Blogging as a concept has changed a lot over the years. What started as little more than a personal online diary is now a powerful weapon used by anyone from regular internet users to politicians, journalists, marketing agencies, and businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The appeal for blogging continues to grow, and this is in no small part due to the popularity of platforms like WordPress. Even less experienced users can set up a WP installation and start uploading their content in a matter of minutes.
Finding the correct theme, however, could be more of a challenge.
WordPress and Blogging
Nowadays, WordPress is praised for its incredible versatility. Thanks to the thousands of plugins created by developers from all over the world, you can use WP as the starting point for any project imaginable.
This wasn’t the case when the platform first saw the light of day. Back in 2003, WordPress launched as a fork of b2/cafelog – a weblog software used on around 2,000 websites at the time. Like b2/cafelog, WP was initially a blogging platform only.
You can see traces of this past even today.
Posts are responsible for most of the content, and you still have categories and tags. Even the default themes seem suitable primarily for blogs.
The Importance of a Good WordPress Blog Theme
A good blog is all about quality content. Regardless of whether you’re using it to distribute information, market your brand, or share thoughts on a particular subject, a blog will only be successful if users are interested in what you have to say.
The content isn’t going to be the first thing they see, though. Their first impressions will most probably concern the appearance of your WordPress blog, and if it’s not good enough – they’re unlikely to read even a single post.
Finding the right theme is an important step in the launch of any WP project, and if you’re creating a blog, there are a few specific challenges to overcome.
Other types of websites need to attract users’ attention with large images and a standout font. With a blog, things are a bit different.
Your posts must be readily available and easy to access. At the same time, if you go for a classic design similar to the default WP themes, users might decide you’re not willing to invest enough time and effort into building a unique site.
The Best WordPress Blog Themes in 2023
Try to find the balance between a sleek, modern design and a functional layout. It’s easier said than done, but the themes we’re about to show will surely be able to help you out.
OceanWP wasn’t exclusively designed for blogs. It’s a highly customizable multi-purpose WordPress theme that can be used for just about any type of website. OceanWP offers an endless range of customization options right inside the WP dashboard. If those aren’t enough – you can have a look at OceanWP’s free and premium extensions. With them, you will easily find more ways to tailor your design to your exact specifications.
Price: The OceanWP theme, along with a few templates (or demos), can be used completely free of charge. Additional demos and extensions are available as a bundle (at $27 for a single site).
Divi also bills itself as something more than a mere WordPress theme. Once again, you get a highly customizable design that comes with hundreds of layout packs split into categories, so you can easily shortlist the ones suitable for your project. After you apply a layout pack, you have a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, which gives you complete control over the design content.
Price: Access to Divi is available as either a yearly subscription (at $89) or a one-time fee of $249.
Bento aims to provide a great user experience to as many people as possible. It’s a responsive theme that works well on all screens and devices and offers customization options that should suit any website, blogs included. Bento flaunts a very clean code that often improves the performance and makes your website more search engine-friendly.
Unlike the themes we’ve seen so far, Hemingway was specifically designed with bloggers in mind. It’s got a clean design but not quite as customizable as similar market competitors.
Still, if you’re looking for a more traditional layout, Hemingway could very well be the theme for you.
Writee is another theme suitable primarily for blogs. It offers a relatively traditional design out of the box, but if you poke around the customization options, you’ll find quite a few features to help you design a more modern-looking blog layout.
Price: Writee can be downloaded from the WP official repository and used for free. A Pro version with additional features is available on the developer’s website for just under $40.
Soledad bills itself as the best selling blog & magazine WordPress theme of this year. If you check out some of the features it offers – you can easily believe this claim. With nearly 7,000 different demos and around 1,000 blog and magazine layout combinations, you are bound to find what you’re looking for. When you do – the theme installation is straightforward and takes no more than a minute and a few mouse clicks.
Price: Soledad is available on the Envato Market for $59.
If you play enough with the customization options, Moderne can give your website a cool fresh appearance. You start with a clean design and get virtually limitless settings for the color scheme and background. A slider on the homepage can give users a shortcut to your most popular posts, which can be particularly useful on mobile devices.
