Small business websites need to clearly reveal what the business is, what it does, who it serves, and where it’s located. They demand clear navigation and a functional layout.
While the best option is probably to hire a designer to create your site for you, that’s not always a practical (or affordable) option.
One extremely inexpensive or free alternative is to download WordPress, choose a theme and customise it with your own logo and content. If you or someone on your staff has a knack for computers and the web, this can be a viable option.
It can also produce very professional-looking results for little or no cash injection. In fact, with the right theme and a deft touch with small customisations, it’s not difficult to create a better result than you’d get from paying for a website from a designer at the cheaper end of the spectrum.
But what are the best WordPress themes for small businesses? That’s the question we’re here to answer. Here are the top 20 themes for creating a small business website (some themes are free; others are ‘premium’, meaning they can be bought for a moderate fee.
Offering a choice of 20 colour schemes, VibrantCMS is an elegant WordPress solution for small business owners wanting to build a modern, attractive website. ($US70)
Thesis is an extremely flexible WordPress theme that can be adapted for purposes as widespread as a simple blog through to a full-fledged business site. ($US87)
Revolution Pro Business
A stylish, dark theme designed with small businesses in mind, allowing for a professional-looking static homepage plus a corporate blog. ($US79.95)
WP Remix is an advanced WordPress theme suite offering a range of page designs and colour schemes; it’s very well designed and turns WordPress into more of a complete content management system than just a blog publishing tool. Provides a great deal of flexibility for the small business. ($US75)
Notepad is a minimalist, clear WordPress theme designed to host a small business or brochure-ware type website, particularly businesses focused around a single professional, although it could easily be adapted for larger companies; it comes in 13 colour combinations. (Free)
The Market theme allows you to easily run your own WordPress-powered marketplace (i.e. online ecommerce store). It’s easy to set up and run, and comes with numerous configuration options. ($US55)
Ecommerce is another theme that allows you to set up and manage your own WordPress-powered store online, and comes with a choice of six colour styles. ($US49)
WP CODA is a gorgeous, unique WordPress theme perfect for a product showcase site (especially for computer software). This theme’s fluid navigation is a great way to showcase various aspects of a product or various sides to the services provided by a business. (Free)
Travailler is designed with the small business in mind, making it easy to create a smart-looking, custom-branded, professional website with great typography and design. ($US38)
Mimbo Pro is designed to create online magazine websites, however with a little creative customisation it could be used to showcase a company’s products and services instead of magazine stories and images. ($US89.99)
WP-Polaroid is a modern, funky WordPress theme designed to serve as a personal website, however it could just as easily be put to use as a small business homepage, with information about the company at the top of the homepage, and a weblog of the latest news items down below. Choose from blue and pink versions, or customise with your own background image. (Free)
Colourise is a beautiful weblog-centric theme with a large header image. If the header image were replaced with a large image detailing key information about a company or its key product, the theme could serve as a good small business homepage. (Free)
Natural Power features rounded corners, a dark background and a crisp, clear design. The large coloured area towards the top of the page could be customised to highlight information about your business, followed by a weblog containing the latest company news and information. You can also choose from a number of colour schemes. (Free)
Whitespace is a professional-looking weblog theme. Businesses that are comfortable with having their latest news and information front and centre could use this theme, and add their “About Us” details at the top of one of the sidebars. (Free)
The Unstandard is an image-heavy WordPress theme that could make a high impact small business website. The ‘weblog’ area in the main column could be used to visually promote various products, while providing company information in the right-hand text column. (Free)
Wynton Magazine is another magazine-style WordPress theme that could just as easily be used as a small business website. The key is to publish items promoting your products and services instead of magazine stories. This theme makes good use of thumbnail images on the homepage. (Free)
PocketT is a minimalist WordPress theme which could prove attractive to a small business that wants to communicate regularly with its clients. It features a prominent “about us” text area, clear navigation, and a weblog-style news feed. (Free)
WP Contact Manager
Rather than being a WordPress theme to help create a small business website, this is a theme that can help create a more productive workplace, by providing a common area to keep everybody’s business contacts up-to-date. You just install the theme, and then start posting your clients’ contact details to keep them in a central repository. (Free)
This is another WordPress theme that can act as a great tool to help small businesspeople run their company. Small teams collaborating on a particular project could use Prologue to effectively communicate about who is doing what and when. (Free)
Launchpad is a fantastic theme for WordPress, which newly formed small businesses can use when they’re in the process of creating their website, or a new product website. It’s a domain parking theme that creates a homepage saying “Welcome to ‘X’ site” and asking visitors to sign up for RSS or email alerts so they know when the site proper launches. Much better than an “Under Construction” symbol. (Free)
Don’t miss our full list of the web’s best WordPress themes, including the cream of the premium theme crop.