Best WordPress Themes

As someone who has hundreds niche sites in my portfolio, I’m always on the lookout for the best wordpress themes to make my sites standout.

While I do sometimes use free WordPress themes, I often prefer the quality of a nice looking premium theme or the ability to customize one myself using a theme framework. This blog for example, is built using the Thesis theme framework.

I’m not a designer by any means, so I don’t mind investing a little bit money in a great looking wordpress theme. Plus many premium themes offer a great deal more flexibility than their free counterparts.

Below are some of my favorite premium WordPress Themes, Theme Frameworks, and free WordPress Themes. These are the best wordpress themes I’ve found so far, but I am always updating this post when I find new themes that catch my eye.

Best Premium WordPress Themes

#1 InReview Theme – I build a lot of review sites, and my favorite wordpress theme for this is InReview by ElegantThemes. It is perfect for creating review sites fast, and it has useful features like a user rating system, custom rating widgets and great looking call to action buttons so you can get the sale. Plus, it looks great and there are five different color schemes to pick from.

InReview - Best WordPress Themes

#2 Conexus – Conexus is a beautiful WordPress theme for creating your next business website or showcasing your latest product. It’s responsive, so it looks great for all your users whether they are on their desktop or smartphone. And it’s built on top of the TFuse WordPress framework so it’s SEO ready already.

conexus-theme

#3 Convergence – Convergence is one of my favorite blogging themes which I like to use from time to time. The theme is clean, simple and looks great. It is one of the many great looking themes you can find over at ThemeForest.

Convergence - Best WordPress Themes

#4 LifeStyle – LifeStyle is a child theme for the very popular Genesis Theme framework. This is one of the best wordpress themes for building niche sites and you can see many of these types of sites fetch a good price on Flippa. Since it’s built on top of the Genesis Theme framework, it is highly customizable so you can make sure your designs look exactly how you want them to.

LifeStyle - Best WordPress Themes

Best WordPress Theme Frameworks

Unlike the premium wordpress themes mention above, these theme frameworks are more for people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and want to customize their sites exactly how you want them.

#1 Catalyst Theme – Catalyst Theme is my go to theme framework for all of my newer sites, and I really loving it. It hits the sweet spot by being a really simple to use wordpress theme framework, yet having tons of customization options to design my sites looking exactly how I want them to. All this without having to muck around with any code. It’s SEO ready, comes with some nice skins, and it’s almost half the price of Thesis Theme. Plus, you can use it on unlimited sites. See my Catalyst Theme review site for a demo and full review.

Catalyst Theme - Best WordPress Themes

#2 Genesis Theme – I’m seeing more and more sites switch over to the Genesis Theme framework now, including Sugarrae, Growmap, and even MattCutts.com. At it’s core, is the Genesis Theme framework which gives you the basic ability of changing your layouts, color styles and SEO options.

However, what makes Genesis Theme so popular are the child themes. These are custom designs that sit on top of the framework to change the look of your site. At the time of this review, there are 43 child designs available to choose from.

This makes Genesis Theme the perfect solution for someone who wants a nice looking theme that works great out of the box. Or if you do custom design work for clients, it provides a good starting point to work from as well.
genesis-theme-framework

#3 Thesis Theme – This is still the most popular premium WordPress theme framework, although Genesis Theme is likely caught up at this point. As I mentioned up top, and I’m still using Thesis 1.8 to power this site. I really love the ability to change the number of columns (1, 2, 3) and set the columns widths on the fly. I also like the fact that it is SEO ready out of the box, so there is no need to install additional plugins. While other themes may have borrowed some of Thesis Theme’s best features, it still features the largest developer community, so it’s very easy to get help and inspiration if you need it.

Thesis 2 came out last year, and it’s quite a bit different from the old version of Thesis I’m currently using. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it yet, so I still have not used it on any new sites yet.

Thesis Theme - Best WordPress Themes

#4 OptimizePress – OptimizePress is a bit more specialized than the other 3 theme frameworks. If you are looking to create sales pages, squeeze pages, or even a full fledged membership site, OptimizePress is the best wordpress theme for designing these. Using an innovative shortcode system, the theme makes it very simple to add various landing page elements on your page. Plus, it comes with some great looking graphics – the same ones that you will see some of the top internet marketing gurus using for their own launches.

OptimizePress - Best WordPress Themes

Free WordPress Themes

#1 Flexibility Theme – This is a really great WP theme that’s quite powerful. Tons of options, SEO ready, and quite flexibile as the name implies for a free WordPress Theme.

#2 TypeBased – One of the many free Woo Themes available. This simple, nice looking theme is patterned after Tumblr and can be used for a wide variety different sites.

#3 IWMB Theme – Nice free WordPress theme for creating sales pages. Comes with three sales page templates and easily customize the header to fit your site.

