Free vs Premium WordPress Themes: Pros and Cons

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Admit it, people are spoilt for a choice. The choice for so many beautiful free and premium WordPress themes available out there. Wonder if it’s possible to minimize the anxiety during this process? Well, let’s get through it together.

There are tons of beautiful ready-made website templates ready to go out-of-the-box. And that’s great! It means that creation of a website is a matter of hours even not days. It means that a person even with a zero technical experience can do it by his own hands. And the most important is that a person can do create a website hassle-free, without the headache of any coding, without needing to hire a developer. Isn’t it a big step forward? Definitely – that’s huge!

Just take time to enjoy a variety of beautiful free vs premium WordPress themes, one better than the other one. However, understanding similarities and the differences between these designs may help you decide which strategy can better work for you. But still why people prefer premium WordPress designs over the free ones? Let’s get on with it.

Why WordPress?

With an increasing number of do-it-yourself website creators (CMS platforms) available on the market these days, why to choose WordPress platform after all? Say, WordPress is a go-to-tool offering you much more than the few five or ten benefits you usually hear about. The reality is, WordPress is one of the best options that can grow alongside your business. This free and open source platform has changed the web design industry. As one of the most widely used platforms, WordPress has an abundance of plugins and security options which are updated on the regular basis.

Think of it this way, if over 27% of all users worldwide choose WordPress for their web projects, it makes sense to give it a try. In other words, 75 million of all websites run on WordPress. That’s huge, isn’t it? The evidence is everywhere – WordPress won the popularity contest. When still in doubt, you can always learn the positive experience of using WordPress people share.

Free WordPress themes

Pros of Free WordPress Themes

So, first things first, keeping in mind that WordPress is licensed under the GPL License which makes it free to use by anyone, you get access to thousands of free WordPress themes in the Themes directory. Besides, there are a lot of other reliable resources that offer high-quality WordPress products. You can always take time and check them.

We highly suggest you to check the reliability of the resource you wish to get a free WordPress theme from. Just like in any other business, the amount of unreliable and unfair resources is big. That’s true. Don’t risk your new website. So, keep your eyes open.

Let’s highlight the most beneficial reasons why to choose free WordPress themes. These are:

  • 1. Free means free.

Admit it, free always gives a powerful approach. It’s almost a no-brainer to say ’No’ when you get the opportunity to design your own glitzy website for free. At least you can try it for once. After all, you can always change your mind and choose a premium WordPress theme.

However, we used to think that if things come for free they always lack good qualities. With free WordPress themes, that’s not the rule carved in stone. In today’s world of software, free means good for many reasons.

  • 2. Next, free WordPress themes are safe and comply with the high-quality standards.

In comparison to premium WordPress themes, themes downloaded from the reliable resources will have undergone an official review process. This can be another reason you can pretty rely on some standard in terms of quality of code and security. Thus, by downloading a free WordPress theme, you get a high-quality product which meets the coding standards and follows best practices. Anyway, if something goes wrong, anyone can turn to a large and supportive community ready to assist you.

READ  How to Create an Astonishing Knowledge Base using WordPress and KnowAll Theme

But What’s the Catch to Give WordPress Themes for Free?

You’re right. What are the benefits of giving and sharing of WordPress themes for free, you may ask? In fact, there are a lot. The first and foremost benefit is to polish skills. Once a theme is developed, it goes through the review process, where the team of pros audits the compliance of code. If found any, it suggests improvements. If done properly, the theme goes viral. It becomes available to a large audience, hungry for something new on the market.

What’s more? Well, free WordPress themes can make difference in developer’s reputation. With a portfolio, the web developer can get paid jobs for customization of those free WordPress themes. The reality is, for web developer a free WordPress theme means the key to the audience’s hearts. The web design industry is nothing without giving and sharing with others. That’s it.

Cons of free WordPress themes

Whatever your choice, there’s no doubt that free WordPress themes have both benefits and disadvantages. However, not everything that means disadvantage is bad. There is always some good in bad, and the opposite. Anyway, let’s find out what are the disadvantages of free WordPress themes that should be taken into account.

  • 1. Limited Support Options.

Even with so huge WordPress community, there’s no guarantee that your issue will be solved or supported. Everything you can find is yours.

  • 2. Limited Features & Functionality.

A free WordPress theme is a kind of like a car that comes with a set of standard options and features. For adding extra ones, you need to pay more. The same goes to free WordPress themes, they come with standard features and functionality that can be extended for the additional cost.

  • 3. Not Unique Designs.

If you need to create a unique website, a free WordPress theme might be not your bet. The reason is only in limited customization options for tweaking the overall look of a website.

  • 4. No Warranties.

Without warranty, there’s a strong chance of end with nothing.

