Picking your WordPress theme (that’s the thing that dictates how your blog looks) is important, but hard. Why hard? Because there are many thousands of themes out there, and finding the one that works for you can be really hard.

The main things to consider are:

Do you want a premium or a free WordPress theme?

Anyone can create a WordPress theme. As a result, unfortunately, lots of people have. Most of them should not have done though, and their terrible designs really get in the way when trying to find a great one.

Let’s cover free themes first. Free themes have the advantage of being free, but not much else. If you’re on a really tight budget, picking up a free theme can seem tempting. I’ve done it myself – WatchRoundup.com (one of my old blogs) is based on a free theme.

The problem with a free theme is that, because there isn’t a contract in place between you and the person that made/supplied it, your chances of getting decent support is very low indeed.

You’ll find that when you’re setting up a WordPress blog for the first time, there is a lot to learn. You’re going to want to get it looking how you want and without the support of a support team dedicated to getting the theme deployed, that’s going to be hard.

I worked it out, and I’m happy enough with how that blog looks, but I spent weeks preparing and customising it.

On the other hand, premium themes do have support. If you need help setting up, there is someone there to help and guide you.

This blog is based on a premium WordPress theme, and setting it up was incredibly easy in comparison. It looks exactly how I wanted it to, and the few things that I couldn’t work out myself were explained to me within hours by the support team. it’s been really easy.

The best free WordPress themes

A quick Google for “free WordPress themes” will turn up too many results to be useful. I’ve had good experiences with:

– Newspaper X at colorlib.com/wp/themes/newspaper-x/ which is similar in concept to the premium theme I use here. Good if you’re going to be publishing lots of content

– Hueman theme at presscustomizr.com/hueman/ which I used on WatchRoundup.com. Quite easy to work with, and by looking at the demos you can find some good ideas to borrow.

Watch Roundup - Hueman theme
Watch Roundup – Hueman theme

The best premium WordPress themes

This site is based on the Newspaper theme. It’s incredibly flexible, with options that will work for so many different formats of blog. I strongly suggest you check their gallery of examples and see if one would work for you with some customisation.

Why do I like the Newspaper theme?

  • A huge number of styles, suitable for almost any kind of blog
  • Drag-and-drop page builder makes it really easy to put together a complex page design
  • Fast, super helpful support
  • Quite cheap (it cost me $59). When you consider the time I saved by using their support to help me work things out, that paid for itself in no time
  • Very easy to learn and use

For a different look, check out StudioPress.com for some stunning ready-to-go WordPress themes that you can implement with a few clicks. I have used StudioPress themes before and have had only good experiences with them.

Newspaper WordPress theme
Newspaper WordPress theme

Which WordPress theme should I use?

If you can afford to pay for a premium one, do. It makes life easier. My current recommendation is the Newspaper theme that this site is based on. If I ever change my mind, I’ll update this post.

If you don’t have the budget, that’s fine. I didn’t for my first blog. I would check out Hueman in that case.