Here’s our top 10 picks for Free WordPress Responsive Themes. Free is always in the budget!
Here are links to their demos. To download these WordPress themes and use them on your website – just go to your
Dashboard >> Appearance >> Themes >> Add New >> Search
#10 Esteem – http://demo.themegrill.com/esteem/
#9 Ample – http://demo.themegrill.com/ample/
#8 Metro CreativeX – http://demo.themeisle.com/metrox/
#7 Unite – http://colorlib.com/unite/
#6 Dynamic News Lite – http://preview.themezee.com/dynamicnews/
#5 Responsive – http://demos.cyberchimps.com/responsivepro/
#4 Spacious – http://demo.themegrill.com/spacious/
#3 Zerif – http://demo.themeisle.com/zerif-lite/
#2 Sparkling – http://colorlib.com/sparkling/
#1 Evolve – http://demo.theme4press.com/evolve/
Paid WordPress Responsive Themes
Avada – http://demo.theme-fusion.com/
Hi, hi, hi! Hey, Everybody! Welcome to another WordPress Wednesday. I’m Kori Ashton here in beautiful San Antonio, TX, ready to walk y’all through my favorite, top-ten, free, responsive WordPress themes, alright?
Before I get started, I want to say a quick thank you to our awesome partners and sponsors. We’ve got WPEngine up here that is just incredible with their WordPress hosting. So, if you guys are on WordPress and are looking for a really good hosting company that can help you with support questions, great security, and fast servers, they are the team to check out at wpengine.com.
You also want to look at WPElevation. These guys—Troy down there is just amazing. They are from Australia. They are really, really cool. If you are an entrepreneur in the WordPress world, you’ll want to check out all their resources. And then also, WP101: If you are looking for a little more help with your WordPress website, check out their free and paid tutorials, videos. They are fantastic. So, be sure to jump over there and let them know that Kori Ashton sent you. I would appreciate that.
Let’s get to it; here we go! The very first theme—and I am actually going to pretty much move out of the way for this whole tutorial because I want y’all to focus on the themes. Again, these are all going to be responsive themes. I have personally installed every single one of these themes, messed around with their documentation, messed around with their options, and how you customize the theme. For the most part, I am vetting every single one of these. I think they are pretty fantastic.
So, as of April 2015, if you are looking at this video right now and it is six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, down the road, I might have created another video with newer versions of what I would suggest using; but for now, as of April 2015, these are the themes that I think are fantastic. They are all easily accessible in the theme repository. If you go to your dashboard and go to themes, under appearance, go to themes, go to add new, and do a search inside there, you are going to find every single one of these themes. This isn’t something where you have to leave WordPress to go out and download something and bring it to your website. All of these are easily accessible and they have great, great options, and I am going to walk you through every single one of them.
So, #10 on my list, here we go, moving out of the way again. Number 10 on my list is this theme called “Esteem.” I really liked it because it is minimal. It’s simple. It’s clean. You can either have this boxed field here or you can set the options to be wide. Check that out. So, it goes to the full width of your screen no matter what size, and of course, it is responsive. Again, as you shrink down your screen, you’re going to see the options change for this really cool accordion effect, and the website is just going to look super, super nice no matter device it is on. So, every single one of these themes that I am talking about in this tutorial, they all are responsive. I also like the fact that it has this nice CTA or Called to Action area here that is simply embedded. You just change the text content here, change the wording, and you’re up and running. Some really cool options here. This is your recent work or possibly coming from a portfolio or blog area. Here are your testimonials and a really nice footer area as well. I am going to put the links to all these down below, and you will able to check out all their different options and go look at them yourself. This has a right sidebar, a left sidebar, possibly even a full-width page if you needed something like that. It also has a pro-version, which again, a lot of these themes that I am showing you today, while they might have some minimal, really cool, simple options inside the free version, most of these authors survive off of their pro-version or their upgraded version, right? You don’t have to purchase it, but if you see some really cool bells and whistles in here and once you install it those are not accessible to you, it is more than likely the author has said, “Hey, if you purchase the pro-version, you will be able to have all of these added features.” Right? So, think about that and be sure you like what is accessible to you in just the free version, okay? The free version—free is always in the budget!
Here we go, #9. I’m liking “Ample.” This is a pretty great theme. I really dig the placement of the menu across the top here. It’s got this nice little search effect happening here. You can also manually scroll through the slideshow happening here. Very minimal, very simple options and interface as well. But, one of the cool things that this theme has is this cool parallax where the image sits behind something, and it feels like it is kind of hovering. That’s called “parallax,” and it’s something that we are seeing a lot trending right now in design. This theme offers it in multiple spots. So, really, really cool, very modern-looking, simple, simple theme. A right and left sidebar, full width as well; so, you can check that out.
