If you’re trying to get your website noticed while building up a readership for your blog, then here’s a scary fact to consider—there are almost 2 billion websites currently on the internet. That means you’re competing with all of these sites for the attention of your readership.
Naturally, the first place to start is finding a theme that will get you noticed. Finding the right free WordPress theme is also one of the most difficult parts of building a site. There are so many themes available on WordPress and they all offer features, customization, and ease of use.
But what makes WordPress so great is the preponderance of free ready-made themes available for you to use when creating your site. Some of these can be hit-or-miss, but there are some truly great and professional theme templates that you can choose from. When looking for a theme that is the best fit for you, there are some things to consider, such as:
- Keep things simple – Too many designers try to throw all of the bells and whistles into a theme. This can look great, but lots of plugins and widgets can actually slow down performance and make your site less responsive. Instead, you want to find a WordPress theme that allows you to highlight and accentuate your website content, making the content the centerpiece of the site as it should be.
- Keep it responsive – It’s important to make sure that your website will display properly on desktops and also on mobile devices. This means finding a theme that is responsive and designed specifically to work with a variety of different styles and layouts for different devices.
- Keep it consistent – One of the things that can drive a web designer crazy is the incorrect use of fonts. Besides the use of Comic Sans, the worst mistake a theme can have is a mish-mash of fonts that have no connection to each other. Be sure to choose a font-family that works for your style and stay within that family. You don’t have to use the exact same font for every piece of text in the site. But headings, subheadings, and body text should all be consistent and should mesh together.
But, for now, we will focus on FREE WordPress themes. Everyone loves free! I’m going to pull my favorite themes from across the internet to show you the breadth of themes available and the different features in each one that won’t cost you anything but time.
Clean Retina by Theme Horse https://www.themehorse.com/themes/clean-retina/
I’m starting here because it’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s actually the theme I use on my almost a food blog (I tend to ramble and rant more than post recipes). I love it because it’s clean and it’s customizable. Built right into the theme options is a page for CSS updates. I appreciate a theme developer who encourages people to use his theme the way they need to. I was able to make this theme my own by using the in-theme options and then changing the CSS to get the feel I wanted.
This elegant theme comes with a lot of subtle design details; notice the “scroll” button that stays in the bottom right corner when navigating the site. Clean Retina keeps up with the times. It will look just as great on your phone or retina display as any other computer.
Artificer – Woo Themes https://www.woothemes.com/products/artificer/
Personally, I love Woo Themes; talk about a WordPress Powerhouse. Woo Themes doesn’t just stop at themes, they also have plug-ins to make the themes achieve your end goal. The result is a group of themes and plug-ins that are designed to work as well separately as apart. A lot of the Woo Themes and plug-ins are available for free, or you can purchase a subscription and have the availability to download multiple themes.
Why Artificer? Well, it’s a free theme that is designed to be a store. Yep, it’s actually a shopping cart and partners well with all of Woo Themes’ widgets, including Woo Commerce! The design is simple, so your products don’t get lost amongst too many “features”, and as with most Woo Themes, it is responsive, so it’s easy to purchase from your shop on the go.
Helix by Fab Themes https://www.fabthemes.com/helix/
Wow. I love this theme and I really wish I had a need for it, but unfortunately, I don’t. But, if you’re a photographer, videographer, graphic artist, painter, or any other image-centric vocation, this is the theme for you. While this theme does require the Options Framework plug-in to work (this is available for free download through WordPress.org), the installation of that plug in is so easy, and this theme is definitely worth the extra step.
Helix gives you all of the features available to standard WordPress themes, compatibility with pages and blogs, and the eye catching full-screen image rotator draws your clients in before they even read anything you have to say.
Oxygen Theme by Alien https://alienwp.com/themes/oxygen/
I like the Oxygen Theme because of its professional simplicity. This is a great way to introduce your company to the world. The theme is responsive, which as you know is important in our portable lifestyle. It is easy to customize with multiple widget areas, multiple menus, a built-in light box, and customizable back ground. It also includes a featured content slider, so you are able to easily update the focus of your home page if you are running promotions or want to highlight part of your business.
Researching a theme is the first step to building a successful WordPress website. You want a theme that has a general feel that you are looking for, or has enough customization available to make it fit your website.
When selecting a theme, take your time, install a few themes and try them out. Make sure it is easy to make changes to the site and that you are comfortable using all the features available to you through the theme options. Remember, no two themes are exactly the same on the back end, so you need to be as comfortable with changing your website as you are with looking at it.