Without a doubt, one of the best things about WordPress is the fact that it’s open source and, thus, free to use. All a smart, resourceful site owner needs to create a unique, functional, attractive site is a registered domain and a server, resulting in a low monthly total cost.
Of course, to enable WordPress to live up to its potential as the basis for an exquisite website, you’ll need a WordPress theme.
It’s true that in recent years many of the most-talked about themes are the ones that come with a premium price tag attached. For many beginning bloggers — and experienced ones, too, for that matter — a pricey theme is just not on the cards. Unless and until your blog is producing sufficient income, it can be hard to justify the expense of a premium theme.
But if you’re trying to build a great WordPress blog on a bootstrap budget, there’s great news. Lots of great WordPress themes that are perfect for blogs are completely free.
We’ve gathered together a collection of over 20 of the very best free WordPress blog themes below. Our criteria were straightforward. The themes had to be clean, content-focused, and well-coded.
And we’re sure that no matter what niche you’re blogging in, you’ll find a theme here that will work for you.
The Cali WordPress theme is both beautiful and free, offering a gorgeous blogging or magazine website for anything from travel to fashion. Upon first glance, you'll note that Cali offers a responsive layout for viewing on smaller devices. This not only improves your user-experience, but the search engines will take note and potentially boost your search results. Furthermore, Cali has a stunning format, with large photography locations and lots of white space to let your visitors breathe. It looks similar to an online magazine (with several spots to link to your articles,) but it cuts down on the general clutter and intimidating nature of a magazine. Several widgets are provided with Cali. These can be placed in areas like the sidebar, header, and footer. For instance, you might want a widget box that talks about the author and explains the history of the blog. That's available in the About Me widget, which you would most likely place in your sidebar. The carousel is one of the primary features from Cali, as it lets you share a beautiful series of photographs. You have options to show certain posts, hide thumbnails, and get rid of post dates and authors.
In the options module, Cali provides numerous settings for adjusting what your website looks like. For instance, you might want to change around your colors to better match the colors in your logo. We also like the fact that you can set certain fonts so that your words pop and look more like your branding. Social buttons are also included with the Cali WordPress theme. The theme has two positions to place your social media buttons. One of them is above your logo, so you can push people to follow you on places like Facebook and Twitter. Another reason we enjoy the theme so much is because of the WooCommerce integration. This plugin automatically turns your blog into an eCommerce website. This means you can start selling products or merchandise to your fans. The Google Fonts are helpful for switching out your typography, while the translation-ready tools are there to ensure that all of your visitors are able to understand what's being said in your articles. Many people also like the live customizer, which is perfect for those who don't want to mess around with any coding. Finally, you can expect cross-browser support and fast customer support when you opt for this free, modern WordPress theme.
The Cenote WordPress theme packs quite a few features into a lightweight, free theme. It's a free WordPress blogging theme with a clean and modern layout for running a personal blog or even something you plan to make money from. The good thing about Cenote is that it uses plenty of white space and standard colors so you can use it for a wide variety of industries. For example, some people like to take advantage of Cenote for fashion blogging. Others like it for travel, food, or lifestyle blogging. It all depends on what your plans are, but the Cenote WordPress theme is flexible and feature-rich for making those changes. The theme provides a one-click installation button, along with primary color options for matching your branding and logo. The four widget areas can be placed in the header or footer, as well as the sidebars. This theme is made to work well with the search engines, so you can boost your rankings and try to find new readers with all of your posts.
Boxed and wide layouts ensure that your site either covers the entire screen or cuts off at the sides. You'll also find that the Cenote WordPress theme includes a responsive design so that all of your visitors can see the content on mobile devices. The sticky menu is great so that your visitors always have the menu in front of their eyes. We like this since it's often difficult to figure out where to go–but with a sticky menu, the next step is in front of you at all times. Another item to get excited about is the social icon pack. Reveal icons from Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and more, using the buttons to send people to your social pages. What's more is that the Cenote theme has an area to adjust custom CSS. The demo content is great for getting started with your design, but more advanced coders will appreciate the custom CSS. Overall, the Cenote WordPress theme is a well-documented option, and you get some translation tools for improving your reach and finding an audience.
