20 Obscure WordPress Theme Providers

There are hundreds if not thousands of WordPress theme shops out there.  Many are blow-your-socks-off amazing.  Conversely, many are just throwing themes against the wall and seeing if they stick.

Rather than just list all of the well-known, popular WordPress theme providers, I decided to identify some of the more obscure theme shops.  The following are high quality, lesser-known WordPress theme shops you may never have heard of.  Go ahead, try them out.  This post has no affiliate links.

Theme Trust

They claim “beauty and function” and I would agree.  Very professional, clean and easy to navigate themes.  Nice work Theme Trust.

theme trust wordpress

Para.llel.us

A creative shop mainly selling their stuff through ThemeForest.  They make one of the most popular themes of all time on ThemeForest.

parallelus themes

Chimera Themes

Not the top of the list in terms of cool designs.  But there are many themes to choose from, many of which are unique and serve a specific purpose which is convenient.

chimera themes

Shaken and Stirred

Some neat and clever, creative themes here.  One designed for the sole purpose of accepting invoice payments only.  Neato.

shaken and stirred wordpress themes

ThemeShift

Lots of high quality themes with an elegant, minimalist style throughout their portfolio.  Like the big boys, ThemeShift will soon be releasing their own theme framework upon which to build their future themes.

themeshift wordpress themes

ThemeFuse

Slightly higher priced ($59-99) put the “premium” in premium themes.  But they back up the price with some nice designs with specialized functions and clean, stylish lines.

themefuse premium wordpress themes

Dessign

Beautiful, minimalist designs pulled off with a classy and professional look.  In this case, minimalist does NOT mean boring.  This provider was once featured on SmashingMagazine.com, but still remains under the radar.

dessign wordpress themes

Mint Themes

Nice, run-of-the-mill themes, basic functions and designed well.  Mint Themes wins the award for “keep your eye on them, they’re going places.”

mint themes

My Theme Shop

Great styles come out of this obscure theme shop.  Clean, grid-based designs offer a creative spin on simplistic design.

my theme shop wordpress

WPCrunchy

Clean, crisp themes with a professional spin.  I’d call this an economy theme provider at the tune of $39 per year.

wpcrunchy wordpress

ThemeZilla

Gotta say, one of my favorites.  Orman Clark and ThemeZilla can really put together a slick WordPress theme.  They are clean, professional, simple and fast.

themezilla themes

CSS Igniter

Cool, usable themes using some of the latest but important techniques like responsive designs.

css igniter themes

SoloStream

Business-y themes with a true blog feel.  Many of their themes are really just built for standard blogging.

solostream themes

Rockable Themes

Some nice forward-thinking designs for professionals and graphics design folks.  Nothing ground breaking here, just good wholesome themes.

rockable themes

Gavick Pro

Like Rockettheme, Gavick Pro started with Joomla Templates and realized just how awesome WordPress was.  They now offer both.  I’ve no personal experience with Gavick themes but they sure look nice.

gavick themes

Theme Warrior

Badass name. They offer some inexpensive and free themes with a classic flair.

theme warrior themes

OKAY Themes

Very simple themes with designers in mind.  Lots of portfolio and media focused themes.

okay themes

Press75

Some excellent themes, some for just $5.  Press75 calls their themes “unique, clean and efficient.  I would agree.

press75 themes

Designer Themes

Cool block-style themes with a nice color-contrasting kick.  Creative use of minimalism and scrolling effects are sprinkled around their portfolio.

designer wordpress themes

WP Explorer

Great themes, very well conceived and put together.  They are usable and professional at the same time.  This one is more of a collection of themes from various providers.

wp explorer themes

 

 

WordPress.com launches WordPress for Classrooms

WordPress.com has recently added a new vertical specifically aimed at the education sector called WordPress Classrooms. Many teachers will tell you that they have been using WordPress for some time for class blogs and for communicating with parents, however, this vertical includes some features that will make life much easier for teachers and students.

