20-year digital marketer. Web designer. Wordpress enthusiast.
Getting Everything Done With Wordpress
It's never been a better time to create your own Wordpress-driven website, even if you have no experience. That's because there's a whole slew of themes out there that let people of any experience level create a "modular" site by dragging and dropping the design elements they want, to create something truly spectacular that's easy to update.
Why waste money with Wix when you can build a beautiful, light-weight site that is guaranteed to rank better in Google? Let's get started by looking at this year's most popular themes that have proven themselves as clear winners in the following four categories:
- Frequency and Quality of Upgrades & Updates
Everything You Need to Build It Yourself, Beautifully
Divi has come a long way -- originally existing as multiple themes for different uses (small business sites, magazine sites, blogs and more) -- it is now one complete website building solution. Labeled as a "visual page builder," Divi has become the most popular modular Wordpress theme around, allowing you to drag and drop a multitude of "modules" like text blocks, multimedia and visual effects, but stylize them to your heart's content.
There's no limit to what you can create with this single solution: get your small business website up quickly (but beautifully and feature rich), or get started as a content writer on your own blog. Create an affiliate marketing site and start making commissions from Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, Amazon or any other program you're a member of. You can literally do anything with this modular theme.
- Fully modular (easy drag and drop design), 100% customizable
- Over 800 free, pre-made starter designs + free premium Divi themes
- Create as basic or as intricate of a site as you'd like
- Lifetime support, lifetime updates, use on unlimited number of sites
- Either a one-time purchase price, or annual renewal - your choice
Envato's All-Time Best Selling Wordpress Theme
What makes Avada so special? Attention to detail. If you're OCD and need the finest of details to be tweaked - corners on a module, dashes to be dotted a certain way or fonts of every single region of a page to be set to custom choices, you'll really want to give Avada a close look.
First created in 2012 with over 575,000 sales under its belt, Avada continues to be king with a record-breaking number of users. Known as one of the best Wordpress themes ever created - it has evolved into a drag-and-drop interface using "Fusion Builder," an engine that powers the theme's framework. The sheer number of things you can dream and build immediately with Avada is staggering -- the gallery of examples speaks for itself.
- Drag-and-drop design interface, too many modules to list!
- Build literally any site you can imagine. Avada does it all.
- Customize everything: borders, fonts, colors, regions, etc.
- Create individual web pages that look entirely different from others.
- Lifetime free updates, annual fee for ticket support.
When Fast Isn't Fast Enough
Tech Theme takes a unique spin on the build-it-yourself Wordpress theme concept. With it, you'll be able to edit content directly on the site itself, without even having to enter an admin console.
Need to change any body copy? Just click it, a cursor appears, and edit away. Want a different background color? Use a simple drop-down and change it instantly. Need a module before the body content area? Click and drag it above. It's the most simple drag & drop interface we've ever seen for Wordpress, and is great for those site owners who don't have time to navigate through Wordpress' backend.
- On-The-Fly editing: edit text, images & more directly on the page itself.
- Comes with all the content modules you need to build any kind of site.
- The most user-friendly theme for Wordpress newbies
- 3 different purchase plans depending on how little or big your project is
Wordpress 101: Which Do You Need?
For the Total Beginner...You'll actually need Wordpress, first!
Wordpress has become the most versatile CMS (Content Management System - the software that is installed on a server and is the "engine" of your website). It's free, you can install it on your own web hosting account, and use your own domain name. Wordpress comes in two flavors:
- Wordpress.com is a free service that hosts a blog for you. You don't technically own the site files - Wordpress does. You have to abide by Wordpress' terms of service regarding content policies, and there's always a risk that you can lose your account if you don't. You have no control over anything beyond the actual content of your site (text and images). It's great for anyone who wants a quick and easy solution to host a blog.
- Wordpress.org offers a free download of Wordpress software that you can install and run on a web hosting account. You own every facet of your own site, and you can use your own domain name. It has a greater chance of ranking in Google. If you're looking to run a website for your business, this is the one you'll want to use.
A Note About Free vs. 'Premium' Themes: This might already be obvious, but there's almost always a reason why free Wordpress themes are free: they are typically abandoned and tend to go un-supported in the long run.
The best premium themes, however, are taken seriously by their developers. They typically have a low one-time cost and a lifetime of free updates. Typically, the only additional cost associated with premium themes are for a year of access to the developer's ticketing system and forum, but in most cases, you won't need these things unless you're doing some heavy customization and coding.
5 Things You'll Absolutely Want In Your New Wordpress Theme
Be In It For the Long Haul! Make Sure You've Got A Great Theme - Or You'll Regret It In the Future
1) It's Responsive: Back in 2015, Google updated its algorithm to place a high level of importance on themes that are "responsive" or "mobile friendly." Your site should display a mobile version of itself that is designed to fit the dimensions of any mobile device. This is a real pain to do the hard way, but many of today's Wordpress themes will automatically take care of this for you. The themes recommended here are all certifiably mobile ready, and the site you create will auto-magically look perfect on mobile. That helps with your site's usability - and your Google rankings, too.
2) It Loads Quickly: Yet another algorithm update in back in 2018 included the speed of your site as a Google ranking component. Those slow sites that take several seconds to load began to get hit by the algorithm, losing ranking positions. Thankfully, Wordpress can be tweaked to power a lightweight, speedy site - and the theme you choose will be a huge determinant of this. Sites that use minimal site-wide code, optimized graphics and a lightweight theme will ensure that your pages load quickly, giving you sanctuary from the Google site speed algorithm. Curious to know how your site rates? Check out Google's free site speed tool.
3) It's Future Proof: These days, a "future proof" theme can be defined as one that has been created by a team that won't disappear tomorrow. You'll always want to choose a Wordpress theme that has not only been around for a long time, but has a great track record, consistently gets high ratings, and has a developer or team that isn't going to disappear off the face of the earth at any given moment. Once a developer abandons a theme, you're in serious trouble as it will never be able to keep up with Wordpress' own updates, and it will eventually break or start having other issues.
4) It's Secure and Updated Often: The best Wordpress themes are created with security in mind. They fix vulnerabilities on a regular basis, and they're being updated with cleaner code and bugfixes. It has been long suspected that Google is aware when your site hasn't been updated, and it's unknown if this is something that will hurt your chances of ranking if the problem isn't solved for long periods of time. But, aside from that - you'll always want a site that's as bulletproof as possible. Security not only comes from the integrity of your web host, but your website, too.
5) They're Versatile: It's always a great idea to use as few Wordpress plugins as possible, not only for security reasons, but to keep your site lightweight. More plugins usually means more "bloat." More stuff running in the background. More code. And, more of a reason to slow your site down. Versatile Wordpress themes already include tons of stuff already, and you won't have to download and install multiple plugins to do each of those functions individually.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links that pay a commission to the author when a sale is made through them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2007 Mark N