Alright, the next one I have, #8—this is really, really different, very unique-looking. It has a left-side navigation here, kind of a flat design, and it’s very, very nice for blogger. So, this is all your latest blog articles. This would show what it would look like if it had a gallery with the blog article or if it just had a featured image and all sorts of different post types that you come in here and play around with. It has audio post type and a quote format. So, play around with this if you are a blogger and you want to be able to give somebody visiting your website just a totally, very unique experience. We dig this one!
Alright, #7 is “Unite Demo.” This one is really beautiful. It also offered some WooCommerce settings to it, but it’s very clean. We really liked that about this. The typology is really, really legible. Really simple, simple, very short pages. The gallery here is really nice. They’re using kind of a wedding theme on this. Of course, you would be able to put any type of photography in here you wanted, but this is masonry laid out here. So, when you scroll this out—check this out. Watch this cool, little shift happen here. And, on a cell phone, look how beautiful that gallery still is. You can’t beat that. That’s just fantastic! A beautiful gallery, really nice if you are a photographer and wanted to showcase your work or if you have some really gorgeous images. And, of course, the shop area is here as well. They have a full-width page…all sorts of fun options with this particular theme. It’s really great for your social media icons. You can change the color of this really simply. A couple of clicks and you’ve got the purple gone and moving into whatever color you want. Check out that theme!
“Dynamic News” is #6 for us or “Dynamic News Light” actually is what you are going to be looking for the free version. This does have a paid version. It’s a very nice theme for news or bloggers, very magazine style. Obviously, this is completely different from the last layout. This is very busy, very full; so again, anybody doing blogging or news or a magazine-type layout, this is a fantastic, free theme. It’s hard to believe this is free because of all the different, really great features that it comes with straight out of the box. This huge footer down here is really, really nice and this nice right sidebar that happens here adds a lot of really great content throughout your whole website. So, check that out. You’ve got a couple of different page templates, really nice dropdown options. I like the fact that it also has social media at the top as well. You can also change out this text really, really simply with just a couple of clicks. Again you are making edits up here to your header area, and of course, you can upload any logo that you would have. So, fantastic! A lot of options with that particular theme.
This particular theme is called “Responsive,” #5 on our list. It is, in fact, responsive. One of the things that we liked about this is that looks really different from others that we have found is this kind of multilevel menu option you’ve got here. You’ve got your main menu here. You’ve got a header menu way at the top right here, and you’ve got a secondary menu that can happen as well. Now again, you don’t have to use all these options, but if you are looking for a theme that would allow something like that, this is the theme for you. I’ll show you what this would look like shrunk down in the responsive mode because you want to see that top menu. Look how it slides over and gets in line with everything very, very nicely. Then you’ve to the accordion effect here with the main navigation. There’s a really nice CTA button, a call-to-action button, that stands out as well. Let’s see, it’s really nice for social media. I would just suggest this being a really nice starter theme for a startup business, really good for a corporate-type look.
Number 4 on our list is “Spacious.” We’ve used this theme before for several of our clients that just were on a nice, little budget that needed to get a website up and running really quickly. So, we have used this a couple of times and really, really enjoyed it. It’s got a nice CTA area. It has over 13 different widget areas, which is spectacular when it comes to a free theme. Nice, nice footer area down here as well so you can be sure to have all sorts of different content down through this area and use that space wisely. This testimonials’ plugin right here in this theme is really a spectacular widget, just really incredible for a free version. A left sidebar and right sidebar, again a full-width version. And, another thing I want to bring to your attention is the video tutorials. This author gives you spectacular documentation with actual videos. So, check out “Spacious,” a really, really great, clean theme.
Number 3 on our list includes a single-page, a one-page website or theme, rather. As you scroll down you see “Our Focus” here, this parallax taking place, “About Us,” and all this lazy load where it kind of zooms in or flies in from the sides or slides in. Really cool CSS functionality happening there. Nice movement, very clean-looking theme. There’s your parallax with “Get in Touch,” all this sitting here. So, if we were to click “Our Focus,” though, or to click “About Us,” this is just zipping down this single page. If you don’t have a whole, whole lot of content, you just need something very basic to get you up and running, maybe you want a blog inside of a website, this is a pretty good theme for you. This would work. One of the things that we also wanted to mention is that whenever I clicked install on this or whenever I clicked activate on this particular theme, literally it was like 90% done already. As soon as I clicked activate and went to the front side of my website, all of this was sitting here. Then you go into the customize area and just replace the text and you’re up and running. It was probably one of the simplest installs I have ever played around with. So, kudos to the team building “Erif”!
