In the previous blog, we examined free and premium WordPress themes with its good and bad sides. Let’s continue with good practices in this part to choose the best theme that suits your needs be it a free theme or a premium theme.
Tips To Choose Free WordPress Themes
Where To Get Reliable Free Themes?
One important thing: Pick free themes from trusted, safe and reliable sources of free themes. The good news is that there are many high quality free themes out there for you. (Thank God, good people do exist!).
The WordPress theme repository is always the number one, largest and most trusted source for grabbing free and good WordPress themes. Here you can easily find themes that meet your needs by using the tag filter.
Using themes from here, you don’t have to worry about malicious code, and can go to get help from the community anytime.
You can always download and use the best free WordPress themes from WooRockets. The team which includes both designers and developers just like you understand that you value your work and reputation towards your client more than anyone. Therefore, we share with you our clean, simple and professional themes for free.
Use them and let us know what you think so we can improve our work (yes, even though they’re free) to bring better themes for the community.
Smashing Magazine is another good place for finding free WordPress themes. The themes are always reviewed and released by The Smashing Editorial so the quality is good. No threats. No restrictions (feel free to customize and use for commercial websites).
If you are a fan of Web Designer Depot like me, you’ll see they do a “The best free WordPress Themes” collection each month. Like Smashing Magazine, all free themes will be examined and checked before they pick them for the collection.
So Web Designer Depot is also a good place for free WordPress themes for you.
Some other good sources you may want to take a look at:
Best Practices To Choose Free WordPress Themes
Safe free themes come from safe places. Remember what I said earlier? Get free themes from trusted and reliable sources of free themes listed above.
Check for malicious code. There are a lot of tools to help you do an X-ray scan for strange embedded code in your chosen theme. Try decoders or theme-checking plugins to have a safe theme to use!
Theme checking tool:
- Otto’s decoder
- Byterun Decoder
- PHP Decoder
- ROT 13 Decoding
- Codes by Decodethe.net
- Manual base64 decode
- opinionatedgeek.com (base64decode)
Tips To Choose Premium WordPress Templates
Where To Get The Best Premium Themes?
When asked, without hesitation, the first marketplace that comes to my mind is ThemeForest.
The name says it all. It is a large forest of quality themes and you’ll find yourself lost if you don’t know clearly what type of theme you’re looking for. Here is my list of good e-commerce marketplaces which sell the best WordPress themes:
Best Practices To Choose Premium WordPress Themes
Many WordPress professionals suggest that one should try a company’s free themes first and then go on to buy the paid-for ones if the free ones work as they should.
And since we have to pay for premium themes, carefully examine them before hitting the Purchase button. Although premium theme providers make the ‘ready meals’ for us to enjoy and tell us clearly what we’re going to get with their themes, still we have to:
- Check all links: Start with the menu of the theme. Click, click and click. Test all menu item links and other navigation links to see if they display as they should. Click on all the articles too.
- Test that “100% responsive” feature: A premium theme must be responsive! Test that by re-sizing your browsers and see how things shift around.
- Try theme on a real mobile device: It’s always better to test your chosen theme on a mobile to see the precise performance of the theme here. It should look good and nothing should break out of style on your mobile.
- Check the update frequency and provided support. Make sure the theme comes with regular updates (ideally within less than 3 months) and the support from theme provider is responsive so you won’t have to wait in frustration for them to help fix a minor bug.
- Opt for easy to customize themes. Even if you are a battle-tested coder, go for a theme that is easy to use and modify. A professional theme which does not require exceptional coding techniques to customize is a great choice. You’ll be able to save time for other important tasks.
So, Should You Use Free Theme Or Premium Theme?
Which answer do you have for the question: Free Theme or Premium Theme?
Keep this in mind: Don’t choose a theme solely on the cost. The answer to this question must be based on your goals: What do you need? What are you going to build for your client? How much is your budget? How much time have you got for your project? And how good you are at accomplishing this project within the given time?
If you are building a blog or a not very big project, then a free theme is the more appropriate choice since you are unlikely to need all the bells and whistles of a premium theme.
But if you’re about to build a complicated website, such as a corporate website, a business or popular blog, then you’ll definitely need to consider premium themes. Free themes can’t provide you with the advanced features you need to create a professional impression for your site’s visitors. Premium themes help you better in telling people that you’ve put great effort into it.
Especially, when you do not have enough time to build everything from scratch or your budget is tight and can’t afford to hire someone skillful to build things for you, so premium themes will save your time and money in this case.
Some good advice is passed on among advanced WordPress theme users: you should try a company’s free themes first and then go on to buy the paid ones if the free ones work well. Pick a theme that is the closest to your ideal theme, consider if you can easily get it modified to walk that last step to your theme nirvana.
Make a wise choose and keep your peace of mind through the whole project!
We’ve just gone through the whole story of free themes vs. premium themes. It’s all clear about what we’ll get with each choice, when, where and how we should make our choice. Now I think it’d be even greater to hear about your choices and opinions on free/premium WordPress themes. What have you been using for your project and which is better, from your experience? A free theme or premium theme?