The GuCherry Blog theme is a beautiful and minimal theme for fashion, travel, and lifestyle bloggers. It features an attention-grabbing slider at the top and has plenty of widgets that make it easy to add content to your sidebar as well as other widgetized areas on your site. This theme also comes with plenty of space for ad display so you can easily monetize your blog with ad networks such as Google AdSense. GuCherry Blog theme supports multiple post formats so you can make your posts more engaging by sharing videos, audio, and written content.
In terms of customization, the theme is easy to customize and allows you to upload your own header image or logo, change colors, and customize fonts. It's fully responsive and SEO optimized so you can improve your search engine rank. The GuCherry blog also comes with a custom social media widget and built-in related posts display so you can keep visitors on your site longer.
A minimalist approach makes Blog Way an expansive, flexible theme for blogs in a number of niches. It’s particularly well-suited for blogs built on personal brands, such as coaches, consultants, freelancers, and artists.
Delivering a clean, streamlined look with a professional attitude, Blog Way can be customized in a number of ways. You’ll enjoy unlimited options when it comes to your blog’s color scheme. Widgets help you direct readers to all your profiles on major social networking sites, among other things.
The theme enables threaded comments on your posts and pages. This is a great approach for bloggers who want to build their communities on-site and encourage conversations between users. It also offers pagination options, a full-width layout as well as optional left and right sidebars, and the option to turn a post “sticky” to keep it at the top of your list of posts.
Blog Way integrates easily and plays well with WooCommerce. So if you’re ready for an online store as part of your blog, you’ll find it a relatively simplified way to get started.
Of particular note is the author profile widget. This widget lets you highlight the personality behind your brand, making Blog Way perfect for solopreneurs, authors, freelancers, coaches and consultants. Essentially, this theme is perfect for anyone whose brand is personal in nature or who needs to highlight themselves as the brains behind the blog.
Blog Way promises a responsive experience for visitors using mobile devices, as well as the ability to create and feature a custom menu. And when you’re ready for more, there’s also an available Pro version for purchase from Themeforest. The Pro version offers custom Google fonts, the ability to customize the site footer, and additional layout options.
Developed by Anastis Sourgoutsidis, Olsen Light is a crisp, starched white shirt of a WordPress theme. Completely blog-friendly, Olsen Light is full-width, clean, and visually stunning, drawing your visitors’ eyes to your content.
Perfect for photography-related blogs, Olsen Light lends itself well to a number of niches. You can choose between a right sidebar layout or a full-width template.
This theme offers simple customization through the new and improved WordPress Customizer. You can upload logos, a site favicon, customize and configure pagination styles, and more through the Customizer options. You can also implement a visually striking image carousel on your front page, if you choose.
The theme makes connection with your Google Analytics account a relatively simple process. In addition, Olsen Light offers three custom widgets: an “about the author” profile box, a social icons box, and a widget for customizing the display of your recent posts.
You can configure and display social sharing options for your posts and pages straight from the theme, without the need for an additional plugin. It also integrates with Instagram though you’ll need a plugin to take advantage of this option.
The theme is translation ready. Instead of having to translate individual text strings in every file for your templates, you can just edit a single file and be done.
The design is promised to be “retina ready” with a crisp, pixel-perfect display on retina monitors and screens. And the code is streamlined for optimal page load times, which is important for search engine optimization as well as user experience.
A premium version is also available for purchase with additional features, including support for WooCommerce, eleven additional layout options, more web fonts to choose from, extended color customization options, and more. The Premium version offers priority support, as well, although even free version users can access forum-based support and assistance.
The Fascinate theme is a minimalist and elegant blog theme that you can download and use for free. This theme is also Gutenberg enabled so you can easily take advantage of the new block editor to create beautiful blog post layouts. The theme has the standard two-column layout and it makes excellent use of the slider on the homepage to showcase your most popular posts. There are plenty of widgets too, that you can easily add to the sidebar to share your social media links, recent comments, popular or recent posts, and more.
In terms of customizations, you can easily use the Live Customizer to change colors, fonts, and more. The theme also comes with custom widgets and supports 4 post types so you can easily share video and audio posts on top of regular text posts. This theme was optimized to load fast, rank better in search engines, and look great no matter the screen size.
