When you think of a popular blog, what element do you consider the most important? Content is one major factor, of course. So is the marketing used to promote it? But before those two concerns comes one that is important from the very beginning: design.
The way your website looks is the first impression given to the reader. Not the quality of the information you provide, or the incredible incentives you have for their future visits. Not the amazing social media community you have built, or affiliate program you are expanding. Just the way you have chosen to design the site itself can impact the association the viewer makes. A glimpse at a badly designed site can wreck your credibility within seconds of arriving on the home page.
Some people will be looking for a professional looking blog, and others something more casual or creative. Either way, WordPress offers themes that cater to the needs of the webmaster, while remaining highly customizable. Quite a few are free, others are paid, and it can be difficult to decide on which route to take without knowing the difference between the two.
Because the theme you choose will also impact the overall functionality of your site, you should learn the difference between free and premium WordPress themes before you select one to use.
The Benefits of Free WordPress Themes
One obvious benefit that is immediately apparent with a free WordPress theme is right there in the name: it is free. For those who are working on a strict budget, or just starting out using a site that has no real financial backing, it is all about cutting costs wherever possible.
Unlike many other services that offer free content, you aren’t limited in your choices. There are hundreds of open source themes you can choose from. All of them are well made, just not as customizable. So you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for the sake of money.
Those who are perhaps new to the design and development side of things will appreciate this fact. You can install a theme in moments with no technical knowledge whatsoever. You don’t even have to change anything about it, just filling in the sections for the site title, tag line and perhaps a header if you want one. Widgets can be added with a quick drag-and-drop process. It is easy for people of any level.
Best Free Themes Available
The Benefits of Paid WordPress Themes
As mentioned above, free themes are not customizable. Which is where premium themes come in, and why so many choose to spend the extra cash. WordPress allows you to purchase a theme, and then modify it to your specifications. If you have a background in design, this may be the right choice for you.
Premium themes also tend to be more complex, thought out, and often more professional looking. They come in both minimalist and more traditional formats, and you can get the exact features you are looking for. One example is paying to have a responsive theme that remains compatible with mobile devices.
The downside is that the average theme costs between $30 and $100, with most falling around the $70 range. As this can get steep, you want to make sure the theme you are selecting is going to cover each one of your specifications before purchasing.
Best Paid Themes Available
The truth is, there is very little difference between a free and premium WordPress theme. What you are paying for is a more intuitive design (such as with responsive layouts that adapt to mobile screens), a slight increase in quality, and the ability to customize. Many premium themes are little more than a framework that act as a parent design to add to in order to make it your own. These sparse designs have been popular with the minimalist crowd this year.
Choosing which way to go will be based on your needs. Do you want to be able to build a new design on the foundation of another? Want to just customize the very basics, without having to take the time or make a real effort? How much money do you have to spend? These are all factors to consider, and there is no right or wrong answer. WordPress has made it possible to create a clean, attractive site whether you choose to go the premium route or not.Tags: Design, Free, premium, Theme, wordpress