WordPress Theme Styles: How to Easily Pick the Right One

Block 3 is your WordPress theme

When picking out a WordPress theme, it’s important to choose a theme that will showcase your business. Just as there are different styles of houses — colonial, A-frame (remember those?), ranch, bungalow, etc. — there are different WordPress theme styles that are suitable for different types of businesses.

Knowing which theme style will work well for your business can save you lots of time. Here’s a brief rundown of some basic theme styles:

  • Blog
  • Corporate
  • E-Commerce
  • Freelance
  • Magazine
  • Portfolio
  • Solopreneur
  • Specialty

Let’s take a brief look at each. Note that each of the screenshots below is linked to a live demo of that theme, where you’ll see much more than the image can display.

Blog-style Theme

A traditional blog-style theme has a wide content area, with a sidebar on the right. The homepage displays a list of articles or blog posts, with the most recent one first. They’re shown in reverse chronological order.

A blog may include a navigation menu that features individual pages, but it doesn’t have to.

Here are some examples.

Modern Studio Pro

I like Modern Studio Pro’s businesslike approach to a blog theme. Contrast it with Beautiful Pro, below, which might be a good choice for a wellness or artistic blog.

Beautiful Pro theme

Or how’s this for a different take on a traditional blog theme? It’s still very much a blog — it just doesn’t look like one.

Fable

Corporate

A corporate theme gives a more traditional business look to the site. The front page may include several columns to showcase different aspects of the company. A corporate theme style often includes a blog, but it doesn’t always.

Executive Pro Theme

There’s a new type of corporate theme available, one that’s designed to tell a story more than to present dry information. This is the scrolling, parallax, or one-page theme.

Parallax Pro theme

Or how about this one? Divi, from Elegant Themes, comes with a page builder that allows you to customize practically anything, without coding. Create custom pages throughout the site, not just on the homepage. (Because you can do so much with Divi, you can make it into almost any style theme, although using it for a blog might be a bit of overkill.)

Divi

E-Commerce

An e-commerce theme is your best choice if your site primarily exists to sell stuff, whether digital or physical goods. If selling is not the only focus of the site, then a different type of theme with an e-commerce plugin will probably work nicely.

Here’s a traditional e-commerce theme. . .

Jessica Woo e-commerce theme

This one emphasizes the blog along with the e-commerce. . .

Foxy e-commerce theme

Freelance

Freelancers generally want a website that’s businesslike but not stuffy. Often a hybrid style, which includes some “businessy” elements on the front page but with a main content area and a sidebar, is what they’re looking for.

Hello Pro is an interesting theme. StudioPress refers to it as a Personal Branding theme. It’s got a front page that’s designed to make a strong impression, with a hero image in the header, and an opt-in above the fold. It includes a portfolio page template, and you can add a blog.

Hello Pro personal branding theme

Take a look at Vertex, which uses the scrolling style front page.

Vertex theme

Magazine

A magazine or news theme describes a theme designed to showcase several different types of content. A good magazine theme provides a space for a featured article — the most prominent one on the front page — and then several different categories of articles. Each category might have a featured article as well, although it won’t be as prominent as the featured article.

Magazine themes often include preset areas for banner ads.

Extra magazine theme

Nexus magazine theme

Magazine Pro Theme from StudioPress

Daily Dish Pro Magazine theme

Yes, Daily Dish Pro is a magazine-style theme.

Portfolio

Designers, graphic artists, photographers, painters, anyone who wants to visually showcase his or her work, would use a Portfolio-style theme. Generally, images throughout the site are large, and the theme makes it easy to create a gallery of images.

Nimble theme

Here’s a Nimble portfolio page. The theme offers 5 different portfolio styles, with small, medium and large images, with and without text, and with and without sidebar.

Nimble portfolio page

Here’s another portfolio theme to consider.

Modern Portfolio Pro

Solopreneur

I included this category because more and more of us consider ourselves solopreneurs rather than freelancers or entrepreneurs. When it comes to WordPress sites, though, the type of business should dictate the kind of site you need, more than whether you’re running the business alone or with a team.

Like the freelancers, solopreneurs often prefer a simple setup with a main content area and a sidebar.

This theme is called Interior Pro, but you don’t need to be an interior designer to make it work well for your solopreneur business.

Interior Pro

Here’s another that I like for solopreneurs (depending on the type of business).

Workstation Pro theme

Of course, solopreneurs can use a scrolling or parallax theme as well.

Specialty

Certain industries require specialized sites. Real estate agents, for example, need to be able to display their listings along with local area information. Events venues have specialized needs for calendars and ticket sales.

If your business has special website requirements, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation if you can find a WordPress theme designed for your specialized needs.

Below are specialized themes for

  • Authors
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Restaurants
  • Travel sites

Author Pro theme

Agent Focused Pro theme

Cafe Pro theme

Explorable theme

What’s Next?

Now that you have an overview of the most common theme styles, you should be able to decide which style of theme will do the best job for you. Once you’ve nailed the style, a quick search on your favorite theme designer’s website should turn up a selection of themes to choose from.

Just remember, there are some features you must have, regardless of theme style.

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