There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about the best type of design for writers. A lot of people advocate for a simple, minimalist design, with few added flourishes to distract from your writing. Others claim that the website should be as interesting as the writer, as long as, again, it doesn’t distract from the writing.
It comes down to personal choice. Pick the theme that best suits your personal brand as an author. However, if you’d like some help getting started, here are some of the more popular free WordPress themes for writers, along with a couple I’ve used for past clients.
Atahualpa: For a free theme, Atahualpa has a surprising number of customization options. It’s also been around for a few years, and gets regular updates. If you want a lot of say in you design, this is the theme you want.
Responsive: Responsive was built for easy transitions between desktop and mobile devices. The theme also offers some customization, with different layout, background, header, and menu options to choose from, giving you some control over the final design of your website.
Ignite: Ignite is a newer theme with a long list of customizable options (although, not the header, unfortunately). The design is elegant, but simple, and ideal for writers who want to to keep the focus on their writing. There is also an option of purchasing the Ignite Plus theme, a $29 investment that unlocks a few more customization options. If you want to see what Ignite is capable of, you can visit my demo site.
Crawford: Crawford is a very minimalist theme designed for writers. It’s responsive, one column (no sidebar), and offers some custom color choices.
If you still aren’t sure, but you know what features you’d like, contact me. I can help you to select a WordPress theme that meets your needs.