Every freelancer needs a website for one major reason: Clients can’t find you if you don’t show up in their search results.
Other reasons freelancers need websites are to show your work to prospective clients, to let prospects know which kinds of services you provide (and which you don’t), and to give people an easy way to get in touch with you.
To make the most of your website, you’ll need a theme that loads fast, looks good and is easy to use on phones and computers, and establishes your professional brand.
Here are five free WordPress themes that work well for different types of freelance businesses.
1. Bootstrap Journal
Bootstrap Journal from Bootstrap Themes describes itself as feminine, but perhaps a better word is fun. The fonts are what give this image-heavy theme a slightly whimsical look, which can work for freelancers in businesses that require an outgoing personality, like wedding and event planners, independent travel agents, stylists, makeup artists, and hair stylists.
This theme is best for freelancers who have a strong visual portfolio to display.
On my laptop, the full-width header image fills the space above the fold. Beneath it are page navigation tabs and a 5-image grid with post titles over the images. Post excerpts with large images follow, and there’s a subscription box to encourage visitors to join your email list. On a smartphone, everything converts to one column.
Bootstrap Journal is responsive, fast, SEO friendly and WooCommerce compatible. The pro version ($49) adds ad management tools, multiple design customization options, and an editable copyright text option.
2. Clean Fotografie
Clean Fotografie from Catch Themes, as you might guess from the name, is a good choice for freelance photographers. It’s also useful for freelancers in other businesses whose portfolio is mainly visual, like makeup artists, fine artists, interior decorators, and landscape designers.
Clean Fotografie’s responsive design puts images front and center on computers and phones, gives you hero image options for your home page or the entire site, a portfolio feature, full-screen HD image capabilities, and Instagram compatibility. The free version also includes customization options for text excerpts, menus, header media, and layouts.
On a laptop screen, the header media includes a call-to-action button to get visitors moving through the site. Beneath the header, a three-column row of images for categories is followed by a header image and text block, featured images in another three-column row, and news items with large featured images. On a smartphone, the content shifts into a single column but keeps the focus on images rather than text.
Clean Fotografie’s pro version ($55) is WooCommerce ready and adds more customization options, featured slider tools, and font families.
Experon from ThinkUp Themes looks like a good option for freelancers who work in a field that requires precision and a sense of understated style, thanks to the hexagonal category icons below the slider banner. Because of the design, the above-the-slider-banner tabs for pages and social media, and the three-category row just beneath the banner, Experon is a good option for a freelance agency or solo freelancer that offers multiple services they want to describe in depth on the site.
Experon’s free version loads quickly, is SEO friendly, and is optimized for HD screens. It’s compatible with WooCommerce for selling on the site and Elementor for drag-and-drop page design. The free version also gives users access to regular security and feature updates.
The pro version of Experon ($35) adds full-width and boxed layout options, more than 100 shortcodes to add features to the site fast, hundreds of Google Fonts, and unlimited color and sidebar options.
4. Life Coach
Life Coach from Blossom Themes is a great choice for freelancers who are serious about building their email list through content marketing. Designed for—you guessed it—life coaches, this theme also works for writers, teachers, and speakers.
On both laptops and smartphones, there’s a sign-up section where visitors can enter their email in exchange for a free info product (a checklist, eBook, or some other marketing content). Next comes page navigation tabs and a hero image with another subscription section. Next, there’s a social proof section for the logos of media outlets, websites, and events where your work has been featured. About, services, learn more, testimonials, and articles are next, followed by contact information and a contact form.
Life Coach’s free version is fast, SEO friendly, Schema.org optimized, responsive, and WooCommerce compatible. Coach Pro ($49) adds more layout and design options as well as sections for case studies, pricing, podcasts, and events.
5. Ryan Grid
On a laptop, Ryan Grid is similar to Experon, with two unobtrusive menu headers for social media icons and pages, followed by a slider header, then three category text blocks. On a smartphone, that first text block is where you’ll want to put your most important information, because it’s the most prominent element on the smartphone-screen homepage display.
If you do have images to include, Ryan Grid is HD Retina-ready. The free version has an options panel for easy customization of the design and it’s Elementor-compatible for drag-and-drop page building. It’s also WooCommerce compatible, which is helpful if you have information products you want to sell on your site.
Ryan Grid’s pro version ($35) adds unlimited color and sidebar options, Google Fonts, and more than 100 shortcodes for easy customization.
Choosing a WordPress Theme for Your Freelance Website
Once you’ve decided on a couple of themes you like, download them and try them out with your own content to get a sense of which one will work best for you. After you make your choice, ask for feedback from your peers, clients, and prospects about how easy it is for them to find what they need on your site. If you need to make changes to your theme, or pick another theme, you’ve got lots of good free options.
Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.