WordPress has got to be the easiest way for beginners to be introduced to website building and start their own website. It requires no html (computer programming) and offers various ‘accessories’ in the shape of ‘plugins’ to achieve a seamless, professional website, one that can barely be distinguished from a professional one built using html. The other dream of a feature is that wordpress supports woo commerce – essentially the selling of products on your website.
Before you can start building your website, you need a domain name and a host (somewhere for your website to live). There are tons of webhosts to choose from, but my recommendation if you are a compete beginner, or even an expert, is to go and try Wealthy Affiliate – they offer hosting, tutorials, community blogs, training, live chat, support 24/7 for anything from uploading issues to adding analytic code to your settings and if you choose to use them, you can buy your domain name through them too and avoid any of the set up issues with other hosters. They will install wordpress for you onto your site and it is then ready for you to work on.
No. 1 Tips For A Beginner WordPress Theme
- Go For A Free Theme – There are thousands to choose from, there will be one that will suit what you need right now. Don’t spend on a specific theme on the outset. Some are tricky and will only cause headaches that you really don’t need. You can change your theme later on if you find its not suitable for your needs.
- Avoid outdated themes, these are likely to be ones that will no longer be updated with contemporary features.
- Just because they’re free doesn’t mean they’re lightweight – embrace the saving and go for it !
- They are robust even if they are free. You may find some described as ‘lite’ – means there is a premium version around which will have more features. Upgrade when you are ready, or if you need the features,
- Theme providers can be trusted…. look at how often their themes are being used, see how many downloads there has been of your chosen theme.
- Some themes lend themselves to certain businesses.
Themes For WordPress Beginners
All the themes discussed here are free themes and well within the scope of a beginner to use on their websites. Remember that when you first set up your site it wont look like any of the demonstrations you have seen regarding that theme until you start adding material to the site and then you will see the design coming out.
Activello is designed by Colorlib ( a WordPress theme specific online resource) and is a clean, multipurpose, fully responsive and mobile friendly theme, with great graphics and design. It boasts custom widgets ( sections of the theme that you can choose what to put and where), full screen slider (a widget that will allow you to add several images that it will automatically scroll through) It is optimised for woocommerce (selling products). It is SEO friendly (search engine optimised – in other words great for Google!) and with a schema compatible structure – another big + for Google. It has a good reputation for loading quickly.
Activello offers a shop platform in with the theme.
Various customised widgets, so you design your images/text how you want, giving you complete customisation.
Shapely is another free theme designed by Colorlib. It offers power and versatility, with outstanding functionality and it boasts unmatched customisation options with several homepage widgets – love homepage widgets – you can design your homepage to your own exacting standards with a portfolio, testimonials, parallax solutions ( sliders behind sliders), product service information and call to actions.
Portfolio sections that show off your imagery perfectly.
Love these parallax sections, you can add in any information that you want your reader to pick up on without being intrusive to their enjoyment of the website. I have one on my homepage that scrolls behind the information I am wanting to be read, but just reminds the reader which website they are on.
Blueberry is a Theme Forest theme. If you register with Theme Forest at Envato Market, they have several themes that then become free to use. This is one that becomes free.
Multiple design options, different header and footer layouts, homepage structure, and templates for pages. It offers 5 different blog layouts, custom widgets and full colour options. This theme will look slick and great, regardless of the screen size.
Crisp, fresh looking theme, great for foodie websites to holidays.
Amazing layout options giving a professional theme to a beginner website.
Love this section….. adding tag words and latest posts to your side bar, giving more options and professionalism to your website.
Ocean WP is a fully responsive theme, so works well on desktop, mobile and tablet. It is brisk and clean, easy to use, straightforward. They have tons of demos to choose from, and by downloading the free demo you have the template to build your own website.
