How do solopreneurs and freelancers choose the best WordPress themes for their businesses?
Of course, it depends on the type of business, but there are some things that most freelancers and solopreneurs want. A good solopreneur/freelancer theme should:
- Be easy to set up
- Showcase the owner’s personality
- Look up-to-date
- Be appropriate for the type of business
Here are my picks for the best WordPress themes from my go-to designers, for solo businesses.
StudioPress builds themes that are mobile responsive, HTML5 ready, and secure. They’re also attractive, and they offer plenty of variety. They use a theme framework, called Genesis. (You can read more about theme frameworks here.)
Cost for the Genesis theme framework plus the individual (child) theme is about $99 — there’s some variation from theme to theme. It’s a one-time fee that allows you to use the framework and theme on as many sites as you like.
Of the themes listed here, Generate Pro and Modern Studio Pro will be the simplest to set up. As with most anything technical, the more options, bells and whistles are built in, the more time it takes to set up.
Links [aff] will take you to theme demos, where you’ll be able to get a much richer sense of what the theme can do than I’m able to show in screenshots.
Generate Pro is ideal if growing your email list is what you want to emphasize on your front page, with a traditional main content area and sidebar.
Create the big opt-in at the top with a widget. Below that is a standard blog-style layout, with a choice of single or double sidebar, or a full-width page.
The theme includes four preset color schemes.
Modern Studio Pro
I consider Modern Studio Pro a “businesslike blog” type of theme, and I love the round, centered logo. This theme features a single sidebar, either on the right or the left, or a full-width page.
Instead of preset color schemes, the theme lets you choose your own background and accent colors.
This is an excellent theme for freelancers.
Workstation Pro is also a blog-style theme with a single sidebar, but with a more businesslike front page. It also places more focus on images, so if you’re going to choose this theme, be prepared with high-quality images throughout.
Customize the front page with four widgetized areas for a unique look. Within each widgetized area, the number of widgets you use will control its appearance. Here are some examples of the wide variety of layouts available.
Hello Pro is an excellent theme for solopreneurs who interface with their audiences — speakers, coaches, and social media experts, for example.
It comes with four preset color schemes, and the background for your picture at the top of the front page changes with each one.
As shown in the demo, the front page uses eight widgets, plus three more in the footer. Inside pages use a sidebar on either side, or a full-width page. While the homepage setup will take a bit of work, the rest of the site setup is straightforward.
Last but not least, I’ve picked out Altitude Pro, a scrolling theme that offers tremendous front page versatility. Interior pages feature a single sidebar, right or left, or full-width pages. You can choose any accent color.
The homepage uses widgets, in seven widgetized areas. As with Wordspace Pro, the number of widgets in each widgetized area determines the layout of that area. Here are some examples of front page layouts.
As with Hello Pro above, the homepage will take some work to set up.
Elegant Themes doesn’t make traditional blog-style themes any more. Instead, they’ve really grabbed hold of the scrolling front page. They offer several versions of it, culminating in their flagship theme, Divi.
Divi is a fantastic theme, and I’ve used it on several sites to great advantage. However, I don’t recommend it unless you are already very comfortable with WordPress and/or traditional website building. There are just too many moving parts.
If you’re a solopreneur or freelancer who wants a website that works, one that you can put together yourself, there are easier options.
Elegant Themes works on a subscription model, so for $69 annually, you can use all of their themes, and receive updates and support. For $89, you can use all the themes and plugins. If you don’t renew, you can still use the theme but you do not receive updates or support. Or, if you’ll be building lots of sites, get lifetime access (all themes, plugins, support and updates) for a one-time fee of $249.
Make sure, if you’re choosing Elegant Themes, to select one of their mobile responsive themes. Unlike StudioPress, which no longer sells themes that aren’t responsive, Elegant Themes still offers older themes that don’t meet that standard. (Here’s why your site must be mobile responsive.)
Chameleon’s been around for a while, but it’s still an excellent theme. It has a versatile (but not intimidating) front page, and inside you’ll find a main content area with right-hand sidebar.
There’s a built-in slider for the homepage, and an easy-to-use customizer to create the background colors and textures you want. Changing fonts is straightforward as well.
Also included are an image gallery template, and six different portfolio options.
Vertex is one of Elegant Themes’ scrolling themes. Like Chameleon, it’s easy to adjust theme colors. It comes with four preset color schemes, but you have complete control over link and font colors, as well as the fonts you use.
As with all themes featuring a scrolling front page, setup will take some time. Inside pages, though, are standardized with a main content area on the left and sidebar on the right.
Nimble also features a scrolling front page. It includes five preset colors, an image gallery, and five portfolio styles.
One of Nimble’s more appealing features is the grid-based blog layout with round thumbnails