Selecting a WordPress theme for your blog is quite a tough decision because of the huge number and variety of free WordPress themes and Premium themes available in the market.
So, as a newbie blogger, are you thinking to start your first blog with a free theme and then change to a Premium theme at a later stage?
You’d be wrong and definitely curse yourself later if you do that. I’m not telling this to make a sale but this is the truth.
I’m not saying free WordPress themes are bad but they come with many disadvantages. If you are really on a budget, you can download themes from WordPress theme directory but downloading them from other sources will put you at risk.
As I say, free themes are amazing just because they have the word “free” associated with them. But there are many disadvantages associated with them. Why would anyone give away something for free?
There is nothing called free lunch in this world. So, there are some reasons why these theme developers are giving away stuff for free. Reading the list below, you will understand the disadvantages of using free WordPress themes and why these developers give away themes for free.
Disadvantages of Using Free WordPress Themes
1. No Support and No Updates
For most of the free WordPress themes, you won’t get any support from the company if you’re facing issues in installing the theme. If the developer updates the theme in the future for bugs and advanced coding, you won’t get any updates and your site will be at risk.
Theme developers create a free theme as a side project and make the updates available in their pro version.
However, some developers do make a difference. For example, the evolve theme and few others too offer free updates. But the updated versions take more time to release than the Premium versions, so you need to wait for a longer time to get those updates.
2. Not SEO-optimized
In free WordPress themes, there will be hardly any in-built SEO options and the coding will be unclear. A clean code, faster loading time, SEO compatible makes a theme SEO-optimized. On the other hand, theme developers take care of all these aspects in their Premium version.
3. Has Encrypted Links
The most hated thing about free WordPress themes is that they often have encrypted links in the footer. This has bad impact on Search Engine Optimization and there is bound to be fall in your rankings if you have such encrypted code. Besides, why encrypt the footer when you can use it for adding more features?
4. Lesser number of features
Free themes have lesser number of features integrated into the theme. For example, a Premium theme has Premium slider plugins, contact forms, ticket support plugins, etc integrated into the theme. This way, you can make your website the trendiest and offer many features to your potential customers. However, free WordPress themes do not come with these features and you need to integrate these features separately.
5. No theme options panel
Many bloggers who are starting a blog may not have technical knowledge. Most of the free WordPress themes do not come with a theme options panel so you need to play with the codes to create any custom design whereas Premium themes come with an options panel where you don’t have to play with the codes. You can change everything in a click.
However, there is again the evolve theme, which is free and does have a theme options panel. So, if you are a new blogger and have no money to spend at all now, you can start with the evolve theme and upgrade to the premium version once your blog starts growing to get the maximum effect.
Tips for Choosing an Ideal Theme
Irrespective of it being Free or Premium, a theme should serve your purpose well. Only you can comment on what exactly your needs are, but it helps to bear a few basic points in mind when settling on a theme:
- Do not compromise on the features and functionality that you need. A good theme should provide ample features to suit both your present and future needs.
- Even though you may be well-versed in coding, look for a theme that is easy to use and modify. In other words, try to choose a theme that does not require rocket science for customization – the time and efforts invested in configuring a theme, if saved, can be invested elsewhere too.
- If you have a specific genre of website, such as a photo/video gallery, opt for a theme meant for that specific purpose.
- Ensure that the developers are active and the theme is regularly updated.
- Plus, check for the available support options. If it’s a Premium theme, ask for nothing less that personalized email support/ticketing system. And if it’s a Free theme, look for the level of activity in the forums (if any) and/or the frequency with which the developer responds to the comments on his website.
- Next up, bear in mind that the theme you are opting for should not be too old – this is especially true if you are choosing a Free theme. Web technology tends to get updated at a rapid pace, and it makes sense to opt for a theme that is updated.
Just in case even Premium themes fail to impress you, and you have the budget, consider opting for a Custom Design.