Anyone know a good library of free wordpress designs?

Looking for something that looks a bit like the front page of a newspaper. Three column layout maybe?

OK, so let’s be a little more specific.

I’m starting up a new little project. Something akin to Huffington Post but quite obviously on a much smaller scale. And I note that Huffpo, Forbes and a number of other such sites all use WordPress, as modified by their own peeps. Thus WordPress looks like a good start.

Or, as the comments suggest, is Drupal better?

Which CMS isn’t really the point. Rather, which already has a suitable design? That design having newspaper like qualities.

There’s a front page, which then has sections, business, technology, foreign and so on. And when you click into a section you get to another “front page” the front page of that section and so on down.

That’s really the bit I’m looking for. Obviously, any of these will have comments, the ability to give a writer access to one part but not others of the CMS backend and all that jazz.

We’ve also got some interesting bits being developed separately which would be folded in when ready. Much about mapping things for example.

But that’s this initial question. Anyone know of a depositary of CMS designs which can be used? The right design, assuming that the top few CMS are roughly similar, would make the choice.

As to the economics of this, given a couple of months it’s relatively trivial to get a website running 20k, 40k page views a day. The economic barrier is to gain an order of magnitude on that. I think it’s possible. And at that size there’s the revenue to continue to expand.

So, any ideas?

 

 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Anyone know a good library of free wordpress designs?”

  1. Good rule of thumb for web design… “Think mobile first”. Better that one column layout looks good as that’s where most of your visitors will be.

  2. Also, consider a static site generator. It’s much faster to load, can’t be hacked and Google will love you. Ask yourself why the tooling and database needs to be out on the internet rather than compiled locally on your computer. You’ll be surprised!

  3. “Thus WordPress looks like a good start.”

    I wouldn’t. I’d look at something like Joomla or Drupal. WordPress is blogging with lots of stuff stuck on. Joomla and Drupal are about content management.

    And I agree with Kevin Monk. Your content isn’t particularly dynamic. A static site generator will take it and generate the HTML/images/styles. It’ll run at a hell of a pace.

  4. I’m not going to claim any expertise in web design, but I was glad when I switched my professional website to a “mobile-first” form. From what I could discern about the changing habits of my visitors, that was the only reasonable way forward.

  5. Try these themes
    Magazine Basic
    ColorMag
    Fluida
    HeatMap Adaptive
    Hueman
    MH Magazine Lite
    They should meet your basic requirements. There on the WP themes site and most if not all are free

  6. Get a theme done for you. I know a (very) reasonable chap who will do it. He has written themes and plugins with an emphasis on speed and reader usability and could knock something out for a couple of hundred sobs or so I’d imagine.
    He actually does design mobile up, and aims to be light enough for an old G3 signal to load a site ok.
    Drupal and Joomla are superior in some ways. The ways they are better probably are not the ways you’d notice for your project. They are also more reliant on support from a web monkey. I’d avoid.

  7. Joomla.

    I made extensive research for a project I did and do (www.dimensionsforliving.org) and Joomla is much easier to learn than Drupal and much more flexible than WordPress.

    Do not use free templates. There’s no guarantee they’ll get updated and usually there’s no support if you have questions or something breaks.

    That site – we put it together from scratch, with no experience and with minimal outside help using folks on the Autism Section.

    Joomla has very good SEO extensions you can add to keep everything optimised. Lots of other good extensions (some paid for, some free – but paid for extensions are better for reasons above).

    Couldn’t have done this in Drupal – far too steep a learning curve – and WordPress would have much more time consuming (there’s some back end stuff that very useful on our site).

    As you said, when you off and getting the hits then bring in professionals and Joomla is inexpensive for professionals to work with. You might even need the professionals.

    If you try to nickel and dime your way to the kind of website you seem to be thinking about, then forget about it. Doesn’t need to cost much at all, but there are some things worth spending money on.

    There are commenters here with much deeper expertise on coding, web design etc than me, but the site above works well, is very solid and was built with every expense questioned (as one should for charity work). It main purpose is for the Devon Autism Alert card and works gang busters for that…but already built into it are paths for growth that we intend to take

    Some of the paths (landing pages for separate areas and sub areas, very good ways of displaying recommended content etc) are one that you seem to be looking at.

    Email me if you want.

  8. “Something akin to Huffington Post but quite obviously on a much smaller scale.”

