Free WordPress Themes ~ Why free is expensive!

There are thousands of Free WordPress Themes out there and many of these free themes keep coming up every moment. Of course, WordPress script itself is shipped with a couple of free themes.

While these free templates have their advantages, there disadvantages to my opinion outweigh the positive points.

You can have free wordpress templates just in any niche – from very simple to somewhat complex designs – for business, photographers, churches, musician, writers, etc When I say free, I mean free;

Some so-called free themes have as a requirement to place a link at the bottom pointing to some url. As long as the the author gets some benefits in exposure and SEO from you using the theme, it’s no longer free. You pay for it by giving the author some advertisement.

However, Google has come up with a cane to fight the SEO benefits (dofollow link) required by some so-called Free WordPress templates developers. They either get a nofollow link or no link at all.

In any case, free may be expensive in a long run. Let’s see how free theme users end up spending more;

Before you read on, check out this post where I guide on what to consider if you are looking for a theme that can help you generate income from your blog. Not all themes can help you make money.

Here is a comment one of my readers made on this recommended blog post;

free wp themes

Check out the post here

How Free WordPress Themes will cost your leg

Sometimes, I’m of the opinion that free is not free. You get something without spending money but paradoxically, you end up spending money because you got that same thing free. How is that free?

In another case, because something is free, it lacks the necessary ingredients or facilities leading to your incapacity to be productive – free is expensive indeed!free wordpress themes

There is no business growth without financial investment. Most of us want to make money online but we don’t want to invest in premium tools. We spend time looking for the free stuff that ends up costing us a lot.

Are you having a free wordpress theme on your blog?. Whether you have the best free wordpress themes or not, you may still be on the downside. Here are some possible ways this will cost you;

1 – Branding

If you are serious in your business, you won’t want to be tagged in anything that will compromise your brand. Seriously, grabbing some free design that lacks professional qualities reduces the value in your business.

Your brand is the image your current and prospective customers have about you.  While the big shots are doing every possible thing to eliminate any negative impressions and implant a bright image in the minds of their customers, you should not be an exception.  Your blog should boost your business and not bring it down.

2 – Customer support

For the most part, you don’t get any customer support with free wordpress themes. Providing support is one of the must crucial characteristics of any technical system. Where customer support is not available, the service or product distributed is potential source of damages to its users.

What if danger strikes? Who do you turn to? I bet you the free theme developers may not offer the complete support required. That will certainly drive you into frustration, disappointment, loss of business, etc

3 – Business Expansion

No business wants to be stagnant and that includes yours. Everyone strives for growth and more profit. If your blog doesn’t give room for expansion, then you are in some difficult situation.

You want some additional modules, some modifications, some other additions, etc, but you won’t get any of these because your theme is free.

Now, to hire a developer to have some additions done to your free template will be as a matter of fact more costly.  That’s how it is!

– No updates

Most free themes don’t get as constant updates as are required. You agree with me that this is a big security menace.  Why then go in for something that threatens your business?

Now, WordPress is a platform that grows with changing times. While new core functions are developed, old ones get deprecated. With your free theme that lacks these corresponding updates, I can assure you that danger is near. It’s just a matter of time.

What you should note is many free theme developers simply update the version number in their free themes to make you believe they are up to date with the current version of WordPress. But the core script is hardly touched.

– Vulnerability

Most wordpress free themes have security openings. That’s not just because they are free. The reason is the amount of resources the developers put in to get the bugs corrected. For the most part, little time is assigned for the maintenance of these free wp themes

Some evil minded developers consent to dropping malicious code within the core script of some free themes. This is meant to leak out key information about your blog. Isn’t that bad enough to keep you away from these free templates you can’t really blame someone for?

The dangers and disadvantages of free WordPress themes are numerous.  The long term implications on your business may be heavy. See beyond your nose and build a solid tomorrow for your business. Invest in premium themes that get the attention of the developers.

– Plugin Compatibility issues

WordPress is powered by plugins. You can do literally everything by just installing one or more plugins.  One common problem with plugins is incompatibility. For the most part, with a free theme, you will always hit one or more incompatible cases.

The dark side is that you may not have anyone to run to for solutions. You will therefore be left with two options; do without the plugin or hire a developer which makes it more expensive – free is  not free

Any recommended Premium theme?

