WPMU DEV's Blog - Everything WordPressWordPress Themes - WPMU.org http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog The WPMU DEV WordPress blog provides tutorials, tips, resources and reviews to help out any WP user Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Free WordPress Themes: How to Choose the Perfect Theme for You http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-themes-how-to-choose-the-perfect-theme-for-you/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-wordpress-themes-how-to-choose-the-perfect-theme-for-you/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=133402 The volume of free quality themes available for WordPress boggles the mind.

With nearly 3,000 themes available on WordPress.org at the time of writing, we’re certainly spoilt for choice.

However, that choice comes with a dilemma: how to separate the relatively low percentage of high-quality themes from the rest. And, unfortunately, the “rest” aren’t that great.

With that in mind, in this article I want to show you how to separate the WordPress wheat from the chaff, so to speak. We’ll cover every aspect of what you need to consider when choosing a free theme for your WordPress website.

Make no mistake: free themes can be seriously good-looking.

Why Choose a Free WordPress Theme Over Premium Options?

This article is going to focus on how to pick a free theme, but I do want to briefly touch upon the free versus premium debate first, mainly because it gives me an opportunity to link to Raelene Wilson’s excellent article on free WordPress themes.

In short, most free WordPress themes are free for a reason: they’re not as good as their premium counterparts.

However, there is a big overlap between the two. Many free themes are better than lower quality premium offerings, and it could well be that you do not need a premium theme; that a free theme will do the job perfectly well for you.

To hammer my point home, here are a selection of free themes available on WordPress.org right now that I consider top quality:

There’s plenty more where that came from — trust me.

Ultimately it’s up to you, but we’re going to proceed on the assumption that you want to find a free theme for your site and are willing to put a little time into finding the best option for you.

WordPress Theme Customization: What You Need to Consider

Ideally, you should make a decision about customization before you start looking for themes. More specifically, you need to ask yourself if you want to find a theme that you can use as-is, or one that you can tweak to your satisfaction.

The first option is obviously very simple, while option two can be akin to opening a can of worms.

The issue is this: high quality themes are put together with a great deal of thought. Everything “fits.” As soon as you start customizing such a theme, you run the risk of negatively affecting the harmony of the designer’s original vision.

To put it another way, you can make a mess of something pretty. I say this with affection; I am guilty of having done this many times in the past. You’re not alone!

My recommendation for design newbies is to pick a theme you love the look of it and leave it well alone in terms of advanced customization.

It is, of course, your prerogative. If you want to change the color scheme, fonts and so on, more power to you. That being the case, you should be on the lookout for information in the theme’s description on WordPress.org as to how easily it can be customized. A simple rule of thumb is this: assume that a theme cannot easily be customized unless it is explicitly stated in the theme’s description. In my experience, that tends to be the case.

WordPress' default themes (such as Twenty Fourteen, above) usually do a great job of listing customization options.
WordPress’ default themes (such as Twenty Fourteen, above) usually do a great job of listing customization options.

The simplest path is to find a theme that you are happy enough with; that you can install and then continue with what really matters: creating content and marketing your site.

There is no such thing as a perfect design; you just need to find something that works for you. The path to perfectionism is filled with dead ends and many wasted hours.

The Basics of Choosing a Free WordPress Theme

I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but there are a few basic things worth recapping when it comes to choosing a free WordPress theme.

1. (Almost) Only Ever Download Free Themes from WordPress.org

WordPress logo

Since WordPress.org essentially acts as a free advertising platform for any free theme developer, there is no obvious reason for an honest theme developer not to upload their theme.

Therefore, if someone doesn’t upload their theme, one has to consider why.

With that in mind, a good rule of thumb is to never download free themes from anywhere else other than WordPress.org.

Of course, there are always exceptions that prove the rule.

2. You Can Download Free Themes from Reputable Third-Party Sources


Some reputable developers release free versions of premium themes (or free offerings in an attempt to entice people into purchasing premium themes sometime down the line), which aren’t made available on WordPress.org. WooThemes is an obvious example.

You’ll want to be a little careful about downloading these themes. Obviously, a company as reputable as WooThemes are perfectly safe to download themes from, but in general you’d do well to stick to the carefully considered recommendations we’ve made here on WPMU DEV in the past.

If you’re interested in going down this road, check out Joe’s huge collection of 120 free WordPress themes from premium theme developers.

3. Check Key Theme Information on WordPress.org

WordPress theme information

There’s another good reason why you should only download themes from WordPress.org: you’re provided with valuable information that you will not generally find elsewhere.

In brief, here’s why each piece of information shown to the right is valuable (and how you can best analyze it to make an informed decision):

  • Last Updated: You will want to pick a theme that has been updated recently (say in the past 3-6 months).
  • Downloads: As a rough rule of thumb, the more downloads a theme has, the better you can expect it to be.
  • Ratings. Star ratings should be used as a guideline, and taken with a pinch of salt. Don’t necessarily let one star reviews put you off a theme; you can click on each line of star ratings to see written reviews, and you’ll often find that people have left low ratings with no justifiable reason.
  • Support. The ratio of resolved/unresolved support threads serves as a good indicator of the developer’s willingness to resolve issues. Quality free theme support is a pretty rare commodity, so finding a well-supported free theme can serve as a a compelling reason to choose it.

How to Find Free Themes For Your WordPress Website

From here on in I’m going to continue on the assumption that you are using WordPress.org to find your free theme of choice, because it is, in my opinion, the best tool for our purpose.

Having said that, if you do choose a theme from a third-party provider (such as WooThemes), you’ll still find plenty of useful information below.

When it comes to finding candidate themes for your website, you have two broad options:

1. Explore Curated Free WordPress Theme Collections

A quick Google search will turn up plenty of curated free theme lists for you to choose from. For example, Raelene (yep — she’s at it again) published a list of the 20 best free WordPress themes for bloggers not too long ago. Most of those themes are available for download from WordPress.org while others are available for free from premium theme shops.

Stanley: one of the free WordPress themes recommended by Raelene.

You can try different search queries to suit your needs. For example, rather than simply typing “free wordpress themes” into Google, try “free wordpress business themes” or “free wordpress portfolio themes” instead.

As long as the featured themes always lead back to WordPress.org (or if you’re feeling adventurous, a reputable third-party site), you’re golden.

2. Browse WordPress.org

Unfortunately, WordPress.org does not offer the best browsing experience. The tags and filter search engine is not yet that reliable; you’re better off browsing through themes manually.

Your best bet is to start from the top of the Most Popular list and work your way down until you have found a number of themes that you like the look of. It’s not ideal, which is why I prefer to work with curated themes lists as I mentioned above. It’s far better to let someone else do the work in scoping out quality free themes than doing the work yourself, but if you like the thrill of the hunt, feel free to browse through WordPress.org

How to Inspect a Free WordPress Theme

In my experience, it is all too easy to get sucked into a theme’s superficial beauty, only to later find that it’s not for you.

To be more specific, there’s a lot more to a theme than its homepage, which is the point I want to drive at in this section.

The first thing I’ll say is that a theme without a good demo site should almost certainly be disregarded. Unfortunately, WordPress.org’s Preview function is not particularly useful, as it only utilizes a limited amount of dummy text. In short, it is not representative of what the theme will look like on a “real” website.

Twenty Fourteen theme

Instead, what you should be looking for is the “Theme Homepage” link on the theme’s WordPress.org page, which should take you through to a dedicated page with a demo/preview option:

Most popular themes -- such as Catch Kathmandu -- have a demo/preview option.
Most popular themes – such as Catch Kathmandu – have a demo/preview option.

If a developer takes his or her theme seriously, they will have gone to the trouble of creating a demo. If they haven’t, you might question their dedication to creating a high quality theme.

Note that, as above, some theme demos will be the premium version of a free theme you are looking at.

Best of all, these demos almost always allow you to click through to well-populated pages of all types, and include dynamic sidebar widgets and anything else you may want to use on your own site.

A good theme demo should enable you to explore every nook and cranny, because those nooks and crannies will be vitally important when it comes to using the theme on your site.

In the case of free versions of premium themes, theme demos can also give you an opportunity to discover just how much the developer is holding back with the free version.

Checking for Responsive Design

Responsive design is now arguably the present and the future of web design. As such, in my opinion, any theme you choose should be responsive.

This is more of a hard and fast rule than an irrefutable truth, but if the developer has gone to the trouble of making a theme look good on mobile devices, it’s a pretty good sign that they’ve been conscientious in most (if not all) other elements of the theme’s design.

Believe it or not, checking responsive design on your PC or Mac is a piece of cake. If you have Google Chrome (and if you don’t, get it now), you can activate responsive views first right-clicking on the browser screen and selecting the Inspect Element option, then clicking on the small mobile button in the popup tool bar:

Responsive view

This will give you options for viewing the website in a number of emulated screen sizes and resolutions:

Catch Kathmanu preview

If the theme looks consistently good over multiple formats, you could be in business.

Running the Numbers

By this time you may have a few candidate themes that you really like the look of.

Now’s a good time to “run the numbers” on your site. There are two things on this front that we should concern ourselves with:

1. Site Speed

While there are lots of ways in which you can speed up your site, starting with an efficiently coded theme without too many resource-sucking graphics and scripts is an excellent place to start.