    Are you going to be like Arianna and take all the money, and all the contributors work for free?

    Based on your tech performance over the years I’d say you need a technical bod on board. Seriously.

    “it’s relatively trivial to get a website running 20k, 40k page views a day.”

    You’re confident, at least. Good luck with it.

  9. Joomla for sure…

    I took over a WordPress site for an accountant once – it was utter shite…

    It was faster/easier/better to convert the site to Joomla than to try and work my way through it…

  10. Concerned,

    “Drupal and Joomla are superior in some ways. The ways they are better probably are not the ways you’d notice for your project. They are also more reliant on support from a web monkey. I’d avoid.”

    They are? Based on what, exactly?

    I’d be more nervous about running WP than almost any other major CMS platform. It’s one of the biggest targets for spambots pushing at plugins with holes or wordpress implementations that are behind on patches.

  11. John Square in Piraeus

    This thread is like a late night radio 3 discussion programme. All very literate and knowledgable, but it’s all Greek to me.

  12. I heard Forbes uses Falcon, its own CMS, they used to be a Drupal site.

    Before you start you need to think about the whole publishing process and then specify exactly the subset of functionality you require for your implementation.
    Only then should you think about what platform you might consider.

    This Drupal install is not maintained anymore but it does give insight into the roles and functions of what a news site typically requires

    https://www.drupal.org/project/innovationnewsprofile

    As for themes, have a look at other sites, pick what you like the look of and find out what they use, there will be a similar version in all the leading CMS’s

    My preference is Drupal cuz that’s what I know although I do know people who have moved to Joomla because it offers them better options in the markets they are in.

    A quick Google shows to me far more news sites are using Drupal than Joomla although not all these may be current.

    https://groups.drupal.org/media-publishing-sites

    As long as whatever theme you choose is adaptive then the consumption device doesn’t matter.

  13. Joomal is what I will go with if I ever figure out how to monetize a web site in a manner I find social responsible. I do not think the current method of ad slinging is social responsible.

    That said my work on improving my writing skills is currently unpaid. If there is an opportunity for future profit, unlike huffpo, I wouldn’t mind the chance to learn from others. Feel free to email me if you want me to throw together a couple basic designs. I assume you have access to the disposable email I use when posting.

  14. All depends on the expertise of your web programmers & designers. I personally would use WordPress. I’ve used Drupal & Magenta but the learning curve is massive. I’ve done blogs and commercial sites (multi-lingual & multi-site) with WordPress and had no problems.

  15. @Tim Worstall,

    The place to ask is at your former client – ElReg

    Ask Andrew to post a “Former contributor asking for advise” article.

    or start a new thread on their forum.

    P

  16. The only reason for a non-specialist to know anything about any of this is so he can tell if the supposed specialist he is hiring is full of shit or not. I’m a software engineer, and I’d no more dream of trying to build a content-delivery site on my own than I would make my own furniture. I know enough about furniture to tell if a chair is crap. Don’t need to know any more. Division of labour is awesome.

  17. What BiCR said.

    BiG, you have a deviant mind, I like that.

    Get a wannabe programmer to build your site for the experience as well.

  18. > I’d be more nervous about running WP than almost any other major CMS platform. It’s one of the biggest targets for spambots pushing at plugins with holes or wordpress implementations that are behind on patches.

    What Tim A said. I never went near WordPress because I noticed the number of times alerts go out saying “Patch your WordPress site RIGHT NOW or it’ll be hacked to Hades and back!” And my experience is that, if stuff is going to go wrong with your site, it’ll happen while you’re on holiday or otherwise unable to deal with it immediately. Pick a platform that doesn’t have emergencies.

    If there is one.

    There probably isn’t.

  19. I went off Joomla when their upgrade path broke, around version 1.5. You need to be able to keep current properly.

    Drupal is used by very large sites, but is more complicated than WordPress.

    WordPress has a very good core, which is why so many sites use it. It’s easy to hack and has structures – posts – that lends themselves well to categorised and tagged news items.

    But free themes are more expensive than well-supported paid-for themes, really. Spend $100.

  20. TLDR: WP will be fine for you and it’s much easier to learn than Drupal or Joomla.

    You might need a bit of advice on WP plugins to get the site to do exactly what you want. Out of the box it won’t be enough.

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