Top 10 Free Magazine WordPress Themes
Since its inception in 1998, WordPress has evolved from being an open source blogging software to become a free content management system (CMS). And thus, there is more and more demand for free WordPress themes as well as premium themes that portray professionalism and at the same time, provides flexibility for customization.
One such theme type is the WordPress magazine theme, which is fast gaining popularity among WordPress users. Magazine theme focus on showcasing as many posts on its pages as it can without congesting the website, with clever use of thumbnails and sliders.
A typical WordPress magazine theme reserves loads of space for headlines, images, featured content previews and advertisements widgets, not unlike its printed cousin. This flexibility is the reason why it is suitable for almost all niche from news to personal to small and medium sized online businesses websites.
Now, one of the greatest benefits of using WordPress is the availability of thousands of WordPress themes, both free and premium. And changing and installing WordPress themes are very easy and fast. All you need to do is to download the theme and install it from your WordPress dashboard.
I have over the last couple of weeks looked through dozens of free magazine WordPress themes and am proud to share with you my top 10 list of free magazine WordPress themes. You will notice that some of these free themes have a “Purchase” option. We will come to that shortly after the list. Anyway, here they are in no particular order.
Permanent is one free WordPress theme that doesn’t waste any space. It supports post thumbnails and featured posts in a customized slider as well as offers lots of widgets from banners to featured images to featured video. Probably one of the more advertisement-centered themes around. With so many features, it is suitable for all types of sites.
As the name suggests, this theme caters well for movies and entertainment blogs, though it can still be used by other niche. This 2-column theme offers a big featured posts slider and easy customization through its admin options. It sits on a subtle background providing a great platform to bring out contrasting images. Certainly an entertainment reviewers’ paradise. Great WordPress Magazine theme!
3. Arras Theme
Arras is another great magazine WordPress theme with 7 home page layouts to choose from and packed with tons of customizable features like meta data, backgrounds, thumbnails and of course featured posts slider. This Magazine theme even has a virtual calendar! Absolutely wonderful for news and reviews sites.
Afterburner is a minimal magazine style for WordPress blogs. Although it’s over two years since it was released and updated, this theme is still very much one of the popular free magazine theme around. Chief reason for this is because it is one of the fastest themes around with compressed CSS and all. No fancy design. No sliders. No huge images. Just great performance and search engine optimized. Ideal for those who wants a clean and fast WordPress theme.
Instant is similar to the Permanent theme (the first theme reviewed here) but with 2 columns. There’s a huge featured posts slider, sub featured posts summaries and a right sidebar. Lots of widgets and plugins for customization. Those who love to upload images would definitely fall in love with this theme!
Masigasig is 3-column feature-rich theme that can be use as a personal blog or a news blog, especially for beginners and those social media lovers. This theme comes fully loaded with an innovative featured content gallery slider, Feedburner email subscription, Twitter account and YouTube Video integration, Flickr thumbnails as well as advertising blocks. It has five different color schemes but the link below shows only for the black scheme. You can still follow this link to view other schemes.
DesignMagz is a simple and straight forward magazine theme for WordPress blogs and websites. Suitable for news and technical blogs, though with its no-nonsense design, it can be customized to suit any niche.
Snips is another flexible yet professional looking theme with featured content and post thumbnails options. You’ll be getting both design and function with this theme. Suitable for all types of websites.
9. Magazine Basic
Magazine Basic is a straight forward magazine theme. Recently updated to take advantage of WordPress 3.3 features. Fully customizable layout with lots of options making it easy for users to play around with the site width, sidebar widgets, header logo, drop-down menus and so on. The best part of this theme is that it works well cross browsers and is 100% SEO friendly!
Imprezz is a 3-column theme with a 3D looking middle column. If you like simple and neat designs without the congested feeling, then you would love this theme. Works well with zdcomments widget. Has a good balance between contents and advertisements. Can be easily customized for any niche.
Are Free WordPress Themes any good?
Now before you go ahead and install one of these free WordPress themes, there’s something you should be aware of first. While they are free and look amazing, free themes are also:
More often than not, there are no customer or technical support for free themes. Nor are there any updates or patches. You are pretty much on your own so be prepared to do some coding or tweaking around to get the free theme the way you wanted it to be. But don’t fret too much as you can always Google for assistance or seek help in forums.
Might become unavailable anytime
Generally free themes are used as a marketing technique by theme designers to attract users to purchase their premium themes or as backlinks to their site. Therefore, the designers have the right to remove these free themes or to convert them into premium themes as and when they deem fit.
Requires linkbacks and encrypted sponsorship links
These themes are free so the designers are using your site as a form of advertisement though your SEO ranking may be affected a little. It’s alright though care should be taken to ensure that these encryptions are genuinely linked back to the designer’s site and not to some dating or drugs websites! But this is a separate topic for a separate day.
Some of these designers offers backlinks and encryption free versions for a fee, thus the “Purchase” option in some of the aforementioned themes.
If you do not like the disadvantages of free WordPress themes which we have discussed above, you could also consider premium themes which cost around $30-$40. While it may seemed slightly costly especially when you can get the above themes for free, the premium themes do provide updates and support, which are great because you do not want to be too burdened by the technical matters of installing and customizing a new theme, right?
Premium themes also have more flexibility for you to customize the theme according to your requirements or taste. And for some like Elegant Themes, you get unlimited access to all their themes just by joining as their member! Oh, their membership is very affordable, at $39 a year only!