Yes of course! My blog runs on Thrivethemes’s Focusblog theme (At the time of writing this post). Thrivethemes are on the list of the most recommended WordPress themes because of the constant updates, active community, theme responsiveness and SEO benefits.

Thrivethemes isn’t just about themes. It’s a collection of conversion optimization tools to power your online business. Here are some interesting details.

There are actually two ways to get Thrivethemes products:

  • Buy the single product
  • Signup as a paid member (which is super cheap) and access the collection of tools

Find out details here

Now let’s talk …

Are you using  free WordPress themes? What’s your opinion about free templates in general? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

53 thoughts on “Free WordPress Themes ~ Why free is expensive!”

  1. Hi Enstine
    This article is really helpful to new bloggers who choose free themes over premium ones. You have talked about every possible aspect of free themes but you should have a look at free themes from Mythemeshop. They provide full support plus updates for free themes too.
    For Premium themes Genesis is one of best framework.

    Dheeraj yadav

  2. Enstine:

    This was truly a spot on post! In fact your caveats reminds me of a TV special I once saw titled: “The high cost of cheap products!”

    While practically every savvy and experienced marketer will readily concede the enormous appeal of strategically using the word free!
    When it comes to actually running and growing your business in the real world. The word free is not going to get it done!

    Ever notice “how” all the courses and boot camps on “how to” supposedly by Real Estate using “No Money Down” methods! All seem to cost an arm and a leg! Bingo!
    Welcome to the cold hard reality of the real price of free!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This very post reminds me of my mistakes that i have made in my previous blog. I have made my free account premium one in a few dollars and now I am satisfied with the theme(premium).

  4. Hello Enstine,

    That’s one point I will not be agreeing with you…there are many free (and great) themes out there that do not conform to your list of disadvantages.

    Many free themes now give you the option of removing the credit link, are properly coded and updated on a regular basis. In fact, some free themes I’ve used beat premium themes flat. A great example is the Hueman theme. Why not check it out and see what I mean?

    Then again, if you are scared of any malicious code, TAC is always there. Remember?


      • It’s great you acknowledged the exception…you may just have succeeded in frightening the crap out of a newbie with no dough to buy premium themes!


  5. Its True statement that Lunch is not free, Professional business cant sustain on these type of free themes , People faced below things in Freee wordpress theme.

    Most Free themes lack professional designs

    Most Free themes have security vulnerability, are dangerous and contains hidden codes

    They suffer from Technical and Customer Support

    They cause compatibility problems

    They are rarely updated

    They lack proper SEO – Most has missing H1 title tag

    Most of this free themes have faulty rel=canonical link

  6. This Article is perfectly justifying its Title “Why free is expensive!”. You very well explained sir and i am 100% agree with your statement – If you get something without spending money but paradoxically, you end up spending money because you got that same thing free.

    One of my friend Sourav was owning a Govt job blog and he was using free wordpress theme, resulting after few days he got lots of Spam and bad links and his blog went down day by day. But after doing all the thing correct and specially using “Genesis theme” , he is making nice money.

    This is an eye-opening article for wordpress users. Thanks for this mind-blowing informations.

  7. Enstine, thanks for featuring my comment from a while back! I actually had forgotten I made that 🙂

    But you are so right about the importance of having a quality theme. A couple months ago I really buckled down and decided to buy a premium theme and I also went with the genesis framework.

    And as counterintuitive as it might sound you really are dead on when you say that a free theme really isn’t free. What one ends up missing out on with a free theme really can cost one more in the long run 😉

    Great points as always Enstine and I hope you’re having a fantastic week man

  8. Hi Enstine,
    The saying, everything beautiful and worthy comes for a price seems true here. We might be able to get our hands on thousands of WordPress designs and themes which are available for free on the internet. But the fact is, we will be losing out on some of the must have features a Premium theme can only provide.
    I also use Genesis on my blog and it is definitely one of best premium themes out there. I recommend it to everyone.

  9. Hi Enstine,

    If you say so, you’ve got the point there.
    Free theme does not have periodic updates that can support its performance. It could be said, free theme has less features than the paid theme.

    Recently I visited Tim’s blog and also saw this Genesis things. I never thought I would find it again here. 🙂

    Thanks for this helpful post, Enstine.
    Nice post!


