There’s always been a long old debate for those in the website theming niche – should I use a free theme or buy a premium theme?
The answer to this question really does depend on what you want out of the theme, who it’s for and how much time you have to invest on customizing the theme.
There are pros and cons to each and below I will share with you what these are.
Choosing the Free Route
There are some really impressive free themes available for download. I’ll post a link to some of my favorites in a second, but first let me show you what I believe to be some of the good and some of the bad points on going the free route.
The Good: Well I would think this is pretty obvious right? I mean one of the best things about free website themes or templates is simply that, they’re free! No need to invest any of your hard earned money on getting your website or blog up and running in minutes.
The Bad: Just like there is a good side, there are downsides to considering free themes. One of my major concerns when considering these types of themes is… support. Not all developers will provide support for their free themes and the the reason is just that – they are giving you something at no cost, so in return you should be happy with what you’re getting, otherwise you’ll be out of luck.
One of the main reasons authors or developers create free themes is to get their word out on the market, to get the exposure they they seek. They are not their to provide you with 24/7 support, so make sure you are mindful of this.
Don’t Overlook Premium
With premium themes, whether it be site templates, WordPress themes, e-commerce or any other templates, you will be paying for a professional and fully supported (though this can vary on the developer/author) platform.
The Good: The best part about premium themes is that you have access to ask for support from the author which has created the template.
Because you have paid for your template, you have the ability to also interact with other members of the community who have purchased the same theme. Once you are part of the community you can then get guidance on how to set the theme, troubleshoot or even customize it to your liking.
The Bad: I suppose if you want to consider a bad for a premium theme it’s the fact that you do need to make a small investment. For those that may be short on cash, paying $40-$50 for a premium WordPress theme may not be feasible – if this is you, then you can always fall-back on a free option.
Free Themes and Premium Marketplaces
As promised, I would like to share with you a list of some of the free and paid resources I consider some of my favorites. Feel free to share these as you wish and enjoy!
- ThemeForest – Premium Site Templates, WordPress Themes and More.
- WooThemes – Premium WordPress Themes & Plugins
- WooThemes – Swatch (Free theme)
- Smashing Magazine – Free Theme Collection
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope it has given you some clarify into the benefits of free versus premium themes. If you do have any other resources or would like to contribute to the discussion, feel free to leave your comments below.