Need a beautiful WordPress site on a smaller budget? You can probably get there with a commercial theme. Approximately half of our client sites, and all of our in-house sites, are built using commercial themes, so we have a lot of experience using them. We have used themes from every single one of the providers listed in this post.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Pongos will receive an affiliate commission.
Our Picks for Commercial Theme Providers
StudioPress, which was recently acquired by WP Engine, is the maker of the Genesis theme framework. The Pongos dev team uses Genesis, plus Bootstrap, for most of our more recent custom themes commissioned by clients. The Genesis framework comes with a lot of built-in features that allow for quick and easy customizations in the WordPress dashboard. Some of my personal favorite themes from StudioPress include KickStart Pro (look familiar?), Cafe Pro, and Academy Pro.
Elegant Themes is another great source for commercial themes. They are the makers of the very popular Divi theme, which includes their Visual Page Builder (more on that in a bit). The Pongos team has used Divi for several client sites, and we have supported other clients who just wanted to do it for themselves (with a little bit of help). If you’re looking for a great theme for blogging, Extra is perfect. I’m currently in the process of moving one of my personal sites over to it.
WooCommerce is the top choice for e-commerce in WordPress, and their themes are often the best choice for sites that rely on that framework. Our Pongos Learning Lab / Coder Kids Club website is built using their Storefront theme. My other favorites from WooCommerce are Outlet and Arcade, both of which are Storefront child themes.
BuddyBoss has some great themes, and plugins, for use with BuddyPress. If you need to create a social network for your site, the themes from BuddyBoss are perfect. We have used their Boss theme on a couple of client sites. Make sure you also check out their BuddyPress plugins! They have made my life so much easier.
Visual Page Builders
Many of our clients want to try to build their sites themselves. In many cases, they don’t want to learn how to code, but these days that’s not a problem. They can just use Visual Page Builders, which will give them control over the fonts, colors, and other aspects of each page of the site, from the WordPress dashboard. No programming required! Here are a few you can try:
- Divi Builder is the plugin form of Divi. You can use it with any WordPress theme, to build custom layouts within content areas. It’s drag-and-drop, and relatively easy to use. We are currently using Divi Builder with the KickStart Pro theme on this site.
- Elementor is another option, and one that we used on a site at a client’s request. It’s pretty easy to use.
- Beaver Builder has been highly recommended to me several times, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. It’s on my list to try soon.
- Design Palette Pro from StudioPress lets you change colors, fonts, and many other aspects of elements within a Genesis-based theme, but doesn’t let you make layout changes.