4 Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers (Both Free and Paid)
The right theme can set you EONS ahead when launching a blog, and these best WordPress themes for bloggers will point you in the right direction!
Choosing a WordPress theme is a like choosing a car.
Getting the right one takes you where you want to go, and you may even enjoy the ride along the way!
Choose the wrong one and you’ll end up in a ditch on the side of the road and constantly in mechanic shops trying to fix the damn thing.
Your blog theme matters as much as getting the right blogging host in my mind.
And we have tried quite a few cars on our journey:
- X Theme
- Twenty Sixteen
- Twenty Seventeen
- Thrive Themes
And spent many hours researching them as well…
Keep in mind we gave up a few of these themes after less than a day of using them.
Anywho, we wanted to create this article today to help clarify the best WordPress themes for bloggers and what theme you should be using during the different stages of your blogging journey.
4 Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers (Free and Paid)
Real talk – Lauren and I have mad love for X Theme, especially when it comes to being a beginner blogger.
We had been hunting for months at the beginning of our blogging career before we decided to give it a try. It really did not disappoint us in any way. Keep in mind this was at the beginning of our blogging career and ended up being a life-saver for us.
- Those customizations though – My god – the customization power of X Theme is incredible. You can make your blog look exactly how you want it to look!
- Incredibly powerful – Comes with quite a few unique plugins and options to help you accomplish anything.
- Beginner friendly 10/10 – The best part of this theme is how beginner friendly it is. After a few days playing around with it, you’ll have 90% of the theme handled.
- Customer support and help – Basically all you have to do is google “Your problem X Theme” and an open ticket will come up on their public support forum. It’s insanity. And even on .0001% of times I had a question that had not already been answered, when I asked my question – they got back to me that day.
- Costs a little money – It does cost $50-$60 for a license, but that is relatively on par for most themes these days.
- A tiny bit slower than Genesis – The only reason we switched from X Theme was because of how incredibly fast the genesis framework is. That being said, it’s still the only place a beginner should start! (Genesis framework is not very user-friendly, and we paid a website guy to design ours for us for that reason).
Who this theme is perfect for: Beginner bloggers who are completely new to WordPress and want full customization of their blog! …So basically, everyone who’s not an advanced WordPress user.
X Theme is the absolute perfect solution for newbies learning the ropes with WordPress.
It’s also the foundation that we built our 100k per year blog Avocadu on! The only con is that it costs a little bit of money upfront. You can grab X Theme here.
Also, I should mention that Lauren and I have a complete training on building and designing your blog with X Theme in our Launch Your Blog eCourse.
Next up on our list of best WordPress themes for bloggers…
Various Other Free Themes
Uh oh, Alex is going to have to go into his speech about economics and capitalism…
HOLD ON TIGHT!
There is a basic economic theory that is as true for blogging as anything else in life:
“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
While starting with a “free” theme, hosting, etc. may sound alluring, it’s often just a guise to get your money later on.
Think about it: That company needs to make money somehow or they’d go out of business. This is the same with themes as anything else!
The person who built that theme is going to need a way to make money or else their kids are going to go hungry!
Usually this involves leaving out crucial components to the theme and charging you for them later on.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of the various free themes.
- It’s “free” – Ok cheekiness aside, it can save people money and help those on a string tight budget when starting out. That being said, it is an investment if you plan to make money with your blog. It’s VERY different than paying for a pair of shoes or something else worth $50.
- Limited capabilities – No free theme is going to have everything. That’s just not how it works, peeps. Families to feed, mansions to furnish.
- “What if” – Ok I made this up, but hear me out… The “what if” factor is the second guessing you will be doing of yourself if your blog looked better. You will constantly question how much better your bog would be doing if you got it to look like just how you wanted. “What if” I could install that banner image. “What if” my homepage looked like the one at Create and Go. Etc. Trust me, it will happen
- Free is never free – Just trust me.
Who is this theme perfect for: Anyone pinching those pennies! Listen, I get it. I once had my credit card declined at Walmart for about $10 worth of groceries. I KNOW BROKE.
So if you don’t have the $50 to spot for X theme, than this is an okay option for just starting out. A good, paid theme, however, is one of the first things you should invest in with your blog.
