A business owner or anybody who decides to create a website by himself will usually choose a theme from “ThemeForest” and similar web sites. But if you are new to WordPress and want to see how things work before you engage, you can start with a free theme. This will help you get acquainted with WordPress features and functions and then help you write your first 10 to 20 articles.
If you create a simple blog, you can easily find a lot of good free templates, with a clean code and an easy to set up.
Premium themes are exceptional; they are beautiful and attractive. But do not fall in the trap. If you are a new user, you might find it difficult to create a site on your own, and you could end up giving up. In the first place, just go for a free theme and try to get used to WordPress. Then, you can decide if you want to continue or not.
Keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages of using both paid and free versions of WordPress.
For a new user, buying a paid template can be justified only when you create a project for which there are simply no free themes. For example, When you are creating an online store, and you can find good free templates available.
Advantages of paid WordPress themes
The requirements for WordPress templates and themes are very high, therefore, professional designers work on developing them very carefully, paying attention to every single element before releasing them. Themes from the WordPress repository or “ThemeForest “ are worth buying; they are made by experienced developers who prioritise high-quality work.
The paid theme provides more options to customize the appearance without the need to know languages like HTML and CSS. You can change the fonts and the colours right from the settings panel. Many themes allow you to change not only the font itself but also its size, to make a very fine-tuning of the colour scheme. Some free templates offer the same features, but those templates are very limited. After all, developers would not like to spend many hours of their time to create a free template, and just to integrate all the functions that users may need.
Custom themes are made by developers to solve specific problems. Developers create themes that stand out against the many other competitive ones. These themes are usually premium and designed specifically to solve problems that are beyond the creation of simple blogs or online magazine. For example, there are paid themes that are just designed for advertisements, job search, real estate catalogues and many others.
In contrast to this, some will argue that it is better to use plugins to solve problems to extend the functionality of a site than to buy these custom themes separately, marginalising the ordinary user who has no IT Background.
How will a new user with no experience in WordPress know the perfect plugin for his WordPress theme? Custom themes on average, do not cost more than $50 dollars and can be helpful for new WordPress users.
An affordable price
WordPress paid themes are quite economical. You won’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollar to freelancers or web agencies to develop a theme for you. All you have to do is to look for the one that suits you in the WordPress repository and use it right away. However, you must keep in mind that a purchased theme can very often contain unnecessary functionalities. Functionalities that you might not need most of the time, which will slow down the speed of your site. People, in this case, end up looking for WordPress professionals and pay them to modify the code behind their theme, in order to get rid of the useless functions and speed up their site performance.
Disadvantages of paid WordPress themes
One of the disadvantages is that WordPress themes are not unique, a single theme can be used by millions of people just because it previews impressive features and corresponds to their business needs. People tend to believe that if a theme is catchy and popular then, it sells and thus must be copied. So many just based their judgment on the popularity of a theme, pay no attention to the uniqueness of their business. additionally, paid themes have more functions, which in many cases are not useful and can at time slow the performance of the site. The question is: Should you pay for something you don’t need?
Even in the premium themes, there are flaws that are corrected only over time after the users of the theme notice them. Therefore, it is not worth hoping that you will get an “ideal” theme.
So can free themes be better?
Benefits of Free WordPress Templates
Free themes give the opportunity not to spend money on the development of the site, especially if you are just starting your way as an Internet entrepreneur. Indeed, in most cases, you can find decent free templates for the kind of business you want to do. For example, some developers offer free versions of premium templates with a limited set of options. You have the opportunity to try a template before purchasing it.
Developers mostly make free templates to advertise their name, or simply because they want to create something good.
Disadvantages of free WordPress templates
When a template is published in the WordPress repository, it is thoroughly tested. However, in search of a free solution, you may come across templates that have unintended negative effects. Choose free themes only from trusted sources, from developers you trust. Avoid templates with coded links and scripts. You can check the template using the Theme Check plugin or, for greater reliability, malicious code scanners.
Since the author allocates less time for the development of a free template, he may not fully work out the design. Also, free templates can be created by newbies who are just mastering the development of WordPress themes. Because of its availability, there is a possibility that the template will be used on site grids, sites of dubious content.
To sum up, your decision to purchase a WordPress theme or use a free one, or again order a unique one from a freelancer or a web agency should be based on your needs, goals, and business plans. Free themes are good for beginners, but are very limited; the paid ones are extensive but may contain features you don’t need; and finally the unique ones, which suit precisely your business needs may be expensive. The choice is all yours.