When you’re starting to dig into the world of WordPress, the strongest initial urge is to dive into a world of new possibilities and test everything there is out there – be it themes, plugins or customization options. But once you’ve gone through your average amount of WordPress options, you’d value clean options with no extra surprises. The needs of all WordPress users are hugely different, so your choice of a theme would be different, as well.
Free Themes for easy testing
There are many free themes for WordPress and you can easily access them through the WordPress ecosystem or just by googling the magic words “free WordPress themes“. The positives of free themes mainly have to do with the cost of switching (which basically amounts to your time and the nerves invested) and the freedom of trying out many new options. If you don’t like the theme, you can just go and find a better one through a simple ‘free WordPress themes’ search on Google.
However, free themes may lack crucial options and require you to code your way to success. You will probably find other WP users for the specific theme and ask for advice, but support is scarce and you may not get easy answers to your questions. What’s more, free themes are used much more often – which means your site will look like many others. I’ve personally had the “pleasure” of finding another blog in my niche with the same theme and the experience is not amazing. Even though we had different color schemes, the sites still looked really similar.
I’d suggest using a free theme at the start of your WordPress experience or if you need something quick and easy whipped up – like a blog (such as this taxidermy blog) or a basic personal site with one or two tweaks.
Paid Themes for easy support
Paid themes give you much more options and the best part is you can rely on some level of support. Paid themes generally have better integration with different plugins, have a lot of built-in options and means of customization like font and color pickers, integrated SEO and Google Analytics codes and much more. Switching a font becomes a breeze and you can simply change the setting instead of digging into CSS for a good half an hour. Paid themes usually give you better support and it’s usually possible to contact the creators for some minor questions. As a paying customer, your voice will be heard and you can influence the development of your new theme.
Then again, going with a paid theme means you’ve got to be committed. Any WP novice can go, pay for a theme and then discover that that specific theme is simply not what they wanted. Will you code in some changes or give some extra bucks for a new one? How can you be sure that the next one is the right one? All the demos in the world can’t get you prepared and many theme developers don’t provide a trial or refund period.
If you’re a bit more seasoned with WordPress, you know what you’re looking for and you have more serious intentions for developing your site – then by all means, go ahead and buy a theme. You can find some great paid themes on Pixel Theme Studio, Elegant Themes, or Themify.me.
Freemium Themes – the best of both worlds
The freemium model has been on the rise in many tech and online fields – and rightly so. It gives you a great balance between opportunities and risk aversion. You’ll get the basic theme for free and still have a piece of mind for support, additional design options, SEO functionality, responsive layout or some other “advanced” perk. You’ll have as much time as you need to test out the theme, see the developer team in action and decide if you want to upgrade to something paid from the same team or move on.
In any case, a freemium theme is a new and exciting opportunity to navigate the WordPress waters and still manage to get out safe and dry. You can see several hundred freemium themes at SM Themes.com.
What to choose?
In any case, it all depends on your needs and WordPress skills, how deep you want to dive into website development and what’s you budget limit. Free themes are a great way to start, but if you’re not afraid of a bit of code and want to have more freedom and options, you should try either a paid or freemium theme. You can find all types of themes and search them at Presscastle.com