This will be a rather simple article. I’ve struggled a lot over the past few weeks to find the perfect themes for my sites. In the end, I’d rather have fast loading themes that focus on text content rather than on overly fancy designs and images littering the pages. This list of the best lightweight & minimalist WordPress themes for 2015 will contain top picks if you have similar goals as I do.
These are in no particular order as each person will have slightly varying preferences. Any of these choices are viable picks depending on your needs
One of the newer and less known about themes but an excellent lightweight theme nonetheless. The Airship theme provides a base skeleton that recommends using Page Builder by Site Origin to build out custom pages. It looks slick, keeps things minimal, but is robust enough to be used for more than just a default blog
This theme provides some of the best immediate homepage impact on a blog post listing without even resorting to images. It uses large clean font sizes with color accents on hover over to really make each individual post feel important. When you move on to reading the posts themselves, it contains an impact title font and large centered text on white background for an easy read.
This one has more color than the rest of these and I find that to be plenty ok. It does a good job of presenting content even if it does so more in a magazine style where the header hovers on the left side of the screen. If you want one that’s more fun in its presentation, then moments is an excellent theme to consider.
By far one of the easiest themes to setup and customize. It gives you a surprising number of options for a free theme that allow you to tweak the layout and style of your blog. If you do want extra features, they have module plugins for sale that enhance the base functionality of the theme. The tweaks you can do make a big difference in the appearance of your content.
Designed specifically for single blogger sites. Ryu integrates with your gravitars, and contains most of the navigation and social media icons in drop down menu bars. It uses large fonts in a primarly white/black style. One of the weird quirks is how the post titles display that seems to lean a little to the left. I wasn’t a big fan of that, so I went ahead and made a subtheme containing some extra CSS like text-align: center. With a few modifications, it can make a great writer or blogger theme.
Casper is a single column, lightweight theme that tries to give a ghost like impression. The font choices are clean, and the layout is content focused. The theme easily allows you to set up social media icons that appear near the site title / logo. However, there is only one widget area by default and that’s down by the footer.
Originally I had this theme in the Honorable Mentions category but I actually feel that it’s a stronger contender than that. It’s a solid minimalist approach that focuses on the content centered on your webpage. It’s very similar to Ryu in that it will show your gravitar if you have one so the theme does well for personal blogs.
Frank – Built for speed. Not a huge fan of the initial font choices but it makes a good framework if you are willing to build around it.
Sparks – For those who like those single page layouts with reasonably large font and each section of the page is color coded, this makes a good choice. I just didn’t particularly want the color.
Mnmlist – As far as I know, this is the most lightweight theme that exists out there. If you want a blog where everything is just organized text on a screen and doesn’t even contain a menu bar at the top of the page then this could be the one you want. I love and hate how minimalized it is. This theme absolutely focuses purely on the content, and the best example of it in use is the Zen Habits blog. You will have to make edits to the theme to remove a lot of default links as it’s not quite as robust as many professional themes.