You’re searching for the best responsive WordPress theme to install on your new WordPress blog and you now have to decide whether to use a free or premium WordPress theme, the difference being you pay for a premium theme. The chances are you will initially start rating themes by their appearance as you try to find that cool WordPress theme that will make everyone love your site. Although appearance is important, you will need to take other considerations into account before making your final decision.
When I started this site I didn’t know which option to choose. As far as I was concerned there were hundreds of great looking free themes available, I asked myself why would I need to buy a premium theme? As a result of this and before I published this site I decided to try various free themes that appeared to be what I was looking for to see how they performed. You can get legitimate free themes from wordpress.org, they have some really awesome WordPress themes that you can use, and you will be spoilt for choice.
After trying out some of the free WordPress themes I began to understand what I wanted from a theme, and how I wanted it to function. Overall I thought the free themes were pretty good, however after a time I started to feel a little restricted with what I could do with them, and I felt that the support process of the themes was inconsistent.
Support is available for the free themes via forums, you post a description of the issue that you need advice on and hopefully someone that knows the answer will post a response. I was really looking for a more guaranteed response to my issues. I noticed that to solve the majority of the issues raised it involved changing the themes code, and as my knowledge of coding is virtually non-existent I realised I was going to need professional support more often than not.
With this in mind, and looking into the additional benefits of premium themes, I decided I would use a premium theme for this site. I researched various premium theme developers, and with the information I had gathered I opted for StudioPress.com. This site runs on the eleven40 theme which is built by StudioPress.
Do You Need to Buy a Premium Theme?
If you find a free theme that’s suitable for your needs that you don’t need to alter too much, and you’re happy with the appearance, quality, security, functionality and support system, then I can’t see why you would need to buy a premium theme. If you do choose this option make sure to check the following:
- Reviews of the theme
- Is it highly rated?
- How many times has it been downloaded
- How long has it been available
- Is it kept up to date?
- Does the theme developer get involved with the support forum to help solve issues?
Checking all the above criteria will give you confidence in using a free theme.
If you find a free theme that’s suitable for your needs, but you think that at some point in the future you would need to make a number of modifications, and you’re not completely happy with some of the above, you may want to consider a premium theme.
It is really down to personal choice “horses for courses” as the saying goes. My advice is to spend some time exploring both the free and premium options to determine what you think will work best for you.
What I Like About StudioPress
Apart from their child themes being visually appealing, they operate a website framework called Genesis which is SEO optimized, secure and handles all of the core code. The child theme, which is the design element of your site, sits on top of the framework.
This means that when a new update of WordPress is released, which you should upgrade to or you could have security issues, Genesis handles the compatibility. So you can upgrade to the new WordPress version and you won’t lose any of your site customization as all of that’s handled within the child theme. In addition, if Genesis itself requires updating you can do this without it affecting your site.
If that sounds a bit confusing then check out this post: How to Install a WordPress Theme which shows you how to install a StudioPress child theme as well as a free theme.
As for their support team, I have used them often and have nothing but positive experiences, so far they have been able to solve all of my issues. If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for on the forums or in the many tutorials, their support team is ready to help.
They have made the customization of their themes very easy and they have developed some of their own plugins, giving you more options of how your site looks and works.
Overall I am very happy with using StudioPress. The help that I have received from the support team alone has proved to be well worth the price I paid for the theme.
Photo © Depositphotos.com/Agnieszka Bernacka