Many newbies using WordPress for launching their debut website, resolve whether they should take a free or a premium WordPress theme to proceed with.
Some people think that free WordPress themes are not suitable to be used for launching a serious business website, because they are of bad quality, but it’s not actually true. Some other folks would not even understand the purpose of free themes when there are premium ones available.
So let’s see what are the benefits and lacks of both free and premium WordPress themes and which ones will be better to choose for your first website.
Free WP themes you should only pay your attention at are available on the official WordPress.org directory. They go through the strict review process before becoming available for download, so they are always quality ones.
The initial and the most attractive benefit of these WP themes is that they are free. Before going live on wp.org, a theme should be checked for:
and many more peculiarities.
If all of these characteristics meet the demands of the directory, the theme is going to be approved.
If you’d like to ask something like “why should the quality themes be available for free?” The answer is simple: they will work both as promotion for an author and encouragement for the users.
For a Blogger
Let’s see you’ve got a blog on WordPress. Of course, you are going to make your best to increase its traffic and get more repeat visitors. To reach your aim is possible if you gift some exciting freebies to your users. So they will come back to your website to look for more.
A free WordPress theme can be the great freebie that you give away to your users allowing them to download it right from your website and thus improve your conversion rate. And if you include your free theme in the official WordPress.org directory, this will add trust to your brand, and more visitors will come to your website right from the directory page.
For a Theme Developer
If you are a WordPress theme developer, free WordPress theme published on the official WP directory will:
For a Buyer
If you are a buyer and you choose a free WP theme, you save your costs – it’s obvious.
Once you’ve installed and tested a free WordPress theme in your Appearance -> Themes dashboard menu, and you resolved it doesn’t meet your requirements or isn’t compatible with your must-have plugins, you can refuse from using it and activate any other free theme from the directory’s list.
You can shift the themes as long as you require until you find an appropriate one to your liking. No need to pay for a new theme every time you decide to change the older one.
Free themes usually don’t include a lot of widgets, plugins or shortcodes in the pack. So if your website doesn’t require a lot of additional functionality, a free theme will allow it to run very fast, because no spare plugins will affect its performance.
Free WordPress themes from the official directory are made compatible with almost all currently developed WordPress plugins.
So you can be sure it will be easy to extend the functionality of your website with ease.
The lacks of free WordPress themes are a bit subjective. If a certain person considers something to be a disadvantage then another one won’t even notice this thing as a problem. So let’s review some of the main lacks of free WP themes for a website owner.
There is no dedicated support team for a free theme. So if a buyer comes across trouble while using a free WP template, they can find an answer at the WordPress forum but not from the theme developer.
If you compare a free WordPress theme with its Pro alternative, you will learn that the number of features in a free version will be less than in premium one.
Free themes mostly come with standard features and they don’t include additional ones like shortcodes, premium plugins compatibility, plugins included in the pack, etc.
A free WP theme is available for download without any restrictions, so anyone can take it for their website, and, as a result, these websites won’t look unique.
Even if you’d like to customize a theme to make it look more exclusive, it usually doesn’t suppose a lot of customization options to completely change its look and feel.
Of course, developers are free to fix bugs and update their free themes but they are not obliged to do this. So if a customer encounters any problems while working with a theme, they can’t address a developer with this question. However, they can always go to the official WP support forum and ask for assistance there.
Here at WP Daddy, we’ve recently issued a new Free Oswald One-Page Creative WordPress Theme, and we are happy to answer all of your questions concerning this theme.
When we spoke of free WordPress themes, we mentioned it would be better to opt for the official WP.org directory. But when it comes to premium ones, we can say it’s quite possible to choose them at any third party resources and any modern marketplaces. It’s up to you.
The average price of a premium WP theme is $59, though you can find some templates that cost about $29 or $70. If a developer creates a premium product, they want to get an income, so they do their best to make their product as quality as possible to meet the demands of the marketplace where this product will be sold.
So let’s see what makes premium WP themes so good.
Premium themes are mostly available with a great bunch of features and supported plugins. Usually, they are available with WPML support for creating multilingual websites, RTL support for Arabic languages, visual drag-and-drop page builders with a lot of content modules and widgets, slider plugins for creating awesome presentations, and many more advantages.
Regular updates and support are compulsory conditions for all WordPress themes to be accepted by the marketplace for sales. So every premium WordPress theme developer offers dedicated support to every customer. When a user buys a theme they get the right to receive qualified support (provided by the developer’s team) if they have any troubles using this product.
Regular updates suppose that new features will be added, bugs will be fixed, and the theme is going to be up to date as long as possible.
Most of the times premium WordPress themes come with creative and unique design, and, moreover, they are possible to be completely customized up to your needs.
Customization options available for the theme allow to completely personalize it, and make your website look and feel as exclusive as possible.
If the theme is a premium one, there’s no guarantee it is perfect. There are some possible lacks that a customer may come across when buying a WP theme from an online marketplace.
Premium themes don’t go through a strict review process, unlike the free ones. That’s why some of them may look great but work badly, throw error messages or be incompatible with some required plugins.
However, if the theme doesn’t work as you require you can ask for a refund from a developer.
If there is a host of features available for a premium WP theme, it can be sometimes harmful to website speed. Some features from the compulsory list can be unnecessary for your definite website, but you won’t be able to remove them because they go by default.
Some premium themes may cost up to $100 and more. However, their functionality and features don’t offer any more specific possibilities than included in a package of a premium theme which costs $50. So it’s better to buy premium WordPress themes at widely recognized marketplaces like, for instance, Themeforest.
So how should you correctly choose a WordPress theme for your website? Selecting either a free or a premium template depends on your expectations and preferences. If you don’t require your website to look very unique and you don’t need a lot of features, then you can feel free to choose a free WP theme for your business card or any other small website.
In another case, if you’re about to create a multipage corporate website, an attractive blog or a web store, then it’s better to opt for a feature-rich, comprehensive and highly customizable premium theme with dedicated support options and regular updates.
The choice is yours!
Hi! I’m an experienced writer exploring WordPress for more than 6 years. I’m happy to share my knowledge and ideas with you and I hope you join me.