It can be tough out there to find the best WordPress themes for writers, especially ones that can make their content stand out amongst the multitude of blogs, diaries, and public commentaries. Black text, white background is about as simple as you can get, but even that can be full of pitfalls. You don’t want your blog to look like the regurgitated contents of a Notepad document, just as you don’t want it to be an overly artsy, disorganized collection of text posts that may look pretty, but don’t really lend themselves to reading too much.
When looking at a good writer’s blog, you want to think about how text is displayed, whether the other elements on your page are distracting or helpful, and whether the theme incorporates the right features to help you reach as wide an audience as possible. If anything, more effort must be put into developing a theme optimized for writing than for pictures or even video. Pictures are clean, or can be cleaned up, text is bulky, gets in the way, demands a huge amount of attention depending on the subject matter. Even the most well-thought out article will end up being skipped if the typeface and background strain the eyes just a bit too much. So, don’t let your content get hit with the TL;DR excuse (too long; didn’t read), and pick one of the awesome themes we’ve highlighted for you below.
Coolstuff is a very nice little theme from our friends at Tesla who focus on a wide stable of themes. As a part of their plan, a subscription doesn’t just get you access to Coolstuff, but up to 100 other themes, nearly all of which follow the general principles of excellent, timeless flat design. Coolstuff in particularly is a dedicated events and timeline feature. It’s a great blog for bands or other creatives who do a lot of footwork in addition to sitting behind a keyboard. Par for the course for Tesla, this is a gorgeous theme that has a lot of character, and it can easily be modified to suit the tone and style of your blog.
Focused on the words, Literatum is an excellent theme to start our list off. Literatum comes packed with a number of excellent features to make writing as efficient and enjoyable as possible. One feature in particular that might be considered good for some people is the inclusion of Ajax translation, a plugin that automatically allows your work to be translated, well, into multiple languages. It’s a standard feature on many, many themes, so it’s not really worth noting over and over again, but it’s important to understand that this might not be the best option for your work if you tend towards longer, more complicated pieces. Translating from English to Spanish might go over smoothly enough, but even English to German might leave you with content riddled with as many errors as if you’d put it through Google translate. Use such features at your own discretion, but be careful when trying to speak to a multilingual audience.
8 custom post formats all let you express your writing as you want. Slyde is perfectly run-of-the-mill, and that’s because often you don’t need many features if you are doing a primarily text-based blog. Looking at the layout of a theme can be far more important, so always be sure to try out the live demo, or better yet, trial download. Seeing how your text pops against the natural contrasts of the site layout can be the best way of gauging whether or not this theme is really the one for you. Try to keep in mind, if your text doesn’t look good to you, it won’t look good to your readers, and I’m not talking about beating yourself up over how bad you think your piece is.
For those who need some color to brighten up their lives, Literary may be one of such awesome themes for writers to do that, as it is meant to showcase a writing portfolio more than anything else. With a clear, energetic layout, and a focus on individual items for the initial landing page, this can be a good theme for anyone looking to make their website a gateway to show off their best writing chops.
A keyboard-centric theme, Webbie was designed with browsing written content in mind and for selling ebooks. Keyboard controls, a fullscreen, distraction free reading mode, ecommerce plugin prebuilt, and vanishing elements all serve to make a theme where the text is front and center, but the option to read more is always only a mouse click away. There’s also special post types premade, including special post types for 3rd party reviews, book snippets, full chapters, and a huge number of theme options to let you customize your site to your heart’s content. There’s really nothing you can’t do with this theme, and it’s versatile enough that you can customize it to complement the theme of your book. Writing a horror novel? A robust customization panel lets you turn the colors down and go for something a little more moody than the demo might let on.
Bebo’s description starts off with an anecdote about a man named John Reese, an internet huckster who was able to con people out of 1 million dollars to pay back some outstanding debts, attributing most of his success to the fact that he used a convincingly pretty website. You may not want to be the next John Reese, but Bebo is still a pretty good theme to consider for the budding novelist or short story pen monkey. Again, this theme comes packed with a bunch of key features, including MailChimp plugins and a countdown timer for the next big release. It comes with visual composer to help you develop a visualization of your site layout as well as 3 additional site styles and support for video integration. The prebuilt faded look might be a little bland for this author, but there are plenty of customization options to change that up.
NewEdge is a very powerful, multi-page theme designed for blogging and magazine style writing with a focus on professionalism and expertly laid out content. If you’ve ever browsed a site like Foreign Policy or The Atlantic on mobile then you’re already used to this kind of theme. Big, bold chunks of color and clashing elements (red and black pop marvelously in this theme) accentuate white text boxes in a way that draws the eye and compels readers to keep browsing. Advanced typography customization, polls, custom sliders, and more all make NewEdge a great choice for the budding WOP who wants something that doesn’t scream artsy (as some themes do), but instead opts for something a little more serious. It’s a theme for writing by grownups, for grownups.
Yuna was built to handle shareable media. SEO ready, this theme also comes equipped with special plugins for Instagram and Twitter, plus a number of post types that we’ve highlighted. It’s a solid theme, and one that does bring a lot to the idea that less is usually more, especially today. When some much of our written content gets brushed aside in favor of an image heavy listicle, there is some truth to the old adage that less is more. In this case, picking a theme requires more than just seeing something you like and deciding to go with that. It’s not about what’s best for you, it’s your readers, your consumers. If you’re doing a pop news blog, a theme that accentuates short snippets and punchy headlines, like Yuna, are a good choice.
One of the most popular themes on Themeforest, Feather is a solid choice for anyone who wants something in line with modern website aesthetics. We’ve seen a definite trend towards upscale site design that looks like it was made in some cloning lab down in the basement of someone who stole Cupertino’s design manual. Feather follows in that vein, customizable to a fault, but ultimately sparse and clean. A custom favicon uploader (that small icon that appears next to websites in your address bar) is also quite nice, though the actual code to implement a favicon is literally a single line, especially if you’re digging around the HTML of your site. Just food for thought, but so many of these features that end up being touted as amazing are really just barebones HTML and CSS work.
Thoughts is another fantastic modernist theme for writers. This one comes with a laundry list of features that make it one of the better options to choose from in a vast ocean of themes, most notably the ability to scale down with child themes. The fact that it comes with this functionality means that it was made with customizing and getting into the deep cogs of the theme, as child themes are almost entirely made for experimenting on a preexisting theme.
Another very solid theme, and one that you might want to consider if you want a theme that lets you have a lot of options to optimize. Forte is another of the more recent themes, last updated in September, and it seems that is’s still receiving active support from its developers, including a monthly plan for technical support for its many features. You get the powerful JetPack tiled plugin, a built-in child theme, translation support, and updates for WordPress going back all the way to 3.7 if you don’t feel like being on the latest version for whatever reason. The best thing about this theme is by far its regular update schedule. As WordPress updates, it’s important to know how many features will actually still function, a task more easily said than done, as many designers can no doubt attest to. Getting the peace of mind that your theme will still work come WordPress 4.X can be a wonderful reassurance that you just don’t get with older themes.