You have decided to set up your author website. Congratulations! You’ve picked out your domain name and hosting company, and now you’re trying to figure out what theme you want to use.
There are lots of different templates out there for you to use. The question is, should you use a free or paid theme?
It can be tempting when you don’t have much money to use a free template for your site. I did this when I first started and went through three “free” models before I got my site looking like I wanted it.
I was very proud of it when I first put it together. It took a friend pointing out the horrible colors and hard to read font that convinced me to make a change.
I switched to a paid template last year. There are also some other things I have learned about free templates that make me wary of recommending them.
- They don’t cost anything.
- They are easy to set up and use.
- NOTE: WordPress officially approves free WordPress themes.
- Sometimes you have to pick the color scheme for your site. If you’re not a graphic designer, this can be a gamble.
- They don’t always look as professional as a paid theme.
- There is no support to contact if you have questions.
- Sometimes, but NOT always, they can contain viruses and malware.
- They are not always compatible with specific plugins.
- Limited features.
- The designs are not unique.
- Free themes are rarely updated.
- They can be “buggy” and be a security risk.
- Not all free themes are created equal. You need to read the WordPress license and see what you can do with it.
- They look more professional than a free template.
- They are easier to set up and put together.
- You can contact support if you have questions or issues.
- The theme is frequently updated.
- There is more freedom with customizable options and better security.
- The designs are unique compared to a free theme.
- A paid theme is standards-compliant to WordPress standards.
- Paid themes are compatible with all different browsers-PC, laptop, tablet, and phone.
- A paid theme has a better chance of being compatible with different plugins.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to making this decision. If you can’t afford to pay for a template right now, then use a free one. There is no shame in this. We all have to start somewhere.
My only advice is to make sure you backup your site at least once a week and download it to your computer once you get a notification from your hosting company. This way if something goes wrong, you will have a copy and can restore your site.
I recommend this at least once a month for everyone who has a website, but I would do it more often with a free theme. Regardless of what you decide, go out and start building your site today.
To learn more about how to set up and run a successful blog, please read my post How to Start and Run a Blog Like a Boss.