Free WordPress Theme or Premium WordPress Theme
Free wordpress Theme or premium wordpress theme. Which Wordpress theme is better to use? Pros and Cons of Using Free and Premium WordPress Theme.
With so many free WordPress themes and premium WordPress theme clubs available online, selecting the best theme for a blog becomes a real job. When I started Blogging on WordPress, selecting the best theme was always very confusing. This is the case of most new Bloggers. Most newbie’s are confused on the fact whether they should use a free WordPress theme or buy a premium theme.
My personal experience says that free themes are good for first few months when it is the learning period. Once you have learnt the basics of WordPress, you must spend some money and buy a suitable authentic premium theme if you are serious about Blogging and making money online.
The biggest mistake that 90% of new Bloggers make is that they think why spend money on buying a premium theme when so may good looking themes are easily available for free. Even I started with using and experimenting with several free themes. Gradually when I got serious with Blogging and making money with my blogs, I shifted to premium themes like Genesis.
Free vs. paid WordPress theme is a good for discussion but if you ask any successful professional Blogger who is making good money from the internet, he or she will suggest going for a premium theme. Why? We will discuss below.
WordPress Themes need to be updated so that they are compatible with the latest versions of WordPress. Free themes look good just because they are free. Do you think someone who is giving something for free will provide any support or any future update to the theme? Not too many developers are serious about this. Most of them are bothered about their own marketing and this is why you see their credit link at the bottom near “Powered by WordPress”.
Even I was a great fan of free WordPress themes until I bought and used the Elemin Theme from Themify. By the way, Elemin is the same theme used on labnol.org by Amit Agarwal, India’s first successful professional Blogger. I paid $ 49 for the theme and since then there was no looking back.
Why Premium Themes are better than Free WordPress Theme
The WordPress theme directory is full of free themes and I must confess that not all free themes are poor or bad. The main problem comes with the updates and support.
Most WordPress theme developers release the free version on WordPress directory and later sell the premium version of the same theme to provide support and updates. 99% of them ask not to remove their credits link from the bottom (near powered by WordPress). If you try to remove the credits links by going to the WordPress Editor, the whole blog will break down. Most of these developers ask to buy the Pro or Premium version of the same theme just to remove the encrypted credits link from the bottom.
If you are little known to CSS then you can edit and adjust a free theme by using a child theme of custom CSS. But my suggestion would be not to waste your valuable time on such technical thing, especially if you are non-techie, and buy a premium theme and focus more on your main job i.e. Blogging.
Below I explain why one must use a Pro or Premium WP theme instead of free theme. At the end you can decide on your own. After all, it is your blog and your money.
Support and Updates:
As I have already explained above, the creators of WordPress constantly keep updating the WordPress software. Every few months we see a new updated version of WordPress. Your theme and plugins all need to be updated and compatible with the newest version of WordPress. This is rarely possible with free themes.
However, if you are using a paid premium theme, it is the responsibility of the framework company to release an updated and compatible version of Theme. You just have to update the theme from the WordPress dashboard.
Websites selling premium themes provide good support to all their customers. Most of them have a forum which is an exclusive area just for paid members. Not everyone can join the forum or view the threads. There are tons of help and support available on these forums. In case you face serious problem, you can ask for personal one-on-one support.
Another plus point with premium themes is that there are loads of help and discussion available on the internet. You just have to Google your problem to find the solution. This is rarely available in case of free themes.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the backbone of a successful blog. It decides the success or failure of any blog. WordPress themes play a very important role when it comes to SEO. As per SEO 2015 post, blogs and websites must be SEO optimized and have bug-free clean code, faster loading and good readability. Free themes are full of bugs and structural and SEO faults. Almost none of them have inbuilt SEO options.
Premium themes like Genesis are built with care and need fewer plugins. Use of fewer plugins makes a blog load must faster. They also offer all options that you may need to restructure your blog – Drag and Drop, Free of Bugs, Social sharing, managing subscriptions, font selection, header image, header slides, custom menu design etc.
The Premium themes marketplace is a very competitive business. Developers of the premium themes club are bound to offer latest features if they want to survive in the business. They have no option but to offer the best product if they want to sell. This is a win-win situation for customers like us.
On the other hand, there is little competition between developers of free themes. Most of them are little bothered to offer latest features for free.
The latest trend in the blogosphere is responsiveness of blogs. With increasing use of smartphones, tablets, phablets and laptops, it is demand of the time that a website or blog must be responsive to adjust itself according to the screen size. 100% of premium WordPress themes are responsive in design. In case of free themes, you will have to waste your valuable time in finding a suitable responsive theme suitable for your niche.
Encrypted Footer links
As I explained above, almost all free WordPress themes have encrypted footer links. This is bad for SEO. You cannot even add your own blog info at the bottom which is considered good for SEO.
Since Google Penguin update, such encrypted links are seen as spammy links and many sites like wpmu was penalized because of that. This does not mean that all outbound links are bad for SEO but such encrypted links must be avoided at all costs.
Not all new bloggers can afford to buy a premium theme worth about $50. They can start with a, authentic free wordpress theme with no encrypted footer links. Most such footer links and credits can be removed with following Custom CSS:
I would personally suggest that once your blog starts making some money, just switch to a good trusted and reliable premium WordPress theme.
Do share your thoughts and ideas on free vs. Paid WordPress theme via comments.