One essential step you always do when setting up your WordPress site is choosing the right theme for your site. There are so many WordPress themes out there that make you overwhelmed to decide. With a lot of premium and free WordPress theme available, it adds your confusion on which theme you should go for, and whether it’s worth to spend your money. Here are some insights to help you out of the messiness.
Premium vs Free WordPress Theme
Pros & Cons of Free WordPress Theme
- It’s free
That’s the main point of free themes. Most of us start building up our site using free WordPress theme. You can simply download the theme you want and start using it without spending any bucks.
- Directly from WordPress
Free themes usually come with simple design and it’s available directly on your dashboard. You can also get free theme elsewhere.
- Experiment as you want
As they are free, you can switch your theme easily to find the one you like to apply on your site. It’s different with premium themes because you have bought it to switch to other themes freely.
- Community support
You don’t get customer support from free WordPress theme, but you can join theme user forums. Or you may try to get WordPress general support.
- No Uniqueness
You should remember that thousand other people can have the same look on their blogs as yours. People who visit your site also will recognize the theme immediately.
- Lack of support
The important disadvantage of a free WordPress theme is that you don’t get customer support. So if you have any errors on your theme, you’re on your own to dig in, or discuss with someone who has experienced the same problem on community support.
- Simple and limited design
The limited options and settings in free themes make you hard to customize the look of your website. That will also affect the lack of user experience for both you and your site’s visitors.
- Lack of update
You have to be prepared because the theme creator doesn’t update the theme much. The creator might even stop supporting updates, which can lead to security vulnerabilities.
- Watch out for threats
You have to be careful of some threats like malicious code, encrypted spam links, and malware if you decide to get a free theme outside WordPress theme repository.
Why do you have to pay when you can get one for free?
Pros & Cons of Premium Themes
- More features and functions
Premium themes obviously are designed and developed with advanced features and functionality that free themes simply can’t cover. Customizations and general site configuration will be easier.
- Exclusive support
Premium themes come with customer support directly from the theme creators. The support usually is provided through support forum, email, or even social media.
- Higher standard and quality
The creators of premium themes must assure that their theme’s quality is great enough to satisfy their customers. Most premium themes have seller ratings, reviews and even pre-sale forums to help you out with their quality. Premium themes also include a detailed PDF or online documentation explaining for their configuration.
- Regularly updated
Regular updates are important to avoid any issues such as bugs. This is what premium themes offer to maintain their quality. Note also that WordPress always updates their version, so regular updates are necessary to prevent incompatibility.
- One of its kind
Premium themes have better design to make your blog less recognizable. The customization options are also well-organized and have greater ability to make your site truly unique.
- Money involved
Most great premium themes usually cost $40 to $80 or even more (Dahz’s are $44 to $59 though). It’s a good deal for a fully designated website, but it will be a punch in your face if the theme you have purchased is discontinued. Choose your premium theme wisely.
- Unwanted features
Too many unwanted features on a premium theme will bloat the theme itself. You can avoid it by choosing a theme that only offers features you need such as a single-purpose theme.
Which One Should I Choose?
If you’re just starting out or just simply want to ramble about your day on your blog, free WordPress theme are good to familiarize yourself with WordPress first as you won’t need the advanced features and the thought of using premium themes may be ridiculous. But when your blog starts to get popular, a premium theme is a must for you.
If you intend to create a site for business purposes, the answer is obviously premium themes. Think about what your potential customers feel when they see your site if you use a free theme. Free themes aren’t good to build your reputation.
Guideline to Choose The Right Theme
Whether you decide to use a free WordPress theme or a premium one, you should look for one with the best quality. You might help yourself by answering these question when searching:
- What features do you need?
A theme you choose should meet your need. Especially for a premium theme, make sure that it will also meet what you need in the future.
- Does it look like what you want your site to be?
Choose a theme that actually looks pretty close to what you want.
- Is there any support available?
Some of the free themes provide support, so you might want to check if there’s any support available. For premium themes, check the page or forum of the theme to see how responsive the creator to respond the customers’ queries. You can also check it through what customers are saying.
- Is it easy to customize?
If you need some changes in the original design, you will need to customize it. Make sure the customization is easy so won’t get any problems when making some changes.
- Does it fit your brand?
You should look for a theme that suits your purpose. Searching a theme based on the genre of your site will also save your time.
- Is it regularly updated?
This is important to know if the theme you consider is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and you will less likely to find any bugs. You may also check the browser compatibility.
- How much is your budget?
If you decide to get a premium theme, make sure you get the best one without taking more money that you allow.
For a free WordPress theme, I recommend you to get ones from WordPress theme repository as it’s the most reliable source. They have theme reviewer to make sure that the free theme is good enough for you. If you’re looking for a premium theme, you can look for one in ThemeForest. It’s the go-to marketplace for great quality premium WordPress theme. It’s crucial to go with the most reputable WordPress theme shops and authors. You may also check Dahz to see how the themes are set to meet the standard of high-quality premium themes.
Do you use a premium or free WordPress theme? Are there any other criteria you use when searching for themes? Let me know about your opinion 🙂