  10. Hi Enstine,

    I cannot agree with you more. Free WordPress theme is really *NOT FREE* at all. There’s a reason why it’s free and that’s to embed their code for advertisement plus it leaves a hole for your blog to be hacked. It’s very dangerous. A brand new blogger doesn’t wanna take their chance on doing this. If you’re going to blog seriously, might as well do this CORRECTLY. You can pay as low as $5/month for hosting service and domains are as cheap as $8-10/year. Compared to what it was before when I first started my website back in 1998…the domain used to cost me $40-100/year. It’s amazing that they lowered that down. Big difference!


    • Hey Angela,
      Things are getting cheaper and cheaper by the day. At one moment, there will be no excuse for using FREE 😉

      Thanks for your comment. By the way, how was your weekend?

      Hope you are prepared for a great week ahead

      • My weekend was too short. How was yours? I have a lot of tweaking posts from that SEO Pressor plus I still need to construct a client’s website. So many untouch projects that still needs to be done. *sigh*

  11. Aside from problems with compatibility and on site SEO a free theme just takes way to much time.

    If you are beginning a new blog or your first one investing little money into a premium theme will easily save time while customizing it. Support is one of the main reasons paid themes excel. If you can find a wonderful support forum through your premium theme provider then making changes comes easily.

    Not everyone knows how to even change the font style on their new blog so support is must for any first timer.

    Some great points here!

  12. Hey Enstine,

    Although I have a free theme, I’ve been finding out lately how much they suck..This is through experience and through reading other blogs. I found out how the theme I use is limiting as far as adding side widgets and on top of that they’re much more open to attracting spyware.

    I read up on the Genesis framework towards the end of last year… at that time I could not afford it, but my money won’t be so funny by next month. I will look at who offers the genesis framework and the Xtheme you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

    • Her Sherman,

      Genesis Is what I use and I can recommend it from experience. xTheme, I have not used but have read a lot about the possibilities and features. It looks so great

      Don’t forget I’m Genesis affiliate and I offer huge bonuses to my readers buying through me 😉

      Do have a wonderful weekend

  13. Hey Enstine, you hit the nail on the head with this topic. I’m a big fan of Genesis, as well as the Sahifa theme over at tielabs. I also like the convergence theme which Matthew Woodward uses.

    I do think free themes are okay if it’s a really basic, open-source framework and you already have intermediate – advanced HTML/CSS/JS/PHP skills. This makes it a fairly streamlined process to jump into a framework and transform it into something suitable. Then again, Genesis is very ideal for this.

    Thanks for bringing up this topic Enstine, have a nice day!

    • Hey Jesse,
      Good to see you on my blog and thanks for the engagement 😉
      Yes, I like Matthew Woodward’s blog but I have never thought what theme he’s running on. BTW, Genesis seems to be the most favorite. They are good though

      Do have a wonderful weekend and hope to see you around again and soon 😉

  14. Perfect post and you are right in every point. Free is not a free there are so many disadvantages also comes with a free themes. I personally avoid freebies as much as possible. If you going to the premium version theme than you have a right and you can also get updates too. Thanks for the post Enstine.

  15. I started out with a free theme and a whole load of free plugins Enstine.

    As you say though, I soon came to realise that you get what you pay for.

    The theme never got updated and when I had problem that I couldn’t fix, the developer wasn’t keen to help for free.

    I then moved onto Pagelines but I didn’t like the update to DMS 2 so I eventually moved to Genesis as well.

    I use the Dynamik Website Builder child theme and would recommend anyone who doesn’t have any web design knowledge to take a look at it.

    You can change pretty much everything on the back end without coding and you can also change CSS on the front end in real time before it goes live.

    • I have thought of grabbibing the dynamik theme builder myself Tim and this like another recommendation 😉

      Great to see you around and thanks for the contribution.

      Do have a wonderful weekend man

  16. Hello Enstine ,
    I tried a lots of free WP templates but once I got noticed that my theme is showing a casino royal adds on the header. At that time I first realized that free themes are dangerous. Nice message to new bogie.

  17. Hello,

    first of all: Nice post.
    You are quite right with your statements, except for the fact that there are a few free WP themes out there, which get updated and work pretty good with several plugins.
    Anyhow this doesn´t mean that this can´t change the day of tomorrow. Free is usually not free, at least not for long.


    • Hey Georg,
      You are quite correct! Some free themes get the attention of their developers quite often. However, they always lack some premium features 😉

      Thanks for your contribution and do have a wonderful weekend

  18. Hi Enstine,

    You delivered an important message to all newbie bloggers. A free WordPress theme may not be good for them. I’ve mentioned that in my posts too and got to know a few bloggers who faced problems using a free worldPress theme.

