Finding WordPress Themes

pluginsNext you’ll want to pay some attention to the appearance of your blog by finding a good theme.

The default installation of Wordpress (prior to 3.0) only included 2 themes – neither of which were very attractive!

But with version 2.8, WordPress introduced the ability to search for themes from your dashboard, through the 'Add New' button on your Themes page. This makes finding and installing new themes a breeze.

And in WordPress 3.0 they introduced the TwentyTen default theme, which is a lot better than the previous ones and offers you some configuration and customisation options.

As with installing plugins, though, the themes you can search and install via the 'Add New Themes' link are limited to the ones on the WordPress site.

For any others you'll need to download and install them manually.

Free Themes vs Paid (Premium) Themes.

There are thousands of free themes available but they’re not always coded well.  This causes problems with plugins, WordPress upgrades and it can leave security holes that can be exploited by the bad guys - some have even been known to contain spam links in the code.

So if you’re going for a free theme, be sure to get it from a reputable site - because there are some good ones out there

But with all the free themes that are available, why would you want to pay money for a Premium theme?

Here’s what you generally (deliberately emphasized) get with a premium theme that you won’t get with a free one:

  • A control panel (sometimes up to 5 screens) to enable full customization of the look and feel of your blog without needing to touch the code
  • Full support in case of problems
  • Upgrades and updates – to cope with security issues and keep pace with new Wordpress functionality
  • Better coding – cleaner and more stable, resulting in smoother integration with plugins and smoother upgrades of Wordpress
  • Easy SEO control – blog wide, and post by post. Some premium themes have enough SEO options that you can drop some SEO plugins

Most premium themes come with 2 pricing options:

  1. Personal or Single User, which enables you to use the theme on one installation only
  2. Developer or Multi-user, which enables you to use it on as many sites as you like.

Be sure to read the T’s & C’s carefully as some will specify that you can only use them on domains owned by you.

This is important if you plan to provide Wordpress installation and maintenance services for a fee, because you may not be able to use these themes on your clients’ sites.

The better Premium themes will enable you to create completely different appearances for your various blogs, all from the same platform.

So if you buy the Developer’s option, and it’s a good theme, you would be able to put up different blogs focusing on different target markets, covering completely different subjects, and create the appropriate appearance for each – all using the same platform (theme).

This includes the number of columns (or sidebars), font styles and sizes, colour schemes, header images and so on.

Where Can I Find WordPress Themes?

I’ve set out below some sites where you can find themes for Wordpress, split into Premium and Free.

Please understand that I have not tested each of these themes..!  You need to do your own due diligence on them.

But I have looked for reputable sites for both, and it’s a useful list.

Premium Themes:

An aggregation of themes from different authors/developers. From $25 up for single use options. This site includes Premium themes, Magazine themes, Business & CMS themes and Video themes.

Woo Themes

Themes by Woo themes. A reasonable selection, including 2 or 3 column, magazine style and ‘business’ themes. All seem to be priced at $70/$150 (Personal/Developer)

There’s a free version of this theme, with no control panel and 3 colour options instead of 7. Prices for the paid themes start at $49 for the Personal option.

Smashing Magazine

Reviews of a wide range of premium themes from different authors with prices starting from $49 (Personal option)

Premium Themes

Their catch line is “Listing only the Best Premium Themes for Wordpress from Around”.  They certainly have a huge number of premium themes which they’ve reviewed here along with links to the original author sites.

Another huge range of themes with prices starting from $45 for the Personal option.

Affiliate Theme

A very nice, highly and easily customisable theme specifically designed for setting up affiliate marketing sites and landing pages. Support tutorials and support forum. From $97 for single user. $147 for the multi user version is good value.

Free Themes


160 themes that claim to be fully standards compliant and 100% free for any type of use.

Themes Rock Kitty

1400 free themes in a wide variety of styles. And I do mean wide..!

Smashing Magazine Free Themes

Smashing Magazine again - this time with free themes. 100 of them.  These have been tested and reviewed by the Smashing Magazine people, so the quality and coding is going to be reliable.


Literally thousands of themes here, but there are a lot of boring ones amongst them. And they have a very annoying pop-up, but it does have a close link at the bottom right.

Once again please be sure to do your own due diligence on these themes - particularly the free ones.

The Thesis Framework

The framework (theme) I use on all my WordPress sites is Thesis. I've written a page on it here with links to the various reviews I've done. I'm currently offering to customise and install it for you free of charge if you buy it through my affiliate link.

It's a superbly coded platform which delivers extremely fast load times and has enough SEO functionality that you don't need to use any SEO plugins.

I've published more details on Thesis here, explaining how and why it's able to deliver fast site-load times.

OK, once you've found a theme you'll need to install it - which is covered on the next page.