this theme yours in terms of design. The theme also has a hamburger menu, which is very popular, and a number of other features that make it very friendly for bloggers and non-developers.
This is a beautiful theme that would be great for any blog that focuses on appealing photos. Think travel, food, and fashion. It has a top clean header and a sliding image gallery of your previous or popular posts or categories on the homepage. You can choose from 11 different blog layouts, page templates, custom widgets and a parallax theme which saves you on additional plugins. A regular license costs $44 and you can add to it for additional support.
This is a great theme for blogs or business sites that want to make a big first impression on first visitors. With this theme, you have access to hundreds of different page demos, blog layouts, and slider combinations, and it’s responsive towards high-resolution Retina devices. A regular license is $49, with the option to extend support by 12 months for $14.70.
Take your time to look at different themes, test them out, read the features and understand what you need. A lot of times, you’ll opt for a free theme but will have to spend on plugins or development time to get the features you need, when a premium theme can solve that and might actually be cheaper in the long run.