If you are building your first WordPress website, or if you are working on a very limited budget the option of using one of the thousands of free WordPress themes that are available can make a lot of sense. However, like anything which is free, there are going to be some positives and some negatives which you need to weigh up before proceeding. To help you, we have highlighted some of the pros and some of the cons of free WordPress themes.
To break with the norm, let’s start with the negatives first:
#1 No warranties: Because they are given away for nothing, free WordPress themes will not carry any warranties. This means that once you have built your website, if something goes wrong you have no comeback on the developer.
#2 Little or no support: The level of support you have for a free theme is likely to be limited to forums on the developer’s site and it will normally not extend to individual queries or support requests.
#3 Not unique: Free WordPress themes are available across the internet and are used by millions of websites. This means that if you use one of them then it is highly likely that your site is going to look similar to others, even allowing for some the limited customisation that the theme might have.
#4 Limited Functions: As you would expect the features that a free WordPress theme is going to have will often be limited to the basic ones which are standard on the WordPress platform.
OK, time for the positives of using a free WordPress theme
#1 It costs you nothing: Never underestimate the value of getting something for nothing. If the free theme you choose does everything you need it to then you can spend the money that a premium theme might have cost on other important matters such as promoting your website.
#2 WordPress has stringent standards: This is where the fact that the themes are free is a big benefit as WordPress impose very strict quality standards for free themes. These include checking for security, HTML quality, privacy and other features. In truth, the levels which free themes must meet to pass these checks can be higher than for premium themes.
#3 More plugins are compatible: Although a free theme may lack some advanced features because it must meet WordPress’s standards it means that more plugins are going to be compatible with it. This allows you to effectively upgrade your theme with features that the plugin has to offer.
#4 Easy to locate in the admin area: Unlike some premium themes which need to be installed using third party software, you will always find your free theme and its settings in the themes part of the appearance section of your WordPress admin area.
As you can see there as many positive reasons to choose a free theme as there are reasons not to. So, if you find a free theme that you like the look of, and its functions are compatible with what you want your site to do, then it is an ideal solution.