In this post I write about WordPress frameworks with child themes, easy for you to get going right away, a great internet marketing platform, also easy to get up and running, and I’ve added a section on a drag-and-drop WordPress theme that is remarkable user-friendly and allows you total control of your site/design.
If you’ve been searching the interwebs and keep typing in things like “the best free WordPress Templates” or something, I hope that you’ll stop the insanity right now and pause for a few moments. I’ve spent plenty of time over the years looking over and over for just that perfect one size fits all theme. I’ve tried free, cheap, expensive and believe I’ve narrowed it down for you.
(Not in the video, a new service to me that I’m exploring, WP Engine, Premium WordPress Hosting. Check them out here.)
Picking one or more of them depends on your goals and your personality. I have lots of goals, and I’m indecisive when it comes to great design – I can’t pick just one. So I have and use them all. That’s why I feel comfortable giving this advice. I’ve looked, tried and experimented, and I’ve come to trust these products (and importantly, the customer service and support that comes with them).
The order of these are not necessarily quality, but rather quick start, purpose and customization.
When it comes to being well established, professional and able to deliver excellent products everyday – StudioPress takes the cake. They have a huge library of child themes for their Genesis framework.
What that means is that you first install the basic foundation called Genesis as a theme in itself. Then you pick the look, feel and function of your favorite theme and go! If you have multiple or all of their themes you can switch back and forth among them and not worry about losing your content in some weird way that some other themes do.
If you’re looking for pure classic professional, it’s there. Quirky themes or off beat, you can find them. They have some great child themes for photographers as well.
In addition, they have a ton of freebies thrown in there. Free child themes to go with their framework, Genesis, plugins, and more. And if you add the Premise 2.2. plugin (also from Copyblogger), it can compete with the best sales and membership themes out there
- Many themes to choose from
- Newer themes scale and resize perfectly for mobile devices!
- Well established
- Centered around classy versatility
- Excellent for business, personal, or mixed websites
- Competes with sales page style themes with the addition of Premise 2.2
- Great support forum
Here are a few quick screenshots of just some of their mobile responsive themes. Please see them all on their own page here too, of course.
eleven40 Theme. As-in 1140px wide. Tons of room for your work. Another best-seller.
Executive Theme. One of the most popular and best selling themes from StudioPress.
Minimum Theme. Beautiful minimalist theme. Great options and the header size is customizable to your preferences.
Balance Theme. Another great minimalist design.
Mindstream Theme. The use of custom post types is displayed very well. One of my favorites.
Quattro Theme. Old-School look with all the power of Genesis. Multiple color options built in.
Streamline Theme. You can focus on your work with this one. Excellent op-in box positioning designed in.
Stretch Theme. Great minimalist theme with a beautiful use of background images and translucent content area.
OptimizePress is perhaps THE premier theme for sales pages, landing pages, and Internet marketing. I’ve used this theme on a couple of my sites that I want to send a clear message about one product or service.
Each page you create has available to it many choices of video, sales, landing and squeeze pages. It not only integrates well with membership site plugins like Digital Access Pass (an amazing membership site/content protection plugin – see more about it here where I talk about themes and great pairings with plugins).
If you’re looking for the totally affordable alternative to Kajabi and other sales portal style websites, check out OptimizePress. (p.s. Kajabi is awesome all by itself.)
- Many page type options for Internet marketing.
- Integrates well with auto-responder programs like Aweber and Mailchimp, among others.
- Its styles of sales page are very effective.
- Scales well on mobile devices,
- Pairs great with Digital Access Pass for your membership site needs. (See DAP demo video here.)
3. NEW ADDITION! Headway Themes
How did I not know about this until a couple of weeks ago. Headway Themes allow you to fully customize your WordPress site using drag and drop tools.
If you want to create a WordPress site using full drag and drop tools, Headway Themes(HT) is the way to go.
You do not need to know CSS or any other code – but if you do know or look up CSS, you can add that in very easily.
Once you install HT you’ll have access to the visual editor where you can begin to either draw out your front page, pages, post templates and others as you like, and/or chose from the most common templates (e.g. blank canvas, header/full width, content/sidebar, sidebar/content, sidebar/content/sidebar).
From there you are free to draw, resize and rearrange your shapes (Blocks) as you wish. Essentially you drag and drop rectangles where you want them, then choose what sort of Block type it will be from a choice of about 9 standard Blocks and available 3rd party Blocks.
The standard Blocks are:
- Widget Area
- Content (WordPress Loop)
- Slider (New!)
- Custom Code
Among the third-party blocks you’ll find titles such as:
- Widget Area
- Content (WordPress Loop)
If you change your mind about an arrangement, you can always either change the Block type, delete it, or move it around.
I also discovered (I say discovered…it’s a feature), that you don’t have to stick to the default Grid/page size (940px wide I think it was set to). I was playing with the free online demo and laid out a page that was 1200px wide with an extra wide sidebar. (oh, did I mention the demo? Look for it right on the front page after you click “View Demo” and then it’ll be there under “Try the Headway Demo“)
And you should feel free to do this – Headway Themes is mobile responsive, so it’ll scale and look great on any device. (Well, the “looking good” part is up to you, right? It’s YOUR design, and that’s the real beauty of it.)
So, you get all the power of WordPress, with a great drag and drop interface.
I Googled Headway Themes for reviews extensively, and I found that in 2011-2012 ish, there were some bad reviews. They had released a version too soon (and admit it). But since then they seemed to have caught up with themselves and I’ve read some other, more recent great testimonials.
You should do yourself the favor if you want full control of your site. Check out Headway Themes.
I hope this overview was helpful. I find myself changing my blog around about once or twice per month, so coming across these choices has been great for me. I’m not going to say what theme this site was built on, because honestly, it might be different every time you stop by. Feel free to ask.
I’d love to hear from you if you’re new or experienced with any of these.
P.S. One Last Tip
When you’re in there in the purchasing process, sometimes you’ll come up to the option of “Standard License” or “Developer License”. I suggest the developer license and/or the option that offers packages at a discount.
The reasons for this is simple:
- When you get developer type licenses you usually get to use the themes anytime, anywhere (check with the official offers for the specifics).
- You’ll probably get updates and new releases for no extra cost. That’s valuable!
- Also even if you don’t consider yourself a web designer or developer, consider the fact that if you’re into Internet marketing, or if your growing your business or blog, you are in fact “developing” and might need to expand as time goes on.
Like I said, I own all of these products, so I feel confident endorsing them.