Fortunately, finding out if your chosen free WordPress theme will pass the speed test is easy enough. My favorite free tool is Pingdom. Just enter the demo site’s URL into the box and hit Test Now. You’ll be given all the information you need:


I don’t have an ideal site load speed that I can recommend, but my suggestion is to examine the results with this infographic in mind:

Site speed infographic
Image courtesy of Kissmetrics.

If you have a few themes that you’re interested in, compare and contrast the load times. It can be an excellent way of choosing a winner amongst a close group of competitors.

2. Theme Integrity

Once you’ve made a tentative decision to move forward with a theme, the final piece of the puzzle is to make sure that it is safe to use.

If you’ve downloaded the theme from WordPress.org, it is almost certainly safe, but it doesn’t hurt to put your own checks in place.

My WordPress security plugin of choice is Sucuri. In my opinion, they are the daddy of WordPress website security; often on the front line of new security vulnerability announcements via their blog.

Sucuri WordPress plugin

While Sucuri are ultimately in business to sell their premium products (which you may consider), their free plugin offers a good level of cover and should give you peace of mind.

If Sucuri doesn’t throw up an red flags when you install and activate you chosen theme, you should be good to go.


There is no such thing as a foolproof process for picking the perfect WordPress theme.

All you can – and should – do is equip yourself with as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision.

I hope that I have given you the tools you need to in order to do just that.

If you have any questions or comments, please fire away below in the comment and I’ll be happy to help out.

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Drag and Drop Review Redux: Divi by Elegant Themes http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/review-divi-elegant-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/review-divi-elegant-themes/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=132913 The sophistication of new drag and drop theme and page builders has been on the steady incline as WordPress becomes the gateway for both blogs and brands alike. Enthusiasts welcome the relative ease in which websites can come together, while front-end designers bemoan the slow death of their craft (will drag and drop eventually kill front-end design? It’s perhaps too soon to call).

The battle of the theme builders took place last year on the WPMU DEV Blog and featured many of the heavyweight contenders. Noticeably missing from the shootout was Elegant Theme’s contribution to the D&D arena, Divi, primarily because it is not actually a theme framework so much as a theme that uses a built-in page builder.

This review is also particularly timely as it just so happens to follow a review by Crowd Favorite’s Chris Lema.

Divi 2.1 was released this past summer, and with Elegant Themes hinting at a new drag and drop magazine theme, the time seem right for an in-depth peek under the hood.

Elegant Themes released Divi in 2013 and it’s since become their flagship product. The theme company has touted the ability for non-coders to create endless and elegant page configurations. Their sales copy says it may be the “only theme you ever need.”

But can it stand up to the hype?

Elegant Themes' Divi

WPMU Rating


The Good

  • A crap-ton of modules to play with (32 to be exact)
  • Multiple advanced section layouts to choose from
  • Fantastic out-of-the-box features like scroll to the top, side navigation, and support for background video
  • Support for WooCommerce, Google Maps, MailChimp, Aweber, and Feedburner
  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Page builder platform gives you layout control over every individual page on your site

The Bad

  • It’s not a theme builder and if you expect it to act like that, you’ll be disappointed
  • Additional styling seems unusually tedious and laborsome
  • No developer support
  • You’ll have to build every individual page (see page builder, above)
  • If you ever switch themes, you’ll have a mess on your hands

Divi by Elegant Themes

  • Learning curve / ease of use: 4/5
  • Features: 4/5
  • Flexibility: 3/5
  • Out-of-the-box: 4.5/5
  • Value for money: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Bottom Line

The price is right for this powerful and beautiful theme, and site owners and designers who want to put together a quick, eye-catching agency or portfolio site will likely want a copy for their arsenal. But for seriously custom, complex, or magazine-style websites, Divi probably isn’t the ideal foundation.

Drag and Drop Redux: Elegant Themes' Divi

What Does it Cost?

Divi is part of Elegant Themes membership, which includes access to every theme in their portfolio.

A personal license is $69 per year and a developer license, which includes the four Elegant Theme plugins and layered PSDs is $89 per year.

Alternately, lifetime access is a one-time payment of $249.

Plans and pricing details can be found here.

What Do you Get?

There’s no framework to install and Divi comes pre-loaded with all the modules, pre-made layouts, and additional features.

There’s no other add-ons or integrations to purchase, which is really kind of refreshing.

How Does it Work?

First off, it’s important to understand that you’re not creating custom themes with Divi. Divi is the theme. When you install it, you’ll be prompted to set your preferences in the ePanel—which includes some theme settings (but not all of them).

The ePanel includes a section for navigation (which is awkward and redundant since Divi also supports menus); layout settings which just control post and page thumbnails and comment preferences, and metadata post info, some very basic ad management, and SEO settings (which I’d recommend you not tie to your theme if possible), and a place for you to enter any custom code (in various places), or CSS.

Options for the way Divi looks are found in the “Customize” section under “Appearance.” You can decide between a full-width or boxed layout, whether you want your logo centered, where you want your navigation (top or side), and whether to toggle social media icons or contact info.

There’s a section where you can choose font, link, and accent colors, but if picking colors isn’t your thing, Divi also comes with several predefined color schemes (in blue, green, orange, red, and the obligatory pink).

Elegant Themes Divi theme review

Regardless of what colors you pick, you’re not going to have control over certain visual effects (like buttons, for example), unless you’re prepared to do some heavy customization. So any website you create with Divi will essentially look like Divi—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a developer, and your clients don’t mind that their site looks and acts suspiciously like every other site you create, you could probably get a lot of traction out of this single theme.

You should also know from the onset that Divi is a page builder—which is ironic considering the whole point of a CMS like WordPress is to separate the content from the page design. On a five-page site, this won’t be too big of a deal. But for huge, complex projects, having to go through page-by-page will get real old, real quick. Divi gives you the ability to save, reuse, export, and import your page layouts though (but content and module settings would have to be tweaked on each new page). There are 32 really nice looking premade page layouts to get you started, and going through those is an excellent way to get comfortable with Divi’s options and features.

Divi WordPress theme review

Divi builds your pages section by section, which it populates with rows, columns, and then modules. Each section can have a unique background (including gorgeous video and full-width backgrounds), and if you add a CSS ID or class, you have further control over the styling.

Divi WordPress theme review

This, for example:

Elegant Themes Divi Theme Review

Becomes this on the published page:

Divi for WordPress theme review

What Features Does it Come With?

The range of modules and page layout options is truly impressive. Out of the box you can create headlines, call-outs, subscription and contact forms, galleries, filterable portfolios, blurbs, image sliders, counters, pricing tables, insert audio and video, and more—all on the fly.

Divi is WooCommerce-ready and fully responsive, supports multiple post formats, and can display your blog in standard format or offers a masonry-style blog feed.

Divi by Elegant Themes review

Divi 2.1 introduced one-page layout features such as smooth scrolling internal links and floating side navigation. While Divi might be overkill for a simple one-page boutique or agency site, if your business involves putting together a bunch of landing pages, Divi offers a menu-less page template—which could save a ton a time and money on your squeeze and sales efforts, making Divi a very attractive option.

How Did Building the Test Site Go?

As if by magic. When you familiarize yourself with Divi’s range of features, are comfortable with the default styling, and know what your site needs, you can easily put together a stunning, fully responsive website with beautiful parallax effects and animation in no time. A simple five-page test site came together in a few hours, looked and worked fabulously.

Again, it’s a theme, not a framework—so with that in mind, you can’t use Divi to build from scratch. If you’re going to be frustrated by the inability to fine tune the buttons, fonts, colors, and margins, etc., and like me, you’re a designer/intrepid code hack rather than a developer, you’ll probably spend a good chunk of time pulling your hair out combing through that CSS.

Elegant Themes’s themes are clearly meant to be used as-is out of the box. If you’re going to do a lot of customization, a child-theme is recommended.

In other words, it’s easy to put together a Divi site. If you want a site that doesn’t look and feel Divi-ish, much less so.


Ease of Use / Learning Curve

Divi is by far easier and more user-friendly than Headway, Pagelines, or any of the drag-and-drop-like theme and page builders I’ve tested. The support for Divi includes video walkthroughs of all the modules and features. Elegant Themes has done a rockstar job of creating tutorials on their blog that support and trick out Divi, and WordPress n00bs would learn a lot by playing around with the theme.


Feature-rich would be an understatement. For most basic websites, Divi offers pretty much all you’d need. Keep in mind though, this isn’t a framework that developers are going to be creating integrations for. That said, the basic lowdown includes theme support for:

  • Mailchimp, Aweber and Feedburner newsletter signup forms
  • WooCommerce support
  • Mega menus
  • Side navigation and smooth scrolling for one-page websites

And modules that include:

  • Google Maps modules (including a gorgeous full-width map module)
  • Blurbs, toggles, tabs, and accordions
  • Sliders (including fullwidth and video support for sliders), galleries, portfolios
  • Pricing tables, animated and bar counters, countdowns
  • Audio embeds
  • And more!

Even though there are SEO settings and ad management in the ePanel, those features aren’t so robust—so you’d probably want additional plugins to handle that part of your site. I wasn’t impressed by the default theme font control, and ended up installing a plugin to better manage the typography.


