If you are a blogger or someone who wants to start a WordPress blog, then you might have considered asking yourself, others in the field or researching on the internet for an answer to the questions – should I use a free or premium WordPress theme for a blog in 2021?. This stage is critical and so the decision made here has a huge influence on the overall look of the intended website. The final work also depends on the choice made at this stage.
What Is WordPress?
Well, someone who is hearing the word ‘WordPress may ask, what is WordPress? And for that reason, I will define WordPress in a layman’s language before I proceed. Simply put, WordPress is a CMS – a content management system or platform used by bloggers, website developers, writers and owners for building, developing, designing and writing a blog or website content.
It is just one of the many CMSs out there and in fact probably the most popular among them and easiest one to work with for many beginners. It is the one I use for all my blogs be it my personal blog or a blog I have designed for someone. This particular blog is on WordPress. There are others like Joomla, Drupal and many more.
When building a blog or website on a WordPress CMS then consideration has to be made regarding which theme must be used- free or paid/premium. This is one of the many questions newbies and even experts have to deal with whenever they work on a new project.
What Is A WordPress Theme?
What then is a WordPress theme? The theme sometimes called the template is primarily what defines the look, style, colour, etc of the blog or website. It is that which beautifies the blog and without it, I can’t imagine how messy a WordPress blog will look. Lol. They come in either a free version or a paid version.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A WordPress Theme
Many factors may influence one’s choice of a theme to use for a new project, personally, I consider a few things such as:
- The colour choices of the blog or site owner. Sometimes the colours you want to use and the choices of the blog owner can influence which theme to use. Note that these colours can be changed.
- The focus of the blog or website. What the website is about may inform you on which theme you have to use. A theme used for a blog will be different from a WordPress theme used for a company website or institutional website.
- Other functionalities are needed to make the blog complete. Depending on the functionalities you want to have on your website. you may consider a certain theme that presents those functionalities over others.
- The perceived after work appearance of the project. The mental picture of what you want to have as the final project may also inform your choice of a WordPress theme.
- The target audience. The audience you wish to target will influence your theme choice. Etc.
How To Check Which WordPress Theme A Blog Is Using
There are some ways to even check and ascertain which theme a particular blog is using and take inspiration from its design. Don’t go and design exactly the same thing, but you can get inspired to do something on your own from the existing blog.
One of such tools is on the website –themedetector.com. Just put in the URL of a blog and click search and it will give you details on the theme and plugins that the blog uses if they have been made public. Note that some people choose to make their blog information private and that means this tool won’t be able to fetch the information for you.
Free And Premium WordPress Themes
There are several themes available when it comes to WordPress and one always has several options to choose from. There are tons of both free and premium/ paid themes and so working with doesn’t get so difficult when a choice of the theme has to be made. You will always get a theme to suit your desired website and in an event when you can’t get it, you can do some little tweaks here and there if you are an advanced developer.
Now let’s look at free and premium/paid WordPress themes in detail, what advantages and disadvantages are associated with using any of them.
Free WordPress theme. Free WordPress themes are available on the WordPress database and as the name goes they are totally free of charge and easily accessible right from your WordPress dashboard. The first WordPress installation comes with the ‘Twentytwenty’ theme. But that can be changed. on the left side of the dashboard, click on appearance-theme-add new and right there are thousands of free themes. See here for details on how to install a WordPress theme.
Advantages Of Free WordPress Theme
The free theme may come with its own advantages and disadvantages. Free themes are very lightweight. Such themes are good for site speed. This doesn’t mean that using a premium will give you a slow speed. A lot of technicalities go into getting a site to load faster. Using a light theme is just one of them, they take less time to load making your entire website faster.
Disadvantages Of Free WordPress Theme
Free May limit the functionality of the site. This type of theme might not help you to do everything you will want to do with it. Usually, theme developers limit such functions to encourage users to buy the premium versions. An example is advertisement slots, free themes don’t come with such ad slots and an extra plugin may be required to get ads displayed.
Again, if you are using a free theme, you do not have any right to receive updates o the themes. This means that the theme cannot be updated even when there is a newer version that has additional functionalities and better performance.
Advantages Of Premium WordPress Themes
Premium themes are not available in the WordPress database on the dashboard. You can have access to premium themes on external platforms/ websites. They offer all the goodies the free ones are unable to offer plus more. But when buying a premium theme make sure you buy from the developer’s website or authorized sales websites such as themedorest.com to avoid being duped or buying a nulled theme which may later give you troubles on your website or blog.
Legitimate premium themes come with a product key used for activation of the theme after it has been installed. One reason to get a premium them is the fact that you have total control over its use, looks and design. There is also a lightweight premium theme so always research well and choose the lower sizes. A premium theme will cost you on average less than $30.
Disadvantages Of Premium WordPress Themes
WordPress Premium themes may sometimes come with lots of codes and files making them too heavy. Aside from this, premium themes may sometimes have too many functionalities which could have been served by other plugins.
Should You Use Free Or Premium WordPress Theme?
I believe that up to this point I have exposed you enough to what premium and free are and what they offer and do not offer. This should help you to make a decision on which one you should go for to suit your project. But to be professional, always go with a premium theme but if you are a newbie going with a free theme is ideal especially when finance is a challenge.
Also, a free theme is good if you are learning and experimenting with the use of WordPress. This will help you get your hands on a lot of things before becoming an expert. However, make it a plan to get a premium theme after some time in blogging and website development. Always make your blog look better than it was yesterday in terms of looks, features and content.