With the ever-growing popularity of WordPress, it is extremely common to see WordPress powered websites being developed every so often. Today, it powers more than 24.7% of the total websites and the number is only increasing with time. The best part about WordPress is that it comes with a huge collection of themes and plugins to choose from to make it simpler even for the non-technical user to build sites without ever having to touch a single line of code. The plethora of WordPress themes ranges from free to premium. There are more than 2,650 free themes in the WordPress theme directory to integrate into your WP site. The beauty of WordPress free themes is that you won’t find such a wide variety of free themes anywhere else. Moreover, it renders a great theme functionality, which allows you to build aesthetically appealing web designs.
There are basically two categories of WordPress theme – Free themes and Premium themes. Each category has its own pros and cons.
Today, in this article, we are going to discuss the concept of using free themes for your WordPress website.
The concept of free themes is indeed alluring especially for the WordPress beginners and startups.
However, are free WP themes worth considering?
Usually for a majority of website owners, the idea of free theme works as the main deciding factor. Whilst you may have a limited budget for your online venture (which is totally fine), starting out your online brand marketing with free as your base is totally not fine.
Now, simply because a theme costs some bucks doesn’t make it a good theme. And just because a theme is available for absolutely free of cost doesn’t make it bad. Choosing a theme completely depends on a variety of factors where the budget is certainly a contributing factor.
Well, you may have heard many experienced website owners say, if you are serious about your online venture, it would be better to stay away from free themes.
Why? Well, there are various reasons. Let’s discuss some of them:
1. Difficult to Modify
The free WordPress themes usually come with an untidy code, shallow documentation, limited widget areas and certain basic functionality. This limited options and functionality make it difficult for the WordPress developers to customize the theme as per their needs and requirements. Adding new features and functionality needs coding effort, which again requires knowledge. Moreover, if you decide on asking for support from the theme developer, you may end up disbursing a whole lot of money.
2. No SEO optimization
Search engine optimization plays a crucial role in establishing your online venture and thus, needs special attention. However, free WordPress themes often lack inbuilt SEO tools and options to help you optimize your website for the search engines. Moreover, as discussed earlier, free themes also don’t usually follow W3C standards to write code, which is extremely important to have a cross-browser and mobile-friendly website.
3. Compatibility Issues
Compatibility is yet another issue that free WordPress themes often have. These free themes often find it difficult to keep up with the fast pace of the ever-changing the WordPress and its versions. Moreover, new plugins are often not compatible with these free theme since they are updated on a regular basis. Again, in order to resolve the compatibility issues of themes, coding efforts are required and if you are not skilled enough, you will have to spend time learning them.
4. Not-so-Responsive Design
The evolution of various new devices has made it quite mandatory to have a responsive design in order to make your website work flawlessly on every internet enabled device. However, a majority of free themes developers usually don’t design these themes device-friendly. So, you either have to do-it-yourself or shell out money on hiring a professional WordPress theme designer to make your website responsive.
Most of the free themes have a hyperlink in their footer section which links back to the website of the theme developer. This degrades your website’s page rank and the norms of free theme states clearly that the hyperlink shouldn’t be removed. In a nutshell, your website is offering a free and useless backlink to the developer, usually with a do-follow link.
6. No Theme Options Panel
Almost every premium WordPress theme comes with an inbuilt Theme Options Panel that makes customization and modification in the existing theme a lot easier for the website owner. This option allows you to change the font, color scheme, background and so much more without ever touching a single line of code. It allows you to make changes with a few clicks. Unfortunately, free themes do not offer any Theme Options Panel, which makes customization extremely difficult especially for the beginners.
7. Upgrades and Support
For a majority of a free theme, no support and updates are available for the WordPress users. Often times, free themes are created as a side project and are usually overlooked after the launch of the theme. Maintaining these themes, repairing the bugs, offering support and releasing new versions take a lion’s share of the efforts and time. Therefore, offering support and updates are a huge problem with free themes.
Having said that, not every free theme is bad and isn’t worth your time. There are certain free themes that come with many features, round the clock support, maintenance, and other services to help WordPress users help build a site and grow though it surely requires a lot of efforts and time to search such themes.
Emma is a WordPress Developer by profession and writer by hobby. She works for Wordsuccor Ltd., one of the best WordPress Development Company for hire. If you are looking for a WordPress Developer you can contact them. Follow Emma on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.