    The biggest drawbacks are not correctly coded, no customer support, and no updates. You can’t run a theme without customer support. If your theme is not updated, it becomes vulnerable.

    You know what, I used Genesis for one year and it was great. Then I looked for a different layout and found that in a ThemeForest theme. And its working great too – the support is great and its updated in a timely fashion. I would highly discourage bloggers to use free WordPress themes.

    Thanks for delivering this message so strongly. Do have a great rest of the week! 🙂

    • Hey Harleena,
      Sorry for the late reply!

      Yes, newbies are fun of grabbing free themes 😉 though I never started with one

      Oh I didn’t know your theme is ThemeForest. If those guys are awake with updates and customer support, then that’s find

      Thanks for your contribution. Hope you are set for a wonderful weekend 😉

  19. Hi Enstine, just popping over to see your site following the link you left on mine.

    I just wish I know more about the whole themes thing. I recently had my other site developed for me but the developer wasnt on my wavelength at all and has made a complete hash of it.
    I need to learn a bit more about web design so that I can select and implement my own themes

    • Hey Debbie,
      Thanks for following the link and I hope we keep a more active blogging relationship 😉

      What about buying a premium theme where tech support is readily available. You can also get the developers to customize for you generally very cheap. What about that?

      • Hi Enstine, Yes i would be potentially interested, either in finding a developer that could help me manage the current theme – or somebody who could update the theme and then support it for me. I want to learn a bit about FTP too, so I can add some mini-site templates for products that I am going to sell. And I may be in the market for a new webhost sometime this year too – as the current one is not helping me to learn. I’ve put the link to the site in question tis time, so that any developers/webhosts who are dropping by your site might take a look and let me know what they could do for me

  20. When I use free themes I always get rid of so-called powered by and developed by …

    Sometimes I see really strange links in the footer and because I like the theme I edit it.

    Is this legal? Well it’s a GNU license, to be frank I’ve never faced any problems, when I do I’ll make sure to let others know 😀

  21. Hey Bro,
    awesome post again!
    agree with you about free themes. Sometimes selectng free themes is the worst dicision.
    Apart from that few guys download premium themes from untrusted sources like torrents. mostly this themes are infected with some scripts. So, sites gets down after using this kind of premium stuff.

  22. I have always said it that freebies are not good enough to keep our businesses on the safe side. When we receive those free templates, plugins, etc, we think we have hit the jackpot; but by the time you put them to use you discover they are more of liabilities than assets.

    It is true that we go for these packages because of financial challenge. However, I would rather advise that you should change to premium/paid version as soon as you have some moneys to spare. Using the paid version puts you in charge and gives you more functionality to take your business to the next level.

    Thanks Enstine for reminding us once again of the importance of using products that ensure the safety of our businesses. Do have a great weekend ahead.

    • Hey Joe,
      Thanks for the great contribution this week man
      Hope you are doing great despite the challenges 😉 These are stages in life

      Do have a wonderful week ahead and meet you on skype

  23. Hello Sir,
    When I was new to WordPress I have faced this problem sir it’s absolutely right what you have explained. Very well explained and also was covered all aspects and one can easily make out how to overcome this issues.
    Thanks you for such nice article.

  24. You are very much right in saying that free themes actually cost us very much.

    Now I really want to switch to a premium theme. Wasted a lot of time in searching and testing themes but no one is every perfect. I could have utilised that time to concentrate on my blog.

    Thanks for again reminding me of the fact!

  25. Hey, Enstine.
    Thank you for a nice piece of writing!
    We are website templates producer and can completely agree with you.
    We also have some free themes but they are of lower quality. Updates, support … and of course, design. If compare any of our free theme with any of our premium theme, the disparity will be significant…

    Have a nice day!

  26. Features matters all time. There will be no update and fixes for free themes. Its better to avoid free themes.

  27. Absolutely right on everything. With the free themes, there is a catch and that is something you must avoid which is to not get caught in the net. What would you advice about Blogger free themes, there are very few Blogger premium templates.

    • Hey Shalu,
      I have not used blogger before and I really don’t know the source of their free themes. WordPress for instance comes with free themes which are better than most that are downloaded from somewhere else

      Maybe Blogger too comes with themes developed by Google. Is that the case?

Comments are closed.