When you start a WordPress website, a lot of things come into your mind such as the creation of unique and attractive contents, website design, website functionality, SEO, videos, sliders, themes, plugins, etc. When it comes to the selection of WordPress themes, the basic question that strikes your mind is whether you should opt for a free or premium theme and why?
Going though this article will probably resolve your dilemma of choosing the right option between a free theme or a premium one.
Key parameters you should keep in mind while selecting a WordPress theme:
On technical Gourds:
1. SEO Friendly
WordPress themeajor s play a mrole in your Site’s SEO friendliness. Even an attractive looking theme can have poorly coded HTML which can affect the performance of your site on different search engines.
Generally, novice bloggers face difficulties to analyze the source code of the theme they are using. Therefore, if you seek help from WordPress theme developers, they will guide you about different practices beneficial for SEO of your websites. You should check the HTML coding of every page with the help of W3C Markup Validation service.
Note: Always keep in mind that W3C tool will create several warnings for which you don’t need to get worried at all.
2. Page Builders
There are WordPress plugins which permit you to develop page layouts with the use of drag and drop user interface. There are several premium WordPress themes that come up with pre-installed page builders. If you use such a page builder, it will generate plenty of undesirable codes. You need to clean them up many times while using such themes. You ought to select a theme that is equipped with the most usable page builder plugins. You may buy these page builders singly to use with other themes also.
3. Support Alternatives for Help
One of the biggest disadvantages of using a free WordPress theme is that you don’t get required support. There are only a few WordPress developers who actively provide decent support for their free themes. When you come across a problem like this, you will have to solve it on your own because if you seek help from a third-party developer, you will have to pay them a hefty amount for solving even the smallest problems. Always be assured that you are using a WordPress theme which is equipped with support alternatives and good documentation. The majority of the Premium WordPress themes comes with comprehensive documentation along with 1 year of Email based support.
4. Mobile Friendly
A considerable amount of web traffic is generated through mobile handsets and Google shows mobile friendly websites in its top ranking. That is why; a website needs to be responsive on mobile handsets. The majority of the WordPress themes is responsive by default, but you may come across several sellers who sell themes with fixed width layouts which are not mobile friendly. Always make sure that you use a theme which makes your site mobile friendly.
5. Compatible with All Popular Internet Browsers
Internet users make use of a number of browsers (such as Google chrome, Safari, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, UC Browser, etc.) to browse your website. It is possible that the theme you are using may look perfect on one browser, but might look broken on other browsers. This is where you need to check your site’s theme rigorously for cross browser compatibility with the help of sophisticated browser compatibility testing tools. You also need to check your site’s theme for different browsers on mobile.
6. Translation facility
There are numerous WordPress sites which are using other languages (Apart from English). You might also need to create a website in your own language. That is why, you should use a WordPress theme which is translation ready and supports multilingual WordPress plugins easily.
7. Support for Plugins
Plugins are an integral part and parcel of WordPress which helps you to increase your site’s functionality and improve its performance dramatically. Make sure you are using a theme which supports all popular plugins. In case you are not convinced about all the functionalities of your theme, seek help from a professional WordPress theme developer.
On Non-Technical Grounds:
1. Reviews and Ratings
Ratings and reviews provided by users are solid indicators of the quality of a WordPress theme. It you read them out, you know pros and cons of that theme easily and you make decision accordingly.
There are several WordPress themes which are loaded with several flashy animations, complex layouts, colors, etc. You may need these things to customize your site, but an abundance of these features will make your site complicated and awful for users. Always use a theme that helps your site look attractive and simple.
Comparison on various features and functions:-
Free WordPress themes cost you nothing. Just download the desired theme & start using it. Generally, most of the premium WordPress themes cost between $25-$100 and you have to hire a web designer to get your website ready, if you are not a professional in web programming. Overall, it becomes a costly affair for you when you switch to the premium themes.
2. Encrypted Links
Free WordPress themes have encrypted links in the footer that could affect your site’s raking in Google. Most of the premium WordPress themes come with clean codes which make customization work easier for you and you can optimize your site well to get it ranked well in Google.
While using a free WordPress theme, your site is more vulnerable to online security threats such as hacking, spamming, malicious codes, etc. But, when you opt for a Premium WordPress theme, you have additional layer of protection to your website and you can use a good security plugin(as recommend by a well-recognized WordPress bloggers) to secure your site against online threats.
4. Unique design
Free WordPress themes are widely downloaded and used by numerous people. Paid themes are used by less number of people, but they are more unique and users get lots of customization options so that they can make their website look great and attractive.
When a novice wordpress theme developer creates a new theme for the first time, it is possible that he/she may make several mistakes in theme development due to insufficient knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP. Premium WordPress themes are designed and coded by skillful and experienced professional in accordance with the current web standards which makes your website responsive on all devices such as PC/laptop, Smartphones, tabs, iOS, etc. When you intend to build an attractive and amazing WordPress and wish to monetize it, using a good Premium theme is highly recommended.
6. Theme options Panel
The majority of the Free WordPress themes have no sufficient customization options. That is why, you have to edit codes to create a custom design and it becomes very difficult for you if you are a novice blogger. Premium themes are loaded with an options panel, using which you can change everything with a click and without dealing with complex coding.
WordPress bloggers always have a dilemma about the selection of Free or Premium themes. As a novice WordPress blogger, you should use free themes to get accustomed to WordPress usages and when your site becomes popular and starts getting traffic, you can go for Premium themes to make your site more user-friendly and attractive. It helps your site to receive a great flow of traffic and enables you to monetize your site to earn some bucks easily and quickly. Switch to a premium WordPress theme and create an eye-catching and user-friendly website for desired results.
Author Bio: Lucy Barret is employed at HireWPGeeks Ltd. and handles all Drupal to WordPress conversion related projects. She is a passionate blogger and loves to regularly contributes at top blogs.