WordPress has come a very long way since its initial release 11 and a half years ago (27 May 2003) with lots of versions and code names in between. The first version from what started out as a very simple blogging tool has now become a way for companies or the average joe to create fully functioning website with endless possibilities.
On 4th September WordPress released its latest and possibly it’s biggest ever update, version 4.0. Following on from WordPress’ love for jazz musicians, the latest update is called “Benny”, named after the American jazz and swing musician, Benny Goodman. 4.0, aka Benny, comes with a huge list of new features and improvements from the previous versions to make WordPress even easier to use than before.
For those with little or no experience in WordPress, it is a very powerful tool which is really worth getting to know. Although many people only use it as a straight forward blogging platform, creating fully functional websites is surprisingly very quick and simple to learn even for those with only minor technical knowledge. No programming/coding is required at all throughout the whole process of creating a site, but of course still allows you to do so if you so desire.
The best and most cost effective way of getting started with a blog or website is to download themes (page skins). Themes are associated a lot with WordPress as there are thousands, literally thousands of different ones to choose from. Once WordPress has been installed on your hosted server, it gets you started with a small selection on themes. Of course you don’t like what they have to offer then you can choose from a wide selection of free themes found in the WordPress themes section. However, the free themes do have their limitations such as limited functionality or basic designs.
If you are looking for a great and professional looking theme for your business or personal blog, then purchasing a premium theme is the way to go. Although you have to pay for these themes they are surprisingly very cheap and at an extremely high professional standard. The themes range from $40 to $65 (£25 to£40), which I see as a bargain as some themes are up there with the best looking websites.
So where to buy?
The biggest and most popular place to buy WordPress themes is from themeforest.net. The best plan of action I find is to view the most popular and top selling themes. You may think by doing this that you would end up with the same looking site as thousands of other people buying the same theme, but these themes are so customisable that no two sites would ever look the same.
There are so many amazing themes to choose from but I have managed to pile it down to one short list of my favourite themes:
I really liked X as it was the most customisable theme I have come across as it comes with its own specially made customizer which is revolutionary, it saves so much time and effort from the standard way of apply changes and then waiting for the page to refresh. The X customizer previews the changes whilst you are making them.
Theme link: http://bit.ly/TSnKHD
For those looking for a very classy style and have lots of great pictures to use, Bridge is the one to go for, with its very crisp and sharp stylish design it ticks all the boxes for creative minds. The results can be truly amazing from this theme
Theme link: http://bit.ly/1zwkU8Q
Like X, Avada is a very customisable theme, offering many different header layouts and unlimited amount of colours to use to get your perfect look. Avada is probably the most optimised too with excellent page loading times and page grades.
Theme link: http://bit.ly/1cob3JR
Newspaper pretty much explains itself offering a newspaper/magazine style website perfect for those writing articles on new tech or fashion etc.
Theme link: http://bit.ly/19hFDAC
What I liked about Jupiter is that they have really revamped their product, especially in their newest update version 4, quite fitting as WordPress has updated to 4.0. Jupiter offers a new customisable option that allows the user to really dramatically change the look of the header and style of each page the user creates.
Theme link: http://bit.ly/1pfS75j
With a lot of website trends moving towards ‘One-Page’ style, Brooklyn is a perfect example of that, with a very classy look and feel to it, it makes excellent viewing on the eyes. Although this theme is not for corporate businesses it would serve great for a portfolio page or showcasing products.
Theme link: http://bit.ly/1rlrSeA
What’s the Verdict?
Out of these themes I would have to say my favourite has to be ‘X’ purely on the specially made ‘customizer’ tool they have integrated into WordPress, it makes it so easy to just click and watch the changes being made while you are doing them. X also provides different plugins built into the theme such as page builders, image sliders, responsive layouts, woo commerce, contact form and the list goes on. So there is no surprise that this is one of the top selling themes on Theme Forest.