They offer great page load times, has SEO built in so no need for an extra plugin. Ecommerce is also built in with state of the art features. Ecommerce in the shape of woo commerce powers 30% of all online stores so a great asset if you are thinking you will be selling your products online. The theme offers extended power in that you can achieve a full screen (rather than the narrower screen of most themes), it adds a cookie notice that fulfils the GDPR requirements, you can also white label the theme, so take off the OceanWP label and put your own brand on it, no one will know what theme you are using.
There are other features that are offered in an extension bundle, but this is costly at $159 for a lifetime use. I would only recommend this if you are certain further down the line that you are sticking with this theme. Knowing what I was like, I would not recommend this, I have changed my theme quite a few times until I found this one.
MH Magazine Lite
This is my theme of choice for starting out. You can get some great homepage features, making your website look professional from the outset. In the lite version, it uses fewer widgets on the homepage, and you have to remember to set the homepage to static to make them all work successfully.
If you decide you love it as much as I did, you can upgrade for $32 for the full version which gives you much more scope for customisation. I set up a soap website using the pro version.
It is one of the most popular responsive themes.
Depending on the widgets you choose to use, you can change the whole look of your website completely.
It can have the feel of a magazine with different sections/collumns, or use full width widgets to give more flow.
The theme offers a fast, secure SEO friendly platform with flexible custom widgets. There is also documentation available at MH Theme to help you achieve a particular look. You can customise the backgrounds and colours, giving a full width appearance.
How To Find Free WordPress Themes
Well the easiest way is to go to Google and search, but this will bring up a plethora of results and how do you know if they’re legitimate or not and what has been said is accurate? There are many theme developers online – Event Market that brings ThemeForest material, Colorlib, MH Themes, WordPress.org – all these are trustworthy and will not break your site.
You can also go over to WealthyAffiliate who will offer hosting and support, but alongside loading up wordpress ready for you to use, they have the facility to search for themes there, and all the themes they bring up are free. They do not offer any that you have to pay for, so you will see themes from all sorts of developers all in one place. Some my say ‘Lite’ and you will know from that there is a premium version with more features.
If you choose a theme and decide that you don’t like it, within the customisation section of WordPress, you can change the theme but not only that you can get it to give you a preview of what it will look like with the information our website at that time, great idea ! See what it looks like and if you don’t like it, don’t change it!
Ask any questions about free wordpress themes, I will be glad to offer my support and guidance!
This was the information I was looking for from a long time as maximum WordPress themes look difficult in the beginning, but the reality is as we become more professional and go through the learning curve, things become easy.
You have suggested five free themes, I will definitely use some of them on my websites. Presently I use the premium version of Newark by Hoot. It is excellent but has a bit learning curve.
Thankyou Guarav, I hope that it will help others too to choose a free theme. Nothing wrong in starting with a free one, there are so many to choose from.
Thank you for the information. I have been looking at various themes for my website. With so many to choose from it becomes overwhelming and confusing.
This has helped me narrow it down for future websites too until I become more knowledgeable. Very helpful having it set out in that way to show what can be done and what each one offers.
Refreshing change to be advised to go for the free options rather than paid.
Very helpful post.
1 complaint: I couldn’t see any social media icons on the page to share the post directly from the page. Feel it can help others too.
Thankyou for your comments Linda, I feel when starting out, its best to keep costs down, try things for free first, and if you really feel its the right theme for you, get the premium if its got more features that you know you would use.
I agree that as a beginner, we have to be careful when it comes to picking the right theme for our website.
Among the theme you have shared in this article, I specially like Shapely theme as it not only looks clean, it is simple to navigate as a beginner.
One of the advantage of picking a clean them is that it attracts the visitors to stay longer on our website. Thank you for sharing this article with us.
Thank you for your comments, you are quite right, an uncluttered, crisp theme is the perfect backdrop to a new website.
