Popular WordPress multipurpose themes

We use websites to communicate various messages – these could be about a person, company, product, service, or idea. The message communicated is referred to as content.

Introduction

In WordPress, a website is created using a combination of pages and posts to share content.

  • Pages are used for content that rarely changes – for example, a home or landing page, contact information page, information about products or services, or an about us page.
  • Posts are for content that's less evergreen – for example, news, blog posts, or industry articles.

A theme is what controls the overall look and feel of a website. It's the template for the website. A theme decides how your website will be structured; where content can be placed; if and where images and videos can be placed; where menus can be positioned; how your website can be navigated; what fonts and colors are possible; and if other features like activity tracking, search engine optimization, ecommerce, online payments, and forms are possible. Themes are usually professionally designed templates that are coded with some of the above considerations in mind.

WordPress themes: An introduction

Best practice: Having the final content intended for the website completed goes a long way in helping decide what theme and template would best suit your website. For example, content with a short shelf-life would be best implemented with a theme that has a higher focus on posts and blogs.

Themes are available for selection on WordPress under the administration panel: My Site > My Home > Design > Themes.

On accessing the Themes page, a range of themes are available for selection.

The Theme page displays:

  • Information about the theme that was selected or defaulted to:
    • Theme name
    • Customize - Permitted changes to colors, menu, fonts and more can be done here
    • Info - Provides additional details regarding the theme selected, features, capabilities, and how to add content
  • Install Theme: This option is available on subscription. It allows advanced users to upload their own themes

WordPress has a suggested structure for building websites. Refer the image:

Clicking on Visit site takes the administrator to the draft view of the website. This draft view will become the final view once the site is published.

WordPress themes

Themes - WordPress multipurpose themes

Themes are referred to as multipurpose themes and aim at being a template option that could suit the needs of multiple brands, companies, organizations, or causes. Multipurpose themes include marketing, promotion, and search engine optimization (SEO) features like, social media integration, responsive design (work across devices) and valid coding (HTML/CSS). Things to look out for before choosing a theme:

  • Layout design that suits your website goal, supports your logo/branding, offers custom colors, allows flexibility to insert text and images – for example, supports WordPress Block Editor
  • Responsive capabilities (ability to adjust and present across multiple devices and browsers)
  • Supports plugins that you plan to use
  • Language support including language translation and Right To Left (RTL) language support
  • SEO friendly
  • Support e-commerce if you plan to sell and bill online

On WordPress.com, the multipurpose themes have five characteristics by which they are categorized:

  • Features
  • Layout
  • Columns
  • Subject
  • Style

1. Features

Serial Number Features Name ​Feature Description
F1 Accessibility Ready Adheres to accessibility best practices like color contrast, keyboard navigation, and form/link focus.
F2 Author Bio Displays the author’s profile on single posts.
F3 Auto Loading Homepage Adds homepage templates automatically to your site with theme activation.
F4 Block Editor Styles This theme fully supports use of the new block editor to create and edit your content.
F5 Blog Excerpts Displays excerpts on the blog page: either add custom text or let the theme automatically show the beginning of each post.
F6 Breadcrumb Navigation Displays a breadcrumb trail-style navigation path to help visitors keep track of where they are on your site.
F7 Classic Menu Displays a full navigation menu that’s visible at all times on desktop screens and isn’t hidden behind a panel or icon.
F8 Custom Background Lets you upload a background image or select a solid background color.
F9 Custom Colors Offers a selection of free or premium color palettes or lets you select your own colors.
F10 Custom Header Allows you to upload your own graphic to display at the top of your site.
F11 Custom Menu Displays at least one custom navigation menu, to which you can add any links you choose.
F12 Featured Content With Pages Has a featured content area that displays pages as well as posts.
F13 Featured Image Header Replaces the header on individual posts with the post’s featured image.
F14 Featured Images Lets you set a specific image to represent each post (the position and size of the images varies by theme).
F15 Fixed Menu Menus that remain fixed in place — either at the top, bottom, or side — while visitors scroll through the site.
F16 Flexible Header

Accepts header images of any size, even if it’s larger than what’s recommended for the theme.

