If you have a WordPress-based site, then you know that one of the first choices you have to make (and then live with) is your choice of theme. A theme drives the aesthetics of your site—how it looks and feels—and thus its personality.
But a theme also affects the functionality of your site. Some themes have more page or post templates than others. Some have very specific ways of formatting the homepage. Others allow for special customizations.
I use a simple, free theme for this site—TwentyTwelve—that’s developed by WordPress itself. It offers very few bells and whistles, but it’s served me well for a couple of years now. If you’re looking for your first WordPress theme, or you’re just in the market to redecorate, then consider these themes, which can work well for writers.
This theme (also developed by the folks at WordPress) has become a favorite with my students. The typography and white space are friendly, inviting, and easy on the eyes. It’s ideal for writers because the focus is the text. Go view the demo. Even though the demo shows you the theme in full-width mode, you can also add a sidebar.
2. Hemingway Rewritten
If you have beautiful photographs or imagery to incorporate into your site, check out Hemingway Rewritten. As the theme name indicates, it’s great for writers, but it also has a lot of opportunity for visual customization, so you can incorporate your own voice and personality. Go view the demo.
Editor is focused, minimalist, and ideal for get-to-the-point sites. If you’re intimidated by too many options and too much flexibility, this may be perfect for you. It’s intended for blog-driven sites, but looks good even if you don’t blog. Go view the demo.
Reddle has a lot in common with Penscratch—and is also designed and developed by the folks at WordPress. It offers a gorgeous minimalist theme for bloggers, but can also be configured into a very simple, static-page site. Go view the demo.
Responsive is far more customizable and complex than the other four—and more suited toward entrepreneurial and business-like authors. It offers numerous page layout options, a homepage template that’s ideal for showcasing books and products, and a double menu at the top. Go view the demo.
What WordPress themes do you use or recommend? Please share in the comments.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.