So you’ve decided to go with WordPress as the platform for your business or personal website. That’s great! You got yourself a great domain name, arranged for hosting and, hopefully, you have content ready to go. But what do you do about design? Designer or not, WordPress gives you several options when choosing a theme. You could go with one of the free themes available on WordPress.org, or you could choose one of the premium themes on various marketplaces online, such as themeforest. Or maybe you want to go all out and get yourself a custom theme that’s designed and developed especially for your website. Either way, here’s what you need to know about free, premium and custom WordPress themes.
WordPress Free Themes
Free themes are a dime a dozen. All you have to do is go on WordPress.org and search for a theme. Look through the selection and select the one you want. Installing it is also as easy as going to your Admin Dashboard and adding it from the Appearance > Themes menu. You don’t have to spend any money and you have yourself a ready to go WordPress website with a theme installed. And in many cases, that’s more than enough. If you’re running a small blog or your personal website, then you might not even want to bother with altering designs or choosing specific colours and layouts.
However, if you’re running a business you might be very well bothered at the very least by the fact that your website is not unique. In fact, the best free themes are the most popular, which means they’re also the most used. In fact, one of the most popular WordPress free themes has been downloaded over 500,000 times so far. That’s half a million websites looking more or less the same! Now ask yourself, do you want your business’ website to look like hundreds of other websites out there?
- Plenty of themes under the sun.
- Free of charge.
- You’re at the mercy of developers updating the theme as needed.
- Most probably, none will do the exact job that you want.
- Other websites might use the same theme as you, making your brand no longer unique.
- They may not be developed using best standards and practices.
WordPress Premium Themes
While free themes are pretty great for small personal projects, if you want reliability, you’re going to have to spend a few bucks. WordPress premium themes are not free, but they’re not expensive either. The most expensive WordPress theme on Themeforest is $63, while the least pricey is $28. Both the best rated theme and the best sold theme are priced at $58.
So what does spending $60 get you? WordPress theme developers are constantly competing on bundling the most features in their themes. While this is not always a good thing, it does ensure that what you want for your WordPress site is most probably baked into the theme. Slideshows, videos, event management, mobile responsive, animations, different skins for the theme, custom posts, you name it. You actually get quite a lot of options for a measly $60. You also get great support and theme documentation, not to mention constant updates from the theme developers.
- There are still plenty of themes to choose from.
- They are developed using best standards and practices.
- They are regularly updated and maintained.
- A good premium theme will come with documentation.
- They’re not free, but they’re not expensive either.
- Other websites might still use the same theme as you.
WordPress Custom Themes
So far, we’ve seen that premium themes are better than free themes because they provide better features and better support. But you still run the risk of other websites using the same theme as you do. Since both premium and free themes are available for download or purchase to the public, anyone with $60 or less to spend can have a website looking just like yours.
And this is where a custom theme shines. With a custom theme, your WordPress website will be unique. Not only that, but you get to have a say in the design process and what features get implemented, so that the theme is custom-tailored for your exact needs. While it’s always good to have features at your disposal, having a theme that’s bloated with features you’re not using will affect the performance of your website. Your users might experience slower load times due to too many features and that’s how you lose business. And it’s because of features you’re not even using!
So why doesn’t everyone just get a custom theme? WordPress custom themes can get expensive, depending on your requirements. But if you’re willing to spend between $500 and $1000+ on a custom theme, then the benefits will offset the price in no time. In addition to being unique and performant, custom themes are meant to be future proof, meaning that an update to the WordPress core won’t break your theme. When bugs to happen though, the developer should address them immediately. This ensures that you have a website that’s unique, just like your brand, regularly maintained and updated, with a focus on performance. That’s something worth paying for.Never compromise on functionality that could make the difference between a visitor and a customer Click To Tweet
- You and only you get to use this theme.
- A custom theme is coded using best standards and practices and is future-proof.
- It is regularly updated and maintained.
- It is specifically tailored for your needs. It has everything that you need and nothing that you don’t.
- You get to have a say in the design process.
- They can get expensive, depending on your requirements. Read here to see how much a WordPress website costs
Tips for choosing the theme that’s right for you
Everything start with what your business needs. You should never compromise on website functionality that could make the difference between a visitor and a customer. If you need to spend that extra buck, do it. No matter which theme you choose, make sure you read the fine print. Always check the available support options and always make sure that the theme is regularly updated and that the developers are active in the community.