Krystal & Company Design Studio

6 Pros and Cons of a PAID WordPress Theme

 

Pros of Paid WordPress Themes

There are many advantages to using a paid WordPress theme for your website.

WordPress is a website platform that helps you easily create blogs and full-fledged websites. WordPress is split into two branches: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This article focuses on WordPress.org, the self-hosted website content management system (CMS) for which both free and paid WordPress themes are available.

Let’s explore how greater customization, full technical support and documentation, and the professional design of paid WordPress themes help you in your business.

Make sure to check out Part 1 of this discussion: 7 Pros and Cons of a FREE WordPress Theme.

Greater Customization

Paid WordPress themes “unlock” the features you can’t access in the lite version. Depending on the developer, you can choose from among a whole host of color, typography, and layout options to properly showcase your brand. Paid versions also include more widget areas, adding more functionality to your website. Widgets make your website more feature-rich, allowing you to include useful content for your visitors.

If you are an experienced designer, you can use the CSS editor to your advantage and style specifically with your brand elements.

Technical Support and Documentation

A paid WordPress theme usually includes support for six to twelve months, and sometimes into perpetuity, depending on the developer. Some theme creators give you access to a members-only support forum. The support forum is where you can post your questions and concerns and get helpful feedback.

Most free themes are skimpy with the documentation. Documentation provides instructions for theme set up, detailing all of the possible features and configurations the theme can produce. These instructions are usually very detailed. Most documentation will instruct you on how to set up your theme just like the demo—because the developer knows that most people choose a theme based on the demo and want to replicate it on their website.

Polished and Professional

Your website is the digital face of your business. Paid WordPress themes give you great design straight out of the box so you don’t have to work too hard to make your website look good. Good web designers pay attention to the details: color, layout, white space, typography.

All these crucial elements can make or break the look of your website. Poor design can make your website look dated, amateur, and sloppy. This is not a good look if you are starting a business and want people to take you seriously.

Cons of Paid WordPress Themes

Now we’re going to dive in and examine some of the drawbacks of purchasing a WordPress theme. Expenses, sneaky plugins, and complex themes are some of the cons to look out for.

They can Get Pretty Expensive

Paid WordPress themes can run the gamut in cost from $40 on Creative Market or Etsy to $100 on theme shops. Some theme designers will customize their themes for you, at a hefty price, sometimes into the thousands. It really depends on where you are in your business how much you are willing to spend on a theme.

If you’re a solopreneur just getting started, a $40 WooCommerce compatible theme might be all you need. If you have an established business with thousands of customers and a strong social media presence, you can probably afford to pay a premium price for a custom installation.

The “Lite” Plugin Bait-and-Switch

Some developers—cough, Envato, cough—bundle a bunch of plugins with their themes, and this can get tricky. The common ones I’ve run into are Revolution Slider and Visual Composer. The issue I have with this bundling tactic is that the theme will only install the “lite” version of the plugin. Just like the lite themes, these lite plugins have limited functionally and locked features. You have to purchase a license to access all of the features of the plugin.

Let’s take Revolution Slider, for example. The lite version works fine if you don’t mind creating slides from scratch. But the plugin is not particularly intuitive, and it has a bit of a learning curve. However, with a purchased license, you get handy slider templates, so you don’t have to create new slides from scratch at all. You can just customize the template of your choice. This is a nice feature, but you have to pay for it. Otherwise, you are stuck creating slides from scratch. Revolution Slider is not the easiest slider plugin to master for a WordPress newbie.

I’m not against paying for premium plugins. But many times, consumers are not even aware the plugin is bundled with the theme. And once you install the theme on your website, surprise! There’s a nifty plugin included. However, you don’t even get the full version of it, it’s already outdated, and you keep getting these annoying messages about purchasing a license for full features and support.

Bundling plugins in paid WordPress themes is a great way for plugin developers to make money off of you by giving you the limited version, but then dangling the premium carrot before you for a price.

I’m not saying these plugins are worthless. It depends on the style, purpose, and goals of your website. This common bait and switch has hidden costs.

Overly Complicated Components

Another disadvantage of the paid WordPress theme is the overly complicated set up it might require. I’ve seen this plenty of times in a popular theme repository. Some of these themes are absolutely beautiful on the front end but are a complicated mess on the back end. Widgets, plugins, and customizers galore!

Know what you’re getting into when you purchase one of these themes. I’m warning you here because you really won’t know what you’re getting into until you purchase the theme, and by then it’s too late.

Several themes on a popular site are not for the novice WordPress user. WordPress itself has a bit of a learning curve. Adding complicated themes to the equation results in hours of frustration for the DIYer who just wants to get her website up and running. With all kinds of widgets and doodads, customizing your website can get confusing. Time is money, and no one has a month of frustration to spare.

WordPress already comes with a built-in customizer that you can access from the front end of your website. It makes changes in real time. However, some paid WordPress themes provide back-end customizers with complicated menu, color, and typographical options. This includes formatting the homepage, contact page, shop page, and what have you. It can be very overwhelming keeping everything straight.

My Overall Recommendations

Honestly, there are so many variables to consider while choosing a WordPress theme. The choices seem endless. Choosing a free (or paid) theme all depends on where you are your business, who your audience is, and what you are writing about, what you are selling, and where you want your business to be in the next couple of years.

Some Key Points to Remember

  • Your website is the digital face of your business. Paid WordPress themes make a good first impression.
  • Paid WordPress themes give you a plethora of customization options from colors to typography to front-end page layout composers that you don’t normally get with a free theme.
  • Several paid WordPress theme options can be overwhelming to a WordPress novice. Paid themes have good to excellent support.
  • Some developers even create custom code for you to use on your website if you need.
  • I recommend a paid WordPress theme if you want to present a professional, polished site for your customers and followers.
  • Beware of the “lite” versions of themes and plugins and be ready to deal with the limitations of both if you’re not willing to upgrade.

Make sure to check out Part 1 of this discussion: 7 Pros and Cons of a FREE WordPress Theme.

 

3 thoughts on “6 Pros and Cons of a PAID WordPress Theme

  1. Hi Krysal,

    I’ve purchased several themes, especially when I work as a WordPress freelancer. My clients have all kinds of themes, some of them I’ve never even heard of.

    You’re right, I dislike those themes that come with built in plugins. I would rather that the theme come bare naked and I can add the plugins that I want to use.

    I am not a fan of sliders, but some of my clients love them. I’ve worked with Revolution Slider and Soliloquy and I like both of them. For my personal blog, I hate using sliders.

    These are some great tips on pros and cons of what people should look for when looking for a new theme.

    Thanks for sharing, have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • Hi, Susan. Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you liked this article. Yes, premium WordPress themes are a wonderful, especially if you’re a designer with limited coding knowledge. Since I started designing for customers, I’ve run into a few challenges with themes. Some are easier to customize than others for various reasons. Some come with !surprise! plugins I didn’t anticipate. But it’s all been a fun adventure as well!

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