Where to Find Free Frameworks to Beautify Your Site: 7 Best WordPress Frameworks That Won’t Cost You a Dime
I’m pretty sure that most, if not all, web designers are familiar with the saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But most designers and developers I know fervently believe that if something works, why not use it?
It is this principle that makes WordPress frameworks so popular. WordPress, like you already know, is a wonderfully versatile open source web software that powers most of the websites and blogs you frequent daily. This software has captured many a designer and developers’ hearts, and is much-loved for its flexibility and intuitiveness, thanks to its user-friendly WordPress API.
Because of the versatility, you may choose to start designing a WordPress site with an HTML template, then slowly adding WordPress codes to customize it. OR, you can choose the efficient way and opt to utilize WordPress frameworks.
Why use WordPress frameworks – isn’t it cheating?
There may be WordPress purists who refuse to use frameworks when designing a new site but for those who favor efficiency, WordPress frameworks are pretty much heaven-sent.
Imagine, if you would, having the power to create a human being from scratch. You have the formula to create the skeletal frame that would otherwise involve a very long and arduous task to complete. Wouldn’t you rely on the tried-and-true formula instead of starting from scratch? With this formula in hand, you can now quickly and efficiently create a unique human being using the skeletal form as a foundation.
This example is reflected by the usage of WordPress frameworks which makes a web designer and developer’s job easier to manage. With the framework, or “formula”, designers and developers can save time without worrying about repeating all that code writing day in and day out.
Benefits of WordPress frameworks
A lot of designers and developers have sung praises about the benefits of WordPress frameworks. One of the biggest benefits by far is being able to save time when creating a new WordPress site. Frameworks provide a sort of shortcut and this is especially appreciated in the event of a tight deadline. Frameworks providers are also known to supply comprehensive support within their close-knit community so you need not fear being in the dark or stuck with coding issues. And for those who are business-minded, rest assured that most frameworks are SEO-optimized so that your new theme or site will appeal to both audience and search engines.
Users of WordPress frameworks will also be glad to know that more and more webhosting providers are expanding their repertoire that caters to their needs. Should you require framework-specific webhosting, you can start by comparing a range of hosting plans from key webhosts here.
Now that you know most of what you should know about WordPress frameworks, let’s get on to the list of delectable WordPress theme frameworks before diving right into developing one straight away.
Gantry is one of the better-known theming frameworks out there. Created by RocktTheme, Gantry framework offers a wealth of features, including an attractive Administrator user interface.
Why we love it:
The support provided by those who choose to use Gantry is unparalleled – the documentation is user-friendly and comprehensive, making it easy for new users to deal with installation and advanced users to work out issues concerning custom features. There are also three Google Groups that you can participate in, with support staff manning the threads daily and providing help to anyone who needs it. Also, most of us at the office fell in love with its flexible grid layout system that pretty much gave us a free reign over development any day.
Best of all, it’s free!
The Thematic framework is favored by lots of WordPress beginners for its flexibility and user-friendliness. Professionals have also been known to wax lyrical about its well-thought of features including 13 widget-ready areas, dynamic post and body classes as well as fluid thematic customization.
Why we love it: Thematic comes with a bundle of child themes that are utterly free to use. You may want to check out a guide to using Thematic here.
Hybrid is rather similar to Thematic, and comes with a generous helping of options under its belt. Developed by Justin Tadlock, Hybrid comes ready with 14 custom page templates, 15 supportable plugins, 9 widget-ready areas and more features than you can throw a stick at. Their stock of child themes makes it easy for developers to start their project in no time. Tutorials and documentation can be accessed here.
Why we love it: It’s a clearly solid and well-thought of theme that offers a huge amount of customization and built-in functions.
If you’re a developer that abides by the “no-frills” principle, then you would probably look upon the Roots framework favorably. The impeccably clean WordPress code output will be a delight to work with while the many handy customizations available will make even the freshest newbies delighted to start working on their site.
Why we love it: It’s SUPER responsive and the cleaner code output totally floored us.
If you get excited about a blank canvas and want your creativity to run wild, then you’d probably hyperventilate over the possibility of working with the Starkers framework. Trivia: it’s a barebones WordPress theme based on the “Twenty Ten” theme.
Why we love it: Besides the name itself, the framework comes with Modernizr which allows designers and developers to use most of HTML5 and CSS3 without being affected by older browsers.
#6: Ashford CMS
Touted as a one of the most user-friendly WordPress theme framework, Ashford is FREE theme that’s surprisingly packed with tons of features not commonly seen on other free frameworks.
Why we love it: They don’t excessively push people to upgrade to their pro version, and the free parent theme already provides a nice testing playground for those who want to jump onto the frameworks bandwagon.
If you don’t want to have broken codes haunt you, then the Wonderflux open source framework may be your best bet yet. This flexible platform has been lauded not only for its user-friendliness but also for its location-aware template parts.
Why we love it: Some people may love the myriad of options presented to them, but we think having the choice to filter out unnecessary options is even more delightful. Wonderflux provides just that, and more.
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