WordPress exemplifies how the web has evolved from static to social, a shift driven by our inherent desire to share thoughts and an unmatched opportunity to promote our goods.
WordPress has held the top spot among website publishing platforms for a long time, with nearly 60 million WordPress-powered sites worldwide.
Whether someone is a professional blogger, promoting a business or using WordPress to publish art and photography, presenting content in the best way possible shows they care about content.
The visual appeal and user experience offered by a website has an immediate and lasting impression on every reader.
What Makes a Theme Exceptional
A truly good WordPress theme goes beyond aesthetic perfection to offer solid core functionality and administrative features. There may be hundreds of WordPress themes, but they are not all equal. For blogging, a theme must consider the needs of both the reader and the publisher.
Below are a handful of critical elements to look for when evaluating themes to ensure they offer the absolute best functionality, are easy to customize and can stand the test of time.
- Flexible layouts or easy to customize templates
- Social network integration
- Clear, beautiful typography and custom fonts support
- Shortcodes or Post Formats for easy styling of post content
- WordPress image support
- Innovative ways of displaying visual content
- Clean, current and semantic code
- Customer service and support
Here are 10 WordPress themes that embody these elements, powering blogs from top to obscure . Visit each theme’s feature page for detailed information.
Let’s start with uDesign, a theme earning over 14,000 sales on the popular Themeforest marketplace – and for good reason. It is the most versatile and comprehensive theme available, providing loads of value for a small price.
All the critical features are there, including custom widgets, social network links, SEO support, fonts, forms and image flexibility. Check out the showcase to see what is possible.
WooThemes Canvas isn’t the prettiest theme out-of-the-box compared to other themes on this list, but that’s because it is a powerful framework focused on the foundation and functionality that make an excellent WordPress blog.
Like uDesign, Canvas includes several templates, shortcodes and layouts for creating many different blog styles such as magazines, photo blogs, portfolios or traditional journals.
As a framework, Canvas is a prime investment for designers specializing in blog design, as it features an extensive developer library, amazing support and child themes.
Price: $70 (you get two other Woo Themes free)
This theme from Obox has full support for photo and video blogging and comes with two color schemes, a typography manager, custom widgets and templates. It is extremely easy to customize and is fully responsive, which means it looks great on mobile devices.
Price: $60 (you get two more themes free – try mag.Press and Azione for more blogging options)
Elegant Themes are known for their beautiful styling and solid code, and the incredible value offered through their themes club. They have several gorgeous blogging themes to choose from, but Evolution rises above them all by virtue of its clean layout and mobile-friendly responsiveness.
All Elegant Themes have several customization options, custom font support and SEO integration.
Price: $39 (gets you access to all themes and support for a year)
Endless is a clean and stylish infinite scrolling theme that is also responsive. The success of Pinterest has made this layout desirable and effective, perfect for storytellers and photo-bloggers.
The theme includes customizable graphics, font support, templates and social network integration.
New Horizon is another responsive Pinterest-style theme that uses a unique visual composer that allows you to customize the layout using drag and drop. It is loaded with shortcodes, widgets and social network features, and comes with a traditional blog layout, too.
For photo-bloggers and travelling authors, this theme is unprecedented in terms of functionality and uniqueness. It uses Google maps and custom gallery templates to create an interactive journey through your content, while still providing the traditional features you expect from any theme.
It has full support for video, custom fonts and social networks along with four basic color schemes to start.
Designer Orman Clark is a darling of the industry, known for his impeccable code and simple theme designs. His most recent blogging theme, Memo, works with the WooTumblog plugin to produce a Tumblr-style layout that supports special post styles for video, images, quotes, and more.
The theme is SEO and social-powered, and primed to take any customization you want to throw at it.
If you read a lot of blogs, you may actually recognize Periodic. This magazine-style theme doesn’t deviate too much from what we have seen magazine sites do in the past, but excels in the fine detail.
Best suited for large blogs, Periodic includes layout flexibility, custom category templates, social sharing, socially-powered comments, ad support and author footers.
To round off the list, TimesSquare is a new, modern, visually-driven blogging theme with stunning photo and video treatments. The overall layout is very different from many other blogs and magazines, using subtle styling and usability features that make it delightful to use.
The back-end is comprehensive, straightforward and user-friendly.