Top 5 Wordpress Themes 2011

What is Wordpress?

Wordpress is a powerful content management system (CMS) that now runs over 40% of the top 100 websites in the world whose dominance is only increasing.

But, the best things about Wordpress is that it’s relatively beginner friendly and that because of designs called “themes”, you can run a Wordpress site without knowing how to write any sort of code.

Even cooler, lately themes have become more DIY (Do It Yourself) and give you an amazing amount of customization without putting in a line of code. I’ve had great experiences with these themes and would like to share my top 5 for this year, 2011.

What Are “Themes”?

In Wordpress, themes are created by designers and developers as the visible part of the website. Sometimes, themes even have extra features like Search Engine Optimization built in to help your site increase its visibility.

While it’s best to pick one theme and stick with it, your content doesn’t get erased when you switch themes so there’s nothing to worry about.

Without further ado….here are the top 10 Wordpress Themes of 2011. I’ve clearly marked which themes are free and which themes are premium. As a note, although there are many great free wordpress themes, if you’re serious about running a website, early investment in a premium theme can save you a lot of work down the line. And, if you compare their prices to those of a Wordpress developer, they are an enormous deal.

5. Genesis

The toughest to work with of the bunch, the Genesis is the black sheep here.While the other themes promote theirflexibility, Genesis is renowned for its reliability, search optimization, and access to 41 different designs.

While you don’t need to know how to code with Genesis, it does help if you’re planning to customize your site significantly. Nonetheless, the Genesis framework is popular and for good reason. If you’re looking for security, reliability, and stability, Genesis is the way to go. That, and you get unlimited everything in one purchase (updates, support, websites, etc.)

4. Woothemes

Woothemes isn’t one theme, per say, but a collection of easy to use, fully developed themes. I’ve tested out quite a few of the Woothemes and though they all have their good and bad points, two of my favorites were the Irresistible theme (free) and the Simplicity theme (premium). Woothemes has a great selection of free themes that are worth checking out if you’re on a budget.

If I were to pick one part of Woothemes that makes their themes stand out, it would be their awesome sense of design.

3. Pagelines Platform

Pagelines Platform is the first drag and drop theme I ever tried. And it changed my perceptions of what I could do with a Wordpress Theme. Truly a DIY theme, Pagelines Platform has both a free and pro version that supports almost everything you could want in an easy DIY WP theme: drag and drop, easy layout modes, and customizable fonts from the getgo.

One thing I don’t like about Pagelines, though, is that the interface can sometimes be clunky when compared to the Headway Visual Editor. Still, if I were going for clean, professional designs with a big focus on fonts, Pagelines Platform would be my choice.

2. Thesis

If you’re at all involved in the Wordpress community, you’ve probably heard of the Thesis theme. It’s rock solid, easy to use, and has a huge support community.

I’ve given up Thesis for Headway lately because I like the visual editor Headway offers. But, if you’re looking for something more straight-forward (e.g. very solid) that will be around for a while, Thesis is a good place to be at.

1. Headway

We’ve finally made it to number one, my personal favorite, Headway. Everything about Headway is amazing (except for a few small bugs that should be squashed when version 3.0 comes out).

Without a doubt, the biggest advantage to headway is the visual editor where you can literally see your website change as you manipulate it without a shred of code (or even text). That, coupled with an ingenious block building system, awesome lifetime support, a vibrant community, and a live CSS design editor for those who do know how to code (you don’t really need it though), Headway is where I plan to keep all of my sites for the immediate future.

Headway 3.0, a huge update, will be coming soon and I’m excited to redesign my sites with it. I did hear, though, that they’ll be changing to a subscription service with the next update so if you’re considering it, I would get in right now (I’m glad I did).

As far as my problems with Headway go, I suppose that font choices could be improved although there are about 12 to start with, maybe I’m just expecting too much. That, and the occasional bug… Still, very worthy of the number 1 spot. And, it was developed by a 16 year old with his dad. Very cool.

The Visual Editor

Afterword:

I hope you enjoyed the list! As I mentioned, I own the Headway theme and use it for nearly all of my websites. It’s awesome. But, you can’t go wrong with any of these themes if they’re more your style.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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