I love WordPress, not least because it’s so easy to customize. For the design challenged among us, you can download one of thousands of free themes and change the look of your blog with the click of a button. I’ve been running WP sites for about three years (I have three of my own) and over the years, I’ve found myself going back to a few designers from time to time. Here’s a guide to some of my favorite WordPress theme designers and my favourite free themes.
Brian Gardner is currently best known for his series of Revolution themes. These are premium magazine style themes (which means you have to pay) and they look fantastic. However, for those of us on a budget Brian also has several free themes, many of which he is just about to update. Brian’s themes use clean code (so everyone says, and I’ll take their word for it), are easy to customise and are SEO friendly. My favourite free theme of his is Silhouette, but I have also used Modern Paper, which Brian designed for Performancing. There are several other great themes available on Brian’s site.
Justin Tadlock is my current favourite. He designs magazine style themes which are infinitely customizable. The first one was Visionary, which I was all set to use when Structure came out. I like structure because I have the choice of a magazine or traditional blog look, and I can highlight quite a lot of my previous content in a tabbed area on the front page. I also like the tabbed interface in the sidebar for looking at popular posts, categories, archives and more. Justin has recently released an even better theme, Options, which I plan to use on one of my sites as soon as my host upgrades my WP installation.
I know I’m not alone in liking the themes designed by Chris Pearson. His Copyblogger theme is tremendously popular, and I’m considering that for a new site I’m developing. However, I used his popular Cutline theme for several months. This is a great theme for showcasing large header images and it is SEO friendly with a built in sitemap if you want it. The latest version of the theme has support for WP 2.3 tags as well as a few new plugins.
I’ve only used one of Nathan Rice’s themes, Deep Blue, a release for DailyBlogTips. I liked this theme because it was easy for me to put my Adsense code in, to include my Feedburner feed and to put plenty of 125×125 ads in the sidebar. As the blog author, my comments were highlighted by default. In the end, the blue, orange and green proved too much for my eyes and I started looking around for alternatives. One of the themes I considered was ElegantBlue, which has a more muted color scheme and many of the same features.
Bonus: Courtney Tuttle
Courtney Tuttle is an internet marketing genius, most recently known for being the co-founder of BloggingZoom. However, Court also goes around finding great themes and optimizing them, so his site is a good place to look if you want a theme that will tick all the boxes for Google. His SEO WordPress themes page is easy to navigate and there are dozens of themes there.
So, those are my favorites. Who are yours?
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