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Yes, it is always better to buy a WordPress theme. This is because premium WordPress themes offer customer support, frequent updates, more customization options, and better security over free WordPress themes.
Why Are Premium Themes Better?
To understand why premium WordPress themes are better, we will have to look at some of the shortcomings of free themes that premium themes don’t have. These shortcomings are the following:
Limited Demo Variations
Free WordPress themes are meant to be given away; because of this, their developers may spend little to no time creating different variations of that theme or adding additional customization options to it.
For example, the developers of premium WordPress themes will create multiple variations of that theme in the form of demo content that you can import once the theme is purchased. Each premade version of that theme will look different from the other but will maintain the core aspects that make that theme unique.
Because of these pre-made variations, more than one person can have the same premium theme, but their websites will look different depending on which demo they choose to import to their website.
Of course, there’s a possibility that another WordPress user will choose the same premade demo as you but the chances of that happening are significantly lower because of the number of available variations and the fact that the premium theme has to be purchased
Free themes lack a lot of features and functionality that premium themes offer. With free themes, these features are either not present at all or are locked behind a paid upgrade to the premium version of that free theme.
On the other hand, because premium themes are paid for, the developers add a lot of features and bundle their theme with premium plugins to add additional functionality to differentiate their theme from the competition and to make their theme more enticing to the customer.
Updates Are Not Guaranteed
Free themes are free and because of this most developers just publish them and don’t bother to update them after. This can cause them to become incompatible with the latest version of WordPress in the future, which will eventually lead to you having to change your theme or run the risk of leaving your website on an older version of WordPress. Of course, none of the above-mentioned solutions are ideal because changing your theme requires time, and not updating WordPress is a security risk.
Premium themes however provide the peace of mind that they will be updated to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress and upgraded frequently with new features.
No Customer Support
Developers of free themes do not provide support to users who use their free themes. If you encounter an issue while using a free theme, finding the solution will be up to either your knowledge of web development or a random internet forum.
By purchasing a premium theme you are granted access to the developer’s time to help you resolve whatever issue you encounter.
Should You Buy A WordPress Theme?
Well, the answer to this question depends on the type of project that you are undertaking. If it’s a very simple website such as a small blog then a free theme will do just fine. However, if it’s a more complex website such as an eCommerce store then you should definitely purchase a premium WordPress theme.
If you are still unsure of whether or not you should buy a premium theme, here are a few guidelines to help you decide.
Features and Functionality: Before you begin your search you will first need to figure out what features and functionality you would like your website to have. After you have determined this you can start looking for free themes that have these features. If you can find a free theme that meets these requirements then you will not need a premium theme.
Your Budget: It is important to decide on the amount of money that you are willing to spend on a premium WordPress theme. Premium themes cost between $20 USD to sometimes over $75 USD. If you are okay with this price range then a premium theme may be for you if not you will have to stick with a free theme.
Unique Design: You will need to decide if you would like your website to stand out by having a unique design from your competitors. By this, I am referring to how the layout of the website will be because fonts and colors can be changed and are not tied to the theme you select. Of course, someone else may have a similarly designed website to yours if they also purchased the same theme. However, the likelihood of this is very low when compared to free themes. This is because with free themes there is no barrier of entry and free themes usually have way more active installs than premium themes
Customer Support and Regular Updates: Finally, you will need to figure out if customer support will be important to you. If it is then you will definitely need a premium theme because free themes don’t offer any customer support. Additionally, you will also need to decide if having a theme that is regularly updated to work with the latest version of WordPress is important or are you willing to switch themes every time a free one becomes outdated.