Another clean, minimalist blog-friendly design that’s suitable for any number of niches, Unwind is a theme that draws focus to your images. That visual focus makes it particularly well-suited for photography-related niches, such as travel sites, artist sites, and freelancers who need visual portfolio functionality.
However, Unwind is also a great choice for any e-commerce site that intends to make creative use of large-sized product images. Any blogging model that relies on the visual effect of stunning images can utilize this crisp, image-focused theme to good purpose.
Built by SiteOrigin, Unwind features code that’s been tightly reviewed for standards compliance and negligible impact on page load time. That’s crucial for two complementary reasons: search engine optimization, where site speed impacts rankings, and overall user experience. Your visitors won’t wait for an image-laden page to load forever — they won’t even wait very long, with some studies suggesting users abandon a page that doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
Unwind features an attractive integrated posts slider and crisp typography with great “bones” in the architectural layout options. The focus on your content means the theme is a natural ally for bloggers and other content producers. Unwind provides a natural canvas for your text, images, and videos.
What’s more, the theme integrates beautifully with WooCommerce, so you can easily add e-commerce to your blogging business model.
The theme can be easily customized with four distinct header layouts and five different site layouts. This flexibility means that you can easily change and personalize your Unwind-powered site to make it stand out, even from other sites using the same theme.
Fully responsive and mobile-friendly, Unwind offers an eye-catching full-screen approach to site search. If you have a lot of written content on your site, this feature will help improve the overall user experience for your audience.
SiteOrigin offers full theme documentation as well as a support forum that’s accessible to all users.
Developed by Scissor Themes, Writee is a flexible, clean, minimal blog theme with plenty of white space and a striking black top border for your navigation menu and social icons. Because of the way it draws the eye to your content, as opposed to extraneous, secondary elements, it’s a great choice for just about any blog niche. Given its customizable slider, it’s also a great choice for any image-intensive niche, such as fashion, food, fitness, and travel related blogs.
Writee is readily translatable into other languages. The theme comes with a .mo file for Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Chinese.
Like our other selections in this collection, Writee is WooCommerce-friendly. It also makes good use of the new, more flexible WordPress Customizer. You can select a primary theme color through an expansive color picker. In addition, you can select background images and colors.
The typography options also allow you to specify a URL for any Google Web Font you’d like to utilize, or you can fill in a font family name. You can also configure line height, letter spacing and more.
The theme is astonishingly richly-featured, even in its free version. One of its most striking features is the highly customizable optional slider. You can choose either a fluid or non-fluid layout for the slider, select any number of slides to display, and specify whether you want the slider to feature a specific category of posts or your most recent posts.
Writee provides for an easy upload of both favicon and logo image files. You can also use the Customizer options to configure your title and tagline displays. Writee also permits pagination configuration and optional breadcrumbs for easier user navigation.
There’s also a premium version available that offers additional footer layouts, slider options, and typography choices, among other things.
The developer provides fairly extensive documentation for Writee, which is a definite advantage with such a deeply featured and customizable theme.
Created by DesignLab, Type is a gorgeous and impressively flexible theme that can serve as the foundation for a professional blog, an e-commerce site, or a magazine-style site. The choice is yours.
With the Type theme, you can mix and match several elements to create your own look and layout. Type includes four different styles of header, as well as three different layout styles. You can choose your sidebar position, easily display a custom logo, create and position a unique header image and more.
Type also enables you to showcase specific content on your homepage through the Featured Post type. Designate the cornerstone or flagship content that converts like crazy for your blog, or rotate through current posts if you prefer.
If you’d like to add e-commerce functionality to your blog, Type lets you do it with ease by providing basic integration with the WooCommerce plugin.
Type also provides a simplified customization process with an available live preview so you can visually check out your changes before finalizing your new styles. Choose an eye-catching accent color, upload a new logo file, and change your typeface choices with ease.
Based on the framework of the Underscores Starter Theme, created by Automattic, Type is well-coded and optimized for search. There’s no need to shell out hard-earned cash for premium code simply to make your site more attractive to Google and other search engines with free Type.
Moreover, you’ll find that Type is based on a responsive design approach, rendering your blog friendly to mobile users on all kinds of devices and providing a superior user experience to your audience.
