A personal blog isn’t just a place to share your writing. For many, a blog is a way to express creativity, but also personality and the things you care about. And, in many ways – the design of your blog is the starting point for that creative expression. As such, we’re going to take a look at a wide range of WordPress personal blog themes to help you find the right design for you.
How to build a personal blog with WordPress
What kind of features should you look for when creating a blog site with WordPress? For one, the theme should be either recently published or frequently updated. This will ensure that your theme of choice complies with the latest WordPress features, but also security standards.
Apart from that, here is the criteria we use when choosing to highlight a theme:
- Mobile-friendly. With so many people using their smartphones to consume content, it goes without saying that responsive design is a must-have.
- Performance. Nobody wants to visit a website and have it take 10 seconds to load. Especially us! As such, our theme selection process weighted site performance heavily.
- SEO Optimization. Some people don’t care about search engines, but I imagine that many of you do. So it only makes sense to include themes have are SEO-friendly.
And lastly, we looked at each design individually. What kind of unique features does it have? Who is the design intended for in terms of personality? Little things like this can narrow down a broad list of themes to a dozen, ensuring that everyone can find something that feels good to their taste.
So, without further ado – let’s take a closer look.
If you’re looking to use your personal blog to document stories for a long period of time, I think you’ll enjoy how pleasing the Boston theme is. It’s built specifically for bloggers who like to keep things simple, but still have a few design elements that make your content stand out.
In particular, you’ll love the ability to highlight individual words in your post titles. And, the category design will make it so readers can immediately recognize what the story is about. But, more than that, the Boston theme just feels really good. I think it’s easy to go overboard with site design, in hopes of a more creative touch, but that can also backfire because the design becomes too cluttered.
As such, we recommend Boston to anyone who likes a clean design combined with some modern design features to help emphasize your best content.
Personal Blogily is definitely up there with other refined WordPress themes. The boxed layout separated by carefully crafted borders gives a more unique feel to your site. And, with the addition of custom widgets like About Me – you can go ahead and make a strong impression of what your personal blog is all about.
I think this theme also does a great job of highlighting the use of simplicity. If your only goal is to share stories, it goes a long way to ensure they’re easy to read and navigate. In this theme, you can make a strong first impression by adding your personal logo at the top of the page. And, also by adding navigation links that link to your categories and other important pages.
As someone who works in web design on a daily basis, it’s not uncommon for me to see a design that makes me go, “Yeah, that’s pretty neat!”. And, the Blogstream theme definitely has those vibes going for it. It’s a personal blogging theme that uses a stylish design concept that you probably won’t find in any other theme. As such, that also makes Blogstream a truly unique theme.
The compact header design has room for a practical logo, your social media links, but also a search icon, and, of course, your site categories. The categories can even be nested, so if you write about a lot of topics – having them nested can help improve the site navigation experience.
A custom widget can be added to your sidebar to display your most popular posts, but also the most commented ones. Likewise, you can individually highlight your best of the best content through a custom Featured Posts widget. All in all, this theme provides plenty of tools to make your articles discoverable.
My first impression of Elsie is that the demo has been designed to have a lot of feminine elements to it. And, I also feel the same way about typography choices. As such, the Elsie theme is an ideal pick for our fellow female bloggers who wish to kickstart their blogging journey. I think you’ll quite like this one.
On the sidebar, you’ll have plenty of room to add your personal bio with a photo. But also a subscription form, and links to your most recent blog posts. On the homepage, you can utilize the “featured boxes” to link out to your best pages, such as your contact page among others. The design of articles pages is clean, includes social sharing buttons, and has all the other WordPress features you’d expect.
Calling the Patricia Blog theme elegant would be quite an understatement. The way the design flows together from header to footer is as smooth as it can get. And, honestly, you could probably sell this theme, but it is in fact available for free. So, let’s talk about some of the design features.
First is the minimal navigation design. Social links, navigation, and other custom buttons are all included in a single container. This helps you save a lot of design space and put more emphasis on your initial header introduction. In this case, that introduction would be a slider of your featured posts.
After that, you have a nice and flowing grid-style blog presentation, with the addition of a right-hand sidebar. Overall, the theme feels natural. After going through the various pages and examples, at no time did it feel as if something (an element or widget) was out of context. Check it out for yourself below.
As we said at the beginning of the article, personal blogging themes are typically used for sites with a specific purpose. Be it food blogs, travel stories, personal experiences, and more. In the case of TravelBee, this theme is designed for anyone looking to start up a personal travel blog. And, I do believe you’re going to love the included features. Let’s look at them one by one.
- Featured Slider. Promote your best (or latest) travel stories with a stylish featured slider.
- Featured Boxes. Showcase your eBook, link to your About Me page, and anything else.
- Hero Introduction. A full-width section to tell your readers all about who you are.
- Her Promotion. Put a product or a book you’re selling in the spotlight.
So, in a sense, TravelBee is a theme that’s not only for personal blogs but also for anyone looking to market themselves as an expert on a specific topic. As is with any other WordPress theme, the idea that you can only use it for travel sites is superficial. A theme like this will work on any particular topic that you’re most interested in, all you need to do is adapt the style for it.
