Launching a magazine? At WordPress.com, you can choose from an ever-growing collection of themes. Here are four free and four premium themes to promote a wide variety of content.
Launched earlier this year, Canard showcases writing and photography in a nicely balanced layout. You can display up to five posts in a grid on your homepage, and if you publish images and use post formats, you’re in luck: image and gallery post formats are beautifully called out on the homepage. You can create up to four custom menus, too: perfect for directing your visitors to different places.
This free theme lends sophistication to Sarah Ascha’s food site, à la Susu: her featured dishes look delicious in her homepage grid, and other custom touches, from the light blue navigation bar to the Calluna font used throughout the site, are subtle and delicate.
Publication is an awesome free theme that brings your best full-width images to life. At MLB.com affiliate site Call to the Bullpen, each post is accompanied by a full-screen featured image (ideally at 2000px wide and 1500px high). Publication also has two widget areas to display your extras, from a list of your contributors to links to recent podcasts. Whether you’re launching a sports journal or a travel magazine, Publication will cover your needs.
The default theme for 2014, Twenty Fourteen remains a solid pick among bloggers who need a highly functional theme to promote a mix of writing and imagery. Your front page is rich with content: you can feature up to six posts in a grid or a slider, and show off your recent videos, music, quotes, links, and other posts with the unique Twenty Fourteen “ephemera” widget.
At The Stockholm Review of Literature, the featured images add visual touches to the literary publication’s homepage, while their custom menus direct readers to various sections and previous issues of the magazine.
An enduring favorite for online magazines, Oxygen remains a powerful free theme in our Theme Showcase. If you enable its showcase page template on your front page, you can build a sleek slider for up to six sticky posts with featured images, as shown on the theme’s demo site. Or, you can randomize your collection of uploaded headers, as seen on music publication New Slang, which focuses on the musicians and singer-songwriter communities in Texas.
We’ve featured Oxygen in the past — take a peek at how others have made it their own.
Dicot, the first of four premium themes in this list, is super modern and minimal. Designed by DesignOrbital, you can see it in action on Very Joëlle, the fashion site of Canadian lifestyle journalist and stylist Joëlle Paquette. Immediately, you’ll notice two distinct features: Joëlle’s content carousel of featured posts, and her site’s sticky menu — you’ll see a black menu bar appear and “stick” to the top as you scroll down the page.
Dicot also has custom options — post carousel and post list widgets — which Joëlle has used for her “Latest Posts” and “Popular This Week” sidebar sections. Whether your passion is fashion or books or even gardening, Dicot can achieve the right look for you.
Ideal for a magazine or news site, the premium Christopher theme, by SiloCreativo, offers a number of front page layouts. You can showcase a prominent content slider and display posts you want to promote, mixed with other touches.
We love the simple but professional look created at PhotoArtMag, which uses Christopher‘s custom widgets to showcase quotes and categories with flair. The theme’s default Noto Serif font is also clean and readable, which makes browsing enjoyable.
Need a theme to accommodate your team’s busy publishing schedule? MH Magazine will get the job done. This premium theme from MH Themes includes a unique homepage template with up to 11 widget areas and an optional sidebar for even more content.
You can see MH Magazine put to excellent use at Occupy My Family, an Atlanta-based destination, events, and activities guide for families. With widgets to highlight what’s happening this week, editorial picks, and recommendations across popular categories, the guide acts as a one-stop site for family fun.
Finally, Zuki, a premium theme from Elmastudio, is minimal yet flexible, allowing you to arrange custom widgets and featured sections on your front page. At Reef Magazine, an “online magazine for creative souls,” you’ll see the top post slider in action, as well as recent posts with different-sized thumbnails to give the page visual variety. With these options, the global Reef team promotes their mix of content — from coffee articles to short stories — in an eye-catching way.
Buying a premium theme for your site is a one-time purchase. Feel free to preview and customize one in your Customizer (My Sites → Themes → Customize) before buying it.