Free WordPress Themes Examples

MalcolmY – Freelance Designer Portfolio Lite Free WordPress Theme

MalcolmY can be a great choice for freelancers, web designers, and other creative minds who’d like to set up a modern website with less coding skills. Built with the flexible drag-and-drop Power Page Builder, anyone can create new unique layouts without the need to shout for help. Besides, 25+ modules and a library of presets come jam-packed to help you get started quicker. What’s more, you can set up a blog or portfolio page in as little as five minutes. Moreover, this SEO-friendly theme is Ecwid ready, so your online store can go live in no time. Take time to check it.

MalcolmY - Freelance Designer Portfolio Lite Free WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Calio – Therapy & Counselling, Psychologist Free WordPress Theme

If you wish to create an impeccable presentation of your therapy service center, this 100% GPLv.3 licensed theme can be just the thing for you. It comes with the rich UI kit, an intuitive carousel and website slider, and a wide range of dynamic and static elements. Experiment, change settings, feel the freedom in the customization of your website. You can create a unique style in a WYSIWYG mode with the WordPress Live Customizer. Thanks to WPML support, you can spread the word about your new baby. Moreover, it includes a bunch of Cherry plugins, Appointment Booking, Ecwid integration, and several web forms. Enjoy its live demo for more information.

Calio - Therapy & Counselling, Psychologist Free WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Mia Ittalloni – Italian Restaurant Free WordPress Theme

Wish to get your restaurant website and impress your visitors online? With Mia Ittaloni, that’s simple as that. Designed in a clean and elegant style, this 100% GPLv.3 licensed theme can help get you started. This free theme can be a great choice for culinary school, café, recipes blog, and other web projects related to food & drinks. Built on Cherry Framework, the theme allows you customize its look and feel hassle-free. On top of that, the theme is SEO-friendly, cross-browser compatible, and responsive. Have fun!

Mia Ittalloni - Italian Restaurant Free WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

PetStore – Pets Supplies Shop Responsive Free WooCommerce Theme

PetStore is a fully responsive and 100% GPLv.3 licensed free WooCommerce theme crafted for pet shops websites. It comes with a clean and nice design, TM WooCommerce package widgets, and a gorgeous Banner Grid to represent new offers & promotions. Enjoy multiple blog layouts, header & footer styles, various sorting options jam-packed to make your website unique and impressive. Besides, this WPML ready theme comes with Ajax Products Filter, TM Wishlist & Compare plugin, Newsletter popup, Ecwid integration, and more. Step right up.

READ  Top 20 Multilingual WordPress Themes - Compatible with WPML & Polylang

PetStore - Pets Supplies Shop Responsive Free WooCommerce Theme

Details | Demo

Catwalk – Fashion Modeling Agency Responsive Free WordPress Theme

Are you involved in the fashion industry? Need an eye-grabbing website that can represent your fashion brand or modeling agency in the best way possible? Try Catwalk. Impress your audience with the beauty and specialty of your models, showcase your exceptional fashion projects, entice your clients to explore your offerings. Feel free to customize the theme without the headache of any coding thanks to the powerful Cherry Framework 5. This Parallax theme is responsive, cross-browser compatible, 100% GPLv.3 licensed, and WPML ready. Use this free WordPress theme to your benefit.

Catwalk - Fashion Modeling Agency Responsive Free WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Premium WordPress Themes. Pros.

Now, let’s find out why most web developers choose premium WordPress themes over free ones. As we’ve already learned free themes are a great way to begin with. But, premium themes are crafted for those who wish their website to be attractive and more professional. Thus, with a premium WordPress theme, your website gets some unique features, a set of custom plugins, dynamic galleries, more flexible customization options, and more. So, what are the benefits of using premium themes?

  • 1. Affordable Price Worth the Effort

Well, as the rule for less than $60 you can get a modern and professional theme. Admit it, that’s not a big price for a product with a top quality.

  • Mobile-friendly Design

Well, premium themes are responsive by default which means your website can adjust smoothly to a variety of digital devices and screen sizes. So, no matter what device the user is on, he/she will get the best user experience ever.

  • 3. SEO Optimization

SEO is a key factor that can help your website rank high in the search engine results. If you wish to stay top of those Google search results, SEO-friendly premium WordPress theme is just the thing for you.

  • 4. No Need to Hire a Developer

With a premium WordPress theme, there’s no need to shout for help or hire a professional web developer. The theme comes jam-packed with all essential features and options you may need to complete the customization process in no time.

  • 5. Great Support

One of the most important advantages of premium themes is the availability of a great customer support and well-documented files. Thus, anytime you face some technical issues, a friendly team is ready to help get you rid of those worries. So, you are not alone. Especially if you’re a first-time blogger. That’s huge!