F17 Footer-widgets Lists all the widgets
F18 Full Width Template Create single-column pages without any sidebars.
F19 Global Styles Lets you choose fonts for your site in the block editor.
F20 Microformats Includes special HTML for marking up people, organizations, events, locations, blog posts, and other types of formatted content.
F21 Multiple Menus Supports two or more menus, not including social-links menus.
F22 One Column Supports single column layout
F23 One Pages Display content from selected pages of your site on a single, cohesive scrolling homepage.
F24 Portfolio Displays portfolio projects that showcase creative work.
F25 Post Formats Adds graphic and typographical touches to photos, galleries, quotes, links, video, and short posts to add visual interest.
F26 Post SlideShare Displays a slideshow to highlight a selection of featured posts of your choice.
F27 RTL Language Support Supports languages that are read from right to left.
F28 Site Logo Displays a logo graphic, usually in the header area.
F28 Site Logo Displays a logo graphic, usually in the header area.
F29 Site Logo Displays a logo graphic, usually in the header area.
F30 Sticky Post Lets you “stick” a specific post to the top of your blog so readers always see it first.
F31 site24x7-testimonials Use an ecommerce-optimized theme for your online shop. Note: creating a store or activating WooCommerce requires a Business plan.
F32 Store Adds graphic and typographical touches to testimonials to highlight satisfied customers or clients.
F33 Threaded Comments Supports threaded comments.
F34 Translation-ready Supports multi lingual translation.
F35 Video Supports videos in the header or featured content area.
F36 WordAds Displays more ads in more locations across your site.

Features on WordPress.org are categorized as follows:

Serial Number Features Name
F37 Accessibility Ready
F38 Block Editor Patterns
F39 Block Editor Styles
F40 BuddyPress
F41 Custom Background
F42 Custom Colors
F43 Custom Header
F44 Custom Logo
F45 Custom Menu
F46 Editor Style
F47 Featured Image Header
F48 Featured Images
F49 Flexible Header
F50 Footer Widgets
F51 Front Page Posting
F52 Full Site Editing
F53 Full Width Template
F54 Microformats
F55 Post Formats
F56 RTL Language Support
F57 Sticky Post
F58 Theme Options
F59 Threaded Comments
F60 Translation Ready
Serial Number Name of the layout ​Description
L1 Fixed Layout Themes that keep the exact same layout on every screen size.
L2 Fluid Layout Themes that get narrower or wider depending on screen size but keep the same basic layout Displays the author’s profile on single posts.
L3 Grid Layout Themes that lay outposts in a grid for a clean, organized appearance.
L4 Responsive Layout Themes that automatically adjust their layouts to make reading and navigation easy as screens get smaller.

2. Layout

Layouts on WordPress.org are categorized as follows:

Serial Number Name of the layout
L5 Grid Layout
L6 One Column
L7 Two Columns
L8 Three Columns
L9 Four Columns
L10 Left Sidebar
L11 Right Sidebar
L12 Wide Blocks

3. Columns

Serial Number Columns
C1 Four Columns
C2 Left sidebar
C3 One column
C4 Right sidebar
C5 Three columns
C6 Two columns