Type displays beautifully on all current browsers, including Firefox, Internet Explorer (v. 11 and later), Chrome, and Safari. The theme also comes with .pot language files, and can be translated readily into other languages, if you’re targeting a more global audience.
A premium version is also available, offering more blog layouts styles, a responsive carousel slider, premium widgets, and Google font integration to increase your typography options.
The Ashe theme is a gorgeous single and multi-author WordPress theme with a stunning header area that you can use to point visitors to a page on your site. The homepage also has a two-column layout with the standard blog post archive and sidebar. You can use the sidebar to share a brief bio, add your social media links, share your popular posts or link to your blog’s categories. What’s more, you can easily make use of the promo boxes to display your most important pages or insert ad banners.
This theme is perfect for lifestyle, fashion, travel or food bloggers as it uses featured images so you can easily share your photos. The theme can be customized using the Live Customizer option and the theme is also WooCommerce ready so you can even have an online store and sell both physical and digital products. On top of that, the theme is SEO-ready and fully responsive.
Created by Rara Theme, The Minimal offers a fresh, clean style that’s true to its name, with a clean aesthetic perfect for blogging or magazine-layout sites. With plenty of white space and crisp typography, the theme puts the spotlight on your posts and written content, making the theme particularly well-suited for blogs.
The theme comes with a large featured slider that allows a fine degree of control over its display options. The prominence and configuration options of this approach to the slider make Minimal a natural fit for any image-centered niche, such as photography, visual art, travel, food, fitness, beauty, and any professional services niche that utilizes a visual portfolio.
The Minimal offers three footer widget areas you can configure to suit your own needs, and a number of built-in widgets to display critical information secondary to your actual content, such as recent posts, popular posts, and social profile links.
You can elect to implement a trendy full-width layout with The Minimal. In addition, the theme gives you access to a number of post format types, such as links, asides, quotes, galleries, images, audio, video, and more.
The Minimal theme provides a number of customization options. You can select any background color of your choice, in addition to the out-of-the-box white, using a hex code or color slider picker. In addition, the Customizer options include designating a background image, configuring your homepage display options, and designating both favicon and logo files.
The Minimal utilizes responsive design principles for a readable, user-friendly display on mobile devices. It’s also ready for translation into other languages.
The free version of The Minimal comes with a single header and layout option each, while the premium version offers six homepage layouts and five header options. The paid version also offers access to over 600 Google fonts, easier CSS-free control over font size, unlimited color configuration options, and more.
The Blog Prime theme is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a minimal theme that’s also Gutenberg-ready. This theme uses a grid layout so you can easily showcase most important or most recent stories from each of your categories. The theme would work well for a magazine-style website. On top of that, it’s also ready to be monetized as you can easily place third-party ads in several places on your site. It also integrates with WooCommerce so you can even sell digital and physical products.
The theme makes it easy to upload your logo as well as to change colors and fonts. Blog Prime is also optimized for SEO and fully responsive and you can also use the Elementor page builder plugin to create custom page layouts.
Author, another theme from developer Ben Sibley, is a dual-toned theme that was created specifically for reading and readers. Featuring a dark sidebar with a light-toned main body section, Author provides sufficient visual contrast between the sidebar and body sections to draw your visitor’s eye straight to your written and featured content.
Coded to be light, fast, and responsive, Author features conditional loading and minified scripts and stylesheets to improve the way your site loads and performs in any browser. Responsive and designed with an eye towards accessibility for viewers with disabilities, the theme offers an adaptable layout to improve and enhance your user’s experience on your site.
The Bard theme touts itself as a beautiful theme and with good reason. Stunning imagery, minimal and clean design, and elegant typography will make your blog a true pleasure to read. This theme uses a grid-based layout so you can easily share your most recent stories and add plenty of widgets to the sidebar so your readers can learn more about you. This includes a social widget, author profile widget, social media feeds, email widget, and more.
Like other themes on this list, this theme is fully responsive as well as WooCommerce compatible. It also works perfectly with all major drag and drop page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, and Divi. In addition to that, the theme can be monetized with ads as it comes with 3 promo boxes that can be used to display banner ads.
Developed and maintained by zThemes, BlackLite (or zBlackLite, as the developer’s theme page calls it) is made specifically to help individuals create beautiful, elegant personal blogs.
