When you start a freelance writer website, one of the critical decisions is this: Which theme should you choose for your WordPress website?
But as you’ll soon realize, the question turns into this: Should you pick the free or premium theme?
In this article, we’ll talk about free vs. premium WordPress themes and their main differences. At the end of the post, I’ll tell you what I recommend.
Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: 7 Key Differences
When you decide between free and premium themes, here are seven points to consider.
The first point, the price, is the most apparent difference.
Free themes are free to download and use on your website. But you have to pay for premium themes.
For the premium themes, the prices range approximately from $20 to even hundreds of dollars. Typically, if you purchase a premium theme, you can get a decent one for under 100 dollars.
Theme installation is a quick operation. It happens in the WordPress admin panel by clicking Appearance > Themes > Add New. Then, click the Upload Theme button, and once your theme has uploaded, activate it.
However, the next steps depend on the theme.
For instance, in GeneratePress (a premium theme), the settings look like this:
But with a free theme Evolve, the theme settings look like this:
As you can see, different themes have different ways of doing the final tweaks to the theme configuration.
3. Support Options
The support options vary a lot, depending on whether you have a free or a premium theme.
For instance, a free theme may not provide any support options at all. Here, if something goes wrong with the theme, you must find the help yourself.
A paid theme typically provides support. Besides knowledge base articles or videos, you can also get email, phone, and chat support.
When you choose a theme, pay close attention to the support options. When your writer’s website goes down, you want to get it up fast. So paying for your theme could fix the situation quicker since you have access to support.
4. Security/Code Updates
It’s not enough to code an excellent theme and leave it there. The code also needs consistent attention from the developers so that they can fix the potential security issues as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, not all free themes are up-to-date with the latest code updates. So before downloading a free theme, try to find out what the policy is with that theme.
5. Does it Look Good?
Guess what - the look matters! Therefore, before you make a final decision on what theme you choose, try to see what it looks like in action.
You can find both excellent and poor themes in terms of layout, no matter whether you choose a premium or free theme.
Naturally, the look is just a personal trait, and only you know whether a theme looks good in your eyes.
6. Usability and Configuration
Finally, you can have the best-looking theme in the world, top-notch code, and excellent support. But those things don’t matter if the product is difficult to use and configure.
There are both good and bad examples of usability, both in free and paid themes. It means that a premium theme alone doesn’t guarantee that usability is well-thought-out.
If possible, try to test drive your theme before you buy it. Many theme developers have demo sites, where you can see how the theme behaves in action.
Google favors fast-loading websites. Therefore, it makes a difference in what theme you choose for your website.
Naturally, I can’t speak on behalf of every theme there is, but I have been happy with the premium themes I have used so far.
For instance, I’m using GeneratePress, which is a lightweight premium theme.
Here Is the Type of Theme I Always Choose
When I’m running a production website, I have always relied on premium themes.
Because if I ever had questions to ask, I could ask them directly from a support person, instead of wondering about them myself.
Also, with the premium themes, I know that the code is up-to-date with the latest security patches.
For these reasons alone, I’m in good hands, and I don’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises on my website.
Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: The Conclusion
There are differences between free and paid WordPress themes. But sometimes, it’s difficult to understand which type of theme you should choose for your freelance writer website.
That’s why, in this post, I revealed seven differences between free and premium themes.
My choice has almost always been a premium theme. Even though I have to spend money on my theme, I have access to customer support. Also, the code is always up-to-date with the latest security patches and other fixes.