What are the best free niche WordPress themes to use for AdSense or affiliate sites? Is there one theme that should be used all the time? Or should a new theme be used for each site?
These are some of the questions that you should consider when building websites. If you are only building one or two larger sites, then this is really not an issue. You can just find a single great-looking theme for your site and go for it!
However, if you are going to be building dozens of small niche sites, you will want to use different-looking themes (or at least theme layouts) for nearly all of your sites!
If for any reason Google decides to manually review your sites, you don’t want to get caught having every single one of your sites looking exactly the same. If nothing looks unique or original on your sites, then this will raise a BIG red flag to a manual reviewer!
You Need a Unique Niche WordPress Theme
Of course, we never know exactly what the Google algorithm or manual reviewers are going to do when they visit our sites, so I believe it’s best to keep each site looking as unique as possible.
I personally started out building lots of small niche sites about 2 years ago (I built several other larger sites before that and they were complete flops).
When I was building those sites, I used the exact same theme and layout on all of them. All of my sites looked exactly the same with the same theme, same ad layouts, colors, and everything. Since that time, I’m pretty sure these sites were manually reviewed (can you ever know for sure?), penalized, and I had other tough learning experiences.
I went on from those experiences to build more unique sites and produced better content, and as a result my Google AdSense earnings have surpassed what they were before these “tough” experiences.
So, I have some background when I state that you want to try to make each site as unique as possible. Yes, it’s a little more work, but I believe its worth it. Now when I build my sites, I do my best to use a different theme on each site.
I certainly have some repeats of themes and layouts that I really like; however, I do my best to switch it up. Here are a list of both free and paid themes that I have used in the past for my niche websites.
Top 3 Free Themes for Niche Websites
There are many, many free themes available in WordPress, but they aren’t all created equal.
Here’s an insider’s secret: Don’t want to pay for a premium theme, but want pretty decent features and support? Get the free version of a premium theme, because developers behind these free themes aren’t going anywhere.
One of the biggest problems with picking a random free theme is that WordPress is always getting updated, and so are a lot of WordPress plugins out there. To ensure optimal performance and security for your site’s theme, you want to pick a theme with ongoing support from its developer.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for the top 3 free WordPress themes:
Astra was built for a mobile world, with a publicized load speed of under half a second. This theme is available for free – forever. You can always try it for free now and then extend it with some Pro features for a reasonable yearly fee. See my full Astra review here.Check Out Astra Here
GeneratePress is another lightweight and multipurpose theme that should help you keep your loading time down – and allow you to make changes to your site without having to code. I like themes that work well on mobile by default, which is another good thing about GeneratePress. See my full GeneratePress review here.Check Out GeneratePress Here
OceanWP is built as a completely free theme for both developers and hobbyists. As a niche site owner, you’re probably somewhere in between. OceanWP is a great place to start, helping you to build some great-looking, responsive websitesCheck Out OceanWP Here
Top 3 Premium Niche WordPress Themes (Not Free)
You can get by with a free version of WordPress themes, but most of them don’t come with a lot of premium features.
So eventually, rather than paying for plugins left and right to do all of those things, it starts to make more sense to upgrade to a premium theme.
What’s more, some of the best premium themes are perfect for quickly building beautiful niche websites without needing a lot of technical know-how. It can be worth the money to take that off your plate, trust me!
Here are my suggestions of the top 3 premium WordPress themes right now:
Thrive Themes is an all-in-one solution for niche websites and affiliate marketing. With a subscription, you not only get ongoing access to a handful of great themes, but you also get more than 10 fantastic plugins included. See my full Thrive Themes review here.Check Out Thrive Themes Here
Divi Theme is one of the most versatile site builders on the planet, with a really handy visual front-end editor. It comes with literally hundreds of pre-made website layouts, so you can have a great starting point and not reinvent the wheel. Divi is a surefire way to build a great website. See my full Elegant Themes review here.Check Out Divi Theme Here
I have purchased a few premium themes from Theme Forest (including the one for the NichePursuits blog, once upon a time!), so there are lots of good options here for those sites you want a real eye-catching design for.Check Out ThemeForest Here
38 More Free Niche WordPress Themes
NOTE: Many of the options below are older themes – some have been updated, but others are no longer available.
1. Bluesense – This and Prosense are the 2 themes that I used on all of my sites initially. Bluesense produces the best Click Through Rate I have ever seen. However, lots of these sites got penalized. I don’t think it was Bluesense per se that caused it, but the fact that I used the same theme (could have been any theme?) on all my sites. I don’t use these themes on new sites now.
2. Prosense Grey – Another free theme by DoshDosh, like Bluesense. (Please note that DoshDosh.com no longer appears to be a working site [which is really sad because it was an excellent blog] so these themes will not be up to date).
8. zBench theme
9. EvoLve Theme
10. Arjuna X theme
16. Mflat theme
18 – 30. Fthemes.com – I have probably used over a dozen free themes from this site. The only downside is they require links in the footer to their sites, the theme will be disabled if you mess with the links. Or you can pay $19 to buy the theme without the links.
33. iBlog Theme
34. Whitehouse Theme
36. Magnolia Theme
To be honest, I have used other premium and free niche WordPress themes as well, but I think this is a pretty good list to start with! If I were to go through every single one of my sites, I’m sure I’d find a few more themes, but this should give you some great options.
In a nutshell, there are LOTS of great themes that you can build niche websites with. Finding a great keyword is the more critical aspect, but once you start ranking and getting traffic you can test out different ad layouts – or even different themes, if you choose to.
Do you have some additional free niche WordPress themes that you would like to share? Leave a comment below with a link to your favorite paid or free WordPress themes that you use for niche sites! Or just leave a comment or question to continue the discussion.