Maybe All You Need Is a Free WordPress Theme?

Don’t let your elderly or non-existent website thwart your business’s progress – there are lots of tools you can use to get it on track. If you’re thinking about using WordPress to launch your new site, you may want to consider the advantages and disadvantages to both the free and premium themes.

If your current website is approximately the same age as your average reverse mortgage applicant, you might want to think about an overhaul. But where to begin? Like many business owners, you might not be hugely computer savvy, so an easy and free content management system (CMS) could offer the most benefits. WordPress, that stalwart CMS platform, offers unique options; some for free, others that can be customized to suit your particular needs. However, there are both benefits and drawbacks to the different WordPress themes. Here are some of the reasons WordPress might (or might not) be the best solution for you.

Custom WordPress theme advantage: A thoroughly customized theme. Duh.

If you have concerns about your website having the same aesthetic as a competitor’s, WordPress offers a premium customization option, so your website has a wholly unique look and user experience. Not only does this set you apart from other services in your industry, it enhances the prestige factor. After all – having a personalized website gives users the impression that you have web design and branding know-how, so you must have serious subject matter expertise within your industry.

Custom WordPress theme disadvantage: It’s a bit costly.

Bespoke web design ain’t cheap. If your budget is tight, you might want to hold off on incorporating the unique bells and whistles into your website for the time being. However, your website is your introduction to your client/customer base, so even if customization is a bit rich for your blood at the moment, it’s nonetheless an essential investment if you want long-term market viability.

Custom WordPress theme advantage: You get personalized user functionality.

If you want lots of features, custom WordPress themes are the answer. In addition to looking unique, your website will actually be able to do cool and unusual things. Giving your users a wide variety of options can add significant value to your brand, and enhance user experience.

Custom WordPress theme disadvantage: You might be on your own, maintenance-wise.

WordPress custom themes aren’t necessarily updated by the developer, so you’re going to need a third-party support service to make sure your site is clean and pristine. Furthermore, custom themes can be loaded with features you neither want nor need, which can hamper user experience and slow down your site.

Free WordPress theme advantage: It’s free! Sort of.

Hey – the pre-made WordPress theme package is nothing if not affordable. Of course, it’s advisable to choose from the actual WordPress theme directory rather than other, possibly questionable, sources.

Free WordPress theme disadvantage: It might not be entirely free.

Honestly, not every free feature is going to be a winner. Nevertheless, if your free theme desperately needs some additional features to make if viable for your organization’s needs, you can still have your web developer make some modifications, just make sure you’re choosing a team with a proven track record and who won’t bloat your back-end code with more code that only serves to slow your site down.

Free WordPress theme advantage: The free themes are pretty darned good.

You might think that the only free thing that can be relied upon is gravity, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some free pre-made WordPress themes meet an extraordinarily high-quality standard. Moreover, the themes from the actual WordPress directory are updated on a fairly regular basis and are tested for privacy and security.

Free WordPress theme disadvantage: Everyone might be using the same theme.

If a free WordPress theme is easy to navigate, secure, aesthetically pleasing, and has good functionality, chances are it’s going to be widely used. This could be a significant problem if you’re interested in building a unique brand identity. It’s an even bigger problem if your template is also used by a kitten-murdering service.

Ultimately, whether you use a custom or free WordPress theme, you’ll want a developer in your corner that can help ensure your website’s impeccable usability and spit-and-polish appearance. As-is WordPress templates might be fine for junior high school bloggers and popstar fansites circa 1998, but you want your business’s site to have a bit more panache. Make sure your website meets your organization’s needs.