One of the joys of having a WordPress website is the thousands of themes available – a seemingly never ending supply. You can choose a theme to provide you with the look and feel of your website – its layout, design style, font type, colours and locations of widgets. There really is something out there for everyone.
Some themes are completely free and others – known as ‘premium’ themes – incur a charge. The question on many people’s lips is why pay for a WordPress theme at all?
Let’s consider the facts about WordPress. It’s an open source platform which means there are hundreds of developers in the community working on it and it’s completely free to use. Many people develop themes for the good of the community and offer them for free; others develop paid-for themes.
But do you get what you pay (or don’t pay) for?
Free WordPress Themes
- Are they safe and reliable? A lot of the free WordPress themes are excellent. Many websites offering free themes include a rating from other users – so you can get more insight in to how the theme has been working for other users. Don’t forget however that many people will be using the popular themes, and if you follow suit your website may look very similar to others.
- Are they good? Many are pretty good although can be a little light on features compared to the premium themes. However since they are free, you can test one out and if it isn’t what you’re looking for, try out some more until you get what you want.
- Do they get updated? Many don’t. Developers simply don’t have time to perform the much needed bug and security updates when it won’t generate an income for them.
- What Support is available? Often none apart from the WordPress community via forums.
Our Tips for Choosing Free WordPress Themes
- Download free themes off reputable websites where you can be assured the theme has been robustly tested for functionality and security. org offers thousands of themes which have all be subjected to stringent checks before being added to the WordPress.org theme repository. WPHub is also a source of free (and premium) themes, all of which have been screened for malware and to check they do what they claims to do.
- Do some internet searches to see what WordPress website owners are saying about the theme you’re interested in – if there are lots of negative comments, choose another theme.
- Don’t purchase a theme that hasn’t been updated for more than 1 year – it may be no longer compatible with the WordPress core updates and is likely to cause you headaches.
Premium WordPress Themes
- Are they safe and reliable? In general these themes have a reliable code base. Again check out reviews from other users before you purchase.
- Are they good? The majority offer more functionality compared to free themes enabling a more powerful site to be created – although if you want a simple blog site these additional features may be unnecessary. They can also provide far more professional looking designs.
- Do they get updated? Most are continually updated to fix bug and security issues.
- What Support is available? Generally there is good customer support to help with problems but it can vary between supplier and supplier.
Our Tips for Choosing Premium WordPress Themes
- Think carefully before you purchase. Trawl reviews and forums to see what others think about the theme you’re interested in – you don’t want to waste money on something that’s not right for you.
- Check exactly what you are getting for your money – is after sales support included or do you have to pay an additional costs? Are future updates provided for free? How do you access the support? Do others in the WordPress community rate the support favourably?
So bearing in mind the points and tips above, do you get what you pay for when it comes to WordPress themes? If you choose a free theme and have realistic expectations of what it can do for you, you get far more than the zero you spent on it. If you choose a paid-for theme carefully and get great after sales support and free updates, your money will have been well spent.
Whichever option you choose, you should be sure of getting a great return on your investment!