Whenever I start a new fansite, I like to get it onto the internet as quickly as possible – it keeps me motivated to work on it! I’m not great with graphics so I always look for WordPress fansite themes that I can just turn on and add a header to. Later I’ll order a custom design, but in the beginning I just want to focus on content.
Whenever I see a new WordPress theme that might work for a fansite, I bookmark it and I wanted to share my favourites with you. I believe the job of the design is to get out of people’s way and make it easy to view the content so I go for clean, simple fansite themes. I really think that with a beautiful header to set the scene, that’s all you need.
Free WordPress Fansite Themes
Stargazer by Justin Tadlock
This theme is pretty simple but I love it because I know it’s written by a true WordPress expert. That means it’s search engine friendly, looks great on mobile, and won’t make my site slow with bad code. It’s completely free, not just a ‘lite’ version, so it doesn’t try to sell you a pro version or anything annoying. You can change the colours using the WordPress Customiser, add a header image, and you’re good to go. There’s also a few child themes with slightly different colour schemes that can be useful, and it’s not difficult to make your own child theme just how you like it.
I love fansite themes with good widget options. Newsted is great for putting info boxes, affiliates or whatever else under your header instead of just in the sidebar. Those three blocks you see in the screenshot (starting with the Hello World one) are widget areas. You can drop a WordPress widget in there and add whatever you like, even a custom HTML block to pull in your latest images from Coppermine. By default they only show up on the home page so you’re not making people scroll on every page. I appreciate features like that for giving me extra control without the effort of a custom fansite theme.
This is another great option for fansites that’s easy to customise by adding a header and changing some colours. It’s search engine friendly, and the chunky sidebar widget titles add some nice blocks of colour down the page. The name also suits me!
Premium WordPress and Coppermine Fansite Themes
There’s always been a great range of talented fansite designers who make headers and fansite themes for incredibly reasonable prices (and one day I’ll do a round up of them). Some of these designers also sell pre-made WordPress and Coppermine themes which you can customise yourself. Here are a few options for fansite themes with Coppermine skins to match:
Monica’s themes get better with every release and her latest one is currently free! She often integrates the WordPress Customiser making it easy to add your header and tweak a few things to get your site up and running. You could definitely add a picture as a header and have a decent looking fansite to publish.
Oh My Morning
Ray at Oh My Morning makes beautiful custom fansite designs and also has quite a few different premade fansite themes available to buy. They’re very popular and they look great! She usually offers some free customisation when you buy a theme which can help your site look even better.
Designs by Cordy
Cordy offers WordPress and Coppermine combo packages and has several Collective themes too. I’m less familiar with her themes but there’s a few to choose from and maybe one of them will be just what you need.
There are definitely others out there, let me know about your favourites in the comments or on Twitter!