Privacy

Privacy is the number one factor for teachers looking at getting their content on the web. Particularly if the content includes photos or videos of kids. WordPress for Classrooms deals with this by giving users a range of privacy options, including keeping content from search engines, password protecting posts, or simply limiting posts to certain logged in users.

class_list

Themes

WordPress.com users can select from a list of predetermined themes, however, classroom users get access to a wider range of Education specific themes. Any user, can of course pay a small fee to use a custom theme. With the launch of Classrooms, WordPress have also released a new theme called Chalkboard, that would make a great template for a class blog. Check it out here.

chalk

With an emphasis on BYOD that many schools in developed countries seem to be moving towards, it makes a lot of sense for teachers to use blogs more often. If a student is sitting with an iPad or laptop on their desk, then blogging to WordPress will be a breeze. This is a great opportunity for teachers to give WordPress a try.

WordPress for classrooms also includes all the great features that other .Com users get, which make it an ideal classroom website option: Moderated and threaded comments, great media embedding options, simplicity and speed of publishing and all this is hosted in free package. Sounds like a winner to us. With an emphasis on BYOD that many schools in developed countries seem to be moving towards, it makes a lot of sense for teachers to use blogs more often. If a student is sitting with an iPad or laptop on their desk, then blogging to WordPress will be a breeze. This is a great opportunity for teachers to give WordPress a try. If you are involved in Education and want to check it out, jump over to WordPress.com Classrooms.

25 Free Nonprofit WordPress Themes for February 2013

What to consider when choosing a WordPress theme for a nonprofit.

Today’s nonprofit can no longer depend on generous donors to send money because of the quality or depth of the mission. In a tight economy, nonprofits need to act like businesses – adopting business principles and strategy in order to stay competitive. One major component of a competitive nonprofit is a powerful and dynamic web presence.

Because this new reality for nonprofits and non-governmental organizations requires an intentional focus on their website and design, and WordPress is miles above the competition when it comes to building a community online, I thought it important to look at what makes a good nonprofit WordPress theme.

First, how these themes were rated.

1) A good nonprofit WordPress theme must be easy to navigate for non-tech savvy visitors.

2) A good nonprofit WordPress theme incorporates multiple avenues for converting visitors to participants.

3) A good nonprofit WordPress theme is stylish but professional.

I examined each of these three factors, along with basic standards for usability, good design principles and quality coding. The following are standout themes that would be good for virtually any nonprofit.

Yasmin

A fixed layout, 3-column theme with lots of social media engagement for potential donors or volunteers. Comes with a slick portfolio feature too.

yasmin nonprofit wordpress theme

Western

A 2-column business theme with striking color contrast and up-top social links.

western theme for nonprofits

Stylish Church

An easy to implement branding platform (like – just upload your logo easy) and an integrated events calendar make this a great option for nonprofits.

Free Church nonprofit wordpress theme

Simple Nonprofit Theme

It is what it says, a simple nonprofit theme with a header menu to highlight what’s important. A clean blog and latest news function round out this nonprofit theme.

free nonprofit theme

Fanwood

More striking contrast to make the theme pop off the page. Above the fold social links and easy navigation.

fanwood nonprofit theme

Pure Line

A truly simple design with the old school menu header. This theme is super free (full GPL) because it’s found in the WordPress theme depository.

pure line nonprofit theme

Simple Catch

It’s right in the name: “simple”. A smooth, clean design but a pretty powerful back end with a complete administrator panel.

simple nonprofit theme

Unique & Responsive

Responsive is the key phrase here. With more people accessing the web via mobile devices than ever before, this theme will set up your organization to catch people wherever they are, and in the future as more and more people use mobile web.

responsive nonprofit wordpress

Foundation Theme

One of the very few themes out there specifically designed for nonprofits. Foundation theme is from a small (2-theme) shop so who knows about support or consistency. But the theme looks pretty tight and clean.

wordpress foundation theme

Panoramica

Some nonprofits generate some great images as part of their work. Panoramica would be a good theme for them because it is built to showcase powerful images.

