WordPress is the pioneering platform when it comes to creating blogs and websites for free. If you’ve recently created a website or blog on WordPress, then you know that finding the most suitable theme is a very important yet challenging step that you must take. If you are looking for WordPress themes, you often choose between the free and premium ones. For those who are not sure which is better, then you’ve come to the right place. Here you will learn more about the respective pros and cons of free and premium WordPress themes.
Free WordPress Themes
It is important to note that if you say free themes, you are referring to those you can find in the official Themes directory at WordPress.org. As much as possible, you should stay away from downloading and installing free themes that come from unreliable distributors or sources.
• They’re free. The major advantage of using free WordPress themes is that they will not cost you anything. It allows beginners to finally create a decent website or blog of their own. For most people, though, hearing the word free makes them cautious. They often wonder what’s the catch when using these free themes when there are premium themes available. Also, anything free is associated with anything of low quality. With free WordPress themes, however, you are getting quite the opposite.
• They undergo strict reviews. Free WordPress themes often follow a higher quality of standard. All free themes available in the theme directory undergo a strict review process. A theme review team of talented individuals ensures to check and test each of these themes before they put them up in the directory. These themes are checked for their privacy, security, quality CSS and HTML, support for standard WordPress features, standard-compliant code, and more.
At this point, you know that WordPress themes are only included in the official platform directory if they have been built by a group of talented developers who know the abovementioned things and more. So, why are these themes made available for free?
Giving and sharing themes for free can benefit a lot of parties. On the part of the theme developers, they get to sharpen their skills in reviewing themes because they get to audit their codes and suggest further improvements. They also get a chance to make their theme available to a wider market that allows these users to use their theme, give their feedback, and even suggest more improvements.
Other advantages of creating free WordPress themes include building your reputation as a skilled developer, getting paid for customizing those free themes, developing personalized themes for clients, and building a portfolio. Although using free themes from WordPress has some positives, there are also negatives when you use them. You have to understand, though, that these cons can be subjective. What one user considers a disadvantage may not be at an issue at all to another user.
• Limited support options: While developers of free WordPress themes provide support to users, they only do so through the platform’s forums. For additional queries, they are not obliged to reply to each of them.
• Limited functionality and features: While all free themes support standard WordPress features as per requirement, most of them don’t give you additional features like creating landing pages, using shortcodes, creating buttons, etc.
• Not that personalized: Many users use free WordPress themes for their blogs and websites. So, in terms of design, your website will not be one of a kind. Additionally, you don’t get as many customization options if you intend to change how the free theme looks like.
• No guarantees: Free WordPress themes have no warranties. In short, you are on your own when something goes wrong with your website or blog.
Even if there are specific features that you need but cannot find from the free theme that you are using, avoid leaving it a one-star rating. Keep in mind that you are not spending a cent to use this theme. If you do make a small donation or ask nicely, the developers might consider adding the features that you are looking for.
Premium WordPress Themes
Compared to free WordPress themes, premium WordPress themes are available for sale across third-party WordPress theme marketplaces and shops. Here are some of the advantages of choosing premium themes over free themes:
• More customization options and features: Unlike their free counterparts, premium WordPress themes offer a whole range of features and options for customization. With how competitive the premium theme market is, shops are always finding ways to offer more features for their themes at lower costs. As a customer, you can choose themes that offer you several options like multiple templates and layouts, shortcodes, drag and drop builders, and unlimited choices of colors.
• Excellent support and regular updates: You get regular updates and excellent support from premium WordPress themes because shops are making money out of what they’re doing compared to creating themes for free.
• Less frequently used: Because premium themes come at a cost, they are more unique in comparison to free themes. There also goes the benefit of having to choose from a wide array of customization options so that you can even further bring the personalization of your theme up a notch. Combine these two positives, and you will undoubtedly have a website that easily stands out from others.
Not all premium WordPress themes are created in perfection. There are a few issues that you may experience with your premium theme that can put your blog or website at a disadvantage.
• Poor coding standards: While you may buy a premium theme that looks appealing, its coding standards might be poor, making the theme incompatible to some plugins. One of the reasons why this often happens is that third-party themes do not go through a strict review process as free WordPress themes do.
• Too many unnecessary features: A lot of theme developers make the mistake of adding too many features into their themes just so they can sell more. Although these features may seem promising, not all of them will be necessary for your website. They may even cause your website to load at a slow pace.
• Crossing over into plugins domain: Some premium WordPress themes cross over into the plugin’s domain. When this happens, they offer other functions that they truly should not. For instance, the custom short codes, post types, etc. that you create may disappear once you change your theme.
If you have plans of creating a unique blog or website using WordPress, you must know how to choose the most suitable premium WordPress themes for your needs that live up to their promises. To be sure that your premium theme is reliable, make sure that you only get it from a trusted theme developer or shop.