When acquiring anything, a common question comes to mind: “What can I get for free?” and, “What are the benefits of paying for a similar product?”
WordPress themes are no exception to this question. This article should clear some of your doubts when considering whether you should pick a free theme for your website or pay for a premium one.
Features and customizability
The obvious benefit of free themes is the fact that you don’t have to pay for them, but are there any other benefits?
Well, if you are a beginner, free themes might suit you better, even if you are not considering the cost of the theme.
Free themes usually come with fewer features, however. This might seem like an obvious drawback, but a smaller number of features also makes them easier to use. So, for a beginner that is just starting to learn about blogging, this “drawback” might be a good thing.
On the other hand, if you require a highly-customized website with many features, you will find more options in the selection of premium themes. The same thing is true if you are going to use the theme to build sites for your clients. With a sheer amount of plugins available in the plugin directory, some of the features can easily be added, but it is generally more favorable to have a theme that doesn’t rely on too many on plugins.
Support and documentation
With many independent developers out there, the levels of support and documentation that come with your theme will vary. In most cases, paid themes will come with a larger amount of documentation, which can help greatly with the setup process.
If you get stuck in any part of the process, the chances are that you will receive better support from the forces behind a premium theme. Don’t think that developers of free themes care less about helping with your problems. However, the vendors that sell premium themes have more to lose if they lose a customer. In addition, they can usually hire bigger teams and dedicate more workforce to the support team.
You can avoid this problem by choosing a free theme from a vendor, but have a sponsored link on your site. This way, you can benefit from having a great looking theme right away and pay for membership benefits once your website pays off (and get access to the whole theme library).
Choosing the right theme
If you are a beginner when it comes to using WordPress themes, you might not know which type of theme you’re looking for and what kind of features you need.
Choosing the right theme is a personal preference, and a choice nobody else can make for you. If you’re unsure, you should always be able to see what the theme looks like in the demo version or a promotional example. When it comes to the specific features of the theme, you will want to play with them a bit before you find out which ones you want.
Before you settle for one theme, you should experiment with a few of the others and learn of all their features and different benefits. Even if the first theme you picked seems like a perfect fit for you, how will you know this for sure unless you’ve tried others? This is where free themes truly shine—it costs you nothing to try out many different themes while searching for the right one.Even if you definitely want to have a premium theme, my advice is to try several different free themes before you decide to buy one.
Testing out the features you think you will need is going to considerably lower the chances of you buying a theme that doesn’t fit your needs.
Don’t forget to seek out independent research of the themes you’re interested in and focus on those that seem to be highly popular and receive praise from their users.
The frequency of updates is another thing to keep in mind when choosing a theme. If your theme doesn’t keep up with the times, you will soon have to change it and start your research all over again. Although it is free to change a free theme, it’s worth saving your time in the future by sticking with the same one.
Premium themes are usually updated more frequently. If your theme isn’t updated, it might become incompatible with WordPress CMS.
There is a risk that a premium theme might be discontinued as a product and therefore stop being updated, but the likelihood of that happening is considerably lower than that of a free theme.
If you class yourself as a novice, you should start with a free theme until you get some experience and know exactly what it is you truly need from a theme.
As you can see, both free and premium themes have their pros and cons. With a huge amount of theme developers and vendors, premium themes don’t always guarantee better quality. You will have to do some research and read the reviews before you can assess the quality of the theme.
In the end, it all boils down to what kind of website you need. If you are going to use your website as a blog about food, you will probably need only the most basic features. However, if you need a complex site with many features for your business, the chances are that you will want to go for a premium theme.
Whatever your situation and experience are, only you know your needs and preferences, and I wish you the best of luck with your website!