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When you’re building out a new website in WordPress, choosing a quality theme is going to be your main concern. 

Choose the wrong theme and success is going to be an uphill battle. But, with the right theme it’s not only going to be incredibly easy to build out your site, but you’ll be able to offer an incredible user experience as well.

Below you’ll learn about what features to look for in a quality WordPress theme, and seven of the most popular WordPress themes that would be a great choice for your new website. 

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Choosing a High-Quality WordPress Theme

It can get overwhelming to choose the perfect theme for your WordPress website. There are free and paid options that total up into the thousands. But how do you choose the right theme for your new website?

Luckily, a lot of themes cater to different markets, so not every theme will be right for your website, but there are still plenty of options irrespective of your niche. Keep the following qualities in mind as you browse for the right theme.

1. Simple is Always Better

A lot of WordPress themes may look great, but a lot is going on behind the scenes. This means a very time-consuming site setup and the chance that you might not ever get your site to function the way you want.

Instead, look for a theme that has a clean and simple design that’s in alignment with your niche. Remember, the goal of your site is to offer your visitors a great site experience and help them find the information they’re after in the shortest amount of time possible.

Even if your theme looks great, if it doesn’t convert visitors into subscribers, or customers, then it really isn’t doing its job. 

2. Responsive Is Not an Option; It’s Required

When choosing a theme, it needs to be responsive.

Your site needs to look good on multiple different screen sizes, whether that’s mobile, tablet, desktop, or a window that your visitor has resized. Plus, the popularity of mobile devices only continues to grow. Depending on your website, over half of your traffic could come from mobile devices.

Luckily, most WordPress themes available today will be responsive by default. But, the rogue non-responsive themes might still be available, so it’s a good thing to check.

3. Page Builder Plugin Support

When you’re building out your theme, you’ll usually be changing the theme’s settings within the included theme settings menu, or from the built-in WordPress customizer. 

However, some themes also rely on WordPress page builders to help create a truly unique layout. Some premium themes will have their own page builders included, but usually, these won’t function in the same way as a plugin that’s perfected the page building system.

If you know you want to use page builder functionality to build out your theme, then look for WordPress themes that support plugins like Beaver Builder, Elementor, and Page Builder by SiteOrigin. 

4. Quality of Ratings and Reviews

One great way to gauge the quality of a theme is to look at the reviews and overall star rating. This will give you a general consensus of what the current users of the theme think about it.

However, take this feedback with a grain of salt, as it doesn’t represent every site owner who uses the theme. Often, this is a group of the people who either loved or hated the theme.

But, if the overwhelming majority are giving the theme poor ratings, then it’s probably a theme that you want to skip.  

5. Consider Premium Over Free

When you’re building your first website, it can be tempting to go with a free theme. But, free WordPress themes often won’t give you the same level of customization and quality that you can get in a paid theme.

Premium themes are premium for a reason and often come with several features that make the investment worthwhile. When you think about the overall investment, the price you’ll pay upfront is incredibly cheap. This theme will be the face of your website and will either support or make it more difficult for your online business to succeed.

Plus, premium themes often come with premium support channels. So, you can rely on their expert team if you ever run into any issues with your theme. 

6. You Like Most of the Sample Theme As Is

The final factor you should look for when choosing a theme is how the sample theme looks and functions. You can get away with making lots of customizations to your theme, but often you don’t want to stray too far from the general layout of the sample theme.

When you install a theme on your site, you’ll have the opportunity to import all of the demo content and settings so this will give you a fully built out site to work from.

Then you can subtract the features you don’t want present and have a site that looks very professional. This approach to building out your website will save you a lot of time during the initial build. 

7 Most Popular WordPress Themes

No one wants to spend time digging through thousands of themes to find the perfect theme for their site. Especially, trying to find themes that embody all of the principles highlighted above.

The themes below are some of the most popular themes currently on the market. The list isn’t ranked from best to worst. Rather, it’s a list of the most popular themes that power a large proportion of WordPress site across the web.

Here’s the list: 

1. Avada

avada wordpress theme

Avada is the number one selling theme of all time in the ThemeForest marketplace. This theme is highly versatile and can be used to build any kind of website you desire. Right out of the box it’s equipped with over 250 pre-made designs for you to choose from, and over 40 fully built websites you can customize to your liking.

The overarching goal of this theme is to help you build your dream website in as little as time possible. Once you’ve selected your site, and added a few pre-built elements, you can customize further with the drag and drop builder.

This theme is compatible with nearly all major WordPress plugins and can support a near unlimited number of designs. Plus, with over 250K installs, you know you’re in good company. 

