There is a huge difference between a web designer and a web developer, even though they are often mistaken as being the same thing.
A webdesigner is more concerned with the front end or “design” of things and how the website will actually appear in the browser or on the screen, a developer is more concerned with the back-end and functionality (coding) of the design. While a developer will most likely be able to design the front end, a designer may not necessarily know how to fix the coding inside a design if it were to become corrupted.
In the same way, a “writer” may know how to use WordPress to write posts, create nice pages and update their site, they may not understand exactly how to design or configure all of the elements within the theme itself, such as editing HTML or CSS, modifying admin panel options or using short codes.
I have had the unique opportunity to sit on both sides of the fence and as such, it has provided me with some valuable insights into what is required for a personal theme to be considered one of the best.
The important part of the theme for most “regular” users is content management and overall functionality, it should be easy to setup and use without the help of a designer or developer if at all possible.
Modern themes are leaning more towards a more responsive design and if you are intending on purchasing a personal blogging theme, the time is now to move from blogs that are made to work on mobile devices, to the ones that were actually created to work with them. If a theme is not responsive and is not compatible with the latest updates of WordPress, it is already considered outdated and does not warrant a spot on this list.
Personal blogs come in a magazine style layout, however, I will only be covering regular blog styles and will create a collection just for magazine styles in the near future, so please stayed tuned.
With this in mind, here are the twenty best personal blogging WordPress themes at this time.
1. Pearls of Wisdom
Flawless design, responsive behavior, full width images and four amazing sliders including an interactive carousel slider, layered slider and full width thumbnail carousel slider only begins to describe how amazingly smart the Pearls of Wisdom WordPress theme is. Closely resembling a scrolling presentation style theme, the content is featured on the homepage in layered sections with banner and heading separators.
Pearls of Wisdom comes with easy to use call to action short codes, mailchimp integration and is contact 7 ready, saving you tons of money on needing to hire a marketer to promote your blog for you.
This is the perfect theme for designers, bloggers and personal websites needing an upbeat modern looking theme that is market ready and easy to use.
Keilier is “the” theme for socially active individuals who want to use cleverly designed custom posts and widgets to view content. The circular image widget is a very nice added touch. Overall, the design resembles a social media platform and is very “sociable.”
Clean and well organized, it is not hard to notice that Keilier was created for one purpose and that purpose is loud and clear, viral content sharing.
This is the perfect theme for a quick and easy social media marketing solution for personal blogs.
Ahox WordPress theme is a creative and somewhat bold looking theme that does not come with a great deal of baggage. It has one easy to use slider and several different content posts types such as video, links and gallery. The ideal theme for novice users, it does not have a whole lot to customize, however what it may lack in this area, it makes up for in the design.
The look of the design is clean, creative, modern and bold at the very same time and is what provides the theme with its own unique sense of style. For individuals who want a modern theme, but have little or no idea on how to do that, this theme is ready to go and looks really cool. Ahox is a definite winner.
When you want to say what you need to say in rich images and video rather than a whole lot of unwanted text, a tumblog is the answer. A tumblog displays all of your content in a timeline format and goes straight to the heart of the matter. Scopic is a really unique version of a tumblog and reminds me of the social media platform “Plurk.” Complete with WordPress visual customizer, Scopic is easy to use with a variety of posting capabilities such as video, audio and image gallery.
Scopic is perfect for individuals on the go, who post often, and need to see an “in the moment” version of all their postings. Fun and different, Scopic is one of the best solutions for tumblogs.
Behemoth is the monster of all personal blogs complete with large bold text, full width content areas and the ability to customize each post and page with a unique background image or color right from within the dashboard, via the WordPress customizer.
Behemoth has a liquid responsive design with an incredible amount of shortcodes such as alerts, progress bars, text highlighting, dividers, buttons, boxes, YouTube, Vimeo, USTREAM, DailyMotion, and column spacing.
When you want to do things your way, Behemoth theme is the way to go. It just looks great, no matter which way you slice it.
TdWriter is a full page personal blogging theme from WordPress that allows you to set background images as well as, add a summary or brief teaser to the posts that you want featured on the front page. All the blog posts are shown in a full width scrolling format that is easy for viewing on small devices.
Its minimalistic design was created intentionally for user friendly content that is easy to read.
