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Last updated: October 2, 2021
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 and competitor analysis.
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 lean affiliate site. Let me help you out with this list of great WordPress themes for affiliate marketing.
Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Themes:
Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Themes
I’m consciously keeping this list short and sweet to avoid random clutter. The below 5 themes have been tried and tested by myself and I can vouch for them.
Most of these themes are lightweight and aren’t overloaded with fancy bells and whistles. That’s what I personally think affiliate marketing themes should be like.
My absolute favorite theme right now is GeneratePress, which can be used for any type of WordPress blog. I’ve moved most 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 want 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. Kadence Theme Pro
Kadence is another WordPress theme that has gone through strong growth in recent years, especially in the affiliate marketing world.
The Kadence Theme was developed and designed to offer fast performance, and comes with a large set of features that make it easy to quickly build great looking websites.
For a quick and easy setup, Kadence has a collection of free templates available that you can use for your own affiliate marketing website. The theme itself is free but you can purchase Kadence Pro at an affordable price which gives you access to a whole bunch of useful extra features without sacrificing on performance.
Kadence also offers several plugins, with Kadence Blocks being their most popular one. Kadence Blocks is essentially a page builder that works as en extra layer on top of the native WordPress block editor. It allows you to create content with a professional looking design, but without the bloat.
The most ideal Kadence setup is Kadence Essential Bundle, which includes their pro theme, the blocks plugin, and access to all of their starter templates.
3. 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.
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.
5. 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 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.
Affiliate Marketing Theme Buying Guide
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, value-adding 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 and CWV
As we all know, page speed and Core Web Vitals are important. 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 and Core Web Vitals.
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.
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.
The cleaner the HTML output of your affiliate website, the easier it is for Google to interpret your content and to populate their SERPs with extra bits and pieces that will help increase the CTR to your 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.
In addition, most of the themes above offer premium plugins that extend the WordPress Block Editor without adding extra bloat. They basically replace the traditional WordPress page builder.
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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.
If you’re going to focus on Amazon, check out my review of AAWP, an excellent WordPress plugin for Amazon focused affiliate marketing.