Hello there I enjoyed reading your website and going over it and I normally try to pick out and be critical and find anything and everything that may help you in the end to really sell and make money but I found nothing wrong with this website it was informative it was to the point it’s a wonderful graphics you really pointed out everything and made me want to participate all over again so that was the idea of it and you did wonderful job I thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to review your website I enjoyed it and I wish you much success in the future I see bright stars for you have a wonderful day once again thank you
Thanks patches, really pleased to read that you found it informative and well presented. I have worked hard to get it to this stage, my theme is Divi and its not an easy one to manage, hence not in my list of themes for beginners !
This is a very informative article about themes. Especially when you are a beginner it can get quite confusing as to which themes are best for your website or blog.
Avoiding outdated thems is important and it is wise to start with a free theme. I agree it is only necessary to upgrade to a premium theme when you actually do need the added features.
You provide a good description of some of the themes as well as describing how easy it is to find quality free themes either on Wealthy Affiliate or through Google. I appreciate your insights on this. It is very helpful. All the Best.
Thanks Joseph, I am pleased to read you found it interesting and that you agree with me about not going premium until you are sure its the theme for you.
Hi Quinn – I’ve been with WA since April and I know beans about themes. This is helpful. I started with the free site in March and the theme is named two thousand sixteen. I haven’t had any problems and it seems to work so far but at this point, I really don’t know the difference!! What your opinion on this theme? Any suggestions?
Hi Nathaniel, thanks for your comments, I know the 2016 theme, its great for blogging. Themes tend to have a group of niches that suit them best, some are great for media or photography if they have portfolio pages, so it depends on what your niche is, but the one I started out with was MH Theme magazine, I loved the way I could make the homepage like a magazine cover. Great you are doing so well !
Thanks Quinn. Yes blogging is my goal. My niche is health/health products. So I wonder if the WA system picked this theme because of my niche? How would you find themes according to the niche?
Themes are advertised for certain themes, so the best way to find this is to go off to google and look through a few, check them out then hop back to WA and check them out for the free version.
Great tips Quinn 🙂
I love Wealthy Affiliate for everything you’ve mentioned. That everything is under one roof, such great value.
I remember setting up my first site, that part was simple & quick. What took me the most time was going through the different themes, so many great options.
I stuck with searching through the ones WA offers knowing that all the themes they bring up are free. Not only that when you click on the ‘More Info’ for the theme you get to see various stats including when it was last updated & if it’s no longer compatible with the current version of WordPress.
I second your advice of sticking with a free theme to begin with. Like you I tried several different themes to find the one I liked & had the options I wanted.
Once I had put some content on my site & had a better feel of where I was going with it, it was easy to switch theme. Is that also how you came to wanting to change your theme?
Thanks Brigitte, at the start up its a concern, everything is new and too worrying to change, but once things settle down and you get in going with the flow, changing a theme is not a problem !
So many great options for themes here. I love the OceanWP theme as I use it myself. I recommend going for the pro theme as well as it got me quite a few really cool features that others may love. All in all this is a great list of themes that look good and are easy to use! Thanks!
Thanks Don, good to have endorsement of one of the themes. The pro version will have a charge attached, which is great, once you have decided this is the theme for you, thanks !
I agree, in general one can stick to themelist recommendations from reliable sources if they just want to keep it simple. Just pick a theme which was made for what you’re going to do and stick to it. What I also think is interesting is to see what people recommend on reddit. You can really get a good idea of the different pros and cons out there to the various themes and have a sense of assurance and confirmation.
Thank you for your comments Faheem.
Hey Quinn, choosing a theme for a website is quite a challenge for newbies. It was not easy for me. I wish l had this information when I began. However with Wealthy Affiliate I had access to a host of themes. Initially, the theme I selected wasn’t compatible with my mobile device and so I had to change, and doing so posed no problem at all. Wealthy affiliate as a host has good technical support team who are ready respond to a call for assistance. That I can say for sure. Thanks so much for this post.
Thanks Seth for your comments, I know choosing a theme is a struggle for a beginner, but hopefully this will demystify things and also show that you can change it if its not working without losing your content.