Premium WordPress Themes. Cons.

As we have already mentioned, every thing has both sides. So, let’s check what are the disadvantages of premium WordPress themes.

  • 1. Poor Coding

If you’ve made the wrong choice and picked the premium WordPress theme from the unreliable resource, you may get a poorly coded theme incompatible with some plugins. Well, and that’s not an uncommon, as you may think. So, once again, make sure the theme you ‘d like to get is crafted by reputable providers. Think twice before making your choice.

  • 2. Too Many Unnecessary Features

If you think that the more is better, think again. Be careful, you can buy a premium theme jam-packed with lots of unnecessary features making your website slow and cluttered. Remember, in the web design industry – the more is less. It’s better to check out the live demo and theme’s specification with care to make the right choice for your future website.

  • 3. Cross Over into Plugins Domain

Sometimes your premium theme can cross over into plugins domain meaning it can offer the functionality that is not supported. The point is they can disappear once your theme is opened.

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Premium WordPress Themes Examples

Santa’s Bag – Christmas & Holiday Landing WordPress Theme

With Christmas right around the corner, why not to create an amazing website? With Santa’s Bad, that’s as simple as kids play. Built with the brand new Elementor Page Builder, the theme allows you experiment with the layouts, styles, and colors directly from the admin panel. This responsive and Retina ready theme can help you create a top-notch Christmas website with ease. Besides, a collection of finest images and Jet Elements plugin come included in the package. On top of that, it’s SEO-friendly, well-documented, and offers a friendly 24/7 customer support. Okay, let’s try it.

Santa's Bag - Christmas & Holiday Landing WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Bambino – Baby Online Store Responsive WooCommerce Theme

Bambino might very well be your best bet if you wish to launch your baby store online. This fully responsive and editable WooCommerce theme can help get you started in no time. Impress your visitors with a clean and engaging design focused on the whole range of your exceptional products. Help your visitors explore your offerings and choose yours over others. With a wide range of social options, you can spread the word out about your new big thing. What’s more? The theme is SEO-friendly, WPML ready and comes with a set of outstanding plugins for extending the functionality of your website. Check its live demo for more information.

Bambino - Baby Online Store Responsive WooCommerce Theme

Details | Demo

Zoomix – Photographers & Designers Portfolio Gallery WordPress Theme

Zoomix can be a great choice for photographers, designers, and other creative minds who’d like to showcase their photography skills online. You can customize this modern and fully editable theme in a way that appeals to your audience most. This Retina ready and responsive WordPress theme adjusts smoothly to a variety of digital devices and screen sizes. With a plethora of customization options and innovative features, you can create a sparky website with tons of bells and whistles. Don’t miss a chance to impress your potential customers. Step right up.

Zoomix - Photographers & Designers Portfolio Gallery WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Atelier Design & Photography Template WordPress Theme

When you need fresh thinking for the launch of a new website, grab this premium WordPress theme to get the job done. Thanks to its responsive and Retina ready layout, your website is visible on a variety of modern devices around the world. You know, one of the perks of this SEO-friendly theme is its clean and eye-grabbing design. Just take time to enjoy it. Besides, the theme comes with a personal blog and portfolio functionality to help you win the battle for the attention. Check its live demo and use it to your benefit.

Atelier Design & Photography Template WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

MaBelle – Beauty & Hair Dressing Salon WordPress Theme

MaBelle is a premium WordPress theme well-suited for beauty, fashion or hairdressing salon websites. This is a true bounty for those who like clean, simple, and easy to navigate interfaces. Create an elegant and impressive beauty salon website without the headache of any coding. Design a website that attracts a large amount of traffic to blow your competitors out of the water. Moreover, it includes a collection of web forms, calendar, a flog functionality, and social options. Give it a try.

MaBelle - Beauty & Hair Dressing Salon WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Final Thoughts

Well, to sum up, if you are looking for a WordPress theme based solely on its cost, then free WordPress these are calling your name. As the result, you’ll get a well-coded theme that can be customized to match your needs. However, if your business is important to you and you want your website to ‘wow’ everyone who lands on it by chance – a premium theme might very well be your best bet.

Anyway, no matter which way you’ll go, it’s your responsibility to make choice. Make research, understand your goals and your customers’ needs in order to choose the one that can best represent the values of your brand.

As a bonus, check out this free eBook below and learn how to use WordPress for e-Commerce. Besides, don’t forget to check a collection of sleek WordPress themes for e-Commerce. Don’t chase success.

What themes do you use – free or premium? Share your thoughts.


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John Lucas

John Lucas is an affiliate manager and content marketer at TemplateMonster. He likes to share web design inspirations and learn new things in this field.

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