WordPress is the most popular CMS for many reasons: it is versatile, easy to use, and has an awesome support and support community.
Also the fact that it is 100% free does not hurt. Anyone can start a blog with WordPress.com without paying a cent. Of course, for greater ownership and complete flexibility of your blog, as well as a more professional aspect, it is necessary to invest in your own domain and web hosting.
The same we can define also for the subjects. A new or casual blogger will have more than enough with a blog on WordPress.com, or with the installation of a free theme. But if you need your blog to look more professional , you may want to consider investing in a premium WordPress theme .
It is true that both free and paid topics cover the entire range from low to high quality, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. But the use of free themes comes with certain risks that can cost you more than you think.
The main benefit of the free themes, of course, is that they are free.
There are some other advantages as we see below:
The themes within the WordPress.org directory are easy to install. These are listed in the WordPress.org directory where they can be easily found and installed with a single click of your mouse from your control panel.
Free themes are generally simple and easy to use. There are no advanced features to configure, so your installation is usually fast.
You can change your mind and topics without losing money. If you do not like it, you are not losing anything by switching to another topic.
However, there are a number of possible drawbacks to the use of free themes.
Of course, all the developers and templates are different, and there are some free high quality themes that we can find. Although unfortunately, these are a minority.
The disadvantages of the free themes:
They are not unique. Your site will look like many others on the web, and could confuse visitors to your site with others who use the same topic.
They have no support, so you are on your own if you need help with any problem that may arise.
They are usually simple and basic, and do not include advanced functionality, so you may have to invest in premium plugins to satisfy these special features instead.
They are more likely to be abandoned, leaving you with an outdated theme that becomes incompatible with the latest WordPress updates or your favorite plugins.
They may include unwanted code, such as footer links to the developer’s site, or even links to spam.
Sometimes they are designed to be deliberately difficult to modify, to hide files in non-standard places, or to encrypt code so that it can not be modified.
It can be dangerous and insecure, possibly due to the spread of malware or viruses. These cases are rare, but it is still a risk.
Free WordPress themes can damage your site.
It would be great if all the free WordPress themes were provided by designers and developers who just want to share their creations, practice their trade, or publicize their services.
- But that unfortunately is not always the case.
- Sometimes, free WordPress themes are released with malicious intent:
Hackers who are looking to enter WordPress sites, can launch a theme that makes it easier to hack for sites where it is installed, by creating “backdoors” in the code that can be easily opened. Also SEO black-hat can create a theme that injects spam links into your website that are difficult to eliminate.
Some theme developers include tactics to hide or encrypt their code so it can not be deciphered, making it difficult or impossible to get rid of spam links or malicious code. This can cause your site to be penalized by Google, possibly removing your site from the search results completely.
To be on the safe side, if you decide to use a free theme, follow the WordPress.org directory, and choose a topic that has been recently updated with good reviews. Consider using a service like Sucuri to make sure the topic is safe and will not harm your site or your visits. Here you can also find a list of secure and recognized sites that offer free templates for WordPress .
If you invest in a premium theme
If you just started with WordPress, and you’re not sure yet what kind of aspect or features you want in a theme, it might be a good idea to start with a simple theme from the WordPress.org directory.
But if you’re worried about having a professional-looking website that stands out from the crowd, I highly recommend investing in a premium theme. This is especially important if you are interested in having a blog and dedicate yourself professionally, or you intend to make a blog for a business.
Of course, just like the free themes, the specific features and advantages will depend on the specific topic and the developer.
But in general, a premium theme:
It includes customer support, so you can get help installing and customizing the issue and resolve any problems that may arise.
They are well coded, which can affect your SEO in several positive ways. Well-coded sites tend to rank higher in search results for several reasons.
They have more advanced features. Premium themes often include extras such as drag-and-drop interfaces, subscription plugins, simple customizations, compatibility with WooCommerce to create an online store, etc.
They do not look the same as any other WordPress site. You may share a quality premium theme with a dozen other websites, instead of a thousand as it happens with free ones.
They are updated more frequently, so they are always compatible with WordPress kernel updates and your favorite plugins.
They are more secure and you will not have malicious or hidden code.
How to choose a premium theme?
The fact that you are paying money for a template does not guarantee that you will find all the aforementioned benefits. It is also possible (though less likely) that premium themes are abandoned, poorly coded, or have little support.
It is very important to carry out a small investigation when deciding on a premium theme.
To choose a good premium theme:
Make a list of your needs. Do you need certain features on your website? Many premium themes come with advanced features or even include premium plugins that you may need for your site.
Browse the premium themes. Try a renowned market such as WooThemes, ThemeForest and Elegantthemes, or consider using a framework like Genesis. These are the best known examples although there are many more.
The investigation is important. Take your time to look at the comments on the theme developers. Are they in good standing? How long have they been in this sector? How is your customer service? Reach the developers to ask any questions you may have.
Check the price structure. Some premium themes charge a one-time fee, while others may charge a membership fee. Read the terms carefully and make sure you know exactly what you are getting for the price.
With a high quality theme you usually have access to better support and in most cases more functions.
That said, there are also great free WordPress themes. Just make sure they are downloaded from a trusted source like WordPress.org.