There are thousands of WordPress themes for blogging, all with their own unique features. This can make the search for your perfect theme an intimidating process. In this guide, I’ll explore and compare the best WordPress blog themes to help you make the right choice.
But first, let’s make sure you’ve got WordPress set up properly.
Table of contents
- Getting started with WordPress
- The Essence
- Magazine Pro
- News Pro
- How to choose between the best WordPress blog themes
Getting started with WordPress
WordPress is a powerful and flexible blogging tool used to power millions of websites. There are two ways this tool can be used: through WordPress hosting, or on a self-hosted site.
This option gives you access to the base blogging tool. You can use this for free or access a variety of affordable hosting plans. However, this form of WordPress has limits on customization and is not compatible with plugins.
WordPress.com also does not allow affiliate marketing. This greatly reduces your ability to monetize your site.
This a tool you install on a website you own. This version of WordPress is compatible with all themes and can have its functionality extended with plugins. The themes on this list are designed for self-hosted WordPress.
If you plan to make money blogging, self-hosted WordPress is the way to go. You gain more flexibility in terms of design, purposes you’re allowed to use the site for, and ways you’re permitted to monetize the site.
Many website hosts, such as SiteGround, offer WordPress-specific plans. These come with WordPress pre-installed on your site and may include access to WordPress specialists for customer support.
Of course, starting a successful blog requires more than installing WordPress. In fact, there are several things you should do even before you choose a theme:
- Choose a subject for your blog
- Select the types of content you will create (reviews, listicles, et cetera)
- Set a regular posting schedule
- Decide whether you want to use a free theme or invest in a premium one
For help with all of these decisions and more, check out our guide to starting a blog.
Now, let’s dive into the best WordPress themes for blogging!
Best WordPress blog themes
Price: Free. Premium plans with extra features are available starting at $47 (regular $59).
Page builder compatibility: Compatible with Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin, Visual Composer, Divi, and others.
Astra is a free theme produced by Brainstorm, a WordPress development company known for its Ultimate Add-ons for Beaver Builder and Elementor. The theme is easy to use, highly customizable, and compatible with a variety of page builders.
To get the most out of this theme, you’ll need to pick up the free Astra Starter Site Plugin. This plugin gives you access to over 30 pre-built website designs, including several designs built specifically for blogging. All of these designs are optimized for Astra’s high-speed framework, which allows pages to load in half a second.
Some reviewers have said that Astra customer support has a slow response time when compared to their competitors. However, when customer support does respond, they’re known for being knowledgeable and helpful.
Price: Free. Premium version is available for $49.95.
Page builder compatibility: Limited compatibility with Beaver Builder, Elementor, SiteOrigin.
GeneratePress is a lightweight theme that allows you to enable/disable features to meet your needs without slowing your site down. The theme is fully responsive and comes with built-in schema to improve performance on search engines.
The free version of GeneratePress comes with numerous customization options, including specialized WooCommerce pages. Developers will be glad to know that there is also an area for customizing GeneratePress with additional CSS.
The one big drawback of GeneratePress is that its compatibility with modern page builders is limited. You can use modules provided by page builders, but the drag-and-drop function will not work.
If GeneratePress still appeals to you and you have a little bit of wiggle room in your budget, you’ll want to invest in the premium version. Premium GeneratePress gives you access to a variety of modules, including access to a library of pre-made site designs.
Price: Free. Additional features can be purchased starting at $59 (regularly $86).
Page builder compatibility: Elementor, Brizy, Beaver Builder, Divi, SiteOrigin, and Visual Composer.
Neve is a free multi-purpose theme from ThemeIsle. This theme is not merely compatible with page builders: it is designed for page builders. Specifically, Neve is designed to improve loading speed for websites built with tools like Elementor and Beaver Builder. This makes it one of the best WordPress blog themes for people who like page builders.
One of the best things about this theme is how it interacts with headers and footers in the WordPress Customizer. Instead of being able to adjust a couple of minor settings, you gain full control. You can add links, buttons, and a variety of widgets.
You can also access ten demo sites for different industries. These can be imported to your site, adjusted minimally, and published as your new blog in minutes.
Price: Free. Premium plans available starting at $59.
Page builder compatibility: Elementor, Divi, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin.
OceanWP is a free multi-purpose theme that is compatible with a variety of popular page builders. This theme comes with a large range of customization options, including the ability to create Mega Menus.
