If you’re looking for a free theme for your site, you have just hit the jackpot. I have spent the last couple of weeks sorting and compiling the following list, which features 50 highly rated themes currently available at no charge in the WordPress themes directory.
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Before We Begin…
If you just want to get straight onto the list, feel free to skip the following.
*Assumes a defensive stance*
I’ll address the elephant in the room before we begin. In recent months I have occasionally taken it upon myself to produce lists. Two lists in particular – the WPMU 100 and the Top 100 WordPress Plugins. I produce them because they are the kind of lists that I would like to see. Since I am an avid WordPress enthusiast, I figure that others may well like to see them too.
For the most part, feedback from these lists has been very positive. People are delighted to find a resource that consolidates most of the best options into one place. I will be the first to admit that things are missed – no list is perfect. But it isn’t about producing a perfect list – it’s about producing a useful one.
Constructive criticism and suggestions as to themes that you think deserve to be on the following list are heartily welcomed in the comments section. If you are tempted to simply state that the list is terrible and offer no recommendations for its improvement, please take your opinion elsewhere.
Right! With that out of the way, let’s get on with the subject of today’s post – the top 50 WordPress themes for your site. If you have no interest in understanding how the themes have been ranked, feel free to skip straight to the list.
Compiling this list presented its own unique set of challenges. First of all, compatibility was a priority. I decided to only include themes that have been released or updated since 4th July 2011 – which was the day that WordPress 3.2 was released. Whilst this isn’t a perfect solution, this step should ensure that the themes on offer are compatible with the current version of WordPress.
The alternative solution – installing each of the 50 themes and putting them through full testing – would have taken an enormous amount of time. If you believe that any of the themes on offer incompatible with the WordPress 3.3, please let me know.
There were two other issues that I faced. Firstly, there simply aren’t as many themes available as there are plugins. Secondly, people apparently aren’t all that generous in their propensity to actually rate the themes they download.
Having obtained a full list of all themes available in the WordPress themes directory (thanks to a tame WPMU DEV genius – thanks Ve!), it became clear that a top 100 list would be impractical – whilst a huge number of themes have been released since 4th July 2011, the number of ratings per theme was down to around 10 by the time you got to the 50th most rated. In my opinion, any lesser number of ratings would possibly produce some undesirable results, so I decided to keep the list to 50.
Given the low number of ratings, I had to give some thought as to how to rank the themes. In the end I decided to place a far higher weighting to the number of ratings. Whilst a high star rating is certainly taken into account, a higher number of ratings is seen as far more valuable. I think this accurately reflects the quality of a theme – getting a small number of 5 star ratings is easily done, but getting a higher number of ratings is a little more challenging.
Here it is folks – the top 50 free WordPress themes for your site. As I mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your comments, suggestions and constructive criticism in the comments section. Enjoy!