Building websites with Hugo has a broad appeal to many developers and digital agencies, not least among them the raw speed of the static site generator when it comes to build times and deployment. But what about customizing a site's layout and appearance? That's where Hugo's themes come into play.
Hugo is an immensely popular and well-loved SSG, with an active Discourse community and a wide range of helpful user guides published almost daily. 2021 saw Hugo’s user base continue to expand, for a range of use cases — among them personal blog sites, documentation, and corporate or e-commerce sites. With Bookshop support bringing live editing and component-based page building to Hugo, we're sure the SSG will only become more frequently used in 2022.
With such a passionate developer community around Hugo, there are a huge number of themes available, ranging from minimalized and text-centric to design-heavy portfolio, with everything in between. Here, we want to showcase a range of popular and actively developed Hugo themes to help you get started with your latest build as quickly as possible (and with Hugo, that’s pretty quick).
To help speed your decision further, we’ve divided up the Hugo themes below into blog/personal and business/professional categories, with some of their best features outlined.
A single-page website solution, Scroll lets you set up and maintain a web presence for basic personal, social, or ) information, without worrying about sections or taxonomies. Scroll would be a great theme for a job hunter wanting to establish a simple and attractive resume site.
Scroll's key features:
A super clean and responsive Hugo theme based on Paper, PaperMod is incredibly popular, and with good reason! It’s optimized for UX, meaning easy reading regardless of light/dark mode preference — ideal for getting your message across to the widest possible audience.
PaperMod's key features:
Sure, this one isn’t just a blog theme, but quite aside from the default business-centric layout, Hydra’s blog section allows for a clean browsing and reading experience. Author bio blocks are a welcome addition for multi-author blogs, or solo writers who wish to include an up-to-date message at the end of each post.
Hydra's key features:
Elate is a single-page portfolio theme ported to Hugo from the original Bootstrap HTML5 theme by Pieter Saey. It features a smooth parallax and animation effect on sections, a responsive portfolio grid, and a contact form.
Elate's key features:
Showfolio is a Hugo theme for technically inclined job hunters, with a modern, fun aesthetic. The blog section itself, complete with snippet view, is particularly well designed for readers. And the front-page Codepen embeds are perfect for showing off recent projects and new code experiments to prospective employers.
Showfolio's key features:
A simple e-commerce theme with easy SnipCart integration, Fur is ideal for either a business's first foray into e-commerce or an existing storefront wanting a performance boost. With CloudCannon's editing capabilities built in, even non-technical business owners will be able to update products, prices, and any other content.
Docsy is an intuitive and clean theme for technical documentation sets, providing clear organization, easy navigation, site structure, and even an optional blog section.
Docsy's key features:
Fiction is a modern business template made with the Bootstrap CSS framework. It was designed by Themefisher, and the components have been converted to Bookshop, allowing live rendering editing and component browsing.
Fiction's key features:
Megakit is a business-style template with drop-down navigation, blog, a wide range of components and best of all, a clean design that can be adjusted to suit your needs. It was designed by Themefisher as a Bootstrap theme, and was adapted for Hugo and Bookshop, enabling live rendering editing on the page.
Megakit's key features:
Justice is, by default, a law firm-themed template, but can be easily modified to fit any local business. This clean layout can easily be adjusted to fit any client’s branding, and integrates natively with CloudCannon's collaborative CMS for intuitive and lightning-fast visual editing.
Justice's key features:
There we have it — a range of top free Hugo themes for any number of use cases. Some, like Justice and Fur, are built for CloudCannon and work flawlessly with our visual editor. For those other themes, which allow you to build your sites locally, you can deploy the resulting static files through CloudCannon.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Hugo community, in the coming weeks we’ll publish a guide to setting up existing Hugo themes to work with Bookshop for full component-based page building, as well as integration with the full power of our collaborative Hugo CMS. Stay tuned!
Give your content team full autonomy on your developer-approved tech stack with CloudCannon.
Jaimie McMahon · 27 Nov 2023
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