Should you choose a premium theme or opt for a free one?
When it comes to choosing the best WordPress themes for a new website, there is no shortage of options. As of the time of writing, there are over 10,000 free themes in the official WordPress theme repository. Because of so many options, WordPress beginners often confuse how to choose between free vs paid WordPress themes.
It’s very genuine to ask why to go for a premium if there are free versions available doing all the work fine. Why put money when you can get everything for free?
Let’s take a look at some of the distinguishing factors of premium vs free WordPress themes. It will help you in picking up the right theme.
Free WordPress fully justifies its name. It's indeed free of cost, no doubt. They are manufactured by trusted vendors and offer designs and features for effective website building. Then, you might ask why to go for a premium if there are free versions available. Why use premium themes with money when you can get everything for free? Which one is best between premium vs free WordPress themes?
To help you make this decision, let’s take a look at the differences between free and paid WordPress themes. It will help you in picking up the right theme.
Free themes typically offer a basic layout and a limited selection of fonts and colors that lack anything unique to distinguish your site from others. Compared to free themes, paid WordPress themes provide more design options. Free themes have responsive designs but they lack uniqueness and customization flexibility. Also, popular free themes are used on millions of websites. You don't want your site to have a similar look and feel like every other one out there.
On the other hand, a paid theme is highly customizable. Also, while creating a premium theme, developers focus on responsive design to create a distinct experience for your customers. You can enjoy sticky header, masonry layout, carousel and many more on a paid theme.
The most apparent difference between free and paid WordPress themes is the cost. Free themes require no payment for its use. However, the cost of paid themes can cost you from as low as $17 to over $500. If you’re just starting your blog or estore, you might not have sufficient budget to invest on your site. Although you may not have the funds at the moment, you can easily switch to a premium theme in the future when you have the necessary finances.
When it comes to features, free themes typically come with basic features that aren't enough for your site. The limited functionalities and features are the key downside of using free WordPress themes. All paid themes have added features with seamless integrations of different plugins. Hence paid themes have better compatibility with the different plugins you might use in your desired website. Also, premium themes are usually well-coded, secure, bug-free and frequently maintained.
When it comes to theme loading speed, free themes are mostly the way to go. Free themes tend to load quickly because they have fewer elements to load. However, that doesn’t mean that paid themes are slow. Infact, while developing paid themes, they make sure their themes meet the fast loading criteria. However, you can check if a free or paid theme loads quickly by testing the theme yourself. You can also use the fastest WordPress hosting services to improve your site loading speed.
Free themes are easier to use and customize, but that’s only because they offer limited customizations settings. If you're a beginner then it would be easy for you to understand and use it.
Paid themes offer more customization options and features. So, you’ll need to spend some time getting used to it. They come with well written documentation and getting started guides to help you use the theme. Also, you can take the help of the support team.
All theme vendors of both free and paid themes provide documentation and direct support. Free theme means it’s free of cost. So, no one is obligated to respond to your support inquiries, leaving users on their own to troubleshoot and fix any bugs. If you buy a paid theme, you can expect to have 24/7 dedicated support.
Why should I pay for a premium WordPres theme when there are so many free ones?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for this question. But the free theme is free for a reason. Free has limited customization options and features. If you encounter a problem, you’ll need to depend on the community forums for support. Of course, if you use WordPress for a simple personal blogging or you feel you don’t need any fancy settings, then a free WordPress theme will be a good option. Nonetheless, if you believe that premium themes can help you standout, it may be worthwhile to upgrade by buying premium themes.
No doubt, both free and paid themes come with their own set of pros and cons. You don’t need to pay for free themes but they offer basic features and designs. On the other hand, paid themes come with advanced features and unique designs, but you’ve to pay for it. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which option is best suited for your website.