What do you guys think? What are some of the best wordpress themes that you have tried? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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About Josh

Josh Kotsay is a veteran affiliate marketer who specializes in SEO. He also likes to purchase and play with different internet marketing products and publish his hands-on product reviews on this blog. You can connect with him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. The new OptimizePress 2.0 just came out. Have you had a chance to try it yet Josh? I’ve been looking for a theme that can create nice looking sales pages, and OptimizePress gets a lot of publicity. Is it worth getting?

    • Not yet Ron. I’m going to grab my upgrade copy soon and give it a try. Once I play around with it a bit, i’ll give a full blown Optimize Press 2.0 review.

  2. I have used lifestyle theme at my wedding blog and it is awesome in terms of quality and backend, but i have heard lot about genesis theme though, for sure will try that thanks for the list my friend :)

  3. Nice Collection

    Thanks For sharing :)

  4. Thanks for the reviews… I haven’t tried Thesis yet but I have heard good things about it. I agree with the first comment about Genesis being very robust. Though I don’t know about more so than Thesis because I haven’t tried it yet… I have a couple of main sites and a separate WordPress Multi-site installation. I am using Genesis on one, Catalyst-Dynamik on another, and I use Optimizepress on my MS… It really is great for landing/squeeze pages, launch funnels, and sales letter pages.

  5. Some solid wordpress themes listed, I wasn’t aware of the convergence theme, it looks really nice.

    I have used biz niz theme in the past on on of my blogs, very easy to use and implement. But recently I decided to swap for Mimbo theme. It looks really clean and professional. You should add it to your list :)

  6. This may sound crazy, but I’m thinking of switching for an “out of the box” theme on the Genesis framework instead of staying with Headway. I don’t have the 3.0 version of HW and my version will no longer be supported. I’m no web designer and only know a bit of code from searching and reading online. I want a more “stylized” theme that is professional looking from day one. Have you any experience changing WordPress frameworks? I’ve attempted to create a test site, but haven’t been successful yet. Can I simply install Genesis to my current blog or will my site blow-up?

    • Hi Carrie. Sure you can do that. I would also suggest installing a free plugin called Theme Switch which allows you to work on your new theme, while still showing your old theme to your users. Then when you’re done with your new theme you can activate it as normal. It’s a good way of customizing your theme while on your live site.

  7. I really like Thesis theme a lot. I have used it on several of my websites.

  8. Hi Josh,
    This really is a helpful list, and the most handy when someone is searching for a WordPress theme for their blog. For me Thesis tops the list. But one thing, I see that you have not put Genesis theme to the list but Genesis is really very popular and a lot of people use it.

    • Hi Shiva. Thanks for your reply. I agree that Genesis is one of the best wordpress themes out there. I’ll have to update this list sometime soon.

  9. I currently like and use Socrates. However, the Optimizepress theme has some great squeeze/sales page features. Is it possible to buy Optimizepress and only use it to create squeeze/sales pages for sites that have a different theme (like my Socrates site)? Or do I have to use the Optimizepress theme if I want to use the squeeze or sales pages?

    Thank you!

    • Unfortunately, that’s not really possible at the moment. Since you can only activate one theme at a time, OptimizePress will not work with Socrates together.

      Too bad though, because I’d like to see something like that too.

  10. Thanks for recommending woo themes! I just used one of their free themes and was really easy even for a beginner like myself.

  11. Fusiondiary says:

    Just left a comment basically asking
    Are Catalayst and Thesis more or less equal in terms of SEO ?

    • Yeah, they are pretty similar. Although, Thesis does give you the option to set custom Titles and meta descriptions for each category which is useful for certain kinds of sites.

  12. Frugal has been retired and replaced by the new Catalyst theme:

    http://bestbloggingtipsonline.com/video-overview-of-the-new-catalyst-premium-wordpress-theme/

    And Genesis is also great, and probably one of the cleaner themes from a coding angle.

  13. Josh – this is a fantastic roundup of the best themes available. One of the most stressful aspects of starting a site (for me) has been choosing a theme. You’ve given me some great direction!

    Frank

  14. I have both the Thesis Theme and the Flexibility 2 theme. I find I use the Flexibility theme more but I may switch a couple back to Thesis and see if it corrects a few problems I am having with inserting graphics and getting images to show properly.

  15. I’m using Thesis Theme on my sites too and I love it! I like how I can use it on each of my sites, but its so easy to customize to make each site look unique.
    It took me a little bit of time to wrap my head around Thesis hooks (i’m not a programmer!) but now I sort of get it and they really are powerful. SEO-wise it’s great too.

  16. Thanks I realy like Thesis Theme

  17. I must admit, Thesis is one of the more famous frameworks themes ( as I can see from your site :p) but 1 you missed that I highly recommend is the Genesis Framework, which I think is more robust.

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