Premium WordPress theme or a free WordPress theme?
Anyone interested in the WordPress theme market will probably be overwhelmed by the thousands of free themes and premium WordPress themes available. In this post, I will discuss the differences between a free theme and premium WordPress theme. Searching for a WordPress theme is always a hard work, especially since there are so many free WordPress themes and premium WordPress themes out there. Most newbies wonder if there is really a need to spend money on a premium WordPress theme given the many free themes available. And so, most new bloggers start with a free WordPress theme. (Wikipedia Link: What is WordPress)
Are premium templates better than a free WordPress theme?
Free WordPress themes are usually simple in design and built to the same structure as standard themes. If you just want to blog some content, you should be able to find good free templates for your needs. But with free themes, there are limited options to make changes and customize the theme to your liking. But let’s start from the beginning…
support and updates
First of all, I would like to state that free themes are not bad and you can find many “pearls” in the WordPress theme directory. The big problem, however, is the maintenance of these themes: updates are usually not offered or can only be obtained by purchasing the Pro version. WordPress is constantly updated and the technology changes every few months. So your theme and plugins must remain compatible with the latest version of WordPress. If you work with paid themes, the web designer will take care of an updated and compatible version. Free themes are mostly side projects, and you have to wait months before a major upgrade comes along.
This can lead to security risks. While many free themes are released with good intentions, some of the authors are not as knowledgeable about coding standards as one might expect from premium WordPress theme authors. Therefore, the potential for security issues with free themes is simply higher. Irrespective of this, all premium WordPress theme manufacturers offer free support, so that support for problems with plugins, setup or individual adjustments is offered as part of the membership, for example. As with any purchased software, premium themes tend to be well coded and inherently higher quality than free themes. The reason for this is very simple:
- Sellers need to ensure their themes are bug-free, otherwise buyers will complain
- Vendors want to keep the code light to minimize the need for debugging. It is therefore in your own interest to eliminate all questions within the theme
- Vendors who sell low-quality WordPress themes make less sales.
Sure: There are certainly good free themes like TwentyTen & Co, which are also of high quality, are stable and are regularly maintained. However, premium WordPress themes are user-customized, which means one can easily make design settings and unique and stylish high-quality extensions.
First interim conclusion: Premium WordPress Theme
A first interim conclusion is: A premium WordPress theme has the advantage that it is usually more secure and technically up-to-date, i.e. a free theme. Of course there are good and safer free themes – but often these are only maintained in the pro version, so that in the end I end up with a purchase theme again. If you are a bit fit in CSS and PHP, you can often keep the themes up to date yourself (more or less). However, you have to invest a little time and know-how here. And what about SEO, DESIGN and hidden LINKS?
Continue reading Part 2: Premium VS Free WordPress Themes