How to Ensure You Start a Successful Blog: Use These Top Rated Themes & Essential Plugins

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There are 49,315 domains registered daily, here's how to ensure your site succeeds by using the top rated themes and plugins.

In 2015, more than 49,315 domains were registered every day.  Of those domains, 22 out of 100 of them will be run on WordPress.

With so much competition in the WordPress space, site maintainers have the difficult task of making a website that is not only informative to its users, but also a site that is easy to use and looks great.

Thanks to the large number of both free and paid WordPress themes available, that is a simple task (especially considering that free themes are proven to be faster than paid).

Navigating your way through the sea of themes to find the one that is right for you, however, isn't simple at all.

To help save you from some of that panic, we will take a look at the best WordPress themes and plugins that should be used to launch every new blog.

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Best WordPress Themes

Before you head over to the WP Theme Directory and download the first nice looking theme that catches your eye, there are some things to consider.

Try to answer all of the following questions beforehand, so you’re better prepared to make that choice when it comes time to choose for your site:

  • Do I want to spend money on a paid theme or go for a free theme?
  • Do I want something that is highly customizable or something that comes fully made for me?
  • Do I want something that is bulky and image-heavy or something that is speedy and efficient?

Once you decide on the sort of theme you want with these questions, it will narrow down your search dramatically and you’ll at least know what direction to look in.

Best Paid WordPress Themes

WordPress Theme directory page

Goodlife Theme

What makes this theme unique, aside from its modern look, is the fact that it comes already bundled with all of the plugins it needs to reach its fullest potential. This means that it would be great for someone who isn't quite tech-savvy, but still wants a clean, easy to view theme for a low price.

Price: $49
Rating: 99/100

Newsmag Theme

This is a clean, easy to use theme that would work best for newspaper, magazine, and publishing websites. It supports YouTube and Vimeo videos, and even features a unique rating system.

Price: $49
Rating: 92/100

Enfold Theme

Not only is it clean and flexible, but it is perfect for both business websites and online shops. The theme is built on top of the Avia Framework and offers support for multiple plugins. Additionally, the theme is highly customizable, and users are able to modify the layout, styling, fonts, and colors with ease. If you are not HTML savvy, you can also choose from several different skins to make the process a bit easier.

Price: $59
Rating: 91/100

Ronneby Theme

Filled to the brim with highly customizable options, Ronneby is the perfect choice for anyone ranging from a corporate website to a photographer looking to share their portfolio. The user is able to choose navigation style, over 18 layout templates, custom headers, and many other customizable options.

Price: $59
Rating: 90/100

Skylab Theme

This trendy portfolio and photography WordPress theme is great for anyone who wants to show off a large number of images while maintaining a clean and easily viewable website. The template itself accommodates multiple galleries with an unlimited number of images, so you are able to organize your portfolio to your heart's content.

Price: $49
Rating: 86/100

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Best Free WordPress Themes

Illdy Theme

This one-page theme comes with a modern design, and the ability to add multiple header images that will turn into an automatic slider. It is good for many business types and offers clean lines and an easy to use interface.

Rating: 91/100

Stanley WP Theme

This free Twitter Bootstrap theme is a simple way to showcase your work with many built-in, optimizable features. This theme includes a drag and drop homepage builder, three different page templates, a theme options panel, and more.

Rating: 86/100

Awaken Theme

This magazine-style WordPress theme has a featured slider, theme customizer, ad widgets, youtube video widgets, and social media. It is clean, elegant,and responsive, and would work best for blog-style websites.

Rating: 85/100

SSMAG Theme

This masonry style homepage aims to provide the best user experience possible with auto resize thumbnails, optimized ad spots, and social share buttons. There are 4 built in ad placements and a simple, but powerful option panel that allows users to easily customize their background, header image, and more.

Rating: 83/100

Responsive Theme

Response is a grid system theme that adapts your website to any mobile device, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops. This allows your site to look its best at all times, regardless of what the user is viewing it from. It features 9 page templates, 4 menu positions, 11 widget areas, and more. It is also compatible with many popular plugins, making it a great choice for those who want something easy, but customizable.

Rating: 75/100

Essential WordPress Plugins

 Wordpress plugin directory

Contact Form 7

What it does: Contact Form 7 is a contact form plugin that helps WordPress site owners both manage and customize multiple contact forms. It also supports CAPTCHA, Ajax-powered submitting, and Akismet spam filtering.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

W3 Total Cache

What it does: A WordPress performance optimization framework that improves user experience and page speed by reducing download times and providing transparent content delivery integration.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

WP SuperCache

What it does: Generates static html files from your blog to prevent your site from processing heavier WordPress scripts. This will save you some precious bandwidth and significant CPU time.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Yoast WordPress SEO

What it does: Handles technical optimization by forcing writers to focus on a keyword. It then ensures that the writer continues sprinkle the keyword into their writing throughout the duration.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Jetpack

What it does: Provides site owners with visitor stats, while also optimizing your images, providing you with protection from hackers thanks to its advanced security settings, and garners more traffic to your website with unique tools like Related Posts, Publicize, Enhanced Distribution, and Sharing.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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