For small to medium sites, businesses, agencies, and portfolios, and for building landing, sales, and squeeze pages, I can’t think up a more flexible page builder than Divi.

However, I don’t think it has the nicest looking blog and post-feed controls, and I’m curious as to how Elegant Themes is going to remedy that in the theme they’ve been sneak-peaking since June.

Also keep in mind that if you build with Divi and then later decide to go with another theme, expect to spend a fair bit of time cleaning up your pages.

Out of the Box

It’s relatively straight forward to get up and running with Divi and because it’s all self-contained, no third-party integrations are needed to take advantage of its features. You simply install the theme and create your pages.

Value for Money

Looking at the theme market and other drag and drop themes and frameworks, even at the developer price point, Divi is a really good value.

Of course you get access to other Elegant Themes themes and plugins too (but frankly, beyond Divi, much of their catalog is pretty niche or outdated).

Final Thoughts

For all the mixed feelings I have about Divi, I actually can’t help but like it. What can I say? It’s shiny and it does what it does well.

Only theme I’ll ever need? Unlikely. I think the philosopher’s stone of a WordPress theme is one that, once installed, configured, and live with the site’s unique content, doesn’t look like a theme. And for the endless configurations, Divi still walks and talks like Divi.

It’s a solid theme that can do a whole bunch of different jobs. But one theme to rule them all? Not quite there yet, and maybe will never be.

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20+ Eye-Catching WordPress Business Themes For Fussy Clients http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-eye-catching-wordpress-business-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-eye-catching-wordpress-business-themes/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=131897 Finding the ideal theme for a business website can be tricky. There are countless themes available that market themselves as business themes, making it easy to just download the first one that looks about right so you can get on with setting it up. However, this is the quickest way to waste time and money.

Before setting out to find a theme, it’s important to work out what you need and even make a list of your requirements. If you’re setting up a website for a client who works in food and hospitality, you may need a website that offers online reservations. Hair salons may need a booking system, while online stores will need an eCommerce solution, such as MarketPress. For small business clients and consultants, their needs will be completely different.

The collection of themes below includes various themes designed especially for businesses, each offering different functionality such as booking forms, event managers, typography management, custom post types and sliders.



Overwhelmingly customizeable is the only way I can describe this responsive theme. There are 41 demos on BeTheme’s ThemeForest page that demonstrate how to configure this theme for a huge range of different businesses.

There is also a huge number of features, including 200 shortcodes for adding functionality like infographics, boxes, content elements and blocks, loops and typography to your site. Demo content is included so you can set up the theme to look just like the example sites.

Other features include masonry portfolio, bbPress compatibility, the ability to add a left menu, grid layouts, header layouts, sliding widgetized top area, parallax effect and video background, one pager layout option, custom font uploader, maintenance mode and blank page, custom widgets, and 18 PSD files with UI kit included.



ROSA is a gorgeous restaurant theme, but of course you can customize the images to match any kind of business.

When you first load the demo theme, the smooth parallax scrolling and typography grab your attention. If you do want to use this theme for a hospitality business, there are some great features like shortcodes for product menus, and the ability to take reservations using the OpenTable system.

Another nice features is a live customize that lets you change the fonts, colors or layout sizes and preview those changes live. There’s also an extensive options panel and this theme comes translation ready.

If you like the demo content, there’s a one-click demo install option.



It would be remiss of me not to include Avada, the best selling theme of all time on ThemeForest.

It’s a hugely customizable responsive theme that includes an extensive options panel where you can import demo content, turn on automatic theme updates, control your site’s width, built-in MegaMenu, enable one-page parallax, and configure background images, colors and patterns.

There are also 20+ pre-built homepage layouts to get you started that include portfolio, blog, shop and magazine options.



Route is a stunning minimal and responsive theme that is customizable and super flexible.

It comes with a bunch of features that are fairly standard for multipurpose themes: one-pager option, one-click demo install, unlimited color options, Font Awesome integration, parallax backgrounds, video backgrounds, CSS3 animations, right to left support, and comes with a child theme.

The plugin package include premium plugins such as Visual Composer, LayerSlider, Go Pricing and Slider Revolution, the last of which was recently subject to a security scare. There’s been a lot of discussion in the WordPress community lately about packaging plugins with themes, so it’s best to check the versions included with this plugin if you do decide to buy it.



Savia offers a clean and slick design ideal for any type of business.

Features include Google web fonts, unlimited colors and 10 different menu style presets. There are six portfolio item styles, along with custom shortcodes for heads, animated counters, tabs, accordions, testimonials, messages, lists and more.

This theme also includes Font Awesome font packs and support WooCommerce.

It’s also easy to import demo content with one-click install from the extensive options panel.



Shrimpy is a clean, flat and modern one pager theme designed for the food and restaurant trade.

it comes with a stunning fullscreen image slider, responsive layout, shortcodes. Google and Font Awesome fonts, 100 food font icons, eight custom widgets, video support, custom unlimited sidebars, CSS3 animations, and extensive help documentation.

Demo content is also available to import.



Multipurpose themes are a dime a dozen at ThemeForest, and Royal is just another example.

Like other multipurpose themes, Royal can be customized to look however you want and the theme’s item page on ThemeForest showcases 55+ demo variations.

Features include various blog layouts (default, grid, timeline, small, mosaic), different shop page layouts, testimonials widget, improved checkout process, advanced options panel, AJAX search, advanced grid system, custom product page layout, and typography options.

There’s also options for wide and boxed layouts, product image hover, custom headers, custom breadcrumbs, product image zoom, categories accordion, and “sale” and “new” products.

There are plenty of other features, but I won’t keep listing them here. It’s best to check out the theme’s product page yourself.

Keep in mind that like many other ThemeForest themes, Royal has been packaged with plugins such as Revolution Slider, Page Builder and Megamenu. It’s a good idea to contact the theme developer to check you’ve got the latest version of these plugins.



Hercules is a clean and lightweight theme designed for gyms, sports and personal training.

This theme is available as either a one-pager or multi-page layout, and is responsive and built on a grid system. It comes with infinite colors, 600+ fonts, Redux framework option panel, and custom widgets.

There are also custom post types for classes, testimonials, trainers and timetables.



Just because you’re putting together a business website it doesn’t mean your site has to look boring. MedaCorp is proof of that.

This stunning responsive theme can be customized to suit any kind of business and, as in the lawyer example in the screenshot above, images really make this theme shine.

MedaCorp features an extensive options panel from where you can choose from five header styles, unlimited colors, Google and Icon fonts, parallax video and background, shortcode support and demo content included.

There are a bunch of plugins packaged with this theme so check you’ve got the latest versions before installing.



456Repair is a straightforward eCommerce theme aimed at mechanics and repair shops.

It features a bunch of features, all powered by plugins packaged with the theme, such as Visual composer (drag and drop building), EasyTables (table manager), LayerSlider (sliders) and eCommerce (WooCommerce).

You can choose between responsive and fixed layouts, and it’s also translation ready.



Decoy is another responsive multipurpose theme. It comes with a staggering 36 homepage demos and unlimited variations, which means you can customize the theme to look any way you want.

There are also various 24 different page layouts, 10 portfolio layouts, four blog layouts, header options, row backgrounds and CSS3 animations.

This theme support WooCommerce and comes translation ready.



Steakhouse is a clean and simple responsive theme that relies on great images and strong copy.

It includes six page layouts (home, about, gallery, menu, blog and contact), and comes with demo data and extensive documentation.



Opus is clean, minimalist and modern – a good start for a business looking to impress with its online presence.

This theme features parallax backgrounds, 100+ shortcodes, Font Awesome icons, smooth scrolling, 20+ different portfolio pages, 10+ different blog variations, image menu, 10 header variations, video breadcrumbs, Google web fonts and AJAX loading of projects and posts (which can be turned on and off).

There’s also one-click demo install (a feature I always look for in themes), as well as unlimited home page templates, a team page, filterable portfolio, and five post templates (standard, video, link, gallery and audio).



Marine is hugely customizable and comes with features that are standard for many multipurpose themes, including four main layout preference, 18 blog variations, three header designs, three portfolio templates, unlimited colors, one-click demo install, responsive layout, WooCommerce support, pricing table, photo gallery variations, Google fonts, and custom shortcodes.

This theme comes packaged with Visual Composer for page building, as well as MasterSlider, LayerSlider and Essential Grid.



Snapshop offers a clean and minimalist multipurpose design featuring multiple homepage variations.

Features includes a product filter, category search, grid-style item showcase, animated add-to-cart, page transition with logo, and a pop-up newsletter signup form. Other features include six lookbook page styles, four promo pages for products.



Yeti is a responsive multipurpose theme featuring a slick, modern design.

Features include inline shortcodes, custom colors and 20 skins, custom widgets, custom style manager, and sticky header and sidebar.

A visual builder lets you create templates, columns, and elements, allowing you to build a huge variation of layouts.



Another flexible, multipurpose theme. Digan comes with Visual Composer for easy page building, allowing you to quickly create a clean and professional looking site.