Responsive design makes the theme display beautifully with a minimum of manipulation and scrolling on mobile browsers. The theme is also crafted to show up crisp on retina displays, for a pixel-perfect page.
Out of the box you’ll get a white background with a thin black strip at the top for your primary menu and social media account icons, if you choose. The typography for your site name and tagline is a large, clean sans serif font that shows up well against the background.
You can add a sidebar, or keep the design full-width if you prefer for a more minimalist approach. You can also install a native Instagram widget to pull in your images from that social media site and display them in your site’s footer.
BlackLite also enables you to customize the CSS with your own rules through an “Additional CSS” menu in the Customizer. The theme is translation ready, and you can further personalize your site with your own logo, customized background color, and featured images.
There’s a premium version of zBlack available for purchase. The zBlack Pro theme comes with ten different homepage layout choices, dozens more customization options and more custom widgets that bloggers will find useful, including MailChimp integration and more.
Everly Lite is the free version of the premium Everly theme from Premium Coding. Missing in the free version are the ability to select and customize your blog’s color scheme and access to the Revolution Slider functionality built into the full-featured premium version.
The Customizer options for Everly Lite are somewhat restricted. You’ll be able to upload a favicon or “browser icon” image and crop that file as you like for display in tabs and mobile browsers. Additionally, you can add and configure widgets for several possible sidebar, footer, and header-adjacent displays.
However, the theme has its own “Theme Options” submenu under the Appearance menu in your WordPress Dashboard. There, you’ll find options for typography display (including easy access to numerous Google Web Fonts), including font-faces, size, and color options for all major text-based elements, from body text to subheadings. You can also swap out the “Everly’s Blog” ribbon logo for your own files here.
One other notable feature of Everly Lite is the ability to swap between a default layout and a grid-based layout. The grid approach is great for magazine-style blogs, of course, and leads to a crisper display of multiple pieces of content at the same level of hierarchy or importance on your site. Photographers and other visually intensive niches could make valuable use of this layout.
Perfect for lifestyle and life coaching blogs, Juliet presents a clean yet feminine aesthetic for your WordPress blog. However, if the vintage-toned look doesn’t suit your niche, there’s also a separate skin that comes with the free theme that will give your blog a more modern, minimalist style.
As do most of the themes in this collection, Juliet enables easy integration with the free WooCommerce plugin. The theme also offers a separate layout for your homepage featuring a banner and featured-posts display. Yet despite the functionality, the theme is lightweight and thus helps your pages load quickly.
You can customize Juliet’s header and background colors using the Customizer. By default, your site title and tagline will display over a stock image. However, the Customizer “header image” menu will let you delete this approach for a pure text approach or swap out the stock image for one of your own.
Both the full-width and sidebar-enabled layouts display cleanly and with minimal distractions, keeping the reader focused on your visual and textual content. With numerous widget display areas available to you, as well as separate options for your post pages and your homepage, Juliet offers significant customizability to bloggers.
The theme suggests you upload and activate the Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails plugin, which adds a configurable widget you can use to highlight your most recent content along with striking thumbnail version of the posts’ featured images.
The premium version of Juliet adds a number of features you might find useful, including additional header display options, sticky header and navigational sections, front page sliders for your posts, and integration of YouTube and Vimeo video slides. You’ll also gain access to additional WooCommerce integration tools, Google Fonts, and color customization options.
Developed by Mooz Themes, Serenti is an ideal clean-lined theme that’s particularly well-suited for fashion, lifestyle, and travel bloggers. You can choose between sidebar and full-width style layouts, with a number of different post layouts to choose from, giving you substantial control over the architecture of your pages and posts.
Serenti cuts out the design clutter so your readers will focus on your visual and written content. This approach is what makes the theme such a great choice for bloggers. Add in a variety of widgets for your sidebar and footer areas for highlighting secondary or supplemental content.
Serenti is built on the Bootstrap framework. With a fully responsive design, the Serenti theme displays beautifully on any screen at any size, including mobile devices.The responsiveness extends to your navigation with custom collapsing and active classes.
The theme provides a built-in slider function that you can access and configure inside the WordPress Customizer. You can also add your own logo and change the background color for your theme there. Additionally, there’s a native social widget built in to Serenti that lets you enable one-click social sharing icons.
