Free WordPress Themes – How Good, How Bad?

Looks like you are having a brand new WordPress blog and are seeking to get your hands on some of the free WordPress themes. Or, you are willing to change your existing WordPress theme for a fresh look.

That is the perk of having a blog setup on the WordPress platform. Of the many advantages, running a blog with an amazing free WordPress theme is one that captivates most bloggers and webmasters towards WordPress.

It takes you not more than 5 minutes (or less) to Google for a free WordPress theme and install it into your blog. But sadly, not all bloggers try to weigh the pros and cons of having a free theme setup on their blogs, before downloading a free theme.

Every one of us fall for free goodies. That is fine to an extent. But is it fine at the cost of our blog and blogging career?

Needn’t mention, most freebies come with some or the other strings attached. Why do you think someone creates a WordPress theme (which is not such an easy task after all) and gives it away while he cloud make good income if it is categorized under premium themes?

Fishy. Isn’t it?  

Well, it is quite obvious that there is something a free WordPress theme distributor seeks in return. But not all such distributors are into black hat business. And again, this clearly implies that SOME ARE into such black hat deeds.

The point I want to convey here is that you must be acquainted with the pros and cons of using free WordPress themes before you go for one. Also, being able to identify a bad free theme comes handy in blogging.

Having setup tens of WordPress blogs for myself and my clients (both with paid and free WordPress themes), I am well aware of this and would willing take you through it.

So let us get started with the better side of it first. 

Free or Paid WP Themes

 

Pros of using free WordPress themes

  • Obviously – It is FREE.
  • Way too many options to choose from.
  • Some free theme providers allow you to change it/re-code it (of course this point does not exist under pros for people who are not technically into coding).
  • Since it is a free theme that you are willing to install, you can try out many options as it costs nothing.  

 


Beautiful WordPress Themes:  86 themes from only $39 

 

Cons of using free WordPress themes

  • You’d not get a customer support from the theme provider if your theme ever breaks for some reason.
  • Free themes are rarely updated. Even when they are, you’d not get any update information upfront.
  • Unlike in premium themes, you’d not get any warranties with the free ones.
  • Though there are thousands of free WordPress themes out there, good ones can be counted on fingers.
  • Most newbie bloggers rely on these few good free themes. So chances are high that the theme you choose is no more unique and is being redundantly used by thousands of other blogs and sites.
  • Most free themes are not compatible with the latest WordPress plugins as they are almost never or rarely updated.
  • Since no theme developer would want to invest more time on a freebie, free themes generally do not come with many features; but are just enough to hold articles and basic sidebar widgets.
  • Not all free theme creators seek branding. Many out there also use the so distributed themes to generate backlinks to low quality sites. In many cases these links are cleverly hidden within the themes.
  • Due to time constraint, the theme coders code it haphazardly without following a proper syntactical coding approach (which is not good for SEO).
  • Some notorious theme developers release free WordPress themes with the goal of hacking websites/blogs by placing unidentifiable malware within the theme code.
  • Free themes are generally not responsive (mobile friendly).

 

This said, let’s see what measures you can take while using a free WordPress theme.

 

How to choose a free WordPress theme?

Here are certain things you can do to avoid the pitfalls in installing free WordPress themes. But you cannot take these for granted and that the free theme you’ve got is unarguably secure.

  • You’d first want to check the theme zip file for any virus soon after downloading it. One place to check is at VirusTotal.
  • Then you may use an authenticity checking WordPress plugin called TAC. It checks if there are any encrypted links within the theme.
  • You can also manually check to which sites your theme is linking with the browser plugin SEOquake.
  • Above all, never fall for nulled themes. Instead get the free theme from known theme distributor like StudioPress, WooThemes and other such.

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2 Comments

  • Reginald
    Twitter:
    August 20, 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Hello there!

    Nice write up you got 🙂

    Now when it comes to free vs paid, I would always suggest paid ones. WordPress (especially) has thousands of free themes but how many of them are coded well? Not many to be honest.

    Worst part, using these free themes could easily lead to security, SEO and website loading speed as well!

    Personally, I would suggest using paid themes anytime of the day!
    Reginald recently posted…7 Most Influential Social Media Platforms For BloggersMy Profile

  • Qasim
    Twitter:
    August 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Hi,

    Ofcourse anyone how is really serious about blogging will choose Paid WordPress themes as those are design, backed up and supported by high developers whom make sure that your theme is having high performance, responsive, SEO friendly and most important secured. Thank you so much for providing such a great discussion.
    Qasim recently posted…CDN Hosting Makes Content Delivery Work BetterMy Profile

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