Paying for wordpress themes vs free in 2015 - your thoughts

32 replies
I am at a place where I recently started networking after doing a free website for a not for profit organization.

I now have a few leads, one of which I quoted around $1500.00 for a full site, based around wordpress as that is where I am familiar...

Now, I am debating if I should invest in divi theme for wordpress. I have been told it is super adaptable to any need and the support is outstanding.

I understand the cons of free themes, but if you work with wordpress and have for a while, you probably understand that the free themes are pretty fantastic now a days.

Many premium themes are essentially free with paid perks such as extra functions or better support.

Still, what are the big pros to paying up?

Do you recommend paying for themes?
In this case I would be using the theme of my sites that I already have and would build a new marketing site with it.

Any feedback is appreciated
#2015 #free #paying #themes #thoughts #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author vishwa
    Yes, I highly recommend paid themes over free themes. Regarding free themes paid themes come with great framework and also loads very fast. Paid themes also comes with great design.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    I recommend you do what you are most comfortable with. I am not a coder and do not want to spend time tweaking free themes, so I buy mine. If you are comfortable working with WP and themes then do that.

    al
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  • Profile picture of the author nicelife
    It's hard to say of course and will depend on where you buy your theme, however in my experience paid themes have always been of much higher quality than free ones. They have proven to be a huge timesaver with much less coding customization needed. Easier to customize in the Wordpress dashboard etc.

    That's at least my experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author extrememan
    I've never need to buy premium themes because most free themes are decent now days. Some are even better then premium themes. It really depends on your needs and taste!
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  • Profile picture of the author cl7
    Paid themes are easy to deal with and usually the provider would provide support as well. You can find a lot of nice themes for just $40-$70.
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    • Profile picture of the author ElGuapo
      Paid.

      There are two clear reasons why:

      1. They have more built-in features than free themes, and many come with pre-made templates to get you going. I think this is a must if you're taking on paid clients who might ask for specific customisations.

      2. Support. You will inevitably need help, guidance and support if you're building a custom website. Any kind of issue can pop up, from translations to code snippets to plugin interference. Good luck getting that kind of robust support with free themes.

      Divi is a good theme, btw. I used it for quite a while, but switched to Beaver Builder. Much better for getting up good-looking websites fast, as all the designing is done on the frontend. Give it a look.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Some themes are worth buying, but at the end of the day it's the marketing that matters. You can have the pretty Wordpress site but if targeted visitors aren't coming there on a daily basis.... then you might just run yourself out of business - and lose a ton of money in the process.
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    • Profile picture of the author kilgore
      As far as I'm concerned the answer is simple: get the best theme for the business you're running. If it's free, great. If it's $50, fine. If it's $500, that's fine too. I mean, we're not talking thousands of dollars here, but we are talking about the public face of your online business. If you're business isn't gonna make enough to cover a $50, $500 or even $5000 theme, what's the point?

      Of course what's "best" is highly subjective. For me, I look for themes that are continually developed and well-supported in addition to what most people look at, which is just does it look good. I also want it to be extensible (I'm a developer by trade and I know I'll modify the heck out of anything I use) and responsive. I'll also look at the libraries/frameworks that it uses. For instance, I like JQuery and I like Bootstrap, not that they're the only games in town, but I know them and I find them easy to work with, so I look for themes using those. But you may not care about that sort of thing, and that's fine too. There's no right answer here. Make up a list of your requirements and figure out the theme that does the job the best.
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  • If support is important to you, paid is the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author ma247
    Paid theme has a lot of premium features
    for marketing and business where
    you can't get on free theme.

    I personally like premium theme
    specially themeforest theme
    for my internet marketing.

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author G0nzalez
    Banned
    Paid of course.

    But if it's possible for you, and have the money, go with a custom build theme, not one bought from themeforest or other marketplaces.

    Just so you don't look the same as other sites. Be unique my friend!
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  • Profile picture of the author morg2k2
    If you want to have a real business then the only answer is paid theme. Why?

    Because:

    a) You have support
    b) When there are bugs they will fix them. When Wordpress is upgraded many free themes will not provide support. Its free right?
    c) The Paid themes framework always blown me away, only that pays 10x the price of the theme.
    d) Paid themes are SEO optimized and SPEED optimized

    For last but not least if you can´t invest 50 to 100 bucks in your business, probably you don´t have a business at all.

    Morg
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  • Profile picture of the author Joan Altz
    I like using the Genesis framework and then Thrive Content Builder or OP2 for my sales pages.

    For websites, I think themes that cost money are better, if for no other reason than for the support. You might really need that support sometime, and some free theme providers disappear just like free plugin providers do (of course, the disappearing act happens with IM sellers as well, and that's why you should choose higher end tools and themes when you can afford it.)
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  • Profile picture of the author alarias
    You have a third option: Creating WordPress themes from scratch using modern, responsive frameworks like Headway!
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  • Profile picture of the author dlane1987
    Paid themes win every time for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Three observations:

    1. Many times people that claim that paid is the only way to go, the only thing decent, the only thing for people that want a real business, etc. advertise free stuff in their sig. Makes you wonder if the free is junk thing applies there too. Comment isn't just about this thread but something that happens a lot around here - kind of a disconnect.

    2. There are many paid plugins and themes that have little to no support or get abandoned. Just check the WSO section for complaints and you'll see. Whether a theme is paid or not has nothing to do with the quality of coding, size, or anything else. The point is to look for quality, look for what you need, don't throw up barriers about things that don't really matter such as basing a decision on whether something is free or paid. Get the stuff you need to do your job no matter who makes it or how much it costs or whatever.

