The Best WordPress Themes for Freelancers in 2023
By Jena Kroeker
How do you feel when you read the phrase “best WordPress themes for freelancers”? Do you break into a cold sweat? Or do you feel excited about the technological possibilities?
Whether or not you consider yourself a techie, you can’t help but notice WordPress. For example, in an article titled “20 WordPress Statistics You Should Know in 2022,” Anna Fitzgerald shares recent stats from W3Techs. They indicate that 43.2% of all internet websites use WordPress. And not only that, it’s a rising star in the realm of content management systems — consider the fact that its usage since 2011 has increased by an average of 12% per year.
Unlocking the Power of WordPress
But to truly unlock the power of this valuable tool, we need a WordPress superhero. And in this article, we’ll introduce you to one. It’s our very own Freelance University (FreeU) Mentor, Barb Henry. She’s an experienced website designer and consultant, with her own freelance business site, BarbHenry.com.
Her passion is “learning and helping small businesses communicate with their customers to help them solve their problems.” In our FreeU community, Barb also helps students navigate challenges with WordPress so they can make it work smoothly for their businesses. She’s a fountain of knowledge and a steadying force for anyone who feels nervous about technology.
Indeed, this kind of support is valuable, since there are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes for freelancers to choose from. In a nutshell, themes contribute to the overall “feel” or appearance you want for your website, a design concept we discuss in our Web Design Bootcamp course. With all those choices available, an expert opinion is essential so you can narrow down your options and make the most of your time.
Interview with Barb Henry, WordPress Superhero
So, without further ado, let’s meet Barb Henry as she shares her insights and advice on the best WordPress themes for freelancers in 2022.
How did you get started in web design?
My journey began in 2001, helping to build a corporate intranet website with nothing but code. Then in 2005, I left the corporate world and became a freelance consultant. My first task was to build out websites for four separate divisions. I looked at many platforms, including Joomla, Magento, and Drupal, but once I discovered WordPress, I was instantly hooked and knew it was the perfect platform I wanted to use to build websites.
What do you enjoy about web design?
Web design is exciting and constantly changing, which as a lifelong learner, I love. There is always something to learn, and with constant software changes, there is never a dull moment. In web design, you are never doing the same thing over and over, as each website is unique with its own set of challenges.
I most enjoy the support of the WordPress community. With WordPress, the answers to your questions are only a click away. WordPress is very flexible, and a solution is available for everything you need through a plugin or snippet of code.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in web design over the years?
The most significant changes are with technology, and the most notable changes started around 2010 when the concept of mobile-first design was introduced. Today, you must design for all devices and take a mobile-first approach. Flat, clean, minimalistic designs continue gaining popularity as they look great on mobile and provide a good user experience. In web design, less is more.
Accessibility is also becoming more and more important today. Accessible websites are cleaner, leading to fast loading times, improved search engine positioning, and a great user experience for all who visit your site.
How can a well-designed website benefit a freelancer‘s business?
A website is the first impression many will get of you and your business. Your site is your online home where you create your brand and build authority. You want a well-designed website that clearly states what you do and makes it easy for people to find the information they need. A clean website with a clear path to conversion will win every time.
Why is WordPress a good website platform for freelancers?
WordPress is easy to use, very flexible, and highly customizable. The demand for WordPress websites is massive and increasing every day.
Starting with a platform that you know is very popular and will grow with your business is essential. You may begin with a simple website or perhaps just one page, and know that with WordPress, you can easily add what you need as you need it.
Having some WordPress skills will benefit you in many ways, as most of your clients will have a WordPress website, and the more experience you have, the better you will be able to grow your service offerings.
What features should freelancers look for in a WordPress theme?
With tens of thousands of themes available, choosing isn’t easy. My best advice is to go with a theme that has a strong development team behind it and has a free and premium version.
I know many will look for only free themes, especially on a budget, but be aware that free themes also present some issues. When using a free theme that is not supported by a premium version, you run the risk of that theme not being updated regularly, a lack of support, and the possibility of the theme being abandoned altogether.
You want to choose a theme that is updated frequently, well-coded, and innovative. It is best to go for a simple and minimalistic theme instead of a theme that is full of flashy bells and whistles that you won’t use. Going with a good, solid theme will help ensure that you benefit from a fast-loading website that is search engine friendly and compatible with plugins that you may need to add in the future.
Which themes would you recommend as the best WordPress themes for freelancers in 2022?
