At first, a free WordPress theme for your blog may seem like a simple and effective way to garner attention and attract customers to your products. It’s true that there are a lot of color and layout combinations, and given the advantage of saving money, it’s easy to see why a free theme might be the way to go. However, a free wordpress theme will actually end up hindering you in the long run due to opportunity costs. If you’re thinking about a free wordpress theme, before you finalize that choice, here are some things you should definitely consider.
A Free WordPress Theme is Not Unique
A free WordPress theme has already been created and made available to everyone. If you decide to go with a free WordPress theme, another business has also probably selected the same theme. More than likely, several other businesses have also selected the same theme. If you’re looking to make your business stand out, you want to make sure that your products, services, and platforms stand out from the competition. Consider a list of the top 50 free WordPress themes: big picture background, words laid over it. Impressive, right? Think again.
A Free WordPress Theme is Not Personal
Along the same vein, it is distinction and brand distinguishing that wins in marketing. If your product and platform looks the same as everyone else’s, it doesn’t matter if you’re offering superior quality. Branding requires a personalized touch that clearly separates your business from others, complete with qualities and features customers can’t find anywhere else. A free WordPress theme is not made with your vision in mind, and therefore has no ability to convey that vision, quality of service, dependability, or system of values. It’s a generic template with no life or personality.
A Free WordPress Theme Indicates Little to No Effort
If you settle for a free WordPress theme, it suggests to your customers that the products and services you provide are nothing special (see distinction). If you have a generic, basic platform, potential customers probably think your company is also generic and basic. If customers don’t believe you care to present and support your products thoroughly, they certainly won’t care to invest their money in those products. You didn’t invest in your own product. Why would they? A customer would no doubt prefer to see commitment and control. Speaking of control:
A Free WordPress Theme Offers Less Flexibility
A free WordPress theme comes completely set-up, right out of the box. As mentioned earlier, it lacks personalization, and you are limited in your ability to add to this. You have a limited ability to tailor it to your needs, and if you do so it’s at your own risk. What does this mean? Well, if for whatever reason you end up having difficulty, you’re on your own for the most part. That’s never good. Furthermore, you become reliant on plugins or add on packages, which may or may not be available, in order to stay up to date and secure. Essentially, it’s like buying a car, except you only get half of the trunk space, have to rely on maintenance to come to you on their schedule when something breaks, and you never get to look under the hood to make any real modifications. Would you drive a car like that?
A Free WordPress Theme Offers Poor Search Engine Optimization
This last heading is misleading. A free WordPress theme doesn’t really offer search engine optimization(SEO) to begin with. That is up to your business, your marketing department, etc. However, when you consider the previous points about personalization, customization, and the lack of support, it becomes clear how difficult SEO is when working with a free WordPress theme. Sound bad? It gets worse. When it comes to websites and hosting in general, the thing about free themes is that there is often some kind of cost in trade, usually in the form of a plug. Somewhere in the html, there’s likely to be advertising- only it’ll be advertising WordPress, rather than your business. That plug won’t help you climb search rankings. In fact, it will definitely hurt your rankings.
All in all, a free WordPress theme is not going to do enough for your business when you consider all the costs and limitations that come with it. Not convinced? Take a look at a comparison between a free theme and its premium counterpart. Even setting functionality aside, perception is king; having a custom made platform well tailored to the specifics of your company increases your image rather than taking away from it. In the long run, you’re better off with a professional, personalized website that is continuously customizable and upgradeable; one that fully expresses your vision and demonstrates quality of care and commitment to customers.