Some of this theme’s features include parallax scrolling, one-click demo installation, dozens of page layouts for homepage, about us, our services, contact us, timeline, post page and portfolio.

Various plugins, such as Visual Composer, are packaged with Digan, including Visual Candy, Revolution Slider. Make sure to check the theme comes with the latest versions of these plugins.



QUANTUM has been designed with business and corporate users in mind. This theme comes packaged with many powerful features you won’t find in many other themes, including a private members area system, private posts, private file browsing, security add-ons, custom member roles, 30+ custom shortcodes, and the Redux Options framework.

There are custom post types for staff, workshops and careers. Manage fonts and colors using the theme customizer. You can also sell courses and other digital content using WooCommerce.



Healther is a beautiful, modern responsive and retina ready theme designed for the health industry.

This theme uses the GT3 page building plugin for drag and drop customization. It also features various portfolio layouts, easy color management, Google Fonts and Font Awesome icons.

It also support Contact Form 7 and Mailchimp.

Dining Restaurant


Dining Restaurant is a beautiful responsive theme designed for the food and drink industry. As such, it has added functionality for accepting online reservations, displaying food and drink menus, and publishing upcoming events.

The key features include WooCommerce support, WPML compatibility, custom widgets and sidebars, and extensive theme options for fonts and colors.



This slick business theme comes with nine pre-built templates, seven predefined colors, Lambda Slider manager, unlimited number of sliders, four custom featured header designs, simple custom contact form builder, sidebar builder, logo uploader and shortcode generator.

There are also 50+ shortcodes, 500+ Google Fonts, unlimited accent colors, eight custom widgets, filterable portfolio and pricing table.

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20 Beautiful WordPress Themes For Charities, Churches and Non-Profits http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-beautiful-wordpress-themes-for-charities-churches-and-non-profits/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-beautiful-wordpress-themes-for-charities-churches-and-non-profits/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=131265 As more and more developers move into creating websites for niche industries, charities, churches and non-profits are reaping the benefits.

While these loosely connected groups could use any old theme to establish and maintain their online presence, they have special needs most themes don’t provide. Developers who are catering to this group have realized this and have begun offering a common set of features: custom post types for events and sermons, support for fundraising, widgets for donations and video support for sermons, among other things.

These features don’t come cheap or free. The themes in this collection all range in price from $45 to $63. I chose not to feature any free themes because of their lack of features.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the best premium themes designed for charities, churches and non-profit organizations.

Do you have a favorite charity, church or non-profit theme not included in this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Church and Events


Church and Events is an easy to set up church theme that’s packed with features. It includes a set up guide, admin options panel, video tutorials and a drag and drop page builder.

There are four homepage layouts – event counter in header, event counter in content, parallax and one page and background video. This theme supports The Event Calendar Pro, Filter Bar, WooTickets and Community Events add-ons.

Other features include a sermon post type, 1200+ premium icon set, and Layered Slider Responsive WordPress plugin.



Charity is a responsive theme for charities – hence the name!

Features include custom donation or multiple pledge options, integrated donation features, unlimited colors, video tutorials, and a premium slider.

4 Children With Love


4 Children With Love is a lovely theme designed especially for children’s charities. It’s responsive and includes eCommerce features designed to work with WooCommerce. Instead of theme options, this theme can be configured using the WordPress Theme Customizer.

It’s a fairly basic theme with support for post formats and the Soliloquy Slider plugin.

Aid Reform


Aid Reform has been designed to support charities and NGOs. This theme features a page builder, cause management, event management, unlimited sidebars and sliders, and its translation-ready.

This theme has been design for integration with WooCommerce and include custom shortcodes for selling products online.



GiveAHand is a colorful Africa-inspired parallax theme. It focuses on raising funds for your charity and informing visitors to important issues happening in other parts of the world.

It features a page builder, jQuery and CSS3 animations, parallax sliders, support for WooCommerce and PayPal donations, and support YouTube video backgrounds for each section and the homepage slider.

Be Human


Be Human features a responsive design and support for crowd funding using IgnitionDeck, as well as eCommerce with WooCommerce.

There is also support for event management, unlimited colors, layer sliders, and TypeKit, Adobe Edge and Google fonts.

If you like the dummy content, the theme admin options includes one-click dummy data import.



Designed for NGOs and businesses, HELP is an easy to customize theme that features event, news and blog page management.

Some other nice features include a donation widget, and the ability to change colors.



LovePray is a feature-packed theme that comes with a drag and drop builder, unlimited colors and backgrounds, and a responsive design.

Features include an extensive admin options panel, one-click demo import, full color customizations, 10+ beautifully designed homepage layout options, custom options and shortcode, portfolio and galleries, and different header options.



Mission is a solid church theme that comes with great features like podcasting, calendars, eCommerce and fundraising.

It features support for IgnitionDesk and WooCommerce, as well as many custom widgets and Google Maps integration.



iChurch is a simple and responsive church theme with a clean design and retina support. It’s easy to brand the theme with your organization’s colors.

This theme is built on Bootstrap 3. Unfortunately, the packaged download doesn’t include stock images.



Forgiven is a popular and powerful church theme that includes some fantastic features including sermons and staff support, a blur slider, and more than $200 worth of premium plugins (sliders, gallery, Visual Composer etc).

This theme also supports WooCommerce and The Event Calendar.



WeStand is a multipurpose theme with three different homepage styles tailored for churches, non-profits and political groups.

A built-in color picker lets you customize your color scheme. Other features include cause and events management, page builder, translation ready, and backup options.



Troika offers a clean and minimalist parallax design with three different homepage options for political groups, charities and churches.

This multipurpose theme includes nine post formats, a customizable sidebar for posts, and a customizable gallery.



Deeds is a clean and simple multipurpose theme deigned for churches and charities. It includes five different homepage options.

There are some great features, including Revolution Slider, multi-color options, Visual Composer, a recurring donation system, eight header styles, and sermon, event, news, ministry, priest and team management.



Benevolence features a stunning minimalist design aimed at churches and non-profits.

This theme support PayPay so you can easily accept donations and track payments with a progress bar. It also supports an events calendar, and unlimited colors schemes, as well as cause, event, staff, document, gallery, sermon, ministry, projects and donation custom post types.



Donation offers a gorgeous minimalist and responsive design ideal for charities.

It features a powerful admin user interface where you can change skins, colors, fonts and page templates.



Trinity is a stunning fullwidth parallax theme designed for churches. This theme allows you to inform members of upcoming events and share sermons via text, MP3 or YouTube video.

Features include the Aqua Page builder, sermon management, events calendar, photo gallery, Revolution Slider, and translation support. You can also accept PayPal donations.

Community Center


Community Centre is a stunning charity-focused theme with a minimalist design and beautiful typography.

There’s a stack of features, including unlimited color skins, WooCommerce support, bbPress forums, an events calendar, and support for donations.



Graceland is an impressive church and charity theme with a beautiful fullwidth design and support for donations, events, sermons, galleries, and an online store. It comes with LiveComposer for page building.

Other features include CSS3 animation, beautiful typography, Revolution Slider, shortcodes, parallax scrolling, dummy content, and 430 icons by Font Awesome.



CharityPlus is a modern and minimalist theme from the folks at Themes Kingdom.

Features include support for events, causes, galleries, and news. It also comes with a page builder so you can drag and drop elements into place. There’s also support for banner advertising.

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10 Of The Best Of The Best WordPress Themes http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-of-the-best-of-the-best-wordpress-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-of-the-best-of-the-best-wordpress-themes/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130999 Not a week goes by without another swag of theme posts that list 10,20,50,250 themes for you to sift through.

But not this post because that wheat has been sorted from the chaff, the cream has risen to the top and, apparently, even the sheep have been sorted from the goats.

Here’s 10 themes covering 10 categories. This is the best of the best of WordPress themes. Or is it?

Composite image showing character on podium with trophy.
10 themes. 10 categories. All winners.

Theme list posts are incredibly popular which explains why there are so many of them. But I always find that in any given list there are only 1 or 2 suggestions that really pique your interest but that it takes plenty of opening-demos-in-new-tabs to find them.

So, I’ve gone back through our more recent theme list posts:

  • Fastest WordPress Theme
  • Best Free Masonry WordPress Theme
  • Best Magazine WordPress Theme (That Works On Tablets)
  • Best Free Video WordPress Theme
  • Best Fullscreen WordPress Theme
  • Best Slider WordPress Theme
  • Best Coming Soon WordPress Theme (Or Plugin)
  • Best Free Responsive WordPress Theme
  • Best Free Blog WordPress Theme
  • Best Beautiful And Responsive WordPress Theme For 2014

From each post I’ve picked a winner, said why, and included links to the theme’s essential pages and to the original article.

The Fastest WordPress Theme


If you are obsessed with how quick your site loads or perhaps you just want the simplicity of a no-nonsense theme then Rae put 10 such themes to the test.

The winner, with a highly-impressive PageSpeed Insights score of 96, was Frank, a collaboration between P.J Onori and Jon Christopher.

This simple, responsive, theme is certainly content focussed, is lean on images and script (there are no javascript frameworks). The entire focus is on delivering a “simple, no-frills, screaming fast blog”.

If that’s your thing then Frank is for you.

