When you are starting a WordPress website you get a default theme to work with. This isn’t a bad theme but quite often you want to change it so the design is a bit more inline with what you want. You then have two options, you can browse the free themes in WordPress or you can buy a premium theme.
Free WordPress Themes
There are some great looking free themes and in a lot of cases these are fine for your website. However like most things in life free normally has some conditions attached to it. Sometimes there are paid versions of the free theme, so some functionality is removed to tempt you to upgrade. Other times there are links within the design that direct back to the theme designers website, or credits in the footer of the website that cannot be removed.
Another potential issue with free themes are that they are not always supported, which means when WordPress updates its core files to fix security issues or just to improve their platform these unsupported themes can become broken or vulnerable to security hacks. This is not always the case and some free themes are updated regularly, but you just need to be careful.
Premium WordPress Themes
Basically premium means themes you pay for. But why pay for a WordPress theme when here are some great looking free themes out there?
We touched on some points above, but there are other positives about purchasing a premium theme such as those offered by StudioPress. I personally use StudioPress themes for every single one of my websites, mainly because I purchased the Pro Package that gives me access to 40+ different top-end themes.
These themes use the very latest coding standards and implement the best web practices. For example, StudioPress themes are mobile responsive and are built using the latest HTML5 designs. They are also built with SEO in mind, most notably their clean and optimized code for fast loading times and custom headings and description fields on all pages and posts.
What is HTML5?
HTML5 is the new code standard and therefore themes built on it will be compatible with current and future web browsers and future-proof against changes to the web. HTLM5 also makes websites mobile friendly because they are responsive, which means it adapts to look great no matter what size screen people view the website on. HTML5 also makes it easier for websites to deliver audio and video media, which is a growing feature of modern websites with the advances of websites such as YouTube and the resurgence of podcasting.
The Genesis Framework + Genesis child themes
The Genesis Framework by StudioPress sits on top of your WordPress website and adds extra features to help with SEO and general website setup & styling. However, the most valuable part of the Genesis Framework is that it provides a platform for the Genesis child themes to integrate with and ensures there is perfect compatibility between WordPress and the theme. Any updates to the core WordPress platform are instantly taken care of by updates to the Genesis Framework, meaning your child theme will remain unaffected and secure.
The Genesis child themes by StudioPress are some of the best you will see. Professional designers & developers create themes to cover all website types, from simple blogs to beautiful portfolio websites and vertically scrolling parallax websites that tell a story. There is a thriving community to help with any issues and unlimited support by the guys at StudioPress too.
The Genesis Framework and child themes are simply installed via your themes area in WordPress, and instantly you will see the extra benefits in your dashboard. There is a dedicated Genesis tab where you can improve your websites SEO and layout settings, and all Genesis themes come with multiple widget areas that make styling your website a simple. On top of this there are special plugins specifically developed for the Genesis Framework, that make tasks such as hiding page titles, editing the footer area, and adding mobile responsive image sliders very easy.
What themes do I use?
I have already mentioned that I use the Genesis Framework and the Genesis child themes by StudioPress. The at the time of writing I use the Parallel Pro, Centric, Metro Pro, AgentPress Pro and Enterprise Pro themes across a few different websites.
This website neilcurtis.me, uses the Parallax Pro theme and the homepage is created using widget areas that allow me to create a nice and clean vertically scrolling layout. Turbobiketrainer.com uses the Metro Pro theme, while my new members only website Earn1000.co.uk that is for people who want to build websites that generate revenue uses the Centric theme.
If you are looking for a nice clean, optimized, and professional website design for your WordPress website then browse the themes by StudioPress here and see if any catch your eye. If you purchase the Pro Plus Package (which is what I did) you get access to all the StudioPress themes (not the 3rd party ones) and any future themes that are added. Since I have been with StudioPress there have been several new themes and also updates to existing themes to improve their styling.