Magnus, from Hugo Baeta, is a free WordPress theme designed exclusively for blogs that focus on the power of the image. A photoblogging theme in essence, Magnus puts all of its considerable visual emphasis on your photos. Each image post will display in the full width of the browser window. By pairing this bold design choice with elegant typography, Magnus makes the most, in a literal and a metaphorical way, of your stunning images.
Because of this full-width, high-impact approach to featured image display, the theme developer recommends that you work with your best-quality images that are at least 2000 pixels in width. If you don’t upload and configure a featured image for a particular post, the Magnus theme will display a dark color as the header’s background.
Alternatively, you can select a header image through the Appearance menu as the default image for any page or post without a designated featured image.
Magnus will work well for any niche or blog that depends on crisp, visually impactful images. If the content you produce is significantly visual in nature, Magnus highlights those graphic assets in a dramatic, eye-catching way.
Almia is the creation of FancyThemes. Like many other themes in this collection, it’s designed to focus the eye on your text and images.
Out of the box, you’ll find a thin, dark wrapper that draws the eye to the center body of the page and thus to your content. The site name and tagline typography pack a punch with a large font size and a highly readable serif font face for the site title, and a smaller italicized style for the tagline. Your primary menu gets displayed centered beneath your site name and tagline, in the same font.
Almost everything is up for grabs in the Customizer with Almia. You can change the color selection on most major elements, including your wrapper, page background, primary and secondary text, and links.
Alternatively, you can simplify matters by choosing from among four separate color schemes in addition to the default black-and-white palette: dark, red, yellow, and gray. The dark palette swaps out the black wrapper for a dark grey one, changes the background of the header and menus to black with white text, and keeps the body palette the same (black text on white background).
Besides the color scheme customization options, one of the most striking elements of the Almia theme is its large header image space. Upload a header image of 1300 × 450 pixels for a deep visual impact on your visitors. However, if you select an image with different dimensions, you’ll be able to crop it artfully after upload. The image displays beneath your site name, tagline and menu so you’ll want to pick an image that doesn’t negatively impact the readability of those elements.
Choose a full-width layout, or alternatively go with a left sidebar arrangement. When you select the “sticky sidebar” configuration, the sidebar remains fixed while the rest of the page scrolls. (Obviously, this effect only works if the page content is longer than the sidebar.)
Best of all, Almia allows you easy access to customizing your site’s CSS. Simply enter the Customizer, select the “Additional CSS” menu, and enter your new rules, then save and publish your site.
Most of our free blog themes in this collection are based on light minimalist color schemes. Period is a bit different, as it’s based on a darker palette, yet still retains the same clean and readable aesthetic as the lighter-toned themes on our list.
Period is designed, developed, and actively maintained by Ben Sibley. The dark tones of the theme’s palette make it well-suited for professional services and corporate blogs, as well as blogs in conservative niches such as finance or law.
The theme features optional layouts, including full-width, one column and two column styles. You can also create optional descriptive blocks of text for gallery, category, tag, and author pages for enhanced SEO, improved navigation, and a better user experience. Period is fully responsive and maintains its good looks on mobile devices of all kinds.
As with many of our other themes, Period is also WooCommerce-friendly. You can create an online shop as part of your blog relatively easily.
User reviews praise Period for its commitment to accessibility, baked-in SEO, and smooth integration with caching and minification plugins. You’ll enjoy same-day support from the developer as well as access to a number of tutorials and how-to tips for Period.
Paragon Themes’ Placid theme is perhaps not quite as minimalist as many of the other themes on our list. However, Placid does present a streamlined, elegant look that’s built on a tone-on-tone monochromatic color scheme. Because Placid makes good use of featured images in homepage displays, it’s a good choice for bloggers who produce both visual and written content for their sites and want to highlight that content on the page.
Placid offers four main areas for widget integration, including three footer areas and a sidebar, plus a top-of-page area that displays immediately below the header. The theme includes a number of native custom widgets for additional functionality, including social account links, author profile, a sticky sidebar, copyright information display, and site search.
Customizer options also include the ability to swap out or refine your background color and the option to select a header image, with ideal dimensions of 1800 × 450 pixels. To help deliver a better user experience, configure the theme’s two navigational menu locations, including one designed exclusively for social profile links.
