There is a saying: “The best things in life are free” This could possibly be true.
But believe me when I tell you that a Free WordPress theme could cost you big time!
If you really think about it you will understand why free is not always good when it comes to WordPress themes.
Free Is Not Always Free
A theme is just some PHP code, HTML, and a mySQl database put together and made to look pretty. Right?
Let’s compare theme shopping to car shopping. You would not buy a car on looks alone. Or even price alone. Why? because the main function of a car is transportation. If it won’t reliably get you to work everyday, it is not worth much. No matter how awesome looking.
So an awesome, free WordPress theme, should make you ask “what’s the catch?”
And there are some catches.
The real worth of a theme (or a car) is its functionality. Neither the free car nor the free wordpress theme is likely to have much of it.
Cons (costs) Of A Free WordPress Theme.
Free themes often have hidden or “encrypted” code. This malicious code often hides backlinks which can highjack your Google ranking. Note that Google penalizes sites for bad links. These include links that are irrelevant, paid, spam, or contextual.
Unless you just happen to have access to an unlimited traffic source, you need to be found by Google. SEO friendliness of a theme depends on things like clean code, breadcrumbs and excerpts on archive pages. Though not true of all free WordPress themes, these are areas where corners are cut.
Updated When WordPress Is
A theme is one step closer to being obsolete with each WordPress update. If a free WordPress theme developer does not stay current with WordPress changes, your theme becomes outdated and vulnerable to being hacked. The quality of ongoing support is a major factor in the value of a theme.
If you are a DIY type person, you might think: “i’ll just take the free version and get the functioanality of the PRO version by adding plugins. But remember, Every plugin you add slows down your site! Not to mention the fact that plugins may malfunction when interacting with each other and with different versions of WordPress.
This is where theme support plays an important role. Free themes usually do not include support. A premium theme with support is like a car with an extended warranty. Its developers test and maintain their product because their reputation and future sales depend on it.
Now in the interest of fairness and impartiality, I will say that there is one paricular situation that may justify the use of a free WordPress theme. If you want to try before you buy.
So there’s my take on free themes.
“Is the cost of a free theme too high?”