If you’re in the process of setting up a new website or evaluating your options for doing so, know that your site’s “look and feel” is a major factor in how long your visitors are going to stay and well, visit, giving you a lower bounce time. Luckily, if you’re using WordPress as the basis for your website, you’ll have access to “themes” to help you in your efforts.
What is a Theme?
A theme is a set of rules and functions that govern the overall appearance of the WordPress installation, providing visual elements and navigation aids. Because themes make it easy to completely change the looks of a WordPress website, compared to other means of building a site, they are perhaps the most attractive aspect of choosing this platform and why so many use it. How functional your WordPress-based website is directly depends on the options available in the theme. If your WordPress website will host an e-store or ecommerce setup, your theme is of crucial importance in the user experience, with most buying decisions made when users think that a website is easy to navigate and offers a great experience.
How to choose the best theme for your site?
First, you should know that there are two types of WordPress themes. The first are free themes available to you at no cost and provide a barebones set of options that result in minimal customization of the website. The second are paid themes that, in contrast, offer a wide range of customization options of visual and navigation aspects of the website. Depending on your needs, you may find that a free theme will work just fine. However, most commercial users are willing to pay for the benefits that a paid theme offers.
What are the benefits of a paid theme?
- Quality. Like every other thing in life, your theme is only as good as what you paid for it. Therefore, themes that provide developers monetary benefits are going to receive more attention than their free versions.
- Testing. The build quality of a paid theme is backed by a highly-detailed testing phase that ensures all components of the theme are working correctly. The testing phase also ensures the theme offers complete control over functionality and looks of the website.
- Premium looks. Paid themes offer complete customization of the visual aspects of the theme, usually through a control panel that lets website owners change a website’s appearance through a click-and-choose system.
- Support. Paid themes usually make available support from developers, making this perhaps the most important reason so many website owners are willing to pay for a WordPress theme. In comparison, a free theme is available on “as is” basis with little or no support or upgrades.
- Bugs and fixes. The development team that licenses the paid theme is responsible for working out its flaws and issues in the form of regularly issued updates. These updates may be minor or major, but should fix issues in implementation of the theme.
We hope these five reasons have shed some light on why you may opt for a paid theme versus a free one. While it may be tempting to save your money, know that if you’re using your website to drive commerce, it really should be a “no-brainer” decision to go for a paid theme. You’ll find it’s essential to the performance of your WordPress-based website and will save you headaches down the road or quite possibly now.