And if that’s not enough customization for you, Placid also allows you to add your own CSS rules to override or further refine the theme’s style rules to your liking.
Created by Tony Smith, Kokoro Lite is the free version of a premium theme that provides an equally strong, clean platform suitable for showcasing both your images and your blog posts.
Kokoro enables several different page layout configurations. You can elect a full-width layout throughout your site, if you choose. Or you can choose to disable the sidebar only on specific pages, such as your homepage, archive pages, single posts, or on single pages.
Color customization is slightly more extensive on Kokoro than on many free themes. In addition to selecting your own preferred background color, you can choose an “accent” color that will be applied to your links for additional visual impact. If you need more control over your site’s color scheme, Kokoro permits the addition of custom CSS rules to supercede or augment the theme’s existing styles.
Kokoro also provides easy access to a comprehensive set of social profile links which will display as the familiar social site icons in the top-right corner of your navigational bar at the top of each page. All you need to do is provide the profile URL for each of your accounts. You can display icons for the usual suspects such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but you can also include links for Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, your RSS feed, and others.
The premium version of Kokoro adds additional blog layout and sidebar configuration options, as well as post format support (standard, video, audio, and gallery). Purchasers of the premium version will also receive priority support from the developer for a year after purchase.
One of the key elements that makes a WordPress theme a great choice for bloggers is the “size” of the code. Lightweight themes provide the necessary functionality but do it in a streamlined manner that helps each of your pages load quickly in the browser. This approach helps improve the user experience but it also enhances your SEO efforts.
Marlin Lite, developed by VolThemes, hits this sweet spot between function and speed quite nicely, but also adds a boost of customization options that many free themes eschew. Elegant, clean, and modern in its aesthetic, Marlin Lite is built on the Bootstrap framework for responsive design and performance on any browser or device.
Because of its speed in loading, Marlin Lite is a great choice for just about any blog niche, but it’s particularly suitable for any blog that needs visually impactful display of images as well as text. For that reason, it’s a solid choice for photography-related blogs, creative blogs, and even some corporate or professional sites.
Out of the box, Marlin Lite gives you a striking typography for your header, headings, and body text, to highlight both your site identity and your written content on the page. The color customization options in the WordPress Customizer are likewise impressive. Beyond mere “background color” customization, Marlin Lite lets you customize the overall color scheme as well as the header text specifically.
You can further customize your header with an image of 1140 by 220 pixels in size. Additionally, you can upload your own logo file for display in the header.
Created by Just Good Themes, Azalea is a lightweight, free version of the Azalea Pro theme from the same team. Azalea presents a texturally interesting yet still clean and streamlined look that’s perfect for lifestyle, food, fashion, and creative blogs. While there’s an out-of-the-box feminine slant to the aesthetics of Azalea, it’s actually quite flexible in its looks, which means it can be used successfully for a number of different niches, even more conservative industries and fields.
Azalea enables further emphasis on your content with two customization options in the “Post Settings” menu in the Customizer. One enables the display of your “About the Author” profile box on your single post pages. The other shows automatically generated excerpts on the main blog page as well as archive pages.
Azalea’s free version gives you access to Google Fonts. Color customization extends to header text, header background, and accent colors. You can also add a small (250 pixels square) header image as well as your own additional CSS rules to augment or replace existing styles. The theme also comes with several variants on the header textural background image, as well as the ability to randomize your header image display.
The theme gives you two options for post navigation. You can choose either “previous and next” textual link display or paginated links. The sidebar can also be positioned either left or right of your main body/content area.
The theme comes with free access to professional one-on-one support via email. Azalea also comes translation-ready, with .pot files provided by the developer.
The premium version adds several features that might be valuable to bloggers, including WooCommerce integration and support, a free premade logo file, a slider for highlighting featured content, additional layout options, and priority support.
If you’re looking for a different aesthetic from most themes deemed “clean and modern,” take a look at Tracks. Decidedly darker than most of the other themes on our list, Tracks still does a great job of keeping the visual focus on your content while providing an alternative, more contemporary vibe for your blog.
As do a few other themes on our list, Tracks puts dynamic emphasis on featured images. Tracks also enables you to configure how those featured images are displayed, and what happens when there isn’t one. In the latter case, you can choose to display an empty half-space or a default image, or to extend the content to full-width.
