Everyone likes getting something for nothing and free WordPress themes are no exception. When new users start out on the content management system, they encounter unexpected expenses. Domain registration, hosting, installation or set-up costs and purchasing a theme. It’s no wonder that many new site owners choose free WordPress themes instead of buying premium themes. But the old cliche, there’s no such thing as a free lunch often comes into play when using free WordPress themes.
Free WordPress Themes Pros
The most obvious pro about free WordPress themes is, self explanatory: they're free. Free is usually a good thing. Not only do they save the cost of having a theme designed by a professional, they also save time in having to configure your site. Free WordPress themes typically come with design features which allow for a bit of quick customization. Then there's the support if something breaks. What's more, many free WordPress themes come updated or are compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
Another pro of using a free theme is chances are someone else has used it. That means there's likely user feedback or a ratings system which demonstrate how user friendly the theme is. Potential users can also Google the theme's name and/or the designers name to find out more information.
Free WordPress Themes Cons
While it's great to stumble upon free WordPress themes, it's not great to discover the truth about many of them. Most theme designers don't put out free themes to be better citizens. They do it because of ulterior motives. As mentioned, you might get support if something breaks, but the support is limited, if available at all. However, this is not the biggest con of free WordPress themes.
- Free WordPress themes aren't original. If and when you do find a perfect free theme, you won't be the only one using it. And that's bad for SEO.
- Free WordPress themes may have hidden code. Users should be very careful. Some designers insert what is known as "base64 code". This obscured code may be a conduit to make the site send traffic elsewhere. That can be considered black hat SEO and your site will be penalized.
- Free WordPress themes might be "locked". Free theme owners might not only find nefarious code, they may not be able to get rid of it without wrecking their site. If the designer is deviously clever enough, they won't let users remove that code without essentially breaking the site.
- Free WordPress themes could contain backlinks to sites that are completely irrelevant to the user's content. Not only will it be a nuisance, it will drive down a site's SEO. Sites which link to other sites which are completely irrelevant to one another will be penalized by index robots.
- Free WordPress themes may limit functionality. Of course, you may not know that until after you've taken the time to upload it. Certain features which make the theme so attractive may be a pay to play scenario.