Whats the difference between a free, premium and custom WordPress theme?

As a developer, I will tell you that WordPress is one of the most flexible ways to get some web presence. However, for novice users, the design, look and feel is often a mystery. Users will download free themes from the WordPress repository only to find they do not like the fonts, or download a premium theme from a developer and find the set-up is beyond their skill set.

So whats the difference and what is the best choice for a person who knows nothing about code?:

Free Themes:

These are themes that designers in the WordPress community have posted as their contribution. Only download from your WordPress admin interface or from WordPress.org/extended.

  • For those that have no budget.
  • For those that need to get their site up and running quickly (Is 5 minutes fast enough for you?).
  • The light weight standardized code may not look great to you, but Google will LOVE IT
  • For those who can tolerate security issues (if the theme is D/Led directly from the internet).

Tips for Free WordPress themes:

  • Only download through your admin interface Appearances –> Themes. or from WordPress.org/extended. Downloading of the internet invites security issues. I have seen some major bad stuff happen.

Premium Themes:

  • For those that have a small budget. $50 – $160.
  • For those that need to get their site up and running quickly (Is 5 minutes fast enough for you?).
  • The theme may come with functionality and advanced features, not allowed by WordPress.org
  • The theme may have a built in “framework” where you may have advanced options to change the look
  • Customer support maybe included. Although I have never been able to get answers, you might have better luck
  • Other companies maybe using the same theme, so you must be ok with that fact.
  • You will receive updates as to your theme if the theme maker creates updates..

Tips for Free Premium themes:

  • Stick with companies with good reviews. if possible. Some of the major ones are Theme Forrest, Woo Themes, Store Front Themes, and many many more.
  • Some people may like features from one Premium Theme

Custom Themes:

Now we are talking my language.

  • For those that have to have their site be unique. No one else will have your design.
  • Custom Themes that do NOT allow clients to change things like layout and fonts in their admin will be lighter weight and therefore may rank better on the search engines.
  • The theme’s admin will be customized for your needs.

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