It is also, according to Onori, “never finished”; staying true to that maxim, the theme is only available from GitHub.

Best Free Masonry WordPress Theme


You might think that masonry style themes are only for Pinterest clones but they’ve actually got legs for a number of scenarios.

Not least would be those sites that publish very frequently and want to expose plenty of content and find that a slider just doesn’t cut it.

Baskerville, out of the hugely impressive Anders Norén’s theme stable, meets the bold claim of being a “beautiful, responsive and retina-ready masonry theme”.

It works brilliantly across all platforms and exhibits incredible attention to detail from the pointers on the headings, to the feature image hover bounce effect, highly stylized post metadata and the innovative display of the search form.

Definitely one to bookmark.

Best Magazine WordPress Theme That Works On Tablets

Screenshot of the Bushwick theme on a tablet in landscape and portrait mode

There are possibly hundreds of themes in the WordPress Theme repository that claim to be “perfect for magazine sites”.

Once you start testing them, though, you find that precious few work across all platforms – a requirement you’d have thought fairly critical given the seemingly unstoppable rise of content consumption on tablets.

And let’s not even get started as to what actually is a magazine theme.

Bushwick, built by James Dinsdale for Automattic, is my idea of how a magazine theme should look and feel.

Whilst clearly a lot of thought has gone into creating the optimal layout for each platform, Bushwick looks and feels best on a tablet with its gorgeous full-screen featured images, amazingly clear typography and the simple to use navigation.

A prime example where less-is-more excels in providing a great user experience away from the desktop.

Bushwick is also available to WordPress.com users.

Note: If you use Bushwick, be sure to read the original article (Contenders button) for a small fix and tweak to improve Bushwick even further.

Best Free Video WordPress Theme


You create videos on a regular basis; you want a quick and easy way to make them available on a site that you can brand as your own.

You need Stumblr from Eleven Themes.

Not surprisingly, given the derivative of its name, this a Tumblr-style theme, designed to make the most of the content, hence the minimal design.

No frills here, just an effective theme for delivering video and images.

Best Fullscreen WordPress Theme


Full-screen themes are themes that, at the homepage at least, occupy just one screen – be it desktop or tablet. No vertical scrolling.

And whilst many do this job really well, providing support for full-screen video, photo sliders, with or without audio, they feel like two completely separate websites that have been cut and shut.

Not so Muse from Grand Pixels, available via ThemeForest at $48 for a regular licence.

Muse feels integrated and, importantly, provides some clue to the casual visitor as to what the site is actually about.

The theme responds flawlessly on a tablet (the front page slider is swipeable) and has engaging post and video layouts.

Clearly tailored to the music industry (with presumably industry-specific custom post types) it’s actually not difficult to see Muse being useful to not just music sites.

Best Slider WordPress Theme

Fuse WordPress theme

Okay, so if you want to go for a slider theme (and there’s quite a lot commentary out there on why this might not be optimal), my feeling is that you should go the whole hog and only have a slider on that home page.

Otherwise it’s not a slider theme just a theme with a slider.

Once you make that distinction, the list of contenders becomes pretty small but the pick from the short-short-list is Fuse, from pixelgrade via ThemeForest ($48 for a standard licence).

It confidently goes full-screen for the slider but with the captions it’s relatively easy to ensure that the visitor knows what’s going on.

Responding well to smaller devices (it actually looks better on a tablet), the slides are swipeable and the various site components feel nicely integrated.

Best Coming Soon WordPress Theme (Or Plugin)


A little bit of cheating here, as the best Coming Soon theme is actually a plugin.

And it was pretty easy to pick the winner in this category as all the other contenders were fundamentally flawed. Let me explain.

If you put up a Coming Soon (and that’s a pretty big if to start with) then there are only a couple of specific circumstances where you’d want a countdown. Otherwise you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Firstly, you are fixing a deadline and we all know that deadlines move. Secondly, a deadline too far in the future, no matter how accurate, is going to send visitors packing. Thirdly, why would anyone care? Unless your site is something unbelievably interesting, no-one’s going to come back and check on progress (the progress bars are even worse).

What you need is for the Coming Soon to look half-decent, provide enough space to briefly describe the project, and the capability of collecting an email address should the visitor wish to be notified when you are up and running.

The Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin does all this as well as letting those signed into the site see the real theme.

Comes in free and premium versions.

Best Free Responsive WordPress Theme


Rae’s original post continues to draw in the crowds with over 120,000 views since it was published in March.

So, clearly there is something wrong with me that I struggled to find a theme in a list of 30 that really appealed to me.

I was hoping for some originality, something that would make me nod my head and go “nice”, anything that I hadn’t seen before.

In the end, I picked Gridster because although not entirely original, it’s a really nice implementation of a grid layout which is a fantastic method to surface plenty of content.

Best Free Blog WordPress Theme


Remember when we used to use WordPress for the simple pure art that is blogging?

Spend enough time trawling through WordPress themes (or even worse, writing about them!) and it’s easy to forget. I must be getting old, because it all seemed so simple back then.

If you are going all retro and you are confident in the value of your content then you need look no further than Graphy.

A simple, true single-column theme with great typography, a 3 widget footer, that uses excerpts by default for post listings (yay!), Graphy really does put the focus on the content.

My only small gripe is that the inline images that hang so prettily on Chrome (and probably Firefox), don’t on Safari (including iOS), which is a shame.

Best Beautiful And Responsive WordPress Theme For 2014


OK, so that headline should probably be suffixed with “so far” but crikey, Ink is a beautiful theme.

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know that I have a bit of a thing about content and publishing and as soon as I opened up this theme it immediately started pushing those buttons.

The most engaging post listing I’ve seen, those featured images become full-screen on the single post display both on the desktop and on a tablet. There’s even a helpful little down arrow that not only helps the reader to get to the content but also acts as a visual cue that there is more to read.

Typography is clean and easy to read, there’s separate treatment for an intro (possibly the extract) and image based post-navigation.

Add that my personal fave of a slideout sidebar and this is definitely a theme that I wouldn’t mind paying the $43 for.

If you are looking for a theme for a publication with decent images then you might want to also.

You Cannot Be Serious!

Now, I know that you are not going to agree with these selections, even though there are some stunning themes in there.

And, I hope you don’t because really a theme is such a personal selection and it would be an appalling situation if we all liked the same thing.

So, if you have a favorite theme, leave a comment that includes:

  • The name and link to your favorite theme
  • The category you think it dominates (it can be a new category)
  • What makes it so special

Who knows? We might come up with a definitive list of The Best of the Best WordPress Themes.

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How to Upgrade WordPress Themes – Even If They Are Customized http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/upgrade-wordpress-themes-even-if-they-are-customized/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/upgrade-wordpress-themes-even-if-they-are-customized/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=131084 Upgrading your website’s theme to the latest version is highly recommended, not only because it ensures you have all the latest features, but you’ll also be up-to-date with any security patches.

There are many ways to upgrade a WordPress theme. In this post we’ll look at a few different methods, from automatically upgrading to ensuring a customized theme isn’t unintentionally over-written.

Upgrading WordPress
Follow the steps below to easily upgrade your WordPress theme.

Back Up Your Theme Files

First thing’s first – before we get started you need to back up your database and your current theme. Since we’re replacing and updating theme files, there’s a chance something could go wrong so it’s best to play it safe and have a backup.

Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with. You may want to simply copy your entire WordPress directory to your computer using FTP and backup your database with a plugin. You may have a VaultPress account or a membership with some other third-party backup site that does all the hard work for you.

Automatic Upgrades

Automatically upgrading your theme is easy and straightforward. There are a couple of ways to take advantage of automatic upgrades:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes. Any themes that have updates available will display an alert banner. Click on the theme you want to upgrade and click on “update now.”
New version available
Automatically upgrade your WordPress theme.
  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to Dashboard > Updates. The themes that have updates available will be listed. Select the theme you want to update and click “Update Themes.” This is also a quick way to update multiple themes.

WordPress 3.7 introduced automatic background updates for themes and plugins, which is disabled by default. To turn this feature on for themes, add the following snippet to your theme’s functions.php file:

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );

This feature will only work for themes downloaded from the WordPress Theme Repository. It you are using a premium theme, it will not automatically update. Premium theme providers usually offer their own instructions for upgrading themes.

Uploading and Replacing an Existing Theme

Most theme providers require that you manually upload a new version of a theme and replace an older version in order to upgrade it.

However, if you go to Appearance > Themes > Add New and try to upload a new version of a theme that is already in your site’s themes directory, it will fail and you’ll get an error message telling you the destination folder already exists.

Replacing Twenty Fourteen
Avoid this error by renaming the old version of your theme.

The reason for this error is due to the fact you can’t have two folders in your themes directory with identical names (obviously!).

There are a couple of simple solutions:

  1. Login to your site via FTP or cPanel and delete the old theme and then upload the new version. Make sure you make a backup of the old version of your theme just in case something goes wrong.
  2. If deleting your old theme makes you nervous, another option is to rename the old version of the theme. This will allow you to successfully upload the new version of the theme.
    • Login to your site via FTP or cPanel and navigate to wp-content/themes/ and find your old theme.
    • Rename your old theme something like “theme-old” (replacing “theme” with the name of your theme).
    • Upload your new theme.

