If you’re like most WordPress bloggers, you appreciate the fact that you have access to all the amazing free features of this blogging platform. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to install a WordPress site and start broadcasting your blog posts across the planet.
Yet there are some compelling reasons why you should invest at least a little money into your blog – particularly when it comes to your theme. Hopefully the following 5 reasons will convince you that a free WordPress theme is a bargain you cannot afford.
Most people can’t resist something that’s free. So the majority of the millions of WordPress users stick to free themes. They may not even bother to change the default theme that comes with the WordPress installation. Or they may choose one of the many free themes that are available from the WordPress dashboard. Either way, there are a huge number of bloggers out there using these same themes.
If you have an online business, or want to brand yourself in any way, it’s essential to use a premium WordPress theme. When you’re willing to make this investment in your blog, your options open up a great deal. No matter what your niche, you can have a theme that expresses your identity in the perfect way.
Some free WordPress themes are quite attractive, but this very fact will mean that many other bloggers will be choosing them. A free theme is a way to make your blog generic, when you should be looking for ways to make it extraordinary!
WordPress blogs, due to their massive popularity, are often targeted by hackers. When you use a free WordPress theme, you are exposing your site to danger right from the get-go. While most free themes are safe, a significant number of them contain malicious codes.
Unethical developers install things like malware and spam links into WordPress themes. This can have many unpleasant consequences for you. It can slow down your site and cause glitches. Worse yet, it can make you an unwitting partner to spammers who redirect visitors to their spammy sites!
While it’s possible to scan themes for malware before downloading them, this does not always work. You are better off investing a few dollars in a good paid theme, which greatly reduces these security risks.
When you get something for free, you can’t count on getting good support for it. This is as true for free WordPress themes as it is for anything else. You might assume that you won’t need support for your theme, but there are often issues that come up where you do need help.
WordPress is generally quite user friendly, but there are so many thousands of themes and many variations on how to set them up. It only takes one minor issue to cause you a major headache, such as not knowing how to change the header of your theme.
Free themes come with very limited support, and sometimes there is none at all. With a premium theme such as those from Elegant Themes, you can feel secure that you can get full support for your theme and this can save you many hours of frustration!
If you’ve been using WordPress for more than a month, you know that it is constantly being updated. This is done for security reasons, and also to introduce new features and capabilities. When you install a free WordPress theme, there’s no guarantee it will work properly when the next upgrade occurs.
Free themes may or may not make upgrades available, so you are taking a chance by using them. If the old theme is not compatible with a new WordPress upgrade, it can ruin the appearance or functionality of your whole site. If that happens, you will have to choose a whole new theme. And you never know how many visitors or potential customers you lost before you even realized that your theme had become obsolete!
Free WordPress themes have fewer features and are not nearly as customizable as premium themes. This may or may not matter to you when you first set up your WordPress blog. However, you should also think ahead and consider that you might want to expand your blog and add more features later on.
Not only do premium themes come with more options, they are usually easier to use. It’s much simpler to change the appearance or layout of your site when you want. And, as I already mentioned, if you do have any problems, you can always get support. With a free theme, you’re basically on your own.
When choosing a good premium theme, you can search for precisely those features that you need. This may be related to the site’s niche; for example, if you have a photography blog you would want a theme that allows you to create appealing galleries to showcase your photos.
We’ve looked at some of the top reasons why professional bloggers seldom use free WordPress themes. Free themes limit your options and subject you to some real risks. Most of the problems that you are likely to experience won’t be obvious right away. If you have malware, for example, it may take months before you realize that your site is being hijacked by spammers.
Your free theme may be fine when you first install it. However, if it’s incompatible with a future WordPress update you will then wish you had chosen a premium theme instead. If you ever need support for your free theme, you are likely to be left in limbo.
Premium WordPress themes aren’t usually very expensive, and they can help you set up a secure, well supported and distinctive blog.