Often overlooked, but one of the most important aspects of setting up your blog is choosing the appropriate theme. A theme gives you the overall design and look of your blog, this is what your audience see when they visit. Along with your content, your theme can either make or break your blog.
When picking out the right theme you need to put your desired plugins into consideration like related posts, visual editor, social sharing and so on. Then the big debate comes up, whether to use a free theme or a premium theme. As a newbie to the world of blogging, you might have considered or probably already started your blog on a free theme, saying to yourself that you will definitely switch to a premium theme much later when your audience has grown to a considerable number.
That’s not a very wise decision to make because you will most definitely regret it later on. This has being observed by numerous bloggers out there, and this post is to make sure you don’t make the same error, or if you’re already using a free theme for your blog, it’s time to make an upgrade for good.
Take note, we’re not saying free WordPress themes are impossible to use for your blog, It’s just that they come with lots of disadvantages. Just take a second think about it, why would anybody just hand out free stuff? Ever heard the saying that there’s no free lunch even in Freetown? Exactly my point. You might be thinking it’s free and enjoying it while saving some money, but nothing comes without a price and that costly price is the growth of your beloved blog. Below are 7 signs you really need to get rid of your free WordPress theme.
1- Lack of support and rarely updated
Have you ever tried contacting the developers of your free WordPress theme for any kind of support or assistance? And did you get any? If that’s not a clear sign, I wonder what is. When faced with issues installing a free theme you get little to no help at all from the developer and this is bad.
Do you like this blog post? Let the person who wrote it write and manage your blog! Get started
Getting an update for your free WordPress theme is almost non-existent and this is detrimental to the security of your blog. These developers create free themes to taste the waters or as a side project but they make it better and make updates available in their pro version.
2- Your site takes forever to load:
Does your website take forever to load? Well, what did you expect? It’s free. When a theme is poorly coded it can make the site really slow and that’s bad for business. Your visitors don’t want to go to your page and then have to wait forever for it to load. They could be doing something better with that time. Trust me, you do not want to sabotage your readership even before you have properly begun.
3- Lesser features:
You might have also noticed that your free theme didn’t come with a lot of features, that’s because, with a free WordPress theme, the number of features you get to have on your site is very limited. Unlike a premium theme that has a reasonable number of features integrated within the theme like contact forms, slider plugins ticket, support plugins and so on. With a free theme you don’t have the opportunity or the luxury to make your site as trendy and well put together for your readers and visitors. You can’t even place your opt-ins where you need them the most.
However you might argue that you have the choice of integrating these features separately with plugins, but this is not advisable because if one of your integrated plugins is not properly coded, it can cause your site to load really really slowly and even leave it exposed to security risks.
4- No SEO optimization:
For those that have been using a free WordPress theme for a while, you might have seen that your ranking is quite low. That’s because free WordPress themes are hardly ever built with SEO options. Their coding is always not so clear. When the coding and structure of your site are clear and clean cut, it gives an important SEO signal.
Theme developers know this, so they take care of these important aspects in their pro versions then leave you to hang with your free version.
5- Did you get hacked?
Just imagine trying to open your website and it’s just not there or it keeps redirecting you to some other website? Then your site has been successful hacked. When a theme is not regularly updated it can bring about some serious security risks to your site and like we mentioned earlier WordPress free themes are not usually updated. And also because of the way free themes are coded and written, it makes it easy for spammers to hid malicious malware on your site. On the other hand, you don’t get this kind of problem with a premium theme because it is properly written and regularly updated.
If you think your site has being hacked you can use a free malware scanner like Sucuri Sitecheck to scan your site for any infection.
6- Encrypted and unwanted links:
Do you see some unwanted links/URLs in your footer and you can’t seem to get rid of them? That is because most free WordPress themes if not all comes with encrypted links in the footer. And these links often times redirect you to malicious and suspicious sites. This can further fall your rankings on search engines optimization and there is also a very potential risk of a virus like the Trojan on your site. For your own information, don’t try to remove such links because you might just end up with a broken theme, thereby causing more problems for yourself.
7- Not plugin compatible:
When your free theme does not come with the features you would like to have on your blog, the next thing is to opt for plugins to maximize your blog’s potentials but this might be an epic fail if your free WordPress theme does not support advanced plugins. Have you ever tried installing a plugin only to find out that the particular plugin only supports updated themes? Like we mentioned earlier free WordPress themes are rarely updated and this can affect some plugins you would like to use on your blog.
After all that has been said, let us conclude by asking a very simple question; what is an investment? According to Investopedia “an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth”. We think it’s height time you properly invest in your blog because at the end it’s really going to pay off. Your blog is your business and your business won’t grow unless you properly invest not only your time but also your money in it.
There are lots of affordable premium themes out there that you could invest in to make your blogging experience and your life easy. Think about it, with a premium theme you get good support, regular updates, your blog also gets to work great and look attractive. Below are some great premium themes in no particular order you could invest in:
Keep your blog fresh and your audience engaged without even lifting a finger! Let us write and manage your blog
– Elegant theme
– Thrive themes
Upgrade to a premium theme today and thank us later!