There is a question a lot of beginners have when they first venture into web design with WordPress. The question of whether to get free or premium themes can be a confusing one, especially when many of the free themes out there seem almost as good and professionally done as the premium ones. Sometimes the line can be blurred, and quality (or the lack of it) can be found in plenty on both sides of the fence. Here are some pros and cons of both approaches, according to Weblizar.
Free themes are listed in the Themes directory at the WordPress directory. This is the most trusted directory of free themes in the world, and it is usually not recommended that you download and install your free themes from other sources, many of which are unreliable and even suspect. That said, what are the pros and cons of getting yourself a free theme?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of getting a free theme is that it is free. That means it makes it even easier for you to start a blog or WordPress website. Many people, however, are quite apprehensive of anything that’s offered for free. Why would a theme be free when there are others selling for a princely sum? Is there a catch? Many people assume free stuff is going to be of low quality. However, when it comes to WordPress themes, that is not necessarily the case.
You are probably wondering why anyone would want to go through all that trouble just to give something away for free. The truth is that it’s all really about two things: development and sales. On the one hand, the developer is developing their skills because their code gets audited during the review process and only gets approved if it’s up to par. Also, they get to make their themes available to a very wide user base. That user base will give them plenty of feedback about their themes so they can improve them.
In terms of sales, giving your themes out for free means you build a portfolio and also your reputation as a developer. If people like your themes, they’ll come back to you and ask you to either customize the free themes you offer or to create completely custom themes for them. That’s when you charge them to do it.
While the advantages of free WordPress themes are so obvious, the drawbacks aren’t as obvious at first glance. They are also quite subjective and therefore debatable.
Some common disadvantages include the ones below:
If you decide to go for a free theme and it doesn’t have the exact functionality that you’re looking for, it would be rather unfair to give it a rating of 1 star. After all, you get what you pay for, and you didn’t pay anything for the theme. A better way to approach the matter is to ask the developers nicely or even make a small donation to them, in order to get them to add the features you want in the theme.
Premium themes aren’t only found on WordPress’s Theme directory; they are available from a host of third-party marketplaces for WordPress themes and specific theme and plugin shops. They come with plenty of benefits.
As much as it may seem so, premium themes are not all perfect. They have disadvantages of their own:
One thing you should remember is that buying a theme does not mean the developer or theme shop is going to set it up for you. It also does not necessarily mean you get a warranty or an exclusive license.
The most reliable theme shops will give you access to their support forums for help as well as the full documentation to their themes.
When it comes to choosing between a free and a premium theme, you should determine a few things before you make your decision:
First, find out if you need a whole host of features for your website, or if your website actually does well with a few basic features.
Second, ask yourself how good you are at troubleshooting WordPress issues by yourself. If you need help most of the time, then a premium theme is your best bet.
Finally, determine whether you want a common theme with a basic layout or something a little more professional looking and unique. If you’re running a small blog and you’re just starting out, a free theme is a good place to start. Otherwise, if you’re running a business of any sort, then a paid theme will probably give you a lot more peace of mind.