what-to-choose

7 minutes

Everlasting Dilemma: What to Choose – A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One?

If you are planning to start a blog or are thinking about designing a website for your company, or, perhaps, you are not satisfied with the functionality of the existing web page and you would like a redesigned solution, you are in the right place – A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One.

In this article, we talk about choosing themes for the WordPress platform, as the most common content management system (CMS) on the Internet. In doing so, we list the advantages and disadvantages of free and paid themes for WordPress, as well as the things you need to take into account when making your choice. We answer the question of whether it is better to opt for a free or paid theme or to invest in the development of a unique solution that will be tailored to the needs of your business and the requirements of your target group. In this way, we will try to help you better understand the possibilities provided by WordPress.

Why WordPress?

WordPress, of course, is not the only CMS that exists and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will opt for this platform. Depending on what kind of website you need, the choice of platform can also vary. If you are involved in, say, photography and want to create a site where you will present your creative work (the so-called portfolio site), you can opt for one of the platforms that specialize in creating just such solutions and have a large number of pre-prepared themes that can be free or paid, and that will largely meet your expectations.

On the other hand, the WordPress platform is used by tens of millions of people for their websites, and not without reason. This platform has proven to be one of the best and most flexible open-source solutions. Constantly improving the opportunities is the great advantage it provides to its customers. Easy to use, clarity, logically arranged functions, and a multitude of useful plug-ins, as well as the ability to create custom plug-ins, represent the added value of this platform.

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WordPress is definitely the most popular CMS in the world. Its share among all existing sites on the Internet set up on one of the existing platforms is as high as 60 %. When all sites are taken into account, both those with a well-known CMS and those for which unique solutions have been created, statistics show that about a third of all websites are set up using WordPress. By comparison, the share of other content management systems is drastically lower. Market research has shown that say, the Joomla platform has a share of a bit more than 6 % among sites with a well-known CMS, while Drupal is used by 4% of site owners, Squarespace by about 2 % of them, while Wix has a share of a bit more than 1 % on the world market. (A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One?)

Security Above All – A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One?

If you opt for WordPress, carefully evaluate what you will use to make sure you are setting up a secure site when choosing a theme. During the search, therefore, pay attention to the evaluation of the theme and its plug-ins, the dates of the last update, and additionally check its safety. When it comes to plug-ins, the best solution is not to install what is not really necessary because a smaller number of program codes also means less possibility for hacking.

Free themes are generally the least secure, but that doesn’t mean that premium themes are protected from hacker attacks just because they are paid. On the contrary, it is often the case that in the most popular premium themes one can come across malicious code, incorporated by programmers who also deal with hacking. Such malicious code is built into the software and can be used for unauthorized collection of personal data of your users, disclosure of passwords, monitoring of activities on the site, and misuse of the obtained information. It is therefore recommended to download themes exclusively from the official WordPress directory or reliable sources such as, for example, Theme Forest, Mojo Themes, or ElegantThemes.

There are also several ways you can use to check a theme and security, and they include tools such as Theme Authenticity Checker, Antivirus for WordPress, and others. On the other hand, creating a unique theme brings the highest degree of security, since it is created specifically for you, implies clean and clear code, and is constantly updated.

Free WordPress Themes – Pros and Cons

Thousands of pre-created WordPress themes are available for free. This certainly provides a great choice, which is the biggest advantage of free themes. With that in mind, it will be easier for you to choose a theme that follows the trends in web design and that is adapted to your business in terms of appearance and functions.

If, for example, you start a travel blog and don’t have the technical knowledge of using programming languages, some of the free themes will be able to meet the basic criteria you need – to easily post new texts and photos yourself, to easily link posts to your social media profiles, and all that so it doesn’t take much time. On the other hand, it will mean to the followers of your blog that they can easily find previous articles, leave a comment on the site, or ask you a question via the contact form.

However, if you want more advanced options and if you want your website to be more precisely tailored to your requirements and to meet, and even exceed them and the expectations of the target group, keep in mind that free themes are unlikely to be most effective at this. The limiting circumstance, and thus the negative side of free themes, is their predetermined structure and usually a small number of elements that you can change on the site yourself or affect their appearance, and even performance.