The Tracks theme adds numerous other configuration options that put content control squarely in your hands as the blogger and site owner. You can set options for the word count to display in post excerpts, display text for your “read more” link, enabling a zoom-in effect on image hover, display of an author info box after post content, and more.
Tracks also enables the display of your social profile icons and links. What’s more, the theme lets you specify the location: header, footer, or both. It also enables one of the longest lists of possible sites for which you can display icons and links, including Reddit, SlideShare, FourSquare, Slack, and many more.
The theme enables widget incorporation in two main areas: after each page’s content and in the footer area. And speaking of the footer, you can also specify what text you’d like to display there.
While you won’t find any typography or color customization options in the WordPress Customizer, you can add your own CSS rules there to override or add to its existing rules. Moreover, the theme provides a written tutorial on how you can turn it into an app that you can publish for both Android and iOS app store download.
Anariel Lite is a lovely theme with a contemporary look and minimalist approach. That streamlined styling helps draw the visitor’s eye towards your content and strips out extraneous details to minimize distractions.
Ideal for fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Anariel offers a retina-ready, responsive design that looks great and displays all your content properly on any kind of device. Providing easy access to and implementation of content-friendly widgets such as an Instagram feed, recent posts display, video, and gallery display, the theme is deeply committed to making your writing and images look good.
While it doesn’t offer much in the way of customization options, Anariel does come with six pre-defined demos with demo content that can help you configure your blog for optimal display.
While you’ll find the free version of Anariel perfectly functional for most blog use, you may want to explore the additional functionality available in the premium version. These features include access to the Revolution Slider plugin, unlimited color customization options, easy integration of Google Fonts, six different layouts (including grid-based and full-width styles), and premium support.
One look tells you all you need to know: Kale redefines the clean, minimalist approach to WordPress blog themes.
Created and developed by Lyra Themes, Kale is built for food bloggers, but could also work beautifully for any number of consumer-oriented niches, such as health, lifestyle, fitness, and just about any type of artistic or creative work. Because it comes with native WooCommerce support, Kale is a perfect choice for any blogger who also needs an integrated e-commerce section on their site.
Supported by clean, streamlined code that is well-optimized for search engines, Kale loads quickly in the browser, enhancing the user experience and helping keep your readers on your pages for longer periods of time.
Customization is fairly extensive. Kale’s separate front page layout is eye-catching and compelling, helping to persuade visitors to keep clicking and exploring your content in more depth.
Kale also lets you configure your featured posts in addition to a large, prominently displayed highlighted post area. You can choose to enable the display of a banner or post slider in your header section; drop-down menus for content, pages, posts, and social media links; multiple sidebar display options; and responsive YouTube video displays. Impressively, you can even configure the exact size of your sidebar display area, selecting between the typical one-third size and a more compact one-fourth area.
Kale’s post slider can be customized in some interesting ways. There’s even an option that allows you to hide headings, descriptions, and icons for your slides, leaving the image to link directly to your content URLs for a more streamlined, minimalist display.
Kale’s color choices are limited to the background color, and the typography is not configurable. However, the native font choices are streamlined, highly readable, and provide maximum impact for headers and subheadings, as well as your body text. You can also provide your own supplemental CSS rules in the WordPress Customizer.
Created by GretaThemes, Floral is a lovely WordPress blog theme that marries a clean, minimal aesthetic with a vintage color palette and elegant typography for a truly intriguing look.
The free version, Floral Lite, is significantly more limited than the premium version of Floral. If you want to gain access to the infinite scroll feature, font and color options, native related posts function and footer Instagram integration, you’ll need to purchase the full price version.
However, even without the premium features, you’ll still enjoy a bold and striking page “out of the box,” even though your Customizer options are quite limited. You can designate and upload a favicon and logo file, however, and configure your homepage display options for your content. You can also select and display a background image if you prefer.
Floral Lite is a lightweight theme with a minimal impact on page load times. It loads and runs quickly, without a lot of unnecessary calls or code clutter, rendering it streamlined and sleek, even on mobile devices.
Because of the limited configuration options, Floral is quick to install and configure. You can be up and running within a few minutes.