Price: Moderne is available for free from WordPress.org with a Pro version sold on the official website for $50.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Blog Theme
With such a vast number of available options, picking a WordPress theme for your website is never going to be an easy task. Your blog appearance plays a significant role in the project’s success, so it’s not a decision you should take lightly.
If you have a clear understanding of what you need to be looking out for – you stand a better chance of finding the right theme.
Our mission today is to help with that.
Let’s start with the most obvious factor. Chances are, you have an idea of what you want your website to look like. Try to find a theme that gives you a similar, if not identical look.
Since pretty much all themes give you enough customization options, you don’t necessarily need to focus on the color scheme. Instead, look for a layout similar to what you have in your head.
It’s great that most templates also offer a demo, so you can check the look and feel even before purchasing the product.
The higher the number of customization features – the greater the chance of realizing your ideas. Try to find out what sort of options you have for modifying the default look.
If you’re considering a free theme, you should look to install it in a development environment and get familiar with it before utilizing it for the live site. Making things even easier, premium theme developers often offer demos, which should give you an idea of how much freedom you’ll have.
A theme is not just about appearance. For example, some themes incorporate a “You might also like” section under each post with suggestions for other articles on your blog. If users engage with it, they will spend more time on your website, and you will improve the visitor return rate. The theme can also help you gain more subscribers as some of them let you place a subscription form for your newsletter in a prominent place on your homepage.
See what sort of functional options the available WordPress themes can give you in that respect.
Many bloggers prefer to start their projects with a free theme and switch to a premium one once the website gains popularity.
This is a sound strategy in most cases.
Blogs aren’t very easy to monetize quickly, and the budget is likely to be limited during the first few months.
Still, if you can afford it, a premium theme will give you more customization options out of the box. You just need to find a solution you can afford.
ScalaHosting and WordPress
In addition to the good-looking theme and the quality content, a blog’s success is very much dependent on its hosting environment, which ensures the great performance and uptime we all need.
At ScalaHosting, we can give you just that.
We know how many projects are abandoned because of lack of funding, and we’ve ensured that our WordPress-optimized hosting solutions fit even the smallest budgets. They are quite affordable but pack a lot of heat as well – all-SSD storage, a free domain, SSL certificate, and reliable backups are all part of the deal. You also benefit from a 1-click WordPress installer, so you’ll be able to get started in seconds.
When your blog gains some popularity, you’ll need more power, and our managed VPS solutions are the next logical step. With them, you can enjoy blistering speed thanks to guaranteed hardware resources and an isolated cloud environment where your blog continues to grow.
SPanel will be an integral part of the process. Utilizing it, you’ll have all the tools you need to control your virtual server and the projects hosted on it.
SWordPress is another added bonus from ScalaHosting.
It’s a powerful WordPress management tool developed in-house. With it, you can install WP in seconds, clone the installation, change the admin password, and manage auto-updates. In addition to all this, a unique security feature called Secure Lock prevents anyone from tampering with your blog’s files.
Launching a blog isn’t as complicated as launching an online shop, for example. That being said, it does have its intricacies, and its success is dependent on quite a few things.
The correct theme is just one of them. Finding that perfect WordPress template will allow you to create a great first impression of your brand and give your blog a stylish new look.
Do I need a premium theme for my blog?
Paid themes tend to give you more customization options, and with them, you are more likely to create the design you’re after. However, bear in mind that it’s difficult to monetize blogs quickly, so you need to think about whether the investment is worth it, especially in the beginning, when your audience is still limited.
Can a WordPress theme break my website?
A theme you download or buy online might not be compatible with your WordPress version, especially if it hasn’t received regular updates. When you’re considering a particular theme, try to learn which WP versions it supports and if you can – test it in a development environment before you deploy it on the live site.
Is it difficult to install a WordPress theme?
No, it’s not. Free themes from WP’s official theme repository are available in your WordPress dashboard, and you can install them with a couple of clicks. If you’ve downloaded or bought a theme through a third-party website, WordPress will install it automatically after you upload the ZIP archive.