Number 2 on our list is “Sparkling.” This is the theme we use for “wpwed.com,” our WordPress Wednesday library of all our videos. It’s really nice. One of the things we like about this is that it’s not really option overload. If you are kind of leery about getting into a theme and you really don’t want to be overwhelmed by, you know, thirty pages of clicking through to have to customize a theme and you just need something super simply, that’s one of the reasons why we highly recommend “Sparkling.” It’s very simple to set up. It’s really only the absolute necessities needed. So, if you’ve got a gallery, you’ve got some pretty good shortcodes also that the author has used in here pulling from bootstrap, which is a bonus, because you know it is going to be really optimized well for responsive design as well as all of these really great, kind of out-of-the-box shortcodes that you can plug in allowing you to have a different type of typography and column layout and functionality with a just few shortcodes. So, it’s really, really well done. Check out these cool “Image Effect” you can do literally just by adding a little bit of shortcode. You don’t have to go into photoshop to make your image a perfect circle. You would just add a shortcode around your image to give it this nice little border, to make it have these nice, little-rounded corners, be in a square—all these fun little features literally out of the box. When we shrink this stuff down, again, fully responsive. A really nice-looking theme. So, I highly recommend “Spacious” as our #2 choice on our top ten list.
And, last but not least, our #1 pick is “Evolve.” Now, this is something new that we have just been kind of given. I was looking through and trying to do some research for you, and this kind of really kind of blew our minds that this is a free version of this theme. The authors have gone above and beyond giving a lot of features that you would only find typically in paid versions. This author really just goes on—what we consider, you’ve probably heard me say it before—option overload. If you are looking for a theme that can do it all and you’re on a budget of free, this is a great place to start. You can have a boxed or full-width look. You’ve got all sorts of different options for shortcodes as well and really great typography. You’ve got a parallax slider, which is that really cool hover effect. (I don’t think there was one option showing here. So, let’s go in to see what that page looks like, to see if we can see an example of what the parallax slider would be. So, you’ve got this here happening where you can…ah, very cool, and have everything kind of going in and out with different layers, if you will. So, a very cool option there. They also have the rev slider, which we highly recommend. That’s also an option inside of this theme, which gives you that cool layer effect as well. So, really fantastic. The other thing that you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been staring at this screen with me for a little while right now, is that there is a shopping cart inside of here. You’ve got the word “shop” right here. So, this is WooCommerce ready. It also has really spectacular documentation, and there is a pro-version to gain some extra features.
So, be sure to look into all the different options as you are looking through any theme. If you are shopping for a theme, the two things you really want to look for right away in a theme—well, obviously you have to have it be responsive, right? We already know, Google has already let us know that you’ve got to be responsive. So, that’s kind of a default. The other two things you want to be looking at are the reviews of the theme. You want to know what people are saying about the theme and be sure that it is reputable and easy to set up and customize. The second thing you want to be looking for is if this theme is up to date, alright? You want to be sure that this theme is ready for whatever version of WordPress core you are running right now. So, look at those things and be sure the author is active. The last thing you want to do is invest your time in installing your theme and six months down the road the theme is no longer supported by that author and you’re struggling to get any sort of help or updates, and all of a sudden, you are going to see breaks happen on your website. So I highly, highly recommend that you do your homework on any theme that you are installing.
If your budget is around the $60 range and you think you can kind of stretch it and get you paid version of a theme, we also want to throw in here at the very end two themes that we highly recommend over on Theme Forest: “Avada.” We’ve used it multiple times. It’s really, really customizable. It is a little bit of an option overload. I would suggest your being a little bit more familiar with WordPress and not starting out with this theme if this is your first experience with WordPress. You need to be a little bit more advanced, but spending some time going through the documentation, you can move pretty quickly and have a pretty incredible-looking website for around the $60 range.
And another theme that we really enjoy is a new theme that we stumbled upon from Theme Forest called “Austin,” which we are proud because that is a Texas city, our capitol. This is really spectacular that this agency is based out of Austin. We’ve got to give them some kudos and love for this spectacular theme. We’ve already used it once and looking to use it a second time for another client. So, we are really, really proud to see this type of work coming out of our great state, which is also the home of WordPress, if you guys didn’t know that. There’s a little bit of WordPress trivia for you. The great state of Texas!
Alright, Y’all. This is WordPress Wednesday. I’m Kori Ashton. If you have any questions about any of these themes or your WordPress website, would you consider tweeting us or leaving a comment in the comment box below? We look forward to helping you. See you next WordPress Wednesday. Bye, bye!