The old and new versions of the theme will both appear in the themes interface, but you will be able to distinguish them by their folder names and version numbers.

Old and new themes
The old and new versions of your theme will sit side-by-side.

Upgrading a Customized Theme

Have you ever spent countless hours customizing your site, only to lose all of your hard work after updating the theme?

You probably discovered afterwards that you should have created a child theme.

A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme. Child themes allow you to modify or add to the functionality of the parent theme.

Most importantly, creating a child theme lets you make changes to your site without touching your original theme’s code, allowing you to update your site without the threat of lost all the customizations you’ve made.

You can find out more about how to create a child theme in our article How to Create a WordPress Child Theme.

If you want to upgrade your theme but made customizations without using a child theme, read on.

Uploading Only Changed Files

If you’ve made changes to your theme’s code, you may want to see if the updates in the new version of your theme are extensive.

If your theme’s developer has published a list of changes in the new version in a changelog or a readme file and only a file or two have been changed, you may opt to just upload and overwrite the files in the older version via FTP or your cPanel.

If any of the updated files happen to be ones you’ve customized and you remember which lines of code you’ve changed, you can make the customizations again via Appearance > Editor.

Re-customizing Your New Theme

If you remember all the customizations you made to your theme or you’ve saved them somewhere, the easiest way to re-customize it to automatically upgrade it as per the methods above and then make the customizations to your site again.

Yes, it’s annoying to have to make all the customizations a second time, but at least this time you can implement a child theme so you don’t have to worry about doing this again.

Make sure you make a backup of your site before doing this so you can revert to your old theme if something goes wrong.

What If I Can’t Remember My Customizations?

If you haven’t saved your customizations somewhere or you can’t remember what changes you made, don’t stress! It makes it harder to upgrade your theme, but it’s still possible.

There are programs that can help you compare two version of your themes, i.e. your old version versus your old customized version, or your old customized version versus the new version.

If you use OS X, Kaleidoscope is a great premium program that lets you compare text in two different files. WinMerge is a popular free and open source alternative for Windows users.

Let’s take a look at how to compare two versions of a theme using Kaleidoscope. Since this program isn’t free, you may want to search for free or cheaper alternatives, though Kaleidoscope does have a 15-day trial period if you want to try it out.

1. Copy your old theme and the updated version to your desktop so you can easily access your files. Open Kaleidoscope and drag and drop in the files you want to compare.

Drag and drop your files into Kaleidoscope.

2. The program will display the text in both files side-by-side so you can compare changes.

In this example, I discovered a code snippet I had added to the bottom of my old functions.php file.

Kaleidoscope compare changes
Compare the differences between the new and old versions of your theme.

3. You can change copy any code in the old file into the new file. Click on a block (the section in pink) and at the bottom of the window click on “Copy to right.” The text from your old file on the left will automatically copy over to your new file on the right.

Kaleidoscope copy left to right
Easily copy code from your old version on the left to your new version on the right.

4. Repeat these steps until you have copied over all customizations. When you’re done, zip up the old theme and upload it to your site via Appearances > Themes > Add New.

Summing Up

Upgrading themes to the latest version ensures you have not only the most feature-rich version, but all the most secure.

Whenever you do update your themes, always make a backup of everything – your old theme, database and new theme. If something does go wrong while you’re editing you’re file, you will have a backup available so you can start the process again without losing any important files.

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20+ Stunning WordPress Portfolio Themes to Inspire You http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-stunning-wordpress-portfolio-themes-to-inspire-you/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-stunning-wordpress-portfolio-themes-to-inspire-you/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=131004 Finding the perfect portfolio theme to show off your work can be time consuming.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of theme available, all with different features like Masonry grids, video, custom post types and parallax, to name a few.

The key to finding a great theme for your portfolio is to first work out what you need to support your content. If you’re a photographer you may want a full-width slider homepage. If you’re an artist or an illustrator a grid layout may be the best way to display your work.

To help you get started on the path to finding a great theme – and also to inspire you along the way – I’ve put together a collection of stunning portfolio themes with a wide range of features to suit any portfolio.

Do you have a favorite portfolio theme? Share it in the comments below.



Cubo is a versatile portfolio theme that comes with six homepage layouts and a stack of portfolio options.

The great thing about this theme is the customizable layouts for your portfolio content. You can choose the width and column layout and evening the spacing between each item. There’s also a lovely bunch of masonry options.

The home page options allow you to play video, which is ideal for videographers looking for a theme to make an impact.



Lobo is a truly gorgeous portfolio theme with a responsive and unique modular layout.

This theme feature a custom module builder, allowing you to customize your layouts and create the look you want. It also comes with a sticky header and two menu options.

There is also a fun blog layout makes the most of large images while placing the focus squarely on your words.

It’s hard trying to describe this theme and do it justice. Check it out for yourself and enjoy exploring the features.



With an impressive 20 homepage layouts, SignUp is a feature-packed and responsive portfolio theme with extended photography support.

Other features include Masonry, Metro and grid layouts, an availability calendar, responsive sliders, easy settings backup, AJAX-powered blog and portfolio with load more and infinite scroll options, and 640+ Google fonts.



Delight is a powerful theme featuring jQuery effects (cycle, tabs, accordions, drop down menu, tooltips, colorbox, auto alignment and more), unlimited skins, Google fonts, custom page templates and widgets, sliders and shortcodes.

There are video tutorials to help you set up this theme, which was originally created in 2011 and is regularly updated.



Crush is a no frills portfolio theme with simple grid layout. It is super customizable and features a responsive design, online documentation for easy set up, and four homepage layouts (including two with sidebars).

If you’re after a straightforward grid portfolio, the fullscreen homepage layout will easily meet your needs.

Other features include unlimited portfolio pages and filterable portfolio pages, a gallery post format with slider and stacked options, audio and video post formats, as well as link and quote custom post types.



Nostalgia is a bold and minimalist theme with a contrasting style and a retro feel.

Features include fullscreen slideshow, background music player, unlimited pages, six predefined page icons, 10custom page header icons, 10 custom social icons, blog template, and built-in portfolio, about and services page templates with Lightbox.



Quantum is a beautiful portfolio and agency theme with a clean and stylish design.

There are four stunning homepage layouts (portfolio, agency, photograph, full slider) and three custom post types (classic, case study and fullscreen photo gallery). Dummy content is available so you can preload your site with the text and images you see in the demo.

This theme is also responsive, highly customizable and comes with lovely CSS3 animations.



Angular is a clean and responsive portfolio theme built on the Avia Framework.

It comes with a stack of options so you can modify the layout, styling, colors and fonts. There are 28 predefined skins, which are easy to modify, as well as dynamic template builder.



Phototastic is a responsive portfolio theme designed for photographers. It features two homepage options (slider or grid), comes with a slider on every page, and comes with various page templates for photography and business.

Many post types are supported, including standard, aside, images, video, quote, link, gallery, status and audio.



Bourne is a clean and simple portfolio theme with custom page templates (Masonry portfolio, sitemap, blog archive, full-width page).

There are also custom blog forms (standard, image, quote and video), along with four custom widgets (Twitter, Dribbble, Flickr, Facebook).

Translation is support, with .mo and .po files included.



Garnet is a lightweight and responsive minimalist theme tailored to artists and illustrators with its image-heavy design.

Page templates are included (portfolio, team, services, sidebars, full-width), as well as in finish scroll or page portfolio options.

Other features include custom homepage drag and drop, a filterable portfolio, custom social media widgets, unlimited colors, retina-ready and translation-ready.



Me is a simple monotone theme with a filterable portfolio powered by the Quicksand plugin. It allows you to edit categories and item pages are loaded quickly using AJAX.

Easily add a slider, YouTube and Vimeo clips to portfolio item pages. Me also comes with 70+ fonts and has been localized for easy translation.



HalfCreative is a simple and stunning one pager designed for creatives, but with a business edge.

Features includes expanding project previews, a sticky header, touch-enabled hardware accelerated slider, inline video support for YouTube and Vimeo, and an AJAX contact form.



Bigbang is a simple portfolio theme that offers more than meets the eye. It comes with several page templates, including two layouts (boxed and stretched), six portfolio post formats (2 column, 3 column, 4 column, hexagon, triangle and circle), six blog layouts, and six single post layouts. There are also About, Client, Sidebar and Full-width custom post types.

Shortcodes are included to help you add customizations such as grids, social media, buttons, Google maps and columns.



Fineliner is an elegant and responsive theme featuring custom post types, a style customizer, Visual Composer page builder, and WPML compatibility.

Six accent colors are supported and XML dummy data is included so you can emulate the demo site.



Almera is an elegant and responsive portfolio theme that features a layout constructor for assembling your pages, and extensive theme options.

There are five homepage layout options available, four different portfolio layouts, and three gallery layouts, along with custom widgets (contact form, Facebook Like box, Flickr feed, Google Map, latest tweets, recent posts, recent projects, social links, testimonials).



SquareGrid is a grid-based portfolio theme that comes with five different layouts and supports images, audio and video.

There are custom post types for videos, about and contact pages, images, and image sliders.

