Selecting a WordPress theme is always a good job and specially, where there are so many free WordPress theme and premium WordPress theme clubs, available in the market. Most of the newbie’s get confused between which theme they should go for and if they should spend money on Premium themes from day one or not.
How often we talk about wordpress themes, probably this is the first need of any blogger who start with WordPress blogs. Most of new blogger who start with wordpress, use free themes, thinking why to pay for premium wordpress theme, when they can get it for free. Even I started with Arthemia free theme for first 6 months, and later on settle down with premium wordpress theme Thesis. I know it can be a good point of debate between free vs paid wordpress theme, and obviously I would like to know your opinion on it.
According to me, Free themes are amazing only because they are free and only very few Theme developer are serious about keeping their free theme project updated and offering constant updates for latest WP version compatibility. When I started with WordPress, I thought: Why to pay one time 20-50$ when you can get some thing for free?. This is what I used to think when I started with WordPress blog and like every one landed with some nice free WordPress theme.
Though later on I realize my mistakes and problem faced with free wordpress theme.
Why Premium Templates are better than Free WordPress Theme
First of all let me confirm that Free themes are not bad and you can find many of them in WordPress theme directory. But the major problem comes with the updates, most of theme developer releases a base version on Free Theme directories and later on use it to sale the pro version of free theme.
So my suggestion is, instead of wasting your time on technical know-who, better to opt for a Pro theme and do the things, which we are good at: Blogging.
Anyways, I’m outlining some of the factors, which might convince you to ditch your free WP theme and upgrade to pro version.
Support and updates:
WordPress is constantly updating technology and after every few months, we get to see a major update in WordPress. Your theme and plugins, needs to be compatible with latest version of WordPress.
When you are using paid themes, it’s the responsibility of the framework company to release an updated and compatible version of Theme. Where as, free theme creators use their theme as side project, and you need to wait for months before you see an upgrade. For quick updated themes, I would suggest to stick with any of the good Wp theme company.
Also, all the paid theme authors offer free support as it comes with membership, where as in free themes, you can’t expect a free support. Also, if you will look into framework like Thesis, Genesis, you will find tons of tutorials on web, which doesn’t happen often with free Wp themes.
WordPress themes plays a major role in over all SEO of your site. In free themes, you will find many structure bug and more over, hardly few of them offer inbuilt SEO options. Specially, in SEO post 2012, it’s important to have a site which is not only SEO optimized but also offers clean code for faster loading.
Themes like Thesis, Genesis offer such lightning fight loading them, but dilemma is they are not free. Anyhow, using a premium theme helps you in lowering down plugins. Check: How Thesis theme helps me to lower down plugins
Premium themes is a competitive marketplace and to survive, theme dev. needs to offer latest features and web integration. Free themes has limited no. of features and if you want to see particular feature, it will be difficult to get until unless theme developer is willing to provide free support or if you are personally in touch with theme developer.
This is the first and last thing I hate about free wordpress themes, since most of them now are making the footer encrypted and selling those links. This has a very bad impact on SEO of your blog and why do you want to encrypt your footer, I’m sure if not now, later on you would like to add more features in your Footer of the theme. Just for the info, a nice footer has a great advantage on SEO of your blog, if you use it wisely.
Since Google penguin update, such encrypted links are seen as spammy links and sites like wpmu was penalized due to it. Though, outbound links have SEO advantage, but such kind of linking should be avoided at any cost.
Though for new bloggers who can’t spend 20$ for themes , free theme is the way to go, but once your blog start getting momentum. I will advice switch over to any best possible premium themes.
- Check out: Best Premium WordPress Themes club
Do let us know about your opinion on free vs Paid wordpress theme?