The Showdown: Free WordPress Themes VS. Paid WordPress Themes. WordPress (WP) is a wonderful, robust, and FREE content management system (CMS). It has provided many people a personal blogging platform (like this one), and also made available so many free open source plugins, themes, and the like; to the wider public.
Many WordPress users start off simply by stumbling upon it whilst looking at getting themselves online. In my case, I was first introduced to WordPress whilst outsourcing a web build.
The best thing about WP is the fact that there are tons of different ways you can use it; Build yourself a company website, create member only areas, build a community forum, or create an online shop; the web is your oyster.
Often when you start exploring WP you are faced with a myriad of free themes and 20x the amount of paid themes. Sometimes just googling ‘best WP themes 2014’ will present you with the best PAID themes available. It can be harder to find the right free theme to suit your taste or requirement thus the large industry supplying paid themes.
So the question then is:
Which is better, Free or Paid Themes?
In my case the paid themes seemed to look so much better, offered a wider variety, and had so many customisation options. Pricing varied from a few dollars to upwards of $100 per theme.
The free themes (via WordPress.org or Google Free WP Themes) seemed few and far between, lacking in design elements, and always had strings attached i.e. pay to upgrade or unlock additional features including support etc…
I am still inclined to choose free themes over paid and here are my reasons.
It’s in the Spirit of WordPress
WordPress CMS is free. Does not matter who you are, where you are from, the CMS is free to download, updates are free and support is available via the official forums.
It would seem only natural that in the spirit of Open Source themes too will be free and many are.
Keep up with Design Trends.
Design trends change year to year. I have personally spent thousands on site builds that after a year or two simply felt ‘old’.
There are many free themes coming out monthly on WordPress, and tend to follow design trends of the day, or what’s going to be popular in the near future.
As you know, with WordPress you can quickly and easily change to a new theme in seconds and bam- you have a completely new look.
Although not recommended from a branding perspective, the ability to do this and not pay to have your site ‘revamped’ is priceless.
Paid themes don’t usually change. You pay for a theme and that’s what you have.
There is a Free Theme to Suit Everyone.
I have always managed to find a free theme to compete with any other paid theme. It may seem harder to find, especially for the likes of ecommerce sites, however; it is possible.
They are both just as Stable.
Free and paid WordPress themes can give you trouble. My personal experience is that the paid themes have given me more hassle than free themes.
What are your thoughts and experiences? Please share below.