I’ve tried just about everything under the sun in my search for the best quality themes for WordPress. The options are rather overwhelming, but frankly that’s a good thing! The competition has helped the WordPress ecosystem thrive, and these days you can find a vast assortment of WordPress themes that are equally powerful as they are attractive.
Obviously there are two main camps of WordPress themes; free themes, and paid ‘premium’ themes. Here I’m aiming to help distinguish the main differences between free and paid themes for those who might debating between the two (or are new to WordPress).
Free WordPress Themes
There are many great free themes, and by far the best place to search for them is wordpress.org/extend/themes/.
Another great source of free themes is one of the leaders in paid themes, WooThemes. It’s not a huge selection of free themes, about 14 in total, but they are some of the most reliable and attractive free WordPress themes you’ll find!
Free themes are a great place to start, but you will probably soon find yourself wanting more; More options, more variation, more customizability, and more pizzazz.
For the most part, free WordPress themes are pretty simple and offer pretty minimal customization. They are almost all made to be blogs (with blog posts occupying the home page), so if all you want to do is start a simple blog – then you will probably find something suitable there!
However, if you are looking to use WordPress as a content management system for a small business site, ecommerce site, a more robust blog site, or pretty much anything else, you may want to consider dropping a few bucks on a ‘premium’ WordPress theme.
Advantages of Premium Themes
A premium theme will provide you with many advantages. Depending on where you shop, you can count on a few things for sure:
- Wide variety of layouts and purposes (Business, portfolio, blog, magazine, corporate, non-profit…)
- Excellent support & a helpful community
- The latest ‘best practices’ and coding languages (HTML5, CSS3…)
- Amazing array of options on the back end (Control & customize layouts, colors, logos, sidebars, and much much more)
- Custom widgets and page templates (Pre-built custom widgets, portfolio pages, contact pages, etc.)
- Shortcodes that help you use nice buttons, columns, lists, tab layouts, accordions & more! (I love shortcodes!!)
So, where should I look for premium themes?
One of the beautiful things about using WordPress is that with a little experience with CSS and HTML you can pick from thousands of themes as a starting place, and build a highly customized website that behaves and looks exactly how you want without hiring a development team or taking months upon months. For me, it’s essentially how I learned the basics of coding, and sent me on my path to continually improving my own skills!
But even with no experience whatsoever, you can build a beautiful website that can do amazing things (manage memberships, sell products, display feeds, the list is endless). WordPress is often seen as the best open-source content management system for beginners and experts alike. I would tend to agree.
The two places that provide the most impressive WordPress themes on the market, in my experience, are: WooThemes, and Theme Forest. Both places offer reliable themes at affordable prices. (As I mentioned, WooThemes also offers some of the best free WordPress themes you can find!)
Hopefully this helps clarify why you might want to choose either free or paid themes for WordPress! Thanks for Reading!