For the dedicated blogger, entrepreneur, or side-gigger, the appeal of free website themes is obvious: they’re free. Today, almost anyone with a few hours of time can create a website for free and start generating traffic. But are free themes enough to build a thriving audience and eventually make a profit? Or do you really need to invest in a premium theme that costs money?
You Have 4 Theme Options
When it comes to building a website, you always have options. In terms of your site’s theme, you’ll encounter four basic choices:
- Pay for a premium theme. For just a little bit of money (the mean theme price is $57), you can purchase a premium theme. The benefits include better functionality, enhanced security, more frequent updates, and customer support.
- Pay for a professional website builder. A premium theme is great, but it’s still a pre-packaged theme that’s designed to fit as many situations as possible. If you want a custom theme that’s designed with you in mind, a professional website designer is your best bet. Not only do website builders create a site for you, but many also offer advanced marketing services.
- Design your own site. If you have some experience building websites, you always have the option of building your own. In fact, with today’s intuitive website building platforms, you don’t even need to know code.
- Give a free theme a try. Finally, there are free themes. You can find thousands of free themes online and should be able to identify a handful that fit your specific needs or niche.
There is no perfect option. Each situation calls for a unique approach and you may find yourself in a scenario where there’s one clear answer. Should/could that answer be the last option: a free theme?
The Potential Disadvantages of Free Themes
Free themes are incredibly popular right now, mainly because there’s an influx of people and entrepreneurs building their own websites and trying to stick to a tight budget. If you do consider a free theme, make sure you understand the potential disadvantages.
- Lack of originality. One of the biggest strikes against free themes is that there’s nothing stopping other businesses from using the same one you choose. In fact, popular themes are often used thousands of times over. This could ultimately water down your image.
- Less freedom. When you go with a free theme, you’re restricted by the features and functionalities that are built in – and there aren’t typically very many. This gives you less freedom to accomplish your objectives.
- Less room for growth. Finally, free themes limit your room for growth. Most free themes only allow for a certain number of pages or storage. Once you reach this limit, you have to stop. As a business that plans on scaling over time, this can be detrimental to your growth strategy and could force you to eventually make a big change. Keep this in mind as you look towards the future.
Free themes are an option – and a good one for many people – however, it’s not right for every situation. Evaluate the pros and cons and don’t rush into making a decision until you’ve gathered all of the facts.
Weigh Your Options Against Each Other
Is it possible to make a profitable website with a free theme? Yes. Is it your best bet? Probably not. Spending a little money for a premium/custom theme is usually worth the investment. If you have the skills to design your own website, or can find an intuitive site builder, you might even be able to take a DIY approach. It’s your call!