Best things in life are free…
When paying for WordPress themes feels unnecessary and a gesture that reeks of ‘overkill’, you want a theme that’s more ‘basic and beautiful’ instead of ‘bit overwhelming’ with all the features and the bells and the whistles: Something that serves the purpose without bothering you to pay for premium.
Well, I sorted through the WordPress.org Theme Repository (because trusted source = safety!) and built a list of 10 brilliant themes developed by great authors which are available to you for free.
Author: Greg Priday
Vantage is an amazingly flexible and multi-purpose theme: fit for business websites, stores, blogs, and anything else.
It’s beautifully simple (but effective) in design and looks, but a glance under the hood shows super clean that will be a dream to edit for your WordPress developers should the need be. The free theme also packs a Page Builder (responsive page layouts), MetaSlider plugin, is compatible with WooCommerce, and an amazing variety of 3rd party plugins to ensure minimum compatibility-issues like a true team player.
The theme interface is flawlessly responsive and retina-ready.
The entire theme is free and the developer offers free support too, because Priday is actually Captain Good Guy.
2. Make – Free
Author: Theme Foundry
This beautifully simple theme comes with a powerful Page Builder that’s actually rather easy to get a hang of and work within minutes. For the low, low price of absolutely nothing, you get a clean, UX-friendly design in the form of a powerful core theme coupled with a Layout Engine, great style configurations, and starter guides for newbies.
The theme is responsive and compatible with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, Gravity Forms, and all major conversion-centric plugins.
It’s a clean-cut theme developed by hardcore coding geeks and built for businesses.
Author: Theme Grill
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository
Spacious is a very apt name for this theme.
This sweet, clean theme is multi-purpose so blogs, businesses, and storefronts will find it useful. The free version alone comes with 2 skins, 4 different custom page layouts, 4 blog display types, and 2 templates, along with 13 widget areas and 5 custom widgets. You also get a slider and color picker.
The theme is translation ready and updates itself without making a dent in your CSS customizations.
And you also get free support with the free theme.
4. MH Magazine Lite
Author: MH Themes
MH Magazine lite is the free, feature-crippled (but still pretty awesome) version of MHThemes’ Magazine. It’s a beautifully responsive theme for content-heavy blogs.
The Magazine lite comes with a fully widget home page template (12 widget locations for widgets and ads), responsive Flex-slider plugin, custom widgets (Custom Posts, MH slider, Facebook Likebox, etc.), Contact Form 7 with built-in styles. It gives you basic layout customisation.
The theme is translation ready with RTL support, cross-browser compatible, and Multi-site compatible.
Basically, it’s a complete theme for bloggers and developers who can sit and edit it to make things even better.
Author: Oliver Juhas
Let’s just put it out there now: Oliver Juhas is a Good Samaritan.
That said, his theme Modern is a stunning responsive and retina-ready theme: perfect for WordPress blogs and portfolios (with its sleek monochrome that’ll highlight all graphical work).
With a performance score of 94 (Pingdom) and ThemeCheck.org score of 78 (not bad, really) as proof, Modern gives truth to its claims of being a lightweight, quick-loading theme. It also supports Schema.org markup, so SEO-aficionados are likely to fall immediately in love with this.
Other than awesome code, the theme also gives you header-slider and lends support to Jetpack plugin. It’s translation-ready and cross-browser compatible.
Author: Oliver Juhas
Another brilliant theme by Juhas: Auberge is responsive, retina-ready, and focused on niches like restaurants and food-based blogs.
It uses the Jetpack plugin, custom plugin, and Google Recipe View to create the “menu” and “recipes” functionalities. It pays attention to SEO-Friendly microdata and Schema.org markup and has clean coding to have received a ThemeCheck.org score of 98. It has customisation layouts and colors, and a header slider.
It is translation ready and cross-browser compatible, and it can be upgraded to the premium version.
Nonetheless, the design (and everything else mentioned here) is free for taking.
7. GK Portfolio
This monotone theme is perfect for portfolios: It does NOT distract in any way.
GK Portfolio is responsive, clean and classy with its light grey hues and minimalist but very UX-friendly design.
There isn’t much going with the theme, but it doesn’t make false claims. It gives you a cleanly coded and simply designed theme with a GPL V2 license and nothing else. The theme adds design configuration straight to the
WordPress Customise for color schemes, hover / reveal animation, layouts, and font library (Google Fonts), but that’s it.
This adherence to WordPress structure makes the theme very quick to load and SEO-friendly to boot.
If you can truly catch all eyes with your work and have basic WordPress know-how, you don’t need to go any further than this theme for your online portfolio.
Cannyon is a clean, modern, and freemium WordPress theme.
Built with love on Twitter Bootstrap, Cannyon focuses on great typography and maximum usability with its navigation and layouts. You get Custom headers with parallax, header buttons, custom logos, favicons, and layout features. The theme supports CSS customizations and has boxed and full-width layout selection, built-in design templates for Contact Form 7, custom widgets, and additional sidebars.
The theme supports Jetpack and is translation-ready.
This is, hands down, one of my favorite themes on WordPress. It’s made for writers, and it’s a joy to work with as a developer.
Just Write by acosmin is responsive, widgetized, ad-ready, and translation-ready. It comes with custom Twitter, Recent Posts, Popular Posts, Tabs, fixed dimension Ads, Featured Posts widgets. It supports a secondary navigation (in the sidebars), a page preloader plugin for that little animation while your page loads, widgetized index and footer sections, and more.
There are additional features in the pro version, but try the free one for now. You’ll not be disappointed.
Onetone is a single-page WordPress theme built on Bootstrap.
The theme is responsive and stunningly simple in design and structure. There are custom pages for business-specific sections of a website like Services, About Us, Gallery, Clients, et al. There’s a customized theme control panel for even more options for configurations in background, videos, effects, icons, typography, custom CSS, and more.
The code is clean, semantic, and optimized for online visibility in search engines.
These themes are here because they (or their versions) were good enough to pass the WordPress Theme Review. This gives them a credibility that I intend to foster in all WordPress users I know.
Choose what works for you, and be safe while doing so.
Guest Author: Lucy Barret is employed at HireWPGeeks – WordPress Development Company. She is there as a Sr. WordPress Developer and manages a team of experienced developers. While she is not coding, she loves to write techy articles. You can follow her company, HireWPGeeks on Google+.