October 2, 2013 E3

Eight Free WordPress Themes That Don’t Look Cheap

If you’re just getting started with WordPress, choosing a theme for your website can be overwhelming – and often costly. But when you hear “free WordPress themes,” words probably spring to mind like bland, vanilla, amateur, or even hidden malware.  But not all free WordPress themes fall into the bland-vanilla-amateur-computer-virus category. Here are ten that you can download and customize, and nobody will ever know you didn’t shell out a dime for the design.

Twenty Thirteen & Holi Child Themes

Holi Child Theme

Twenty thirteen is the newest default freebie WordPress Theme.  We’ve paired the theme with Holi, its child theme because Twenty Thirteen’s bold orange color can be a turnoff of many people. The theme itself is a clean, single-column responsive design that allows for easy customization of posts. The Holi child theme allows you to incorporate different colors and header images to create your unique flair.

We said this list won’t leave your site looking cheap. Many of you are probably jumping up and down that the default was first on the list. Yes, if you don’t know how to customize this theme, it can look generic. But WordPress has definitely stepped it up from the old Twenty Eleven theme and we listed it first because it’s a great starter theme to get your feet wet with WordPress. And using the Holi child theme is an even better way to start learning how to customize a theme without shelling out a lot of money.

Holi Download


Highwind Theme

Highwind is another clean and simple but fully responsive theme that can be customized to fit your style.  Highwind comes with a variety of widgets, typography, and style options.  And you can add your favorite plugins and child themes to really personalize this theme. The focus of Highwind is your content, not your design. But the design is still strong enough that it doesn’t feel free.

Highwind Download


BonPress Theme

BonPress is chock full of format options for all of your content – whether text, audio, or video. It comes with custom widgets that seamlessly incorporate your Social Media, including multimedia feeds like Flickr.  This is a great theme for a side hustle or blog that you’re hoping to eventually monetize. You can play around and get a good feel for working with WordPress in an easy-to-navigate theme.

BonPress Download


Video Theme

The name says it all: this free WordPress theme highlights your videos. You can customize it with unlimited video categories, sort by popularity, and easily share across social networks. If your main method of content generation is video, this theme can accommodate you.

Video Download


Cleanistic Theme

The Cleanistic theme is perfect to highlight your company portfolio. You can utilize unlimited color combos for all elements of the website including headlines and backgrounds. The developers include over 40 ready-made background patterns, as well.  One of the best things about this theme is that beginners can maneuver it with ease.

Cleanistic Download


BresponZive Theme

The BresponZive theme is not for beginners, but it is a great free WordPress theme for news-style websites.  The theme offers unlimited homepage sections, Widgetized sidebars, options for social icons and WP navigation menus. There are unlimited advanced functions for the WP-savvy user.  If you want all of the bells and whistles, however, it will cost you a nominal fee.

BeresponZive Download


Spun Theme

This theme is not for the faint of heart. You have to have a strong website with awesome images. On the home page, every image represents a post. Its practical applications may be a bit limited, but if your content speaks for itself, this could be a great theme to work with. It’s probably not ideal if you’re relying on old-school homepage SEO tactics, but in the hands of the right creative mind, this free WordPress theme could be pretty amazing.

Spun download

Analytical Lite

Analytical Lite Theme

It’s really encouraging to see so many responsive, free WordPress Templates that showcase multimedia. The Analytical Lite theme is full-width and it defaults to a slideshow of images. If your business is graphical, this is a great free theme to highlight your best work on your home page. It can be changed to show a single image, or for us video-loving folk, can showcase a single video. The sidebar can be hidden, shining the spotlight solely on your media.

Analytical Lite Download

A Quick Word On Using Free WordPress Themes

It is important to mention that you should be careful when downloading free WordPress themes. While there are a lot of great, bug-free, virus-free templates out there, not all free templates are safe.  If you’re on the hunt for free themes, don’t just select and download any old result you find. If you aren’t familiar with the developers of the themes you’re interested in, go back to the WordPress website and search for the theme download/demo there. If you can’t find it, you might want to avoid the theme entirely.

What are some of your favorite, tested free WordPress themes? Let us know in the comments!

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