You are running your hands through your hair.
Unfortunately, the purpose is not to caress your head or to style it. Rather, you are looking for a tuft to tug. You have been in the WordPress.org theme repository looking for the next free theme to use on a client project.
It can be a nightmare. With over 2,750 FREE themes currently available, how do you find what you need?
The initial thought might be to simply search for the keyword of the your business in the repository and go from there. The problem with this is that many themes are not what they seem. What might originally seem like a great theme turns out to be another “content, sidebar” layout with a different name slapped on it.
A great article by Matt Cromwell recently surfaced, which partially inspired the creation of this resource. In the article, Matt denies the necessity of the niche theme. We disagree with the denial of all niche themes, but agree that niche themes need to be handled by the professionals in one field to be considered niche themes.
Here is a directory of some great places to go for niche WordPress themes. What you will find here are themes that provide benefits and layouts, sometimes at a price. The opportunity cost of using a pro theme custom made for your industry is less time spent playing with code and making additions to your site.
Directory of Niche WordPress Themes
- Religious WordPress Themes – ChurchThemes.com
- Non Profit Themes – Patricia Theme
- Restaurants – Restaurant Engine
- e-Commerce Themes – WooThemes
- Blog Themes – Aesop Story Engine
- Business Themes – Slocum Themes
Do we need niche WordPress themes?
Looking at the directory above, you will notice that we linked our free business theme to the list. While we feel that we have achieved a niche of our own, there was a definite learning process for us. If you look at the rest of our themes, you will see some disparity in message, and it is important to note. So do YOU need to use niche themes? Here are both sides of the story.
The positive of niche themes is that they are typically laid out like other websites in the field. When done properly, like in the linked cases above, you get a WordPress theme which pays attention to the elements that make a *blank* website a “blank* website.
I am not religious, and would have no clue developing themes for religious organizations. But the Church Themes site has integrated functions like the posting of a sermon at the top of the homepage. I would have no idea to do that as a developer with no church website experience!
The “no” camp will argue that themes are merely layouts of content that mimic popular sites. They aren’t wrong. Themes are layouts and good themes allow for customization so that you can adjust images, call-to-actions, and other elements. At that point, is the theme really doing service to the original intent? You are just baiting people.
Using the religion example again, take a look at this new free theme Church. Technically, it is a “church theme” and branded as such. But you will also notice the flavor text for the theme:
Church theme can be used for any type of website : corporate, blog, personal, non-profit, online shop, and of course: churches.
When it comes to WordPress.org, many pieces of functionality have to be left out before a theme can be approved. These elements will eventually have to be converted to plugins. Because of this, you rarely get everything you need from a free WordPress theme and either need to upgrade to the pro version of a theme or adopt a more complex platform away from WordPress.org repository.
What we learned from our Capture Theme
The team at Slocum Themes and Slocum Studio is no stranger to professional photography. We decided it was time to take what we knew about displaying photos and convey them on a WordPress theme.
Capture was born. It is a free theme that is still available, and we even expanded functionality to a pro version with full-screen gallery support and more! Images are displayed in a container that mimics a picture frame!
But then something interesting happened. We started getting thousands of downloads with mountains of requests to move and change elements.
“Remove the picture border!”
“How do I get rid of the full-screen display!”
People were not using our theme as an actual photography theme. Some were, but many just really liked the unique look of the theme and wanted to do something else with it. While it was a niche theme, it was being used for other purposes.
What we learned from our Modern Business Pro WordPress Theme
After the interesting reaction of Capture, we were hesitant to release a business theme. But then we had an epiphany.
We have hours upon hours of business website advice on YouTube.
We put out the MattReport, a podcast on starting businesses on the web using WordPress.
For years, our studio has brought attention to large and small businesses by creating compelling business websites with call-to-actions. Our expertise is in the area of business websites!
Modern Business Pro was born with all sorts of display options and call to actions to maximize the value the way we know how.
The reaction here is very different. With widget areas and call to actions that are specific to the needs of bringing attention to products and services, the theme is made to be the ultimate WordPress business theme. All elements of the site work for the business user, and the theme is being used as a business platform.
Niche Themes versus Inspirational Layouts
All of this being said, if you are looking for inspiration it is still totally okay to scour the WordPress.org repository. There might be a restaurant theme
Do you need advice on anything other niche themes that we may have left out here? Let us know in the comments below! Do us a favor and check out our WordPress themes, both niche and not niche.