I’ve written elsewhere about how I finally saw the light and switched from designing my own WordPress themes, or using freebies, to shelling out a modest sum for a premium, professionally-designed WordPress theme (Why I’m Using a Premium WordPress Theme and Why You Should, Too ). And I keep being impressed by the never ending flow of new, even better WordPress themes. Here’s a roundup of some of the best, freshest—and cheap—new premium WordPress themes.
I don’t usually write shamelessly promotional posts, but as everyone knows, I Love AN Hosting. I’ve been recommending them for years. For my money, they blow away more high profile hosts like DreamHost and Media Temple, both nightmare hosts in my experience. And now, AN Hosting just got even better. It wouldn’t be fair to you if I didn’t tell you about it.
I spent hours—days—looking at free themes and making several false starts at creating my own new theme. There are some admirable themes out there (I’ve designed a few myself and I’ve posted about good themes I’ve come across). But let’s face it: most free themes are boring, badly designed, or poorly constructed. It takes inspiration to design a unique theme and perspiration to grind out the code. Both are time consuming and fraught with hair pulling. Even if you have the talent, skill and patience that I lack, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t love the task, the payoff is rather poor.
Plenty of Reasons to Go Premium
I saved days of wasted effort trying to start from scratch, learn a new WordPress framework, or hack a shoddy free theme to my needs. Instead, by going with a premium theme, I got a theme that:
- Has a clean design that looks just fine out-of-the-box.
- Has plenty of options that make it easy to customize.
- Offers a comprehensive demo site, good documentation, and instructional videos (yipee!).
- Has clean code that’s easy to hack if I want to get creative.
- Is compatible with all major browsers, saving me the time and aggravation of having to test my own design.
- Has a wealth of functionality built in.
- Exposed me to some useful plugins that I didn’t know about.
- Is probably better than I could have come up with on my own.
- Saved me more than my money’s worth in time and frustration.
Picking a Premium Theme for ThemeMeme
I’ve always been skeptical of premium themes. Some are overpriced. Some aren’t much better than many of the free themes that are available. But a few months back, I added some affiliate links to ThemeForest and ElegantThemes. I mostly forgot about them, but when I last checked, I noticed I’d made a few sales. Obviously, people were finding something they liked. So I took another look.
If you check out ElegantThemes, you’ll see a wide selection of beautifully crafted themes. Better yet, you get unlimited access to all of these themes (almost 30 as I write this) for only $19.95! It’s an incredible deal.
ThemeForest is à la carte, with each theme going for about $20 to $35. There are over 300 themes as I write this, but as you might expect, most of them aren’t worth a second look. Surprisingly, there are a handful of truly excellent themes available here. I had a hard time settling on one, but finally chose the BigFeature theme, which set me back 25 bucks, which I still consider a bargain.
The Best of the Rest
Here are the top ten WordPress themes I found on ThemeForest while looking for a theme:
Rare to find a roundup of WordPress themes that isn’t a rehash of all the themes you’ve seen before. This one includes several great themes that were new to me.
I’m releasing a version of the ThemeMeme Aeterno WordPress theme. It’s still a little rough around the edges, but I don’t have time to work on it now and didn’t want to withhold it from anyone who might be interested to play with it. It works fine, but may lack a little polish here and there.
I’ve just switched ThemeMeme to my new theme, ThemeMeme Aeterno. It’s still a work-in-progress, but almost ready for release. Please check it out and post your feedback in the comments.
I just started school again last week and I’m already feeling swamped, so I won’t be making many changes to this theme. I’m going to wait a week or so for some feedback, then I’ll make a few tweaks and set it out into the wild.
You’re feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated. I’ll try to fix anything broken, but please understand that I won’t necessarily have time to respond to your comments and incorporate your suggestions. But don’t hesitate to point out any glitches or make any wishes. You never know when I’ll find some time…
Rounded corners, border images, box shadows and text shadows, transparency, and custom web fonts—all will soon be be easy breezy with CSS3. Here’s the down and dirty on how to incorporate these features into your next design or theme tweak.
I’ve had the same wallpaper on my iPhone for at least a year. I can’t remember where I snagged it, but it reads:
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
Great quote, but after a year, it’s getting a little old. But finding great wallpapers for iPhone isn’t easy. Until now.
Smashing Magazine, in their usual smashing fashion, has compiled a collection of 100 truly beautiful iPhone wallpapers arranged by category (typography, nature, retro and vintage, illustrations and artwork, abstract, etc.). All of them are snazzy. Now you can try a new one every few days.
How to download all the images on a web page with a couple of clicks
Before you head over to Smashing, grab DownThemAll. It’s a FireFox add-on that lets you download all the links or images from a web page with a couple of clicks. Once you have it installed, you can grab all 100 wallpapers in just a few seconds.
specky boy offers up a fantastic collection of sites for backgrounds and patterns, perfect for your desktop or WordPress blog.
I’m working on a new design for ThemeMeme, a new WordPress theme, to be called ThemeMeme Aeterno. Like my other themes, the name comes from some Lorem Ispum nonsense, and is not meant to infringe on any other use, and especially is in no way is connected to the Urban Dictionary definition of Aeterno, which I only just discovered. Honest.
I think of ThemeMeme Aeterno as the successor to my WordPress theme, ThemeMeme Aperio. I would have kept the same name, since I originally thought of Aperio as a prototype rather than a finished theme, but it has since taken on a life of its own.
I’m still thinking through the design, but the home page is live with Aeterno, and I’ll be tweaking it and filling out the inside pages in the coming days. School starts on January 6th, so I’ll have my hands full soon, but sometime after ThemeMeme has been updated, I’ll be releasing the design as a theme.
I’d appreciate any feedback you have on the home page or any suggestions, but please understand that I may be slow in responding.
There are a few new requirements for theme authors,
so I’ll be updating my themes and making them available soon. [Actually, all of my themes use custom tags and images, so I don’t think I’ll be able to list them in the theme directory.]
See the WordPress Blog.
The latest roundup to include a ThemeMeme WordPress theme is from Speckyboy. You’ll find ThemeMeme Eos hobnobbing with some impressive company in Spekyboy’s list of 43 Phenomenal and Advanced Groundbreaking WordPress Themes – Free to Download.
Where do these guys keep finding these great themes? There are several high quality themes in this list. Some of my favorites: Lemon Twist, Charlottenburg and, of course, the excellent themes by Derek Punsalan and Ian Stewart.
ThemeMeme Aperio is often described by its fans as “beautiful” and “creative,” but this new mod by wangjelgraphics pushes the envelope. Modestly described as “not so much new just a little transparency here and there, flash tag cloud and fancy zoom,” Aperio littlemod is as cool as a Zen snow cone.
Kudos to wangjel.
Grab Aperio littlemod.
The Web Squeeze manages to squeeze 40(!) sources of free images out of the web. The list includes some of my old favorites, like Image*After and Stock.xchng, plus more sites than I have time to peruse. Who needs iStockphoto? (Okay, it’s hard to beat iStockphoto’s quality and low price, but if you’ve got the time, there’s a good chance you’ll find the perfect photo in one of these 40 Free Stock Photo Sites.)