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Last updated: November 13, 2020
I’m an affiliate marketer by trade, it’s what I enjoy doing most. Affiliate marketing is definitely not for everyone, but I love it as it involves skills that I am passionate about, such as SEO, keyword research, competitor analysis and sales copy writing.
Over the years, I’ve built several niche affiliate sites, some more successful than others. One of the most important aspects of building and growing an affiliate site is finding the right WordPress theme.
With literally thousands of WordPress themes on the market, it’s tough to pick a theme that is suitable for building a thriving affiliate site. Let me help you out with this list of awesome WordPress themes for affiliate marketing specifically.
5 Great WordPress Themes for Affiliate Sites
I’m consciously keeping this list short and sweet to avoid random clutter. The following five themes have been tried and tested by myself and I can vouch for them.
Most of these themes are all lightweight and aren’t overloaded with fancy bells and whistles. That’s what I personally think affiliate marketing themes should be like.
1. GeneratePress Premium
My absolute favorite theme right now is GeneratePress, which can be used for any type of WordPress blog. This year, I’ve moved four of my websites over to GeneratePress and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
GeneratePress is a super light, free theme that you can extend with their Premium plugin that adds several useful modules. With the plugin you can decide yourself which modules you want to use and which ones you want to keep deactivated.
Out of the box, GeneratePress isn’t exactly mind-blowing from a look-and-feel perspective. But by adding the modules you need and customizing the theme such that it fits your needs, GeneratePress can satisfy any WordPress blogger.
What’s even better is that GeneratePress offers ready-to-go templates. Choose one from the library that you like and import its settings into your site.
You can do some subsequent fine-tuning if you like, and within a matter of minutes you’re site is ready to go. GeneratePress offers endless customization options, which makes it extremely powerful, without adding unnecessary bloat.
GeneratePress even offers a template specifically for affiliate sites. I am in fact using that specific template for Blog Pioneer also, with a bit of customization thrown into the mix. It’s a super clean, great looking template that works amazingly well for blogs focused on affiliate marketing.
2. Astra Pro
The popular Astra theme was built with site speed in mind. It’s super lightweight and designed based on a modular approach.
Similar to GeneratePress, Astra is a free theme that you can enhance by purchasing the Pro version. This Pro version allows you to activate several features that you believe are a good fit for your new affiliate website.
Astra is also designed such that it’s compatible with popular page builders such as Elementor and Beaver Builder.
As mentioned, I personally wouldn’t use a page builder to create blog posts, but if this is something you have in mind, it’d good to know that Astra (and GeneratePress also) cater for this.
In fact, Astra has several plug-and-play, conversion optimized, website templates specifically designed with these page builders. You can import any of these templates that you like.
3. Magazine Pro (Genesis)
As the name suggests, the Magazine Pro was designed for the online publishing / media niche, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this theme for other niches.
The reason I personally really like this theme is the simplistic yet stylish design, but also the reliability of the Genesis Framework.
That’s right, Magazine Pro is built on the Genesis framework by StudioPress (now owned by WPEngine), which means you’ll have the buy the theme + Framework package (currently just under $100) in order to build an affiliate site on this setup.
Magazine Pro is hugely customizable without making things too complicated. You can literally have an awesome looking site up and running within minutes.
If, for whatever reason, Magazine Pro doesn’t appeal to you as much, StudioPress has lots of other great themes on offer that run on the Genesis framework.
So if you’re looking for a reliable theme that runs on one of the most trusted WordPress frameworks, you can’t really go wrong with a theme from StudioPress.
The OceanWP theme is a free, lightweight theme that can be extended by purchasing individual modules or by purchasing the Core Extensions Bundle.
The free theme is super lightweight and is a great foundation to build on. It’s then up to you which features you would like to add to your theme setup. This approach makes OceanWP one of the fastest loading themes on the market.
To get you up and running quickly, OceanWP offers several demo site imports, either free or paid. The Simpleblog template for example would be very suitable to build an affiliate marketing website with.
OceanWP has tons of 5-star reviews which proves I am certainly not the only one who gets excited about this theme.
The last product I’d like to recommend in this list of best WordPress themes for affiliate marketing is Schema, which has been serving the blogging community well since quite some years now.
