In today’s infectious roundup, we share the best WordPress viral themes for 2017. We have a feeling that readers (who’ve landed here from Google) might be self-starting entrepreneurs looking to launch a website along the lines of Buzzfeed, 9gag, Upworthy or boredpanda using the WordPress CMS as a platform. Well, let me tell ya, these themes are good place to start.
Most viral websites share a particular aesthetic–big, bold typography, and bright colors, with a focus on content. Unlike many of the current web design trends, which embrace a kind of minimalist, monotone elegance, you could almost describe the average viral site as gaudy. Lots of vibrant, eye catching buttons, badges, and imagery. Some might find ’em ugly, but, hey–if it works, it works.
Anyway, we made our choices with that design aesthetic in mind. Other features we favored: front-end submission forms that allow visitors to upload their own content, reviewing and rating functionality (either FB-esque “reactions”, or upvoting/downvoting), and lots of advertising space. Presumably, you have it in mind to make some cash. Also worth noting: all the themes on this list are pretty, pretty new. We purposely omitted old-ass products and designs.
On the off-chance you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for here, you might find our general roundup of WordPress blog themes useful.
Now let’s look at some of the best WordPress viral themes for 2017.
Our favorite WordPress viral magazine theme is Boombox. The best part of this one might be its versatility. It comes with eight unique homepages to choose from, each inspired by a popular viral and sharing website. For example, the homepage we chose for our screenshot, above, was influenced by Buzzfeed. There’s also designs reminiscent of 9gag and Upworthy.
This theme packs in some truly great features and functionality for encouraging sharing and viral success. Users can easily create listicles, personality quizzes, trivia quizzes, and polls. There’s even a feature that lets you create your own memes from images.
A reaction voting system is built-in, and advertising features help you to monetize your site with affiliate programs and Google AdSense. Boombox supports BuddyPress for building a community and social network.
Of course, the carefully crafted code is SEO optimized, and the design is fully responsive and retina-ready. There’s plenty of options on the back-end for branding and customizations, and the theme is well supported and regularly updated. Highly recommended and worth a closer look.More Info/Download
Bunchy’s claim to fame is a feature called open lists, and when we were writing this, it was the only premium WordPress viral theme on the market that offers it. The gist of it is this: users can upload their own additions to previously published posts. It’s inspired by sites like boardpanda and ebaumsworld. So I guess that’s pretty cool.
Powered by the developer’s proprietary viral plugin, Snax. Social sharing is well implemented, and advertising is supported. Webmasters can also build a community/social network by taking advantage of the theme’s BuddyPress integration. There’s a lot more features we can’t do justice in a short summary. If you’ve got a minute, you should click-through and check out the product page and demo for clearer picture. We think you’ll be as impressed as we are.More Info/Download
The bold design of the Click Mag theme will make an excellent first impression on new visitors, and exemplary performance and usability (along with your great content, presumably) will have them coming back.
The theme supports article slideshows, reviews (courtesy of a Reviewer plug-in), sticky sidebars, and WooCommerce/bbPress compatibility. So you can set up a shopping cart with this one and sell merch. Cool, right?
As you might expect, it’s fully responsive and retina-ready, so it looks pretty sweet regardless of which browser or platform you load it up on. Click Mag also provides useful ad management functionality. Oh, and mega menus. It has those too.
Site owners can use the admin options panel to upload custom backgrounds, logos, and manage colors and typography. The documentation is comprehensive, and support staff is friendly.More Info/Download
Bimber was designed and developed by the same team behind Bunchy, our previous pick. It shares many of the same features and design elements. It also has the distinction of being the number one best-selling WordPress viral theme of all time, and the best overall selling magazine of last year on ThemeForest. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.
It comes with five unique demos to choose from, each with its own distinct design and layout. Once again, this theme’s viral features are powered by the snacks plug-in. It also offers front-end uploading functionality. Visitors can upload and create content for you.
Reactions/voting are also supported. You really can’t go wrong with this one – we even use it on one of our own websites.More Info/Download
Next up, we’ve got Cuckoo. This viral theme features a bold, high-contrast design with emphasis on content and readability.
Notable features include front-end post submission, BuddyPress and bbPress support, and Visual Composer powered page building. You can customize virtually any element of this theme to your liking.
The theme includes upvoting and downvoting functionality, MailChimp support, and multiple advertising areas. AJAX filtering helps to jazz up the user experience a little bit.
Setup is fast and easy thanks to the included demo content and one-click installer. Cuckoo is search engine optimized, retina ready, and fully translatable with WPML support. A really awesome product over all, and a good value.More Info/Download
Doberman was developed by the team of experts at CSSIgniter. This WordPress viral theme features a bright, fun, and modern design. One of its main strengths is its flexibility: there’s tons of options in settings to tweak and adjust, all integrated via the WordPress Live Customizer. Any change you make can be previewed in real-time.
Intuitive, drag-and-drop page building is also supported. A set of custom widgets for social networking are also bundled. This theme is optimized for speed, translation ready, and retina-ready for crisp display on the latest high-resolution devices. Not bad!More Info/Download
Buzzz, found on the Mojo Marketplace, takes a no-nonsense, simpler approach to building a viral site. Front-and-center sharing buttons encourage user engagement and social sharing, and its superior user experience will cut bounce rates increase page views. A review system is included, and Buzzz makes it easy to monetize your content.More Info/Download
The designers of Jabberjaw took a slightly different approach to viral webs design, and aimed for a monotone and elegant aesthetic.
Like other viral themes, this one features front-end submissions, meaning your visitors can help create content by submitting their own. Social sharing buttons and links are smartly implemented.
On the tech side, the code is clean and performance optimized. So in addition to its sharing features, you can score a decent Google ranking with this one, and rustle up additional traffic that way.
Jabberjaw is fully responsive, retina-ready, and all that other cool stuff.More Info/Download
The relatively new Boom News theme offers a sleek, modern design and a streamlined set of features. It’ll come as no surprise that this theme is retina-ready, looking awesome on high-resolution 5K monitors, and responsive, working great on 4 inch smartphones. This theme is SEO friendly, fast, and easy to use. It also supports Google AdSense out-of-the-box.
Boom News is versatile, with eight post layouts/styles, three different border styles, two default color styles, and options on the back-end for making further code-free adjustments and customizations. It’s WPML compatible for translation purposes. And it looks like it might be a good seller during the coming year, having already racked up plenty of users since its release late last year.More Info/Download