    3. Some free themes become paid themes just by adding a plugin. For example, GeneratePress uses this model. Other themes use a different model where there is a free version and a paid version. Typically the only difference is in features not underlying framework type issues. In other words, if I use the free Virtue theme and then I upgrade to the paid Virtue theme I get more features not necessarily tighter, cleaner, code.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      I haven't paid for a theme in years. In fact, I do most things with Wordpress default themes and modify them using child themes. A little basic CSS, a few new images, and I can tweak those themes so that the only way you can tell is to inspect the code itself.

      Mark's post got me thinking...

      Many of the folks insisting that paid themes are the way to go due to better support haven't looked at the main forum here lately. There are days when I think they should change the name to the Universal Support Forum, because many of the people paying for support come here instead.

      What's the point of buying "support" if you're just going to post your "how do I do this" or "which plugin do I use for that" questions here?
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Originally Posted by morg2k2 View Post

        If you want to have a real business then the only answer is paid theme. Why?

        Because:

        a) You have support
        b) When there are bugs they will fix them. When Wordpress is upgraded many free themes will not provide support. Its free right?
        c) The Paid themes framework always blown me away, only that pays 10x the price of the theme.
        d) Paid themes are SEO optimized and SPEED optimized

        For last but not least if you can´t invest 50 to 100 bucks in your business, probably you don´t have a business at all.

        Morg
        Ya, gonna call BS on this.

        Just got a client in the past couple of weeks - and guess what? They have a themeforest theme where the creator went MIA
        No fixing of bugs cause the person went MIA
        I had to go in and fix things cause original theme person went MIA and so did previous webmaster - you think this is worth it to owners of site? They are paying me now to fix stuff.

        Not all paid themes are SEO and speed Optimzed. Disagree? prove it to me. Theme had extra stuff clunked in that I just deleted as it was of no use.

        It's not about investing 50-100 for a business, but how you use it.

        Originally Posted by alarias View Post

        You have a third option: Creating WordPress themes from scratch using modern, responsive frameworks like Headway!
        Don't get me wrong - I love Headway and use it for my own sites but it's not free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kherk Roldan
    PAID THEME IS GREAT! that's it!

    and for great template i recommend avada!
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  • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
    I spent a measely $97 on my Thesis theme...I've had it for the last 5 years I couldn't be happier. Time is money,find a professional looking theme and be done with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    I agree with extrememan, most of the free themes are decent now. So for me, it is more on the owners preference. Investing on theme is a choice, so it is not necessary unless you want to make an impact to your site visitors.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
      Originally Posted by st0nec0ld View Post

      Investing on theme is a choice, so it is not necessary unless you want to make an impact to your site visitors.
      *scratches head*

      Uh... Isn't the whole point of having a site to "make an impact" on your visitors? If not, then why bother at all?
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  • Profile picture of the author ss7639556
    free themes are also very good but if your website contain highly qualified material or you use for skill purpose then you go for paid themes because they provide many benefits as compare to free themes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Asadullah72
    hi, both theme has some problems and advantage. Look your requirement and choose the theme which is more advantage for you !!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex The Lion
    Paid themes also often come with a level of support, which can be extremely helpful if you want to make changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author jelkin
    I stopped using free themes for a few reasons:
    1. lack of support
    2. limited flexibility
    3. lack of updates ==> potential security risk

    Now I use the Avada paid theme and it is extremely versatile.
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  • Profile picture of the author FromCook2King
    BUY YOUR TEMPLATES FOR PEOPLE. GO TO THEMEFOREST.


    If you aren't a programmer. Support should be your number 1 priority. If you don't know how to do something, having a resource that will solve your problems will be everything to you.


    Plus you want to be as pro as you possibly can be. Make things look nice. Don't be negatively greedy.

    - plus premium theme style will always give out a better impression.
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  • Profile picture of the author T S Chan
    Sometimes free themes have limited functions and design is not as attractive as the paid ones.

    I have great experience with optimize press :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Being free or paid doesn't really define what it is.

      There might be something fantastic launch next week that's free with quality support and then they might end up charging for it next year.

      I'm currently using Optimize Press with Optimize Member which I paid for and I think it's the best I've used to date.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve L
    Originally Posted by stevenjcampbell View Post

    I am at a place where I recently started networking after doing a free website for a not for profit organization.

    I now have a few leads, one of which I quoted around $1500.00 for a full site, based around wordpress as that is where I am familiar...

    Now, I am debating if I should invest in divi theme for wordpress. I have been told it is super adaptable to any need and the support is outstanding.

    I understand the cons of free themes, but if you work with wordpress and have for a while, you probably understand that the free themes are pretty fantastic now a days.

    Many premium themes are essentially free with paid perks such as extra functions or better support.

    Still, what are the big pros to paying up?

    Do you recommend paying for themes?
    In this case I would be using the theme of my sites that I already have and would build a new marketing site with it.

    Any feedback is appreciated
    The free themes look cheap in my opinion. Plus more sites will be using them by default.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmberJB
    I have a couple of sites that work just fine on a free theme. Then, because I wanted certain functionality that I just couldn't find with a free theme, I went ahead and bought a couple. I am very pleased with the results of the paid themes. Then again, my simpler sites are fine with free themes.

    I must say I have tweaked the free themes a bit to get them to look right in a couple of places.

    So it really depends on if you can find what you want with a free theme. If you really like it and it saves you fiddling and coding time, it is probably well worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author dwhs
    I'm all about theme forest, I have found some amazing templates for Wordpress and just about anything for under $50. Hate to limit the market but they have locked down for me right now.
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