4. Subject

Serial Number Subject name ​Subject description
SU 1 Announcement Themes for weddings, reunions, product launches — whatever you want to announce to family, friends, or customers. Share photos, dates, FAQs, instructions, directions, and more.
SU 2 Art Clean, image-focused themes designed to highlight your art and photography without distractions.
SU 3 Blog Choose from a wide variety of styles and layouts for your personal or professional blog.
SU 4 Business WordPress business themes with professional designs for your company or organization: display contact info, feature your products or services, share testimonials, and engage customers with a blog.
SU 5 Collaboration Themes designed to help groups communicate and collaborate with clients, students, friends, colleagues; plan projects; discuss pressing issues; or just chat.
SU 6 Craft Fun themes with whimsical design touches create the perfect backdrop for your DIY projects or crafting ideas.
SU 7 Easy A theme that has been made as simple as possible for someone new to the exciting world of WordPress.
SU 8 Education Share information and give students a place to interact, create a site for your school, or collaborate with fellow academics.
SU 9 Fashion Clothing hauls, outfit of the day posts, runway reviews — choose from a range of chic themes made to feature photos and highlight your Instagram feed, some clean, some with extra graphic design touches.
SU 10 Food Tasty WordPress themes for your restaurant or food blog: post menus and directions, share recipes and food photos, or publish your restaurant reviews.
SU 11 Hotel Highlight the comforts and amenities of your hotel, inn, or bed and breakfast, and let customers contact you to book a stay.
SU 12 Journal Sharing your ideas with the world? Choose a theme with beautiful fonts that’s designed to make reading a pleasure.
SU 13 Magazine Magazine-style themes that help you organize topics, highlight key stories, and publish a variety of content types, all on a well-organized homepage.
SU 14 Music WordPress music themes made for bands and musicians. Let listeners easily find your music and take your band from basement to big time.
SU 15 Nature Themes that are designed to display nature images
SU 16 Office Professional suite
SU 17 Photo-blogging Themes that helps photo bloggers to narrate their story
SU 18 Photography WordPress themes with features photographers and photo bloggers love: elegant image portfolios, immersive galleries, and a low-key design.
SU 19 Podcast Themes that support audio and video podcasts.
SU 20 Portfolio Themes that support WordPress’ portfolio post type, many with added features like front-page sliders, immersive slideshows, and elegant galleries to help viewers engage with your work.
SU 21 Real Estate Land the client and make the sale with themes designed to show off images and organize key information like hours and locations.
SU 22 Scrapbooking Color and graphic embellishments help you recreate the feel of a scrapbook on the screen.
SU 23 Scrapbooking Traditional layout in minimal colors.
SU 24 Sophisticated New age themes with a lot of customisable options.
SU 25 Stationery  
SU 26 Travel Keep the world up to date on your wanderlust with WordPress travel themes that showcase favorite photos and have widget and menu areas to organize your destinations.
SU 27 Tumblelog Blogs can be more than just text — tumblelog-style themes give equal weight to links, images, videos, quotes, asides, and more.
SU 28 Video Themes that can use videos as headers or that have layout and design touches to emphasize videos in posts and pages.
SU 29 Wedding Romantic design touches and clear organization help you share important details, set up a countdown to the big day, and collect RSVPs with a contact form.

Subjects on WordPress.org are categorized as follows:

Serial Number Subject name
SU 30 Blog
SU 31 E-Commerce
SU 32 Education
SU 33 Entertainment
SU 34 Food & Drink
SU 35 Holiday
SU 36 News
SU 37 Photography
SU 38 Portfolio

5. Style

Serial Number Style
S1 Blog
S2 Artistic
S3 Bright
S4 Clean
S5 Colorful
S6 Conservative
S7 Contemporary
S8 Dark
S9 Earthy
S10 Elegant
S11 Faded
S12 Flamboyant
S13 Flowery
S14 Formal
S15 Futuristic
S16 Geometric
S17 Glamorous
S18 Handcrafted
S19 Industrial
S20 Learning
S21 Light
S22 Minimal
S23 Modern
S24 Natural
S25 Playful
S26 Professional
S27 Retro
S28 Simple
S29 Sophisticated
S30 Tech
S31 Textured
S32 Traditional
S33 Urban
S34 Vibrant
S35 Whimsical

Five WordPress Themes with 0.6 to 1million+ installations

1. Twenty Twenty - By WordPress.org

  • Default theme for 2020 designed to take advantage of Block Editor
  • Possible to create dynamic landing pages with flexible layouts using the group and column blocks
  • The centered content column and fine-tuned typography also makes it fit for traditional blogs
  • The complete editor styles give an idea of what content will look like, even before publishing
  • Site backgrounds and accent colors can be customized
  • The colors of all elements are automatically calculated based on the colors picked, ensuring effective color contrast for visitors
Software Information:
  • Version: 1.7
  • Last updated: March 9, 2021
  • Active installations: 1 million+
  • WordPress version: 4.7 or higher
  • PHP version: 5.2.4 or higher

