When it comes to blogging and online content management systems, one name is spoken more often than any other: WordPress. This amazingly user-friendly, endlessly-customizable framework is an open source project that has revolutionized the online community since its creation in 2003. Cropping up on hundreds of thousands of sites across the interweb with eager users and community created plugins to enhance performance, this programming powerhouse shows no signs of slowing down.
With so many sites on the bandwagon, designers and developers have answered the call by bringing a multitude of WordPress-ready themes to keep sites looking fresh and new. Given the popularity of the product, these themes make waves when they land in the cyber sea and finding examples that have not been widely used can be difficult and a little bit intimidating. However, after scouring the vast recesses of the web, we have found a few gems that you may not have seen before. Here are some of the standouts we happened to uncover.
- Optimized for all browsers
- XHTML/CSS valid
- Fixed width
- 2 columns
This theme offers a clean, very sleek setup for your website. It seems like it would be ideally suited for a fashion blog of some kind. Very crisp, overall.
- Built in tagging
- Google ads and a sidebar block with 125 x 125 banner ads
- Valid XHTML 1.0 transitional and valid CSS
Technically this theme was built as a base for a CSS/website gallery, and wonderfully so, however, personally I think the design also lends itself to being used greatly as a portfolio or as a general showcase gallery.
- Clean and simple
- 3 columns
- Sidebar widget ready
- XHTML + CSS valid
- Tested in Firefox, Internet Explorer 6, Opera, and Safari
- Compatible with WordPress 2.5 and below
- Logo PSD and font are included in the package
This is simply a wonderful theme for anyone looking to organize an in-depth blog or manage content that requires multiple category listings and also needs a lot of features. This theme meets both of those stipulations with grace and ease.
- Lean and simple CSS
- Grid Layout
- Tabbed Navigation
- Slideshow animated featured articles on front page
An extremely deep magazine theme suited magnificently for multi-author blogs. Among its many accessible features is a fantastic statistics calculator in each post which includes total comments, total views, author name, category, date, and an email address, not to mention the print function.
- Custom admin panel
- Easily customize theme
- Four widgetized areas
- More homepage content
- Author Archives
- Two page templates
- No editing themes files
- Blueprint CSS
- Valid XHTML and CSS
Monochrome Gallery is a free widgetized theme for WordPress packaged with an author archives page, AJAX slideshow, categorized posts with thumbnails on the homepage, and a CSS framework to aid in customization. Need I say more?
- Unique and fresh design
- Widgetized Sidebar
- 125×125 ad spots
- 250×250 adsense spot
- Easily customizable using CSS
- Custom 404 Error page
- Fixed width
- Right Sidebar
- Built in Flickr support
- Styled Pagination
- Built in Gravatar
- Valid CSS & HTML
Here we have a fully loaded magazine theme packed with features. Completely ready to launch your online publication style site with a built in photo gallery and featured articles sections. If it’s a magazine theme you need, look no further.
- Drop Down Menus
- Automatic image resizing for thumbnails
- Gravatar Support
- 3 column with enhanced footer
On the other hand, when you need the perfect balance between a magazine type setup and blog, then this is your theme. You get the magazine headers and featured articles, with an ordered post section below a featured category break.
- Contains search, author, and links page templates.
- Mootool Accordion for bulk post display.
- Collapsible/expandable sidebar.
- XHTML1.0 Transitional
- Sidebar is above footer, and has 3 columns.
- GD Image Titles (Can be disabled via Theme Options Page)
- Tested in IE7, IE6, Firefox 1.5, and Opera 9
Probably the most unique theme I have seen in a while, this visually stunning theme, not to mention how technically interesting it is, makes me think of flipping through a book. An easy addition to the list, without question. I expect to see this cropping up all over the web.
Yet another fine example of a content based theme. Meaning it is simple and clean while still offering a variety of features. Though none of that detracts from letting the content shine through.
- Clean grid-based design
- Support for WordPress widgets
- A three-column home page
- Featured post highlighting
- Associating images/thumbnails with recent posts
- Customizable logo/header image
- Easy CSS classes for adding captions and wrapping text around images in posts
- Support for asides
- Option for readers to e-mail posts to friends
- Option to switch to a print-friendly view to print posts
The theme was created based on a brief survey on the WordPress forums about what people would want to see in a unique magazine-style theme. Nice showcase layout for your recent posts.
Bonus Versatility Lite
- Two-collumn theme
- Widgetized Sidebar
- Featured Post
- Dropdown CSS Menus
- Integrated related posts, social bookmarking buttons and more
As a bonus we decided to add a new theme that was just released this week. It’s a nice simple and clean blog theme released under the Creative Commons License.
What underused themes have you discovered recently on your trips around the web that you think would have made a nice addition to the list?