Thomas Weichselbaumer has been building WordPress themes since 2011. And his company ThemeZee is extremely popular among the free themes community. And, in the case of Occasio – it’s a personal blogging theme for writers who appreciate the little things in life.
Not only is the theme simple, but it also does an excellent job at letting you focus on what’s most important – the ability to write and publish new content.
EnjoyBlog brings forth a bit of a unique twist. It has not one but two sidebars. And both of those sidebars implement a “sticky” effect. So, they roll down the page alongside the main content as the reader navigates the page. This can make it easier for readers to find your blog post categories, but also give you an opportunity to promote ads in a more defined fashion. If you plan to use ads, that is.
The article design is quite compact. I think if you’re someone who wishes to write about technological topics, a theme like this can go a long way. The narrow design approach actually has an effect on making the page more engaging, and easier for the reader.
But, outside of all that. This is a practical theme without all the fancy stuff to distract readers.
The first thing that the Dashscroll theme reminded me of was the Twitter timeline. Blog posts are shown as a timeline card, including a small circular logo of your featured image. The boxed design remains consistent across all pages, so there’s a familiarity with the design.
You also get a compact sidebar on the right-hand side, which can be used to promote links to your social media. On the other hand side, you have a widget that can display your most interesting posts. And, also to showcase a photo of you and a description of what your personal blog is about.
In conclusion, a theme like this with its quirks and twists is definitely for the more creative writers. If you like it, then I am sure you won’t mind using it. Others might feel the design is too unfamiliar.
Crafthemes are no strangers to producing lovely WordPress templates. And the Strike Blog theme was built specifically to help writers find a good home for their blog posts. It’s a traditional blogging-style theme that does have a few interesting features. In particular, Strike Blog provides a “Featured Article” section where you can highlight both older posts, but also your best recent articles.
Even though you’ll see a few custom colors used for various elements, I do think that it all blends together without much obstruction. Specifically, looking at the design of the blog posts page – I couldn’t notice anything that was drawing my attention away from the content itself.
The thing I love about the Sheen theme is that it’s a bit of a mix. On one hand, it’s a portfolio theme using photography as the main content presentation, but on the other – it’s also a spectacular theme to use for a personal blogging site. If you are someone with a passion for photography but also writing, I do believe the Sheen theme was built just for you.
I’d say the design, apart from images, is kept to an absolute bare minimum. The typography is neat and blends well with the overall empty spaces you find on pages. And the theme supports all the WordPress features you already know and love – comments, videos, featured photos, and a clean footer.
Writers Blogily is very much in line with the Personal Blogily theme we saw earlier. And, in a lot of ways, follows the same style guidelines. It’s clean and uses a boxed grid layout in combination with a full-width hero section to highlight what your blog is about.
Inside blog posts, you have the option to use a full-width featured image. The footer elements are neatly put together to include tags, an author box, related posts, and a comment section.
It’s going to be hard to overlook the amount of customization and personal touch that has gone into the Personalias theme. So, let’s unpack one by one. First, you’ll notice the design is based on 3 different sections. One is for the featured article, the second for all your blog posts, and then finally you have a sidebar on the far right-hand side. This same concept follows inside blog articles themselves, too.
The only difference is that inside the blog post – the featured article is replaced with the author’s information. And, also has social media links your readers can use to share your posts with their friends. I’d say it’s a fairly compact design, overall. I do believe the choices that the authors of this theme have made are going to help increase engagement with your readers.
If you do plan on using blog comments, look at our spam prevention article to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with poor-quality comments.
Blockfold is a Blocks-based theme (we have an article on those here) – so expect all the Gutenberg Blocks features to work well with this template. In fact, one of those features is Full Site Editing – also known as a website builder inside WordPress. With Full Site Editing, you can customize your blog style and design directly from the homepage. And you have full control over each element. Include even the smallest of details, such as button styles, or border styles for your headlines. It’s creativity in action.
But, you can also use Blockfold just for the base design alone. Which, as you’ll see in the live preview, is more than sufficient for publishing a blog. Everything from carefully aligned content displays to individual sections is already included. All you need to do is populate those sections with your own content.
And for the last theme in our collection, we have Oscure. Another excellent choice for anyone who loves the idea of writing blogs through photography. It’s quite clear to me that Alexandre Buffet (the author) has put a few of his personal touches into this design. Specifically, a parallax effect that makes the homepage experience feel lively and will surely catch the attention of anyone coming to your blog.
In terms of publishing content with this theme, it’s up to you. It works just as fine to use for a standalone photo-based blog. But if writing text is your thing, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t combine both.
I’ve done design work for quite a number of years. And, on top of that, I’ve also dug deep into various templates and theme designs during that time. As such, being impressed with a free design – I think you really need to put something special into the design for that to happen. And, I do believe that this roundup was quite an interesting journey into what is possible with WordPress.
You can choose to use these themes as is, or take it a step further by adding a website builder, or at the very least one of the many interesting WordPress plugins. All in all, I hope that this roundup helped you to find the design that reflects your personality and style choices the best.