Other features include dark and lights style, custom background color option on posts related featured image, gorgeous background patterns and a custom background image uploader.



Visia is a stunning parallax portfolio theme with a responsive design.

It features two homepage layout options, fullwidth Ajax portfolio grid with in-place full project previews, and cool parallax effect section backgrounds.

One of my favorite features is the one-click dummy content import, which allows you to set up your site like the demo site.



Red:Folio is a gorgeous responsive theme with a clean and minimalist design.

You can create unlimited portfolio sections and portfolio pages, each displaying different items from multiple categories.

The portfolio items are filterable and can be displayed in different sizes, depending on your needs. You can also show YouTube and Vimeo videos and play them in a lightbox.



Folo is an infinite loading portfolio with a masonry layout, neat lightbox portfolio post, and a clean and minimalist design.

It comes with extensive options, allowing you to easily modify colors, logos and effects. Six free plugins are also available with this theme, adding extra functionality for social media, shortcodes, portfolios, and pricing tables.



GridStack is a cute and colorful portfolio theme featuring a Masonry grid layout.

This responsive design support full-width galleries, along with video, audio and images. It is also touch/swipe enabled for mobile devices.

Extensive theme options are available so you can customize the look and feel to suit your content.

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7 Free Masonry WordPress Themes – No Bricks Here! http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-free-masonry-wordpress-themes-no-bricks-here/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-free-masonry-wordpress-themes-no-bricks-here/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:58 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130671 Despite being popularized by Pinterest, the laying out posts using a “masonry grid” can be effective for numerous types of sites, not just photographic.

There’s only a handful of masonry-specific themes in the free WordPress theme repository, so I took them for a spin to see if any are worth considering.

And found an absolute gem.

Composite image of the screenshots of the 7 shortlisted themes
The free masonry WordPress themes are pretty good but one stands head and shoulders above the rest

The masonry grid approach has plenty of appeal especially for sites that post frequently, want to expose as many posts as possible, often use featured images and don’t want to worry about always having featured images of the same dimensions.

I recently wrote a tutorial on how to lay out your post listings in a masonry grid with just CSS but this, of course, relies heavily on the underlying theme and will only work on modern browsers. So I was interested to see what the purpose-built masonry themes in the WordPress theme repository were like.

Having tested the themes on both desktop, tablet and mobile, the range in quality of what are free themes was quite wide. One theme, though, stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Before we get to the overall verdict, here’s 7 themes from the free WordPress theme repository that made the shortlist.

The Free Masonry WordPress Themes Shortlist



Last Updated: 2013-12-04
Downloads: 34,144
Ratings: 4.8/5.0
Unresolved Support: None

Celebrate is a responsive theme built on top of Hybrid Core, featuring a full range of post formats, masonry layout, custom header and background.

Verdict: Celebrate won’t get your heart racing but it’s a solid theme albeit with limited customization options.

All post listings are displayed in a masonry style but the only layout customizations are whether to have a sidebar (two-column) or not (one-column).

You cannot control how many columns the masonry uses.

Further customizations allow setting the header text color, the background color, the header image and custom footer content (HTML allowed).

The theme does respond pretty well – the sidebar, if active, becomes a footer – and looks good across tablets and mobiles.

Jkreativ Lite


Last Updated: 2014-06-15
Downloads: 4,601
Ratings: 4.8/5.0
Unresolved Support: 9 of 10

Jkreativ Lite is 100% Responsive also featured masonry blog layout. This themes is retina ready so your themes will seems perfect on every modern device and cross browser compatibility.

Verdict: Jkreative Lite is a great looking theme that makes a few odd choices.

This theme makes a great first impression: the layout is clean, the number of columns responds to the screen size and the type is crisp.

But there are a few oddities such as the title only being displayed on tablets and mobiles; the single post content width not being full-width even with no widgets in the sidebar (you wouldn’t want a sidebar anyway); the permanent sidebar (the left margin) not being widget-ready; and, tablets only have 2 columns even in landscape orientation when 3 would fit quite easily.

The page loading animation is a gimmick that becomes annoying pretty quickly.

It does have some nice touches though such as a mobile-specific menu and a slide-out menu for non-desktops (although the styling would need some tweaking).

It also looks great on a tablet.

Worth a look if you don’t mind doing a little post-installation tweaking.



Last Updated: 2014-03-27
Downloads: 4,038
Ratings: 4/5
Unresolved Support: 4 of 5

Pinterest like personal blogging theme powered by jQuery Masonry. Beautiful retina-ready and responsive theme with flexible layout. Tons of options to customize the theme according to your needs.

Verdict: An attractive and well thought-out theme that does almost exactly what it says on the tin without any fuss or fanfare.

Gridz’s effectiveness is due to its simplicity. Whilst the “tons of options to customize” is a slight exaggeration there are enough to make this theme your own.

You can choose the the number of content columns, colors, fonts (type and size) and the location and appearance of the sidebar.

The scroll-to-top is a nice touch as is the addition of 3 footer widget areas is a nice touch and is preferable to using a sidebar when thinking about the implications of smaller devices.

Responsiveness is not bad, the selected number of grid columns is respected on a landscape-orientated tablet but the design becomes single column for all devices in portrait and mobiles in landscape mode.

If I was to be picky then I would prefer 2 columns on a tablet (portrait) and I’d also want to lose the RSS icon on a mobile to reduce the amount of space being taken up by the header.



Last Updated: 2013-12-11
Downloads: 38,122
Ratings: 4.4/5
Unresolved Support: 7 of 7

A responsive theme with neat masonry layout similar to pinterest with infinite scroll. If you need a perfect mobile theme, then pinpress might be the right option.

Verdict: If the thought of masonry and infinite scroll gets you all in a lather then this is the theme for you.

Pinpress is a no-frills themes that implements a truly responsive masonry grid across all platforms. The customization options are limited to the standard list (there’s 1 menu location) so there’s little chance to get creative.

The infinite scroll works although the rearranging of the bricks can be distracting as they jump around.

Definitely one for the purists or to use as the basis for a more sophisticated solution.

Alpha Trinity


Last Updated: 2014-01-04
Downloads: 7,659
Ratings: 5/5
Unresolved Support: None

Alpha Trinity is a responsive theme with a clean multi column layout. Homepage uses the masonry javascript library so all posts tile nicely. Theme features left and right column widget areas and a custom primary menu. Link rollover color can be customized via the theme options.

Verdict: Minimalist theme that lets itself down on mobile devices.

Alpha Trinity, the barebones theme with the ironically long-winded name, is another responsive masonry theme where the number of columns, rather than the column width, changes with the screen size.

The scheme is monochrome (except for an unexpected mouseover effect on the featured images) and with little scope to change this through the basic customizations, this theme is best viewed as a foundation to a more elaborate theme.

One area that definitely requires attention is how it responds to being viewed on a mobile phone: putting the content after the left sidebar can mean plenty of scrolling before hitting anything that a visitor will be interested in.



Last Updated: 2014-06-25
Downloads: 770
Ratings: Not Rated
Unresolved Support: 1 of 5

Baskerville is a beautiful, responsive and retina-ready masonry theme for hoarders. It’s the perfect way to showcase your posts, videos, images and galleries, and share your favorite quotes and links. Features responsive design, retina-ready assets, full-width header image, support for all post formats, custom logo upload, custom widgets (video, Flickr and Dribbble), four page templates (including a contributors template), editor styling, like functionality via the ZillaLikes plugin and translation-ready code.

Verdict: A high-impact theme with impressive attention to detail.

I’m not sure what the “hoarders” reference is about but Baskerville is a theme that could and should be of interest to any WordPress site that publishes frequently.

A polished theme with some great attention to detail such as the sticky icons, the pointers on the headings, the mouseover bounce effect on the featured images, even the somewhat revealing of the search form doesn’t detract from the overall impression that this is a very solid theme indeed.

Working well across all the platforms, the use of footer widgets rather than a sidebar allows for an easy and consistent transition from desktop to tablet and mobile; my only gripe would be a preference for 3, rather than 2, columns on a landscape-orientated tablet.



Last Updated: 2014-02-02
Downloads: 22,708
Ratings: 4.8/5
Unresolved Support: 4 of 5

Create a truly unique design with Carton, a lightweight and fully responsive HTML5 theme built using jQuery Masonry.

Verdict: A theme that holds plenty of promise but has too many issues, in the free version at least, for serious consideration.

Carton looks like a great theme and I was particularly interested in its handling of the featured post (either sticky or the most recent post) which is unique amongst the masonry themes.

However, the theme has some problems, particularly with the handling of featured images which on the home page don’t fill the brick’s width (because of a max height?) which results in text from the excerpt trying to fill the gap, and on the post pages don’t seem to be displayed at all. The theme also has a distinctly plain single-column look when displaying on a portrait-orientated tablet when 2 columns would have been better.

Of course, these could be fixed by changing the column width in the customization options or diving into the CSS (it allows custom CSS to be added) but none of the other themes have these issues so it’s a little frustrating to say the least..

There is a premium version of the theme ($69) which add more features (such as infinite scroll) and customization options.

The Final Verdict

So, which theme stands head and shoulders above the rest?

