What Makes a Great WordPress Theme for Authors?

From The Book Designer:

Before we get to the 10 best WordPress themes for authors, let’s get one thing out of the way.

Yes, you need an author website!

Too much enthusiasm? I think not. 

Over the years  I’ve seen way too many authors miss out on opportunities to engage with their audience and even sell more books because they don’t believe that they need a website, or they feel that being on social media is enough. Or, they don’t want to be on the internet at all. I kind of understand the reasoning behind the last one, but you still need a house, even if you’re never at home. 

. . . .

Now let’s talk about the best WordPress themes for authors and finding the best one for your author website.

When it comes to author websites, any ol’ template won’t work. As writers and authors, we have specific needs that not every template provides. For this list, I selected themes that met the following criteria:

  • Multiple layout options: You don’t want your website to look like your author neighbor across the internet street. 
  • Shop/Store option: Having an easy way to sell your books directly to your readers built into the theme (even if you don’t need it at first) will make life easier. 
  • Theme Support: It’s tough when you have questions but can’t find anyone to answer them.
  • Blog style options: An author has to write, so please give her some options.
  • At least a 4 out of 5-star rating (at the time of this article.)
  • Regularly updated
  • Detailed documentation

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

After the excerpt above, the OP goes through each of his Ten Best WordPress Templates.

PG has his opinions, but, since he’s not an author, share your opinions and selections in the comments.

5 thoughts on “What Makes a Great WordPress Theme for Authors?”

  1. …or you could just be a nerd and build it from actual standard-compliant HTML and CSS, thereby ensuring that your tech support is always available.

    It’s really not that hard. It’s the difference between only learning to drive an automatic and learning to drive a stick-shift. (If you want to be a hero, you’d better learn to drive a stick.) It’s not as hard as a 10k frontloader configured for aircraft ammunition wearing full chemical warfare gear!

  2. The author did not mention responsiveness, the ability for the theme to “respond” to whatever the user is using to read the blog.

    The best theme I’ve ever found is Generate Press by Tom Usborne’. Look it up. You own’t be sorry. I use it on every website I own. Each of them looks as good on any monitor, from a 24″ down to a phone.

  3. I like the stick-shift analogy from C.E. Pettit, but it works the other way for me. Yes, you can learn to drive a stick-shift, but there is a reason so many manufacturers have ditched it. You don’t need it. Just as you don’t need to learn to type on a typewriter either.

    As a small digression for another example, I’m into astronomy. There is a significant group of amateur astronomers who hate computerized mounts for scopes — they argue if you’re not doing it manually, you’ll never learn to navigate the sky. Not true, for one thing, and for another, who cares? Lots of people start at different places…people wanting a website to support their writing are not a subset of people wanting to know how to build websites. They want solutions, not additional time sucks, and the learning curve for HTML and CSS to get something looking decent is not small in time or learning. I can do both, but I wouldn’t waste my time doing so.

    I can load WP, add a subset of 1000s of plugins I could never design on my own, and be up and running with a website in less than a day. And tweak it out the wazoo over the next year while it is already operational.

    As for the choice of themes, I quibble on a few elements. First and foremost, there is never “one” type of theme that is suitable for everyone. Your website should reflect YOU, not what someone else generically thinks all writers should use. They’re viable layouts, sure, but of the ten, I think I would consider 2 or 3. But many of them I wouldn’t touch at all, as they are stingy on the content and heavy on “BUY MY BOOK”. Readers can find your book already, IMO, they come to your website because they want additional content or insights into you or your writing style. If your website is only “BUY BUY BUY”, they visit once and never return. There’s literally no reason to…there are better sites out there that tell them when new books by their favourite authors are published based on their previous purchases. They already get “BUY ME” notifications.

    Of the ten, if I went to your site and you were using Novela, Chapter One, Leona, Belletrist, or Book Landing, I doubt I would bother clicking around. But that’s just my preference. I’m looking for content, not splash pages.

    • I agree. Using WP makes sense for my wibbow test. I spend enough time debugging and fussing with the occassional php issues when my host changes supported versions at a different rate or I want to do something new, like integrate with a subscription or unintegrate.

      And I only consider themes that make lots of text look good and don’t overcomplexify the nav spaces. I want to control those in WP, not the theme, so I don’t have to reconfigure if I change themes and because I use custom widgets for email sign up and a better search.

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