This theme is perfect for bloggers who use short posts with lots of images such as do it yourself websites, interior designer and other “tips” and technique style websites.
7. Website ~ Best Seller
Website is one of the top selling WordPress personal blogs themes on ThemeForest with over 3500 sales to date. It is easy to use, has an almost “flat” user friendly style design and a very organized schematic that is perfect for viewing on a variety of devices and browsers.
It is one of the few themes that actually still looks and acts like a classic blog and while it does fringe on the side of a magazine blog, it really is not. It does however, encompasses the functionality of the more technologically advanced themes. Website’s options include filterable portfolios, social media icons, 3 types of sliders, 7 post types, galleries, widgets and a massive admin panel that allows you to customize just about everything with the click of the mouse.
This is the perfect theme for bloggers who want a quick and easy solution to blogging without having to spend a great deal of time on setting it up and customizing it.
Blogist WordPress theme, as its name suggests, was created with the “writer” or blogger in mind, the large content areas and focus on textual content makes it quite evident. The theme itself is very minimalistic, and similar to the Website theme above, it is one of the few modern themes that still looks and acts like a classic blog.
It does have an advanced admin panel, 7 custom post types and lots of galleries for displaying content any way you want, however it is focused on one thing and does it well, blogging. Add a nice large image or video to the post, adds some text and you’re ready to go, yes it really is that simple!
Kinsky is a fully dynamic and responsive WordPress theme, best suited for use as a portfolio theme for showcasing your work. It was developed on the Zurb Foundation 4 framework for responsive development and is customizable via the WordPress Theme Customizer. The layout of the theme is very clean, well designed and fluid. The design makes you want to read what is on the page, something that is not always easy to accomplish.
Loaded with great features, Kinsky looks very professional and is the ideal theme for a more formal looking personal blog or for professionals and freelance small business owners who want a unique fresh looking blog.
Created with the power of Massive Panel and Visual Composer, Leaf Wordpress theme makes creating creative posts, pages and content extremely easy. A portfolio style theme, leaf is an extremely user friendly theme that focuses on performance, design and usability.
The theme comes with 2 built in sliders for a variety of different looks, even though the overall design is very minimalistic.
There are 9 different post formats supported, multiple header variations and unlimited sidebars and shortcodes to make the theme even more flexible. It might be minimalistic, but it sure packs a punch when it comes to changing things around a bit. Perfect for the everyday blogger who wants to do something just a little bit different while still keeping things organized.
Captivating is the word that best describes the Captain blogging theme from WordPress. The transparent vertical sidebar menu alongside the scrolling large featured posts content area on the homepage of the theme is so powerful and impressive, the theme needs no other introduction. From the moment that you see it, you will be hooked on this design.
When I think of modern design, this is generally what comes to mind ~ clean and large content areas, large images, video and slider portfolios and galleries, with well designed header menus that control the entire theme from one place ~ this theme has it all and more. The images are not full page or full width, but they still create a huge amount of impact.
Captain is simply design, well done.
Selfy is a beautiful WordPress Theme commonly referred to as a “Resume/CV” style theme that is dedicated to promoting, selling, and showcasing yourself in very much the same way that a written resume does. It was built for regular users or non WordPress savvy users who can customise this theme without the help of others. There are many blogs themes in CV style however, selfy is the best one in that category and worthy of mention in this list.
It has a full screen slider, easy to use social icons and is ecommerce ready if you want to sell some of your work or products.
When its all about you, it should be all about “Selfy.”
Blatantly different and a little bit unique is what drew me to this theme in the very first place.
A relatively new WordPress theme, Blatantly is a photoblog with large images, wide right and left sidebars and scrolling type posts that closely resemble a presentation or portfolio style theme. Social media ready, including a google pin upload feature and built in contact form, the theme is filled with a huge number of added features but has a rather “blatantly” simplistic admin panel.
This is the perfect theme for nonconformist bloggers who swim against the tide and who are looking for something just a little bit different, but is still extremely effective and poweful.
Pixel power is another Tumblog style theme that places all of your content in an easy to read timeline fashion. Unlike the Scopic theme above, it is done in a more boxy style or post like format. The portfolio in this theme can be viewed in up to four columns and can be filtered by category or tags. It is one of the cleanest designs and personally, I really like how the posts are displayed on the timeline.