I highly recommend…
• A freemium theme with both a free and premium version. The free version is very feature rich, offering functionality that you usually only find in premium themes. The Kadence premium version offers functionality for those who need more customization options, such as advanced headers, WooCommerce, or custom fonts. Kadence is one of the easiest themes to use.
Other Notable Features:
• Integrates with plugins like Gutenberg, Elementor, Beaver Builder, LearnDash, and more
• Provides starter templates along with 12 pre-configured professional color palettes and 12 font pairings so you can quickly customize your website
• Offers a drag and drop header builder, along with typography settings, layout settings, and a global color palette
Free Forever plan includes Starter Templates, Kadence Theme, and Kadence Blocks. Paid plans with additional features and support start at $149/year for the Essential Bundle and $219/year for the Full Bundle. A Lifetime Full Bundle is available for a $699 one-time payment.
• Another great freemium theme with both a free and premium version. Astra’s strength is in its ability to load very fast. It is also very good when building a WooCommerce shop.
Other Notable Features:
• Provides the largest library of pre-built website demos along with starter templates to speed up your web design
• Makes it easy to quickly customize your whole website using a visual theme customizer
• Integrates with tools like Elementor, Beaver Builder, WooCommerce, LearnDash, Yoast, and more
• Compatible with Gutenberg Editor
• Offers a drag and drop Header Footer builder
Astra is free forever, with Astra Pro paid plans starting at $59 for an annual plan and $249 for a lifetime plan with additional features.
• Known for being one of the lightest weight themes on the market, focusing on performance, search engine optimization, and accessibility.
Other Notable Features:
• Provides worldwide support, answering over 98% of requests the same day they’re submitted
• Integrates well with top-rated plugins
• Offers the “first ever block-based theme builder”
• Lets you choose from a large library of professionally designed websites so you can quickly start developing your site
Available for free, with premium plans starting at $59 for a Yearly plan and $249 one-time payment for a Lifetime plan.
4. Bricks Builder
• I would also like to introduce one of the newest theme/page builders on the market, Bricks Builder. Bricks is both a theme and page builder combined, which has taken the feedback, good and bad, from other page builders to create a quality product that is unique in its approach. So far, it looks like Bricks Builder has a very promising future. Also, the pricing is very affordable.
Other Notable Features:
• Allows you to customize your site visually, within the builder, using time-saving features like searchable controls and keyboard shortcuts
• Offers responsive editing so you can optimize your site for desktop, smartphones, and tablets
• Provides ready-made templates you can customize with your own theme style
• Lets you create your own color palette and upload your favorite fonts
Try Bricks out for free by creating a Bricks playground account at https://try.bricksbuilder.io/.
A Starter lifetime license (for one live website) can be purchased with a one-time payment of $99. An Ultimate lifetime license (for unlimited websites) is available for a one-time payment of $249.
Important Note Regarding the Gutenberg (Block) Editor
It is important to note that with the release of WordPress Gutenberg (Block) Editor, many themes also have add-on products to enhance the Gutenberg experience by adding custom blocks and options. Kadence offers Kadence Blocks, Astra offers Spectra (formerly The Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg), and GeneratePress offers GenerateBlocks.
Of course with Elementor being the number one page builder on the market … Kadence, Astra, and GeneratePress work very well in combination with Elementor if you decide a page builder is better for you to achieve the website you would like.
Do you have any advice to help freelancers decide which theme is best for them and their business?
You really can’t go wrong with any of the mainstream themes such as Kadence, Astra, or GeneratePress. [As mentioned above], my advice is to choose a theme that has a strong development team behind it. Read the reviews, support pages, and watch a couple of user videos. Take a look at the templates and blocks that the theme offers to speed up your designs and determine if they may work for the goals of your website.
Any other tips or strategies you’d like to add?
Don’t stress over the selection of a theme. Pick one, install the free version, and see how you like the interface. If it is easy for you to use, consider upgrading to the premium version to get all the theme offers. Don’t let the selection of a theme stop you from moving forward with your website.
So, there you have it — an insightful interview and wise advice regarding the best WordPress themes for freelancers in 2022! As Barb said, don’t worry about choosing a theme. Enjoy the process of exploring your options. Try themes out, and if you have any questions, consult experienced WordPress experts and communities.
And now we’d like to hear your insights and advice. Do you have any additional suggestions for WordPress themes that work well for freelancers and virtual assistants? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!