9 Best Free Themes for Bootstrap

Looking for a great, free Bootstrap theme that you can use as a jumping off point for your upcoming projects? Take a peek at this list of our top nine favorite (and free!!) themes built using the Bootstrap framework.

  1. Ninestars

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Ninestars is a free Bootstrap theme that’s both minimalist and professional in terms of design and vibe. It’s fully responsive and has a cool slide-out menu that utilizes CSS transitions.

2. Freelancer

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This is a cool theme that is perfect to use if you’re a freelancer looking for a nice, clean way to showcase your portfolio as a single page site. Includes a great set of flat icons.

3. Lightwave

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Lightwave is a fully responsive Bootstrap template that comes with six different style themes. Additionally, it’s really easy to customize to suit the needs of just about any project.

4. Basic

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Another great theme for people looking to create an online portfolio to showcase their work. It’s a 2 page theme that is fully responsive, has a minimalist, trendy design, that lets you keep it simple while communicating your skills.

5. Material Kit

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Material Kit is a free Boostrap UI kit that has restyled all of the basic Booststrap elements and comes with example pages that you can use as templates for your upcoming projects.

6. uButia

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uButia is a free Bootstrap template that would be great for any digital businesses looking for a new way to present themselves online. It’s easy to customize and comes installed with FontAwesome for all of your possible icon needs.

7. Elate

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Elate is another free and responsive portfolio template. It’s got a clean design, smooth scrolling and animation effects, and comes with four different style themes.

8. Umbrella

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Umbrella is a cool, bright, and colorful app that would be perfect for showcasing a product or service. Features include icons, a slider functionality, and responsiveness.

9. Hexa

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Hexa is a unique template that will accommodate 13 hexagonal images on the front page of your site. Perfect for photographers or designers who want to quickly give the user an idea of what they’re capable of. The template is fully responsive.

Top 5 WordPress Plugins for SEO

One of the greatest benefits of using WordPress as a CMS is that there are so many free plugins available for WordPress that will totally beef up and streamline the SEO of any site. When looking for plugins to boost your SEO, it can be a bit overwhelming because of the sheet amount of free plugins available. If you need help narrowing down the options in terms of which SEO plugins to add to your site, take a look at this list we’ve curated of 5 of the absolute best WordPress plugins for SEO.

  1. Yoast SEO

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Yoast is one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) WordPress plugin for improving your SEO. It’s popular for a reason…this plugin is packed with features and is completely free. Yoast does so much more than allow you to input keywords and meta details. It gives you a rundown of the SEO quality of each page and post that you publish, it allows you to set social media sharing settings (how you want it to look on Facebook or Twitter when your content is shared, etc), and generates XML sitemaps and so, so much more.

2. All in One SEO Pack

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If for whatever reason you don’t want all of the extra features that come with Yoast and are just looking for a plugin that allows you to optimize your pages and posts with keywords and meta descriptions, then All in One SEO Pack is a great option. If it weren’t for Yoast, it would probably be the most popular SEO plugin available for WordPress. It’s easy to use even if you don’t have any knowledge or expertise in coding.

3. Google XML Sitemaps

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Again, if you don’t have Yoast and need to generate a sitemap, this plugin is a great way to do it. Sitemaps optimize your SEO because it makes it easier for search engines like Google to index your site because they can plainly see and access the way that content is structured on your site. A sitemap is pretty much mandatory if you want to have great SEO, and Google XML Sitemaps will generate one for you without you having to do anything other than install and activate the plugin.

4. Keyword Planner

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This one’s not technically a plugin, but it’s an undeniably valuable resource when it comes to SEO. This is a great tool to use to find which keywords have the highest search volume, which keywords advertiser’s are interested in, and which keywords you can use to outrank other sites, so you can try to tailor your content to fit within these parameters.

5. Broken Link Checker

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If you’re a web developer or work in SEO, then you probably know that broken links are not great for your search engine rankings. This plugin, the Broken Link Checker, checks all your content — posts, pages, even comments — for broken links an alerts you to them so that you can either delete the broken link or change it from a broken link to a live link. It also gives you the option to have broken links show up differently (usually with a line through the link, crossing out the text) within your content, signaling to your user that the link is bad in the hopes that they won’t try to use it.

The Best WordPress Plugin for Valentine’s Day

Celebrate Valentine’s Day on your WordPress site with the Valentine’s Day Hearts Plugin. This plugin is a cute and easy way to add some seasonal flair to your pages. Once its installed, you can easily add floating hearts to any of the pages on the front-end of your site (it doesn’t apply to the dashboard and WordPress user interface).

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This plugin is perfect for anyone who wants to make their pages a little more festive, or for retailers who might want to remind their users that the romantic holiday coming up is a good excuse to by sweets and treats for their loved ones.

The install and activation of this plugin are very simple and quick. Once its installed it can be configured to your desired settings, but coding knowledge is necessary for this step, as you’ll have to edit the plugin’s PHP file to make any changes or personal customizations to the plugin and its functionality. Things you can customize if you desire are the pages which the hearts appear upon, the amount of floating hearts that appear, the size of the floating hearts, and more. Be creative!

5 Essential WordPress Plugins

All WordPress developers have a list of their favorite plugins that they won’t create a new WordPress build without. Here are some of our favorite plugins to add to our WordPress projects:

1. Yoast

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Yoast isn’t your average SEO plugin. In addition to it allowing you to create your own meta tags and easily choose your keywords, it also analyzes your pages to test for SEO performance. If your page’s performance isn’t the best it can be, you’ll get an in-depth reading of what you need to do to optimize that page’s SEO, which goes above and beyond what’s offered by most SEO plugins.

2. WP Super Cache

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The Super Cache plugin generates static files from your WordPress site. Caching your files should seriously improve the speed of your site, which is why this plugin should be installed on all your WordPress builds.

3. Ninja Forms

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There are probably hundreds of WordPress contact form generating plugins available, so it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for your project, but most of the time this is our contact form plugin of choice. The plugin allows you to easily create forms that are sleek, responsive, and easy to use.

4. Google Analytics for WordPress Dashboard

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The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin will allow you to access your basic Google Analytics stats right from your WordPress dashboard. You can also use it to quickly view that stats on each of your individual posts and pages.

5. DiggDigg for WordPress

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This plugin allows your users to easily share your content, posts, or pages on any of their social media platforms. Adding this feature to your site can dramatically increase social sharing and traffic.

How to Create a Custom Page Template for WordPress

Most WordPress themes should have a file that serves as the default page template that any page in a WordPress build will be assigned to by default — it should go by page.php. Sometimes, however, the default page template might not be conducive to the design and functionalities of all of your pages. You might need to create an extra (or even a few extra) custom page templates to make sure all your pages can serve their intended purposes.

To create a custom page template, you’ll ned to create a new file within your theme. Give the file a name that would indicate its purpose. Rather than start from scratch, the easiest way to create a new page template is to find the default page template and copy and paste that page into your new custom page file. Then you’re going to need to customize the information at the top of the file pertaining to the page’s name and description:

<?php
/*

* Template Name: INSERT PAGE NAME HERE
* Description: INSERT PAGE DESCRIPTION HERE

*/

// other page code

?>

The name you assign to “Template Name” is what will appear on your WordPress dashboard when assigning a template to a page. Now it’s time to add custom code to your new page. You can decide if you’d like to include a sidebar, a loop, or just completely customize the code with your own HTML. Don’t forget to add some extra style rules to your CSS to compensate for the changes in the page structure/content.