When you are setting up a new WordPress blog, one of the most important tasks you will have it to decide if you want to use a Free or Paid WordPress Theme.
The theme you choose is the first thing readers will see when they come to your blog, so it is important to choose a theme that is attractive and tells people what your blog is about, and is easy to navigate so your readers can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for.
You will learn the advantages of both free and paid WordPress themes, to help you decide if you should use a Free WordPress Theme or Paid WordPress Theme on your WP blog.
What to Know…..
There are definite advantages and disadvantages of using a free WordPress theme or a paid WordPress theme on your blog. The biggest advantages of using a premium paid WP theme are more theme options and superior technical support.
A paid WP theme will generally offer more options and features than a basic free theme, which can be vital if the free version of the theme is too limiting for your needs by locking you out of advanced features, or offers little or no technical support. Many premium themes are affordable, costing as low as $39.
This article will help you determine if you should save your money and use a Free WordPress Theme or invest in a premium Paid WordPressTheme on your new blog.
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is not just the front end design, or “skin” of the blog, and per WordPress.org, the developer of the WordPress CMS system, the theme is actually a collection of files and specific coding, called template files, that work together to produce a graphical interface for your blog.
As a new blogger, you may be thinking what’s the difference between a paid premium full function theme or a basic free theme, and aren’t all WP themes basically the same anyway, except for the way they look?
Both types of WordPress themes work basically the same, as far as, how you add, write, save, delete or edit posts, but this is where the similarities between free and premium themes end; theme layout with posts, pages, links, appearance options and plugins down the left side of the screen; publishing options, list of categories, and tags down the left side of the page.
Some WP themes are very simple products with minimal coding, while others include an image slider, the ability to categorize posts in different ways, and the ability to change fonts, colors, header images or sizes. These themes require more complex coding.
But a paid WP blog theme will generally be more robust than free WordPress themes, including more theme options, direct and more timely tech support if you need assistance setting up your blog theme, or resolving technical issues.
6 Advantages of Using a Paid WP theme on Your New Blog
- When you buy a premium theme, you are buying the most updated version with the most advanced features and options.
- Theme will support the latest version of WordPress.
- You are given access to technical support via phone, chat or email, and not have to use the technical support forum. This is a key benefit for those who opt to invest in a premium theme, as response time is generally within 24 hours vs 48 hours with a free theme.
- This can be important if you are new to blogging or new to using WordPress, have never installed a WP theme before or lack technical skills to resolve issues on your own.
- Many theme developers offer a free WP theme version that offers the features you want and has an attractive skin, but lock you out of premium features and offer minimal technical support. You can upgrade to the premium theme without having to install a new theme.
- Some web developers will help you install your new premium WP theme when you purchase it, or for an additional fee they will completely install your theme on your blog and set it up to your needs and specifications.
Many free WP themes lock you out of the advanced features and options, but give you an option to upgrade to the paid premium version of the WordPress theme with the simple click of a button on the theme.
Some websites that offer paid WP themes, like Envato Market, is actually a marketplace for web developers who offer their premium WP themes for sale, but is not the actual developers of the themes. In this case, you will need to go the theme developer for technical support.
Other companies, like Template Monster, are the developer of free and premium WordPress themes and provide the tech support for them.
6 Advantages of a Free WP Theme on Your Blog
- If you are new to affiliate marketing or blogging and are on a shoestring budget, it may be recommend to use a free WordPress theme (at the beginning) to save funds.
- You can use the free WP theme until you decide if you like the theme and want to invest in the more robust paid version.
- Use the free version until have made a few commissions and can afford to buy a paid WordPress theme version if money is tight. While you many not get the features you want, the free theme will offer the features and options you need.
- If you don’t want to commit to one theme skin, there are literally thousands of free WP themes you can use as part of your WordPress installation from your web hosting company, or are available on the Web that won’t cost you a cent to download and use.
- You may be able to find free plugins that add the features that are missing on the free theme version.
- If you are happy with the features the free theme offers you, save your money unless there is a reason to upgrade to the paid WP theme version.
Where to Find Free WordPress Themes?
There are several places where you can find free WP themes.
You can find free WP themes through the Appearance tab on your installation of WP, which offers hundreds of free WP themes that can be downloaded to your blog quickly and easily.
Many WP theme developers offer free versions of their premium themes.
You can find many free WP themes on the Web, but you need to take care that the theme developers are legitimate and are not a way to install spam or malware on your blog.
The easiest way to find hundreds of free WP themes is from WordPress.org, which offers hundreds of free themes ready to be downloaded that are 100% free.
To find these free WP themes, to go to the Appearance tab on the left side of the WP page, once you have installed and opened your new WordPress installation. Click Appearance – themes – Add new. From this page you can select themes by Featured, Popular, Latest or Favorites.
You can select >preview >download > and install the theme you have chosen. You can download several themes to see which one looks and works the best for you.
Once the theme is downloaded, just click Activate and theme will be live on your blog. At this point you can modify the features to fit your needs.
Search for Free WP Themes on the Web
You can search the Web for free WP themes, but make sure they are from a legitimate source. Finding a free WP theme from a sketchy source can actually allow spam and malware to be loaded on to your computer.
It is best for those new to blogging to use Free themes only from known web developers, like Theme Monster, which offer free versions of their Premium WP themes, but lock you out of the advanced features and options until you upgrade to the paid theme.
These free themes are free of spam and malware, and theme updates are offered for their free themes as well as their premium themes.
Just follow the instructions on the developer’s page to download the theme to your computer. Unzip the theme and upload it to your WordPress by clicking Appearance – themes – Add new – Upload theme – Install. Select the theme from the list of themes and click Activate.
If you are happy with the basic features the free theme offers you, save your money unless there is a reason to upgrade to the paid WP theme version.
Best Paid WordPress Themes?
TemplateMonster offers 5 premium WP themes for one low cost of $75. Buying these themes individually would cost up to $200.
Envato Market is a marketplace for web developers to offer their free and premium WP themes for sale.
They usually offer a theme for one installation at the base price, and one for unlimited installations at the enterprise price, which is recommended for web developers with multiple sites or many clients.