2. Astra - By Brainstorm Force

  • Astra is a customizable WordPress theme suitable for blogs, personal portfolios, business websites, and WooCommerce storefronts
  • Very lightweight at less than 50KB on the frontend, offering better speed. Built with SEO considerations, includes the Schema.org code integrated and is native AMP ready for search engine compatibility
  • It offers features and templates to work with page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, Divi, and others
  • Other features: WooCommerce-ready; responsive; RTL and translation-ready; extendable with premium addons; and regularly updated, designed, developed, maintained, and supported by Brainstorm Force
Software Information:
  • Version: 3.1.2
  • Last updated: March 9, 2021
  • Active installations: 1 million+
  • WordPress version: 5.3 or higher
  • PHP version: 5.3 or higher

3. Twenty Seventeen By WordPress.org

  • Twenty Seventeen comes with a header video and featured images
  • With a focus on business sites, it features multiple sections on the front page as well as widgets, navigation, and social menus, and a logo among other features
  • Possible to personalize its asymmetrical grid with a custom and color schemes, while sharing multimedia content with post formats
  • Supports many languages and devices
Software Information:
  • Version: 2.6
  • Last updated: March 9, 2021
  • Active installations: 1 million+
  • WordPress version: 4.7 or higher
  • PHP version: 5.2.4 or higher

4. OceanWP By OceanWP

  • OceanWP is lightweight and highly extendable and can be used to create multiple websites such as a blogs, portfolios, business websites, and WooCommerce storefronts
  • Fast, responsive, RTL and translation ready, follows SEO best practices, and includes WooCommerce features
  • Can edit the settings for tablet and mobile to customize site look by device
  • Works with the most popular page builders including Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Visual Composer, Divi, SiteOrigin, and others
  • Developers can use extensible codebase allowing customization and extension
Software Information:
  • Version: 2.0.3
  • Last updated: March 8, 2021
  • Active installations: 700 thousand+
  • WordPress version: 5.3 or higher
  • PHP version: 7.2 or higher

5. Twenty Twenty-One By WordPress.org

  • Twenty Twenty-One is flexible and allows use of the block editor
  • With new block patterns, which allow creation of different layouts quickly, the theme has soft colors
  • Twenty Twenty-One is designed for multipurpose use including a portfolio, business website, or personal blog
  • Twenty Twenty-One comes with support for several block patterns. It is possible to customize the patterns with the copy, images, and colors that fit story or brand needs
  • Includes the option to set a secondary menu just above the footer; a good place to add links to social media profiles, which will be displayed as logos
Software Information:
  • Version: 1.2
  • Last updated: March 9, 2021
  • Active installations: 600 thousand+
  • WordPress version: 5.3 or higher
  • PHP version: 5.6 or higher

Uploading and setting up custom themes

Compatible themes can be downloaded from other sources, for example, from Wordpress.org and uploaded into Wordpress.com.

Quick steps

  • Download the theme’s ZIP file.
  • Go to My Sites > Design > Themes.
  • Select Upload Theme.
  • Preview or activate the theme.
1. Download the theme's ZIP file
  • Start by downloading the theme’s ZIP file from wherever you purchased the theme.
  • If you’re creating your own custom theme, you’ll need to save it as a ZIP file.
2. Upload the theme
  • To upload a custom theme, go to My Sites > Design > Themes in your site’s dashboard.
  • Click Install Theme.

Drag the theme’s ZIP file into the box. Alternatively, you can check the box, locate the theme’s ZIP file on your computer, and double-click it.

3. Preview or activate the theme and if all looks good, activate the theme.
Preview and activate the WordPress theme

Summary

Multipurpose themes on WordPress offer a quick way to set up a website and can be used as a template that suits needs of multiple brands, companies, organizations, or causes. Multipurpose themes include marketing, promotion, and SEO features like, social media integration, responsive design (work across devices), and valid coding (HTML/CSS). We looked at some of the popularly used multipurpose themes and their characteristics.