There’s no doubt that WordPress is the ideal choice for building your business website. Recently I touched on the fact that WordPress is an ‘array of moving parts’. One of those parts is the theme. In WordPress, the theme is the part that dictates your design. Where your logo appears, your colors, and whether a large ‘hero’ image appears on your home page are all items most likely controlled by your theme. If you visit the WordPress Theme Directory, you’ll see tons of themes with different designs, free for you to use on your WordPress website. But should you use a free WordPress theme on your business website?
While a free theme may fit a startup businesses budget, you should know a few things about a free theme before adopting it for your business website.
Your options and features are limited.
Sure, you can add your own logo, perhaps even change the color scheme but for the most part, a free theme is what you see is what you get. If you want to make changes beyond those built into the theme itself it cannot be done without coding. Want colors aren’t included in the theme’s color scheme choices? You’re out of luck without some tinkering with the code. And the same goes for font styling and page layouts.
Forget being unique.
In the WordPress Theme directory, the number of active installations of a free theme is listed when you click on it for more information. Many of them have hundreds of thousands of active installations. Even the newest themes listed in the directory will have hundreds of installations. Add the limited options we spoke of above and the chance of your website being unique to your business is out of the question.
Lack of support.
Many of the free themes in the directory lack documentation and support. That means if suddenly an update to one of your plugins breaks your design it will be hit or miss whether you can get help.
The above-mentioned lack of support may also mean a lack of updates which may possibly lead to security vulnerabilities.
If you are a simply creating a personal blog; you don’t care that it may look the same as other sites; if you can deal with basic functionality and lack of support/ updates; then a free theme may be fine. When it comes to your business website, do yourself a favor and find a high-quality, well-maintained premium WordPress theme.