Although WP Hacks was originally setup with WordPress Hacks in mind, based upon our readers needs we’ve invested a lot of time over the past year and a half into researching WordPress themes and providing you with a large selection of WordPress theme galleries.
Back when this website was launched the premium themes market didn’t exist yet, so we had originally placed our focus on the different types of free WordPress themes. The result was a bunch of galleries broken down into types.
Since that time, a second market has emerged known as premium WordPress themes (premium was the term originally used to describe a more advanced or higher quality WordPress theme). Over time we adapted and now offer a variety of both types of theme galleries.
I always felt there is a market for both types of themes in the WordPress community, but some shoppers don’t know which of the two they should be looking at. Add in the fact that too many designers over the past year have released low quality themes under the “premium” business model, and a lot of people have been left unhappy with their purchases and an overall loss of trust in the premium themes market as a whole.
So, if you were shopping for a new WordPress theme for your website or blog, what should you be looking for? Based upon the individuals needs of the shopper, there are a variety of factors that should be considered, but it mostly boils down to three essential factors:
- Price - Is the theme free? If there is a cost associated with the theme, am I getting the right value for the price? In the price category, free WordPress themes are always going to have an advantage, but there are a few downsides to going this route. Free themes usually require you to leave the link in the footer, while many premium themes do not. Many free themes are also unsupported, so if you aren’t comfortable hacking your own theme, it may be worth the price to purchase a supported theme. There is also minimal risk of sponsored links or malicious code showing up in a purchased theme.
- Quality – Another obvious point of comparison between free WordPress themes and premium WordPress themes is the quality of the themes. There are a number of high quality free WordPress themes and (as mentioned above) there are some low quality premium themes. When looking for your theme, the designer or design companies reputation is everything. Does the theme I want offer control panel options, cross browser compatibility, or widget support? Are there multiple layouts and color choices to choose from?
- Support – Although support isn’t going to be relevant for some people looking who have the ability to customize their own theme, for most shoppers this should be the most important factor. Some free themes offer support from the designer, but most do not. If you decide to purchase a theme, you are usually paying as much for the support as you are for the acutal theme! Does this designer have trustworthy testimonials? Do you know any existing customers who are happy with the support they are receiving?
What do you value most when shopping for the right free or premium WordPress theme for your website or blog? I know most of the WordPress theme designers read this site and will see your feedback, so let us know in the comments!