Just as you wouldn’t build a two-bedroom house for your family of eight, or buy a two-seater sports car to haul around three kids and the dog, you want to choose the WordPress theme that fits best.
There are several basic types of WordPress themes. In this article, we’ll discuss the themes that let you focus on where WordPress started: as a blogging platform.
There are thousands of WordPress themes for bloggers, so choosing just one can be challenging.
A blog-style theme doesn’t have a fancy homepage. Instead, the homepage looks pretty much like all the other pages.
Typically it includes a header, a sidebar, maybe a footer, and the main area of the page displays blog posts. Normally the most recent post shows up at the top, and the rest follow in reverse chronological order.
My favorite free blog-style theme is called Atahualpa. For a free theme, it’s extremely flexible. In fact, I built my very first blog using Atahualpa. It’s well supported, frequently updated, and has a big user community.
Another good choice is the blogging theme that comes bundled with WordPress, Twenty Thirteen. It’s got a lively color scheme, special formatting for different types of posts, and a flexible layout. If you don’t have it, you can download it here.
Premium Blogging Themes
Note that both these designers license you to use the themes your buy from them on as many sites as you want. For StudioPress themes, you must also have the Genesis Framework ($59.95).
Each of these premium themes is mobile responsive and HTML5 compliant. In a nutshell, this means they behave well and look good on any device, from a large computer screen to a phone.
Pricing for most StudioPress themes is $99.95 if you buy the theme and the Genesis Framework together; $44.95 for just the theme.
Elegant Themes uses a slightly different payment model: you subscribe, for a $69 annual fee. This gets you unlimited access to all of their themes, as well as support and updates. To continue receiving updates and support, renew your subscription every year. If you don’t choose to do so, your theme will still work but you won’t have updates.
This StudioPress theme features a gorgeous full-screen background image (it’s optional, but you’d be crazy not to take advantage of it!).
You can set it up with sidebars on the left and right, or with a more traditional header area and a right sidebar.
Fable, from Elegant Themes, is full width — no sidebars. It uses different post types beautifully to showcase images, video, quotes and text content. If you’re blogging in a highly visual market area, Fable should be a top contender.
Light and airy, Beautiful Pro gives you a clean blogging platform to dress up the way you want. Choose from using a right-hand or left-hand sidebar (or none at all). The full-width header image sets it apart from earlier, blocky blog styles.
While Chameleon gives you the option to have a complicated homepage, you can opt to use it as a blog. It’s an extremely versatile theme, and handles blogging superbly well.
Here’s more information on choosing a WordPress theme.