Throughout my time as a WordPress developer and fanatic, I have been asked dozens of times about the differences between free and premium themes, and why buy premium WordPress themes. I just wanted to quickly address this question with a post that outlines various reasons.
What is a premium WordPress theme?
A premium WordPress theme is any theme that comes at a fixed price. If you have to pay for the WordPress theme, it is generally referred to as a premium theme. If you do not have to pay for it, it is referred to as a free theme. One should expect that premium themes will include additional functionality typically not found in some free themes.
Why buy a premium WordPress theme?
Premium WordPress themes are worth purchasing for a number of reasons:
Advanced Functionality – commercial themes usually include advanced features such as theme options panels, customizable styles, sliders, and unique functions developed for specific site requirements.
Quality – since commercial themes cost money, most of the theme providers follow strict coding standards and best practices. This results in quality crafted templates that work flawlessly. Since these providers want to maintain their brand and customer base, quality is of the utmost importance.
Free Support – Almost all commercial themes come with a predetermined period of support, usually through a support forum. You’ll be able to get assistance on installation and how to use theme’s functions. With the exception of customization requests which are beyond the scope of support, many support requests are usually addressed within 24 hours by the leading providers.
Theme Updates – Another plus point of premium themes is theme updates. WordPress releases new updates frequently, so do commercial theme shops. Updates to premium themes may include bug fixes and enhancements which are beneficial to the buyer. Most theme providers offer free lifetime updates, whereas some require a subsequent purchase after 1 year.
Cost – Most premium themes range anywhere from $29 for standard blogs to $99 for more complex or specialty themes. Regardless of the cost, it’s a small price to pay for all the benefits site owners receive. That cost covers not only the theme, but the support time and effort required. Through this minimal cost, developers can continue to build more themes and enhance existing products for their customers. My advice is to save time and money by going premium.
Ethics / Clean Code – The internet is filled with folks with ill intentions. Unfortunately, many free themes I’ve encountered contained hidden links, malicious code, and even viruses. Preventing such security issues should be reason enough to go the premium route when deciding on a WordPress theme.
Is having a premium WordPress theme really necessary?
In the long run, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. We already know the reasons to use WordPress for your site, but now you know why you should buy a premium theme. In short, if you want your blog to become recognized as a reputable source of information on the interwebs and have a support team handy to resolve issues, then swing for a high quality WordPress theme.
I’m always curious about what theme others are using and by whom, so please share it below. Thanks!