Looking for the best WordPress themes for your blog? There are many steps in starting a blog, but perhaps the most exciting one is choosing your WordPress theme. This is where the magic happens, because the design you choose will be the first impression any reader has when they land on your page. How do you envision your website looking? Soft and feminine? Dark and bold? Smart and entrepreneurial? There are so many directions to go, and even more themes to choose from.
This post contains affiliate links but are products and services I use and love!
WordPress offers quite a few free themes, but they are extremely limiting in terms of how much you can customize to your taste and what features are available. That's why web designers around the world create and sell themes, to help you truly create a look that will speak to your brand. However, the ones that you can really add your own flare to are the ones that are going to help you present yourself exactly how you want.
Now, how do you find the BEST theme for your blog?
So, you've got your domain, you've purchased your hosting plan and you've installed WordPress. Now how about we make your blog look pretty?
I have built quite a few websites and blogs, so I've purchased a great deal of WordPress themes (seriously, I have a folder designated just to themes now because I own so many). I've had some crappy ones that I've used for a hot minute and decided it just didn't work for the feel I was going for, and I've had some amazing ones that made me want to start another blog just so I could use it again.
That said, I didn't just find my favorite ones overnight, hence why I have so many. It took time, research and a vision! I have browsed thousands of blogs and websites over the years and have looked into what themes they use when something caught my eye. With that, and with the hundreds of looks that I was interested in, I have narrowed down my top three favorite places to get WordPress themes.
These are, in my opinion, the best resources for WordPress themes:
1. Elegant Themes – More than 430,000 people use and love Elegant Themes. This is largely because the themes offer an easy drag and drop front end editor, which is incredibly helpful for the not-so-technically-savvy, and for those that are more visual. Additionally, you get access to a whopping 87 stunning themes for the price of one. This includes the new and popular Divi 3.0, which is crazy customizable and changing the WordPress theme game. The company is lucky enough to boast that it is the most popular premium them in the world. In short, Elegant Themes packs a whole lot of value for a simple membership price of $89/year, for the entire collection of themes and plugins.
2. Restored 316 – This is my favorite provider of soft and feminine WordPress Themes, and it is used by the likes of some of the most visited blogs online. Seriously, they are just gorgeous! There are 18 designs to choose from, all of which have their own feminine touches – perfect for the female entrepreneur, and for beauty, style, food, and lifestyle blogs (but really, you could customize them for any type)! My current blog theme comes from Restored 316 and it has been quite easy to make it my own so it fits my taste and brand. With your purchase of a Restored 316 theme, you get some wonderfully detailed and useful documentation on how to get your blog set up just like the demo version. Themes cost $75* and are totally, totally worth it. The themes are created by a female designer (girl power!) named Lauren, and a portion of each purchase is donated to the Child Survival Program with Compassion International.
3. ThemeForest/Envato – Theme Forest is the largest source of themes on my list of favorites, offering almost 37K to choose from! The company gets its designs from creatives around the world, which explains the insane amount of looks! The themes that I have purchased through this vendor have all been a result of seeing someone else's site, liking how it looked, and figuring out that they got it through ThemeForest. I've not had the patience or need to browse through all of the options, but it's definitely a good place to look if you really don't know what you want. Also, prices range from super affordable to pricey rather than having one set price.
4. StudioPress – Hundreds of thousands of people use StudioPress, and for good reason. It is the home of the popular Genesis Framework, which is regularly updated to be compatible with the ever-changing WordPress world. It has a great support team, your child theme and customizations don't go to the clouds when you update to the latest version and it's not expensive!
Choosing your theme should be fun and exciting! Take a look at these amazing theme providers and get that blog rocking!
Now, if you are a beginner, it's important to know that when you install a new theme to your WordPress blog, it will not look exactly like the demo version did. Why is that? Because the demo versions are set up to show you what your website could look like. When you install the package, it will have all the bells and whistles that you saw, but you will have to manually incorporate a good deal of them to get a similar look. Most themes will upload some of the content elements that it uses in the sample, so you will see some new images and sample posts. These are simply here to guide you in identifying where the different blocks of content are located for customization purposes.
That said, keep in mind that if you really want to customize your blog to your liking, you're going to have to be able to demonstrate a few basic design and build skills. This ranges from how to install and use plugins, how to place and organize widgets, a little HTML and CSS if you want more advanced changes, etc. As mentioned above for Restored 316, you will often have access to documentation on how to make it look like what you saw. If not, it's pretty easy to search for how-tos online if it's a popular theme.
*Restored 316 requires the Genesis Framework and a self-hosted WordPress.org site. If you are new to hosting, check out my article on how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog in 4 easy steps, for which I recommend either SiteGround or BlueHost.