Baskerville, from Anders Norén, truly lives up to its description as a “beautiful, responsive and retina-ready masonry theme” which is perhaps not surprising when you realize that Anders is also responsible for other notable themes such as Hemingway and Wilson.

Apart from looking fantastic across all the platforms, what really sets this theme apart from the others in the category is the attention to detail: the pointers on the headings, the mouseover bounce effect on the feature images, the great looking post metadata, the unusual way the search form is revealed.

Being free does not guarantee that a product is a bargain. For Baskerville, though, it’s an absolute steal.

What do you think of Baskerville or any of the other themes listed here? Do you have a favorite masonry theme that’s not listed?

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15 Free Parallax WordPress Themes http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-parallax-wordpress-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-parallax-wordpress-themes/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130326 While there are plenty of parallax themes out there in the WordPress theme world, there aren’t that many free ones.

Below we have collected 15 of the best free parallax themes we could find.

If you know of any other good free ones, let us know in the comments.

1. Hemingway


The Hemingway theme is a clean and attractive theme with a full-width parallax header.

In addition to the parallax header, the Hemingway theme is responsive with retina-ready assets. It comes with custom accent colors and custom widgets for video, Flickr, and Dribble.

2. Pilot Fish


The Pilot Fish theme puts a large (but not full width) parallax image area on the homepage of the site. As you scroll, you’ll see you title and other text overlaid on the image take on the parallax effect.

Under the parallax image are three sections set up in a business theme fashion.

This theme is responsive and also comes with a portfolio section.

3. Inkzine


Inkzine is a clean and colorful theme with a full-width parallax area at the top.

The theme overall takes a magazine style look with multiple post lists sections on the front page for things such as “What’s Hot,” “Latest Trends,” and “Coming Soon,” as demonstrated on the demo site. (Of course you can make your own.)

4. Sixteen


The Sixteen theme gives you a large parallax image header area.

At the top of the page is a large slider sitting below the top navigation area. And below that is a grid style area with images from recent posts.

Brown and beige in color, the theme is clean, but has a somewhat heavier look due to its colors.

5. Invert Lite


Invert Lite is a clean, business style theme.

It comes with a large, full-width parallax area at the top. Under that is a standard three-section area seen in many business themes.

Actual blog pages are clean with plenty of white space.

6. Aldehyde


The Aldehyde theme gives you a large parallax header and a responsive frame.

In addition, Aldehyde provides you with a responsive slider, four page layouts, and custom widgets.

7. Radiate


The Radiate theme comes with a full-width parallax header and a transparent top menu.

Below the header you get three content boxes with a featured image and an excerpt, giving the theme the overall look of being somewhat magazine like.

Below the three content boxes you get a stream of the latest posts, each within their own box. This gives the theme a clean and ordered look.

8. Tashan


The Tashan theme gives you a large, full-width parallax header area.

While the overall design looks relatively simple, the theme does give you a recent posts widget, a custom recent comments widget, and a flexible showcase widget the front page.

9. Dellow


Dellow is a responsive theme with a large parallax header.

In addition to the parallax area, this theme is different in that even on a desktop, the top transparent bar at the top of the page has what looks like a mobile menu icon. Clicking on that opens a menu on the side of the page like a fixed sidebar.

10. Itek


Itek gives you a full-width parallax header area with an overlapping content area. This theme bills itself as an business and ecommerce theme, and you can see products being displayed in the demo.

The overlapping content area, which seems to rise up over the parallax area as you scroll, gives you three content areas at the top with unique effect when you hover over the images: they slowly morph from circles into rectangles.

11. Bootstrap Parallax


Based on Twitter Bootstrap, the Bootstrap Parallax theme gives the effect of all three main areas (header, content, and footer) being parallax in nature.

In addition, the theme gives you a colorbox lightbox, a sitemap page template, all Twitter Bootstrap features, and more.

12. Parallax


The Parallax theme from Cyberchimps gives you three parallax areas that sit on top of what would look like an otherwise regular blog.

While its demo doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward in terms of design, the theme comes with a number of nice features, including touch responsiveness, drag and drop elements, sliders and boxes and portfolios.

13. Foodeez Lite


Created for restaurants and hotels, the Foodeez Lite theme gives you a parallax section that’s especially good for featuring special dishes or dishes of the day.

This theme is clean and elegant (if adorned with the right images, of course). It is responsive and comes with a slider.

(Note: the demo link goes to a premium version of the theme that may have features not available in the free version. You can follow the demo link on wordpress.org for the free version, but as those demos are often unattended to, they often don’t give you an accurate picture of the theme.)

14. Advertica Lite


The Advertica theme gives you a top parallax area, a responsive framework, featured boxes, and a number of admin options that let you control things such as general settings, featured areas, logos, and footers.

(Note: As with the previous theme by Sketchthemes, the link for the demo here goes to a premium version of this theme, and some of the functions you see there may not be available in the free version.)

15. Evolve


The Evolve theme comes with a parallax slider that will allow you layer in different objects in the slider area and then pull them back out as well.

This theme comes packed with the FontAwesome icon pack, the Animate.css plugin, over 500 Google webfonts, several layout options, 12 widget areas, tabs, a slider, and more.

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20 Best Free WordPress Themes for Blogs http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-best-free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-best-free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=129554 Despite the fact there are hundreds upon thousands of themes available for WordPress, it’s still hard to find “the one.” You know, the perfect theme that will fulfil all of your hopes and dreams for your blog and put you in the mood to write.

Finding a great free theme can be difficult. Searching through the WordPress Theme Repository can be time consuming and often free themes lack beautiful design.

Below is a collection of free blogging themes that are all ideal for personal sites when you want the focus on your words.

What theme do you use on your blog? What is the ideal layout for a blog? Tell us in the comments below.



Wilson is a clean and minimalist theme designed for blogs. It features a responsive design, custom accent color, custom widgets for video, Flickr and Dribble, and page templates.

It comes retina and translation-ready, with Swedish included in the theme’s files.



Syntax has been designed with a distraction-free reading experience in mind. It features large, easy-to-read type and a fixed navigation menu.

This theme also comes with a beautiful responsive design that’s perfect for writers who wants to put the focus on their words.



Flato is a simple blogging theme without bells and whistles. It features a large fullwidth header and navigation bar and a two-colomn layout.

This theme comes with a responsive design.



Opus offers a clean, flat design ideal for blogs. It features a large, fullwidth header images and navigation at the top of the page is the form of a hamburger button. When pressed, it displays a fullscreen menu.

This is a great simple theme for a basic blog as it doesn’t come with sidebars or other features.



typefocus is a beautiful minimalist theme with a fixed sidebar and a focus on typography.

This is a great blogging theme, especially if you’re starting out and don’t require greater functionality.



Stanley is a cute, colorful and responsive bootstrap theme perfect for bloggers and anyone wanting to showcase their portfolio of work.

It comes with some great features – a theme options panel, drag and drop homepage builder, portfolio post types, three page templates, and Font Awesome.



Bushwick is Medium-esque (the old Medium design) and features a fixed vertical header.

This is a lovely theme for blogging, with a focus on your writing and beautiful imagery.



Kirumo is a simple and responsive blogging theme. It support custom background colors and images, as well as a custom accent color.

It comes with a fullwidth page templates with a horizontal row of three widgets underneath.



Blogly is a minimalist and responsive blogging theme with a striking design.

You can use the WordPress theme customizer to change the colors, and upload a logo and background image.



Writr is a minimalist tumblog theme ideal for blogging. It features a striking left sidebar and crisp typography.

It comes with six different color schemes: turquoise (default), blue, green, grey, purple, and red.



Ignite is an elegant blogging theme with a responsive design. You can easily customize it using a built-in social media icons and a logo uploader.



tdPersona features a clean and responsive design offering a distraction-free reading experience for your readers.

This theme is pretty basic, so look elsewhere if you’re seeking greater functionality.



Drop is a bold and responsive blogging theme with a minimalist design and a focus on your posts.

This is a pretty simple theme with few features. The sidebar offers a clear place for navigation and other information, like social media.



Graphy is a blogging theme that focuses on beautiful typography (if you didn’t already figure out from the feature image!).

It features a responsive design so your words look great on difference devices. It comes with five widgetized areas, including a sidebar and four footers. The sidebar allows you to create a two-column design.



Fastr is a simple and minimalist single-column theme ideal for blogging.

This theme uses absolutely no Javascript and has very minimal CSS for its layout and responsiveness, making it extremely fast and lightweight.



This simple and clean theme has been designed with writers in mind. Thoughts doesn’t have any widgetized areas (no sidebar or footer), but it does support various post formats. It’s also responsive and looks great on any device.



Balloons is a cute and whimsical responsive theme with a parallax design. This theme is perfect for bloggers and offers a fun reading experience.



Glider is a bare bones text-focused theme ideal for occasional bloggers. All posts are listed in the archive section and it’s easy to add a category restriction to the archive query.



BonPress features various post formats (including audio and video), making it ideal for bloggers. This theme also features custom widgets for social media.

This premium theme also comes with WPZOOM’s options panel, and options for a custom menu.



Hexa is a colorful blogging theme that support post formats. This theme offers a clean, minimalist and responsive design, but comes with few features.

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