A special segment when using WordPress is related to creating online stores using a free plug-in for that purpose called WooCommerce. If you want to set up an e-commerce site, WooCommerce may be the right solution for that, as it provides a wide range of options to tailor it to your needs. (A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One)

Statistics are also on its side, unlike the biggest competitor – the Shopify service. Namely, the results of various surveys indicate that WooCommerce is used by 35 % of online store owners, of which 19 % are among the world’s one million best e-commerce sites, while Shopify has a market share of 8 %, of which 7 % is among the best million Internet stores.

Paid Theme – Premium or Unique

Let’s start with the assumption that you want a more serious approach to site development and that you are interested in a higher level of development. In that case, some questions arise – is it better to buy a premium theme or invest in the development of a unique solution? What are the pros and cons of both options and how do you end up making sure you made the right decision?

Choosing a Premium Theme

Paid themes that are run as a premium, as opposed to free ones, offer a wider choice of options that can be adapted to the needs of the site owner and the topic in question. There is a large number of pre-created themes that are adapted in their functions, for example, for business in the field of tourism, catering, trade, real estate, education, culture, art, the nonprofit sector, and many others. Their prices range from two dollars to several hundred dollars. However, it is not recommended that the price be a key factor in the decision, but that it be an opportunity to adapt to your needs because customization is not always easy to do, no matter how much you pay for the theme.(A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One?)

We also draw your attention to the fact that you should always be careful when buying themes that have been re-made in some way and are offered for free or at drastically reduced prices. There are many such examples, especially on sites that serve as a source for downloading and purchasing fonts, vector graphics, pre-created templates, and other web design elements.

If, for example, a large number of premium topics, with a total value of $ 1,200, are sold for $ 99, that could be a sign that not all themes that you will get are complete and safe. You should be careful and check everything you download in this way before use. You can access a reliable source for downloading themes directly from the control panel on the WordPress platform, as well as on trusted sites, or you can buy them directly through the personal sites of developers who deal with it.

Development of a Unique Theme for WordPress

Originality, customization, reliability, and quality web design are some of the most important values provided by creating your own, unique theme for WordPress. What does it mean? This means that the website will be built from the ground up to your specifications. Each element on the site will be carefully designed to form a compact whole along with other features. It also means that your website will become recognizable and different from competitors in your industry. The design of the user interface will be adapted to the visual identity of your company and you will be able to use specific colors, fonts, and other elements that are important for your business.(A Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One)

A very important item that singles out unique themes concerning free and paid solutions are their security. If you create a unique solution tailored just for you, you will know that the program code is perfectly ‘clean’, that all necessary security protocols are followed in advance, and that the protection of your users’ data is at the highest level, which is especially important due to new European regulations, like the GDPR. In addition, a unique theme will be created with carefully optimized code that will make your site more accessible for indexing by web browsers, and thus better positioned in an online search. This will provide you with a quality basis for further marketing activities in the field of site promotion, which include e-mail marketing as an indispensable part, a process for which top-notch online email editing tools like VerticalResponse, will help you immeasurably.

Of course, each website will be automatically adapted to the view and optimal use on all portable devices, and you will be able to develop and install all the necessary plug-ins that will contribute to the use-value of the site for your target group, whether it is a presentation website or an online store. The unique theme for WordPress will give you the ability to set up and upgrade and provide your users with a pleasant experience that, we believe, they will be able to appreciate and will be happy to return to your site.

Conclusion – Paid WordPress Theme or a Free One

It is not easy to make a final decision, since the choice of theme for the WordPress platform depends on the wishes, needs, requirements, and expectations of the site owner.

If you want basic functions, a look adapted to trends in web design, and a simple interface that you don’t want to influence much on your own, free themes will meet your expectations. If you are interested in self-upgrading and want many more potential options for your users, buying a carefully selected premium theme, tailored to the topic of the site, can be an adequate solution for you.

If, on the other hand, you want to provide your users with an innovative and original look of the site, with an intelligent design that will accurately depict your business and be tailored to all your needs with unique accessories, then a unique theme will be the best solution for you.






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Alexey Seryapin

Alexey is a WordPress wizard with 10+ years of experience as a lead developer, He has launched 500+ WordPress websites and 100+ WooCommerce shops.

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