Offered by MyThemeShop, the developers of Schema make a bold claim by saying it is the fastest theme currently available. With themes such as GeneratePress, Astra and OceanWP also aiming for A-grade page load time, I doubt that this claim still stands.
The thing I like most about the Schema theme is its layout, which makes for a simple but pleasant user experience. That, combined with good page speed, creates the perfect foundation for a successful affiliate site.
Selection Criteria for Affiliate Marketing Themes
So what do you need to consider when looking for a suitable WordPress theme to install on your brand new affiliate site?
1. Ongoing Updates
This is a no-brainer, but stay far away from themes that haven’t been updated in some time. The Internet evolves rapidly and themes will also need to evolve and adapt.
A software development team should always release updates of their software, ideally on a set schedule. This is to iron out bugs and issues (that will always exist) and to include new, necessary features.
2. Good Support
With most themes, you can have a peek into their support forums. Use it. Have a look around to see what’s going on in there, what types of issues users are reporting, how the developers are responding, etc.
This will give you great insights into not only the quality of the theme but also the quality of the support they provide.
For example, GeneratePress has a very active support forum, and as you will see, the support being provided is top notch.
3. Page Speed
As we all know, page speed is crucial. Not just from Google’s perspective, but more so from a user experience perspective.
While there may be tons of things that can impact page speed, the theme you’re using can be a huge burden.
Go ahead and find sites that use the theme you want to buy and run them through a few different page speed tools. You can also use the theme’s demo site and do a speed test on that.
This can give you some very insightful clues around how much the theme is impacting page speed.
4. Clean Look and Feel
Everyone has a different opinion on this, but personally I want affiliate sites to look clean and simple. The less clutter and the less distraction, the more chance your readers will click those affiliate links.
5. No Unnecessary Features
It can be tempting to choose a theme that offers tons of great features. I get it.
The reality is though, you won’t ever be using most of these features. But all these fancy bells and whistles make the theme heavier.
This correlates with criteria 3 and 4. What you really want is a lightweight theme that offers good page speed out of the box, and a clean look and feel.
6. Clean HTML
If you know me, then you will know that I am extremely picky when it comes to cleanliness of HTML code. The HTML that your site spits out greatly impacts the quality of your on-page SEO.
Some themes (and page builders, see further below) just aren’t coded very nicely, and produce HTML that breaks all the rules. Without going into too much detail, choose a theme that values best coding practices.
7. SEO Friendly?
I would prefer not to include this criteria, because SEO is far too complicated to say that a certain theme is “SEO friendly”. Or worse, “SEO ready”.
But so many themes do make that claim, and support that claim by mentioning random and vague things.
I will say this. If you have a theme that is well-coded, is clean, loads fast, has a clean look and feel, and is regularly updated, then you can safely assume that this theme is SEO friendly.
That’s the foundation you need to create and grow a site that will rank in Google. But ultimately, it depends on you, your skills, and how much effort you are going to put in.
WordPress Plugins for Affiliate Sites
If you’re going to build an Amazon affiliate site, you will need something to create comparison tables and attractive call-to-action buttons to increase CTR.
The Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin (AAWP) is my favorite tool to create these great-looking tables, widgets and buttons.
This lightweight and affordable plugin has definitely helped increase the CTR on my affiliate sites significantly, so I strongly recommend it.
What About Page Builders?
I don’t recommend using them. Full stop.
But… that doesn’t mean you can’t build a successful site with a page builder such as Elementor and Thrive Architect. You absolutely can. But personally, I would never ever use a page builder to create affiliate content.
I am extremely picky when it comes to cleanliness of HTML code. Unfortunately, page builders create a lot of bloat and this is reflected in the HTML they produce.
You also need to think about what Google has been doing to the SERPs. It’s no longer a simple top 10 list of links. Featured Snippets, Caroussels, quick links, there is just so much going on in Google’s search results.
And the cleaner your HTML, the easier it is for Google to populate their SERPs with extra bits and pieces that will help increase the CTR to your affiliate site.
At the end of the day, using a page builder is a personal choice. I strongly dislike the extra bloat they create, and I much prefer a minimalist approach to content creation.
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If you’re planning on creating a brand new affiliate site (either in a small niche, or with the aim to grow it big and authoritative), all of the above themes will not disappoint.
All of these themes are fully up to date with today’s coding and HTML/CSS standards, are reasonably lightweight, offer features that provide value, and provide a modern look and feel.
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