You can currently purchase the theme for $60 from ThemeForest. 

2. Divi

divi wordpress theme

Divi has been one of the most popular multi-purpose themes on the market for quite some time. It was built by the team at Elegant Themes, who are one of the leading WordPress theme and plugins creators.

If you’re not quite sure the type of site you want to build, then Divi can be an excellent option for you. It’s equipped with twenty different layouts for you to choose from, plus a bundled drag and drop builder that lets you customize your site without touching a line of code.

You can create custom layouts and also save them for later use, so you won’t have to recreate the wheel every time you’re building a new site. 

To get access to this theme, you’ll need to sign up for a yearly subscription to Elegant Themes for $89. This fee will also get you access to their entire site library and a handful of useful plugins as well. 

3. Astra

astra wordpress theme

Astra will help you create a modern-looking website in record time. This theme comes in both a free and premium version. This is great, because you can start with the free theme and if you want access to more features, then you can upgrade to the premium version.

There are a series of demo themes you can choose from and instantly import this content into your site, so you’ll have a fully built out website in just a number of clicks. 

You can get started with the free version, or go straight for the Pro version for $59 today. 

4. StudioPress Themes

studiopress themes for wordpress

StudioPress is one of the best selling collections of themes on the market. All of the themes offered here are built on top of the Genesis framework, which is often lauded by WordPress developers, so you know it’s high quality.

All of the themes integrate seamlessly with the new Gutenberg editor, and are very fast and SEO-friendly right out of the box. Plus, there are a variety of Genesis-specific plugins you can use with these themes as well. 

These themes can be purchased individually, or you can buy all of the themes in a bundle if you can’t decide which theme is best for your new website. 

5. X Theme

x theme wordpress theme

X Theme is one of the most popular themes on ThemeForest. Users are literally pouring their hearts out about their love for this theme. It has over 125K sales in the ThemeForest store. 

Plus, it’s a relatively new theme as well, so it’s become popular incredibly fast. 

It’s a multi-purpose WordPress theme, so it can be used to build nearly any style of website out there. The customizations are handled by the Cornerstone Page Builder, along with unique designs they call “stacks.” You can add and rearrange elements however you’d like, and have complete control over the end result of your site.

No matter how you choose to build our your site, then end result will be truly stunning. All of the designs created with this theme are truly unique and pleasing to the eye. 

This premium theme currently costs $59 from ThemeForest. 

6. Bridge

bridge wordpress theme

Bridge is another top-selling theme in the ThemeForest marketplace. Bridge offers you a variety of modern designs to choose from and a near-endless supply of features that go beyond just designing your site.

For example, you can opt for bundled backups, instant theme setup, and you’ll have access to an expert support team 24/7. Plus, over 50k people have currently purchased the theme, so you know there’s a lot of satisfied website owners out there. 

Beyond the additional features, you’ll have over 200 different demo themes you can import content from, 24 different layouts to choose between, and access to a handful of premium plugins. 

Currently, you can pick up this theme for $59 at ThemeForest. 

7. SociallyViral

sociallyviral wordpress theme

The final theme on this list is SociallyViral. This theme was created by the all-star team of developers at MyThemeShop. Every single theme they create is incredibly high quality and popular, and this theme is no different.

In fact, this is a WordPress theme that’s based on the super-popular site ViralNova. This theme is more specific in the type of website it’s built for–namely, magazine-style content sites whose goal is to boost social shares. 

This theme is incredibly easy to setup, SEO-friendly, and super speedy right out of the gate. 

You can currently pick up this theme for $59 from the MyThemeShop store. 

Choosing the Right WordPress Theme for You

Hopefully, you have a few themes on your list that you’re exploring in-depth or considering installing or purchasing. Thousands and thousands of websites are already using any theme on the list above, and all are incredibly high-quality.

You simply can’t go wrong with any of the above themes when you’re building out your new WordPress website. 

But, even if none of the above themes spark your interest, that’s fine. Just keep the following points in mind as you search for the perfect WordPress theme.

  • Choose a theme with a simple design that won’t be overwhelming to your visitors.
  • Make sure that the theme is responsive.
  • See if the theme includes support for a page builder plugin, or has a high-quality page builder included.
  • The theme should be backed by quality user ratings and a high overall star rating.
  • Opt for a premium plugin if you want to build a higher quality site with more features.
  • The theme sample or demo content is very close to how you ultimately want your site to look.

Whether you’re choosing a popular WordPress theme from the list above, or selecting a more niche theme that better suits the goals of your site, you’ll be in great hands by choosing WordPress as the foundation of your website. 

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.