Here are some free themes designed for bloggers (some of the free themes people seem to like):
- Girly Theme
- Twenty Sixteen
Another company I really love and look up to in the Internet Marketing world.
We have used a LOT of plugins and different software over the years and have nothing but good things to say about Thrive Themes.
We used Thrive Leads and their screen slider option to collect leads on our blog for the longest time. They treat their customers right, are constantly updating the software they produce, and offer great pricing options.
- Company is solid – They have incredible customer service and are really responsive. They’ve come through for us a number of times in a pinch.
- You get a lot for what you pay for – We signed up a while back when they were doing an unlimited license plan, and the deal was crazy. I think we get all their themes and plugins for only $78 per year or something like that. You probably won’t get that deal, but for the value they add, it’s crazy. We would have paid THOUSANDS more if we used another company like SumoMe for half the capabilities.
- Not very “beautiful” – Just being truthful, because most of my readers are women. If you want a pretty and lovely blog, this is not going to be it. You can make it look good, but I think 99% of Thrive’s customer base are dudes.
- Not really targeted at bloggers – I played around with the themes for a few hours and could never seem to get it to work the way I wanted. We use it on the Health Nerd’s website, but that’s because we don’t really blog on there.
Who is this theme perfect for: Internet marketers. People looking to build “authority websites” and are focused more on the marketing side of things than building an audience
It may seem weird, but I really feel like it’s made for guys and not girls. Like the person using these themes is looking to make mad cash and is less worried about her readers and building a community. Ya dig?
You can check out Thrive Themes here.
Lastly, and certainly not least, on our list of best WordPress themes for bloggers…
Man oh man. These guys!
Perhaps my biggest gripe with other bloggers is recommending this theme to newbies.
MY. GOD. STOP.
Those poor souls.
Genesis framework needs to have “advanced users only” plastered on front of it.
When Lauren and I starting using this theme, we already had a full years of full-time blogging experience under our belts.
Despite that, it STILL kicked our ass.
It took us forever, as a team, to figure the thing out, and there were still a lot of customizations we basically gave up on because of its limited capabilities (if you don’t know website coding). Eventually, we had to hire some of the main customizations out.
Giving this theme to a new blogger is like handing the keys of a spaceship to an 10 year-old.
Yeah, it’s got the power to go to some cool places, but you have about a 0% chance of getting to any place you’d like. Because of this, it makes the theme pretty worthless to newbies.
You’re probably wondering: Ok, well why in the world did ya’ll move from X-theme to Genesis?
- Speed – Without a doubt, Genesis is the fastest framework in the WordPress business. When we changed our blog over, we noticed immediate increases in both revenue and visitors directly related to page speed time. That is exactly why most professional bloggers use it. I think something around 40% of visitors drop in the first 3 seconds if the page doesn’t load. While I still don’t think this is where bloggers should start, once you have a readership and are making some money, you should eventually switch.
- Cost – Sweet Baby Bill, get ready to spend some pesos. Just the basic framework costs $60 but you also have to buy a child theme as well for around another $60+.
- Limited Customization for Non-Coders – We had to hire someone to customize ours, because no matter what child theme we got, we couldn’t make it look how we wanted. You’ve been warned!
- Complexity – Get ready for some painful learning processes my friends. You’ve been warned.
Who is this theme perfect for: For those of you with 500,000+ unique visitors a month, it may be time to switch. Just remember that it will take some money for both the theme and a designer to get things going. It was painful for us to bite the bullet, but it did end up being the right choice in the end.
Let’s wrap this up.
Newbies – X Theme, if you can swing it, is the only way to go.
Broke Newbies – Grab a free theme.
Internet Marketers and Dudes – Grab a Thrive Themes package.
Advanced WordPress Users and Bloggers – Hire a website designer and use Genesis Framework.
If you found this article on best WordPress themes for bloggers helpful, let me know in the comment section below! Which one did you decide to go with??
Create something awesome today!
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. Have you launched your blog yet? If not, this is the ultimate FREE 7-Day eCourse on Building and Launching Your Blog from scratch. Please check it out and join the THOUSANDS who are already talk about it.
Alex & Lauren
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