Whether you are building a simple blog with WordPress or a proper website, you want your site to look as good as possible. One of the best things about WordPress is the huge range of themes available – whether for tailoring your site to be a corporate website, a photographer’s portfolio or an online shop, there dozens of great themes for every requirement.
First you must decide what your site is for and how you plan to structure it. Your content should really determine the structure and the structure to determine the design. However, it may be worth browsing the themes available, so you can have a better idea of the site structures and layouts you think might be best.
Below is a list is the best premium WordPress theme frameworks around. I have used several of the themes before and am only recommending the ones I know to be good.
Frameworks? Child Themes? Skins? Confused?
“Frameworks” like Genesis or Thesis provide a WordPress site with greater functionality, enhancing what WordPress can do, but with only a basic minimalist design template.
“Skins” (or “child themes”) provide the extra design elements, to transform the framework’s basic design into something special, making it look pretty and often tailoring it to a certain purpose, such as a business, magazine, portfolio or even specific industry such as real estate or photography.
The Genesis theme framework is my most highly recommended, as it is SEO friendly, simple, robust and the Genesis child theme designs are not only some of the best and slickest around – check them out here – but they integrate so seamlessly into the main Genesis framework, together bringing out the very best of WordPress. The only thing Genesis is not really suited to is easy customisation, but the child themes are so good as they are, you will often want to keep them as they are.
by DIY Themes (Chris Pearson)
For a long time the Thesis theme by Chris Pearson’s was the undisputed front runner and his Thesis theme was widely acknowledged as the best WordPress framework around. Unfortunately, ever since a falling out with the WordPress founder, he has lost enthusiasm and been overtaken by Genesis as the first choice of many professionals. Thesis is still an excellent theme and has plenty of unique selling points to recommend it, but it seems to be going stale. Especially bad timing, since there are now finally a decent selection of attractive skins which have been developed to go with it – check them out here.
The ultimate “drag and drop” design theme
4. WP-Elegance, WP-DaVinci and WP-Prosper themes
the successor of the Frugal theme
Catalyst is widely regarded as the best theme for customising a WordPress design to look exactly how you want it to, with minimal existing technical knowledge. Check out Catalyst here.
9. Xtreme One
Best of the rest…
- Elegant Themes – the Paris Hilton of WordPress themes: great to look at but not so much going on inside. Elegant themes offer excellent value, and some beautiful designs, but the back-end controls are not very flexible, practical, intuitive or SEO friendly, compared to the frameworks listed above.
- Theme Forest