Do a Google search for free WordPress themes or any other free blogging template and you’ll find them all over the Web. Some of these freebies look like a million bucks, and some are designed with rotating headers or rotating feature images. At first glance it’s hard to believe these templates are free and you wonder if there’s a catch. Why yes, there is. And thank you for asking. Let’s take a look under the hood…
Free Blog Templates – The Good
Obviously, the best thing about free templates is the price tag. Even though a professional template can cost less than $100, that’s still money out of your pocket. Many beginning bloggers just don’t have that extra money to invest in a theme, especially when there are so many lovely models available for free.
But you know what they say… There’s no such thing as a free lunch!
Free Blog Templates – The Bad
Most free themes are designed by professionals who use them to promote their design services, so in most cases they’re very well designed. After all, if you wanted to test out a new designer and his sample product failed, then you wouldn’t pay for the upgrades.
However, some of the free themes you see floating around were designed years ago, way back when WordPress was just an infant. Since then, there have been tremendous changes to WordPress, to browser technology and to search engine algorithms.
Using an older theme could mean that millions of searchers and half the top search engines can’t see or read your blog. And you won’t know it unless you check your blog daily across more than 100 browsers and search engines.
Free Blog Templates – The Very, Very Ugly
The very, very ugly side of those free templates can be pretty nasty. Images disappear, formatting doesn’t work, and sometimes the internal code just can’t handle your traffic.
Worse, many unscrupulous designers stuff their free templates with all sort of links that you legally can’t remove. These links lead to their own websites or to spammer sites where your readers will pick up malware and viruses. It’s not a pretty site.
When Should You Go For A Professional Template?
I understand that it might not be within your budget to purchase a professional theme at the beginning, but you really should put it at the top of your list. At the very least, if you’re going to use free templates, avoid those unknown freebies you find lying all over the Web and use those you can find through your WordPress dashboard so you’ll know they’re up to date.
A lot of bloggers like to customize free themes because they enjoy the challenge of learning how these templates work. And many bloggers who already know how to code think they’re saving money. But you’re really putting your entire blog at risk. As soon as you have the money you should go for a professional template. It’s a one-time investment that could mean the future of your blog.