OceanWP also lets you customize individual pages in a variety of ways. You can disable sticky elements, add a custom logo, customize background color, and more. This allows you to use specialized branding for different areas of your site.
Last but certainly not least, OceanWP features deep integration with WooCommerce. When you activate this plugin and go to the WordPress Customizer, you’ll find customization options for product pages, product images, and more. This makes OceanWP one of the best WordPress blog themes for users who also want to create an eCommerce store.
5. The Essence (MeridianThemes)
Page builder compatibility: None; uses proprietary styler instead.
The Essence is a premium theme that uses the front-end Meridian Styler to create a user-friendly experience. You can use the Styler to customize every aspect of your site, including fonts, spacing, colors, and more.
This plugin comes with 17 pre-made responsive layouts for you to work with, including a variety of layouts for blogging. You can choose one of these, do some minimal configuration, and get your blog online within the hour.
The Essence is also optimized for social media. The header automatically incorporates social media icons to encourage people to follow you in multiple places. You can also use the custom social widget and Instagram widget to further integrate your site with social media.
Price: $75/year or $112 as a one time fee.
Page builder compatibility: Elementor, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, MotoPress, and Beaver Builder.
Gema is a 100% responsive theme from Pixelgrade that focuses on striking visuals. On desktop, Gema uses an open grid layout to display featured images and headlines. On phones, this becomes a scrolling gallery, almost like Instagram.
Gema is remarkably easy to use. Once you have installed it, simply choose from their wide range of color palettes and Gema will transform your content into a unique visual experience.
The Gema theme also provides an extensive range of customization options. You can choose your number and width of columns, font, spacing, and more.
Price: €70/year or €80 for a one time purchase.
Page builder compatibility: Custom page builder.
Bucket is a specialized magazine plugin from Pixelgrade. The theme offers several unique features, including a visual rating system that can be used to efficiently create reviews. This theme also uses mega menus to help you highlight important content.
You won’t be able to use your favorite page builder with Bucket, but the plugin comes with a powerful page builder of its own. This allows you to customize many aspects of your site, including a variety of color options, in just a few clicks.
Bucket is also fully compatible with WordPress Multilingual Plugin, allowing you to translate the theme fully into your own language.
7. Magazine Pro
Price: $99.95 (Includes Genesis Framework Package)
Page builder compatibility: Optimized for the Genesis Framework and the Gutenberg editor.
Created by popular WordPress development company StudioPress, Magazine Pro is a specialized Genesis Child theme for magazines. You can take advantage of advanced integration with the Gutenberg editor to get your home page set up in one click. From there, you’ll gain access to a variety of customization options including fonts, typography, and the features of certain WooCommerce pages.
To make things even easier, Magazine Pro offers a variety of demo content for industries like fashion, fitness, and cuisine. You can use these as inspiration or install one directly onto your site, make a few small changes, and put your blog online within minutes.
This theme also comes with three page layouts and six custom post layouts, making it easy for you to give each piece of content a unique look.
8. News Pro
Price: $99.95 (includes Genesis Framework)
Page builder compatibility: Optimized for the Genesis Framework and Gutenberg editor.
News Pro is exactly what it sounds like: a specialized theme for news-based blogs and magazines. This theme offers a simple, professional look similar to what you’ll see on popular news sites like The Washington Post.
The simplicity doesn’t mean you lack for customization options, however. News Pro comes with five color schemes and six layouts. You can also use the Genesis Featured Post widget to create a detailed spotlight for your most recent or relevant content.
News Pro is also optimized for integration with WooCommerce, allowing you to easily set up an attractive store.
How to choose between the best WordPress blog themes
So there you have it: the best WordPress themes for blogging, compiled into one neat list. But how do you choose the best one for your business?
The key is to go back to those blogging basics we discussed at the beginning of the article and ask yourself some questions.
Do you already use a page builder?
Is eCommerce a major part of your business plan?
While all of these plugins are compatible with WooCommerce, they are not all created equal when it comes to building a store. GeneratePress and OceanWP offer the greatest amount of customization options for WooCommerce.
Do you want a specialized media theme?
Is your blog focused on reviews?
The best theme for review-based blogs is Bucket, thanks to its unique visual rating system.
Stretch the possibilities with Elementor Pro
Not quite satisfied with what the best WordPress blog themes have to offer? Is there a specific feature you’re looking for that you can’t find? You can customize themes or even build one from scratch using Elementor Pro. This provides ultimate freedom, allowing you to create any kind of website you can imagine.