One of the reasons why WordPress is such a popular blogging platform is because it supports the use of interchangeable templates known as themes. Rather than coding a new blog design from scratch, you can simply download and activate a theme. Within seconds, your blog will have a new appearance while still retaining all of its existing content.
But should you choose a free or paid/premium theme for your WordPress theme?
It’s not uncommon for free themes to contain attribution links in the footer. These are classified as site-wide links, meaning they show up on every page. The theme developer may sell “link packages” to other webmasters, allowing them to purchase these attribution links for a small fee. As such, WordPress themes that feature attribution links are often viewed as spam in the eyes of the search engines. Google even lists the following as a link scheme: “Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites.” On the other hand, paid WordPress themes generally do not have attribution links in the footer.
Frequency of Updates
Another reason why you should choose a paid theme over a free theme is because they are updated more frequently. While there are always exceptions to this rule, developers generally update paid themes more often than free ones. After all, it’s in their best interest to keep users satisfied; otherwise, their sales will begin to decline. Having your theme updated on a regular basis is essential to preventing hack attacks.
You’ll also find that paid themes offer a higher level of technical and customer support than their free counterparts. With free themes, users are often forced to seek help on a community forum, which doesn’t always yield the right answers. But with paid themes, you can usually submit a help ticket to the developer, at which point he or she will respond back with an answer. The technical and customer support alone is reason enough for many users to choose a paid theme over a free one.
There’s an increased risk of security vulnerabilities with free themes as opposed to paid ones. Some studies have even found hidden redirect and cloaking code embedded in free themes. If you are worried about security vulnerabilities such as this, stick with a paid theme for your WordPress blog.
Of course, there’s one notable advantage of using a free WordPress theme that shouldn’t be overlooked: the cost (or lack thereof I should say). If you are operating on a tight budget, you may not have $100 bucks to drop on a new theme. Using a free theme will allow you to build and grow your blog. And once your blog begins to generate revenue, you can always make the switch to a premium theme.
Have any other blogging tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!