Looking back on my last couple posts, it shouldn’t be too surprising we’re now going to look at the themes — specifically those that power some of my favorite WordPress portfolio examples. Lately, we’ve looked at themes with responsive web design and why it’s so important in this day and age, as so many people use mobile devices to traverse the information superhighway.
If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to look back at my first article, which showcased themes I determined to be superb, responsive WordPress portfolio examples. But if I had to further narrow down that list to only three themes from the 12 I previously highlighted, I’d go with the following:
These responsive WordPress designs have several key features that go over well for portfolio-based sites.
A must-have feature for a good WordPress portfolio
It’s a personal preference, but I like WordPress portfolio themes that feature image grids. Grids can showcase many types of content, like photos snapped by a photographer, screenshots of websites created by a web designer or developer, or even thumbnails of logos, business cards, illustrations and book covers created by a graphic designer.
If you’re a desktop publisher who designs résumé templates, newsletters, magazines, flyers or brochures, you can take screenshots, photos or use mock-ups for your print products, shining a spotlight on each item in an image grid.
You can even use image grids to show off other tangible products, like T-shirts, sculptures, paintings, handmade jewelry, customized gaming chairs and much more.
WordPress and page builders
All the WordPress portfolio examples in this next batch we’re about to review were created using frameworks that include page builders. Basically, a page builder gives you drag-and-drop functionality, as opposed to using code like CSS or HTML. We’re going to explore some of the top portfolio-specific WordPress themes out there today, and then take a closer look at two or three actual sites those themes are powering.
This should give you an idea how unique you can make sites appear — even when you use the same framework (as long as that framework also has a page builder).
14 fantastic WordPress portfolio examples
Just to be fair, please note that neither the WordPress theme frameworks nor the WordPress portfolio website examples are listed in order of preference. Let’s take a look.
Cohorts by Design.
Ask WP Girl.
Outer Banks Media.
greens + blues co.
Ready to see these examples in action? Read on to learn more about these sites and the frameworks they’re using.
Layers by Obox Themes
Layers is a WordPress framework that includes a page builder. Obox Themes, the creator of Layers, announced at the launch of Layers that the basic version would be forever free. Let’s check out some of the sites powered by Layers:
Divi Theme and Visual Page Builder by Elegant Themes
Unlike Layers, there is no free version of Divi, but that hasn’t stopped it from powering some very cool WordPress portfolio examples. Divi is one of the most popular WordPress theme frameworks and includes a page builder.
Although Elegant Themes decided in 2015 to introduce the standalone Divi Builder, there is still the combination of WordPress theme framework and page builder. That’s what I’m focusing on in my examples. The Divi Theme allows for backend and frontend editing. Let’s check out some examples of the Divi theme in action:
Headway Visual Editor by Headway Themes
Headway Themes promotes itself as the “original drag and drop WordPress layout builder.” It utilizes a visual grid system that lets you place elements exactly where you want them. It even has a Snapshot feature that can roll back your design to a previous version. The framework is also compatible with many popular WordPress plugins, which is major, since some page builders won’t allow you to include elements from plugins in certain modules. Here are a few examples of the Headway theme in action:
6. NEM Creative
Ultra theme by Themify.me
Themify is one of the longest-running WordPress premium theme shops around, and Ultra is their flagship theme.
Themify now lets you use their page builder in a standalone fashion as a plugin. However, all Themify’s themes include the page builder without the need to install and activate their page builder plugin separately. Ultra appears to be the most popular theme in their repository based on what I see in their showcase of sites. Let’s look at some examples of Themify Ultra Theme in action:
JumpStart Theme Framework by ThemeBlvd
The JumpStart Theme Framework lets you start with ready-to-go demos, and then you can use the layout builder to customize how content appears on each page. They also have what is called “Theme Bases,” which ThemeBlvd describes as “themes within a theme.”
The Theme base you choose will determine the design of your theme and your user options. The layout builder contains 45 elements and unlimited sections for those elements. You can start with a blank page or choose a page template and start customizing. Here are a few examples of Jumpstart Theme Framework in action:
10. Ask WP Girl
Make Builder Theme by Theme Foundry
Make is an open-source page builder theme that will allow you to customize every detail of your site, no matter how small or big. It uses a grid-based, mobile-first framework, so your portfolio website is sure to be responsive. Continue on to find some examples of the theme in action:
13. VSM Designs
14. greens + blues co.
And there you have them! Those were 14 fantastic WordPress portfolio examples from 2021. I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that caught my eye and made me smile. It would have been great if each of these WordPress portfolio examples had also been created using their theme’s free version, but sometimes you have to pay a little to get a lot.
WordPress frameworks with page builders give us a lot of flexibility to use one WordPress theme in many different ways. Page builders allow you to customize the layout of each page, making it possible to easily put your content almost anywhere you like. Add that to WordPress Hosting from GoDaddy, and the entire experience becomes even more streamlined.
WordPress Hosting from GoDaddy is optimized for WordPress websites. Find out more about GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting plans.
Just don’t forget — you have to pay for a license for each separate site unless you have a developers’ license that allows you to use the theme on multiple sites. It’s also important to note that I didn’t cover standalone page-builder plugins, because any examples would also include other layout elements that are not rendered by the standalone plugins.