nonprofit wordpress theme

Simple n’ Bright

Again, built to rotate great images, Simple n’ Bright also has some beautiful built-in photography that can make the visitor feel all warm-and-fuzzy and maybe a little open-the-wallety.

bright wordpress nonprofit theme

Boldy

Another theme with rotating imagery. Boldy is put together by Site5 hosting as a “free premium” theme. Lots of social integration and a clean column look make this theme a winner.

boldy nonprofit theme

JournalCrunch

Generating lots of written content? This theme is the one for your group. A very clean, professional look with sutle vertical lines make the user feel like they’re sitting in grandma’s living room (in a good way).

journal nonprofit wordpress theme

WP Anniversary

OK, the “thank you” isn’t meant for your donors, it’s meant for Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. But it could be customized to provide a very nice message to your visitors.

wpanniversary nonprofit theme

Simplo

Yep, I really dig the simple themes. Most themes today only look good with amazing, popping images and we don’t all have those accessible and appropriate for our site. Simplo is super simple and super easy to navigate. Two great design principles.

wordpress ngo theme

Academica

A very professional looking design, obviously targeted toward universities. With universities comes instant “cred” so tap into that if possible.

academic wordpress theme

Iris

Nice, calming but exciting blue permeates this design. Great for kids charities or other child-focused agencies. The navigation is simple, but the layout doesn’t allow for much content above the fold.

iris nonprofit theme

Respo

One of my favorites on this list, Respo is clean but really professional. The menu is boring, but the rest of the design is simple in a nice, clean and usable way.

respo nonprofit theme

Financio

One of my other favorites on this list, I think it’s the subtle vertical lines and the off-black menu. I love how this theme draws your attention immediately to the name, then the content.

simple wordpress nonprofit theme

Goodchoice

This one is modern in terms of design style. The static image background, overlaying screening, and round social buttons are all “design-forward”. If your nonprofit is progressive, this may be the design for you.

good wordpress nonprofit theme

Tint

Rounding out my list of favorites among favorites, tint has a cool, retro color bar at the top that serves no function other than to make me happy. The user is drawn to the content of your message or mission right away.

nonprofit theme

Quintel

Not my favorite design, can’t really explain why. But it has all the right components. Maybe it’s my hatred of the color teal. Yes, that’s it. Otherwise, Quintel might work perfectly for your nonprofit.

quintel nonprofit theme

Orion

A simple and straightforward nonprofit theme. If you care most about your content and images, this might be your theme. It doesn’t distract with flashy features, just clean lines.

orion nonprofit theme

Rolex

Rolex is nice because it has front page widgets you can use to highlight your work with nice icons. Plus the images are nicely displayed above the fold.

rolex nonprofit theme

Faith

I liked faith because it has an elegant quote or statistic spot at the top. Highlight a fact about what your organization does, or some inspiring word of wisdom.

faith nonprofit theme

Ready for the next level? Go premium, like this theme:

mission nonprofit theme

WordPress for iOS 3.4 update released

Automattic, the company behind WordPress has released an update to the WordPress iOS app: version 3.4. It now supports push notifications for events such as comments, likes, shares, new posts, and more. This feature should be great for keeping your comment moderation time down, and giving your blog a current/live feeling, as you will be able to approve comments in real time when using your phone. To gain access to the push notification feature on a self-hosted WordPress.org blog you will need to add the jetpack plugin.

Comment moderation has been greatly improved in this update also, allowing users to carry out all moderation tasks from one screen. This is a significant feature for user friendliness, and something I have been waiting for, for a long time, mostly because this is the type of task I think a phone or tablet is more useful for. It’s not likely that I will be writing entire posts on my iPhone, however, moderating comments when I have a free moment of two makes a lot of sense. So I am very pleased with this new feature.

The app is still missing a few key features. Most notability the option to search through old posts, thus allowing you to make quick edits or updates to existing posts.

Some of the reviews on iTunes are suggestion the new version is fairly unstable. What do you think of the new version?

You can download the app here.