For many people who are just getting started with WordPress, the decision to use traditional vs headless WordPress themes (at least in terms of themes) is probably based on the idea that if there is an alternative that works fine, why would anyone pay money for a premium option? This mindset aligns with standard startup advice, which suggests that people who wish to start a new blog or website keep expenditures minimal so that they don’t have excuses to delay their launch.
This advice is certainly sound, but it does not necessarily reflect strategic long-term planning. There are numerous advantages to purchasing premium WordPress themes. There would be no market for them if there weren’t already a large number of individuals prepared to buy and utilize them.
Traditional WordPress Themes
After installing a new instance of WordPress on your preferred web server, it’s rather simple to locate free WordPress themes. By going to Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme from the WordPress dashboard (here’s how to install a WordPress theme), you can search the official theme directory for options.
There are many other WordPress theme alternatives accessible on the internet, so this isn’t the only place to look for traditional WordPress themes. The main benefit of using a theme from the WordPress theme directory is that they are officially authorized, which means that every theme submitted to the official theme directory must pass a thorough review process.
The automatic WordPress plugin that analyses the theme against WordPress’s strict code standards kicks off the theme review process. The submitted theme will be personally evaluated by WordPress theme developers if it is accepted. Only after these two processes have been completed successfully does a theme become publicly available in the official theme directory.
Traditional WordPress Themes: Pros of Use
- For new website owners, free is always a nice thing, and it’s excellent for individuals who are always experimenting or need a change now and then. Premium WordPress themes need purchase, and many of them aren’t cheap! Because some theme suppliers do not allow returns, you may be left with a theme you can’t use if you don’t like it or it isn’t compatible with your must-have plugins.
- Traditional themes are officially authorized through a multi-step procedure on WordPress, at least for the options provided in the official theme directory.
- Because they don’t contain a lot of premium features and widgets, free themes tend to have a minimalist style. If you don’t use a lot of plugins, this might result in a WordPress site that loads quickly (which will improve your technical SEO).
- Traditional themes are often designed with novices in mind, and as a result, they are basic and straightforward to use. As part of their testing process, WordPress developers ensure that the themes in the theme library can be utilized by a novice before approving them.
- Most WordPress plugins are typically compatible with these free themes. Kinsta also recommends Just traditional Themes and MH Themes for their wide collections of high-quality free WordPress themes, in addition to the official WordPress theme directory.
Traditional WordPress Themes: Cons
- A free theme offers fewer features and no added functionality, which are essential for many larger and more professional websites.
- Some of the free themes have been downloaded over a million times! When compared to premium themes, free themes are not distinctive. Many comparable sorts of websites will utilize the same theme because anyone may download them without having to pay for them. Because free themes don’t have as many modification choices as premium themes, the differences will be minor, and users will likely become accustomed to these themes’ repeating features.
- Because many of the themes on the WordPress repository site are seldom updated, they may become incompatible with the WordPress CMS’s regular version upgrades.
- If there is a problem with a free theme, there is no help. WordPress cannot monitor who the theme creator or developer is because there are so many contributors to free themes. You’ll have to rely on third-party assistance (WordPress forum, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, or hiring a web developer), and there’s no assurance that you’ll receive a timely (or any) response if you don’t pay for it.
- Free themes that aren’t available in the official theme repository may be badly written (bugs), making your site open to security risks. A word of caution: not all free themes are made equal (various WordPress licenses exist), so before you download one, make sure you understand what you can legally do with it.
Why Companies Create Free WordPress Themes
One scenario is that the free themes are intended for a person’s or company’s work portfolio. Others build free themes to hone their skills and gain a better understanding of the WordPress platform. Others produce free WordPress themes to promote themselves, advertise a product, or raise brand awareness. The inclusion of links in the footer of free themes connects the theme’s instance to the original developer’s website hosting. Everyone who downloads and uses the theme exposes this link to their audience, increasing traffic to the developer’s website (and creating backlinks for SEO).
How to Locate Your Perfect High-Functioning Free WordPress Theme
Before a free theme is accepted into the WordPress repository, it is thoroughly tested for a variety of concerns, including:
- Core functionality and features
- Presentation and functionality
- Options and Settings
- Selling, credits, and links
- Stylesheets and scripts
When to Use a traditional WordPress Theme versus a Premium headless WordPress Theme
It’s more than simply picking a theme that “looks beautiful” when it comes to theme selection; it’s also about finding something that functions well for your content and website goals.
Simply said, you should choose a free WordPress theme if you want to:
- Do you want to create your blog?
- It doesn’t matter whether your website appears like everyone else’s.
- Are you only looking for basic functionality?
- Can get by with little help (great if you’re primarily using it for blogging purposes)
- Use a premium WordPress theme instead if you want to:
- Are you intending to build a company website with WordPress?
- Do you want your website to stand out?
- Do you want your website to be able to offer a variety of features?
- You don’t know how to repair problems and require the assistance of a dedicated support team.
Many premium themes and plugins are accessible for free on the internet. However, we strongly advise you to avoid using items from these sources. The following are the most important reasons: Why Should You Stop Using Nulled WordPress Themes and Plugins?
To make the selection easier, you must first determine the purpose of your website. If you require specialized features, such as for a photography website, a culinary blog, or an e-commerce site, you’ll need to select a WordPress theme that will meet your needs. Keep in mind that the more extensive your website becomes in terms of required functionality, the more difficult it will be to maintain and administer. It will be difficult to achieve this successfully if you choose a traditional WordPress theme.
What You Get with a Premium headless WordPress Theme
- Standards-compliant: Up-to-date with the latest versions of WordPress, PHP, CSS, and HTML
- Responsive: A responsive WordPress site is becoming more of a necessity because Google counts mobile responsiveness as an important ranking factor
- Compatible across different browsers
- Works well with other plugins
A free or premium headless WordPress theme has advantages and cons, but which one to install ultimately relies on the demands of your website as well as the budget and aesthetic preferences of the website owner. It’s quite OK to start with a free WordPress theme and upgrade later if the necessity arises.