I’ve written about WordPress Themes in the past and have described how there are three categories of WordPress Themes; Custom (where a Theme is custom made for a specific Website), Premium (where a Theme with a specific look and functionality is available to multiple customers at a lower prices than a custom Theme) and free Themes (no explanation necessary). Let’s first look more thoroughly at what constitutes a Premium Theme.
What is a WordPress Premium Theme?
A WordPress Theme is what defines the ‘look and feel’ of a WordPress Website. Themes also usually include various functionality to add to the core WordPress software and available Plugins. Premium Themes are characterised by having a purchase or subscription cost associated to using the Theme. The best means of understanding Premium Themes is to describe it in the context of free Themes.
Are Premium Themes better than Free Themes
Premium and Free Themes differ in that one has a direct financial cost and the other is free to use. So why should one buy a premium Theme when there are good free Themes around? Well I can’t answer that. Take the free Suffusion Theme for example; it is unbelievably adaptable with a multitude of configuration options. Suffusion also has a support forum and is so popular that you will find an answer to your Suffusion Theme questions should you search effectively enough. Suffusion is not alone in being free and leading in support.
But why then do people pay to use Premium Themes? People associate product cost with quality i.e. a more expensive product is perceived as having superior quality (WordPress.org software is free and look at how awesome that is). It is also widely believed that it is simpler to setup WordPress Sites with Premium Themes. The market is furthermore distorted in that there are many Premium Theme affiliate programs so often when one reads a review of a Premium Theme it is in the authors interest to rate the Theme very highly as they may be getting a ‘payback’ for each buyer they refer to the Premium Website (affiliate programs are however mostly a good thing).
The Case for Premium Themes
So far I haven’t given any reason to use Premium Themes but I actually believe that Premium Themes are a better choice for those not very familiar with WordPress and Themes. If you see a Premium Theme that you love the look of then it is more than likely going to be far simpler to buy that Theme and install it rather than try to configure a free Theme. WordPress.org has also helped both consumers and Premium Theme sellers/developers by introducing the ‘Commercial’ section of the ‘Free Themes Directory’. Before the ‘Commercial’ section there was no way to tell if the Premium Themes met any standards. If you are going to use a Premium Theme then make sure that the Theme seller/developer is listed on the WordPress Page as this reduced the risk of buying from unscrupulous sellers.
Here is a quick rundown of the Good and Bad of Premium Themes.
- Sometimes good support and tutorials
- Some beautiful looking Premium Themes
- Often ease of setup
- Some Premium Themes have great additional functionality
- Sometimes bad support and no tutorials
- Payment or subscription required
- Often difficult to configure
- Theme description occasionally isn’t true to the Theme
My recommendation is, rather than thinking in terms of free and Premium Themes, look for Themes that you like the look of and that provide the functionality you require (remember of course that there are thousands of free Plugins available that will add all sorts of functionality). Once you find the Free or Premium Theme that you like then try it out.