One of its best features includes a handy custom bio widget that quickly tells your visitors about yourself with photo, link, bio and social media links.
Pixel Power was designed for individuals who like tumblr style blogs and who spend a great deal of time posting on social media platforms.
Remal is a masonry type grid style blog that resembles the popular “Pinterest” social media platform. It is perhaps one of the nicest looking themes in masonry style and has one feature that I have not seen used often in this type of theme, each post can be framed or outlined in over 15 different color schemes, making the entire page one large colorful masonry grid. The grid itself can be viewed in small, medium, large or blog style format and the theme comes with some ready made custom pages including an author’s page, timeline view page, site map and login required page.
Highly versatile, this is one of the nicest masonry grid style themes to come around in a long while. This is the perfect theme for bloggers who use a great deal of guest blogs and have a huge mix of category posts because they all can be organized into one large filterable grid.
Personal design tip: Color code the major category filters. Example; all interior design category posts might be coded with a pink background, while all food category posts would be created in blue. In this manner, on the main page grid it would be easy to identify which category the post belongs to, adding a truly unique sense of style!
Clipboard is also one of the best masonry style WordPress themes and has its own unique feature, a full page landing overlay that greets you as arrive on the homepage. You can use this overlay page as a promotional landing page, provide a captivating message for your viewers or simply welcome people to your website.
Whatever you choose to use it for, the overlay is a nice added touch to the theme and not something used often in masonry grid style themes. Created with simplicity in mind, the theme is a set it and forget it style that does not need a great deal of customization.
Perfect for the novice user who wants a great starter masonry style theme to work with, Clipboard is one of the best.
Fast blog is one of the best selling personal blogs on ThemeForest and is perfect for those who like to take a walk on the wild side of things. Integrated with the WooTumblog plugin, the content can be viewed as regular full width content posts or in a tumblr timeline layout style. The choice is really up to you, if you want a regular looking blog or a more trendy one.
There are twelve different color skins to choose from which includes; six light and six dark color options. Fast blog is so easy to use, you can do it from your mobile device with the easy to use tumblog panel.
Perfect for those on the go, who want to keep their website updated, trendy and user friendly, fast blog lives up to its name.
The Hobby WordPress theme has a multitude of features including a multi-layer revolution Slider and custom built blog posts slider that adds a really unique effect to the theme. Unlimited colors, different portfolio layouts, custom post types, custom widgets, tons of shortcodes, social media and SEO optimized, this theme is perfect for all hobby enthusiasts. It does not matter if you like cooking or prefer jumping from cliffs, the theme will fit perfectly into your busy lifestyle.
It has a very clean and professional looking design that is nicely balanced with a two tone header menu adding to its overall charm.
Perhaps its one downfall, it has yet to be updated to WordPress 3.7 and for this reason it currently sits at number 17.
Percision WordPress theme is a very unique theme in itself. It is a “brochure style” design with a fixed left hand side so your image slide show display is always visible.The home page is built right inside a content slider that can slide, fade or become a static page.
While, I really like the concept of this blog, I find it way too small in the relation to the background in web view, however, it displays quite nicely on smaller devices and for this reason it makes the perfect mobile type theme for personal blogging.
I would not recommend it for use solely as a website design, but for individuals who do a great deal of mobile blogging, then this is really a unique looking theme that is worthy of a mention.
20. Write about it
Write about it is one of the cleanest and nicest WordPress personal blog themes created with a focus on the content rather than the overall design. One of the unique features of this blog is that you can choose what post elements you want to show on the posts page including galleries, comments, quotes and links.
The theme supports a number of post types including chat, which is a great feature for “hip” bloggers who need to be in constant contact with its clientèle, but you can also turn this feature off.
You can customize the header, backgrounds and other features to make it a bit more personal and upbeat. Perhaps one of the best classic looking designs, write about it may be last on this list, but certainly is not the least deserving of a spot.
In the end, the true choice of a personal blog comes down to individual taste and style, however there is a great deal of choice in types of themes such as portfolio style, masonry grid, classic, scrolling and presentation and full page or one page themes that the sky is the limit to what you can do.
Experiment with themes, try new things and see what inspires you, that is what designers do.
“Create your own visual style, let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others ~ Orson Welles”