I used to think that I could make a website using WordPress completely free and it would be as good as any site around. Did you ever believe this?

Anyone who knows web design or marketing through the web has likely believed this at the early stages of their internet marketing efforts. Then suddenly, after long hours of frustration and not being able to get your site to work like you wanted, you realize that free isn’t really so good.

Knowing how to choose a WordPress Theme to save time also saves you money. So let’s take look at what to do.

4 Ways to Choose a WordPress Theme

Essentially, you have three ways to choose a WordPress theme for your website if you do not know how to do web code and pHp and all that crazy stuff – which is most of us:

  1. Search endlessly through the WordPress.org theme directory, which today as I write this article has 2,656 free themes available.
  2. Search the web using Google or Bing for “free WordPress themes
  3. Buy a quality theme from a proven theme creating source
  4. Have a theme custom made.

All will get you a result, but 2 of the four will likely leave you very frustrated, and cost you a lot of time. This time means money as well.

Let’s look closer at your 4 options of how to choose a WordPress theme…

Free WordPress Theme Options

In your 4 options, 2 of the options of how to choose a WordPress Theme are free. Free always sounds great, but rarely comes out anywhere near as good as you hoped. Why?

Consider this

  1. In the Worpress.org theme directory at this very moment I write, there are 2,656 free themes, and the number is growing daily.
  2. When someone makes a free theme, they designed if for themselves, and not for you or a large group of people
  3. The creator of the theme will likely tire of updating a theme they make no money from because it takes work to keep a theme compatible with the WordPress updates.
  4. When you do a web search for “free WordPress Themes” you will find resources of upwards of 8,000 to 10,000 themes with no easy way to search individual themes.
  5. From inside your self-hosted WordPress website you can filter the search. The sad thing is, this search filter is only as good as the tags on the themes themselves. It has never been good or reliable for finding what you really want.
  6. There are, within just WordPress .org, over 32.987 plug ins. In reality, there are thousands more than that. Free themes notoriously conflict with many plug ins, and the creator is not likely to do a fix for you if any of your plug ins have a conflict. And why should they? You didn’t pay them.
  7. I can almost guarantee you will install a theme thinking it is good, do all the work setting it up, and then find out it doesn’t actually meet your needs and you will have to start all over again. You will repeat this process a minimum of 5 times and by then you will be pissed off because you will now have spent 10 to 30 hours installing and uninstalling themes, and not have what you want.
  8. If you even keep any free theme, you will eventually have to modify it, and you will need a coder who knows WordPress to do that. It won’t be free.

I could likely list more difficulties associated with using free themes, but this should get your attention and make you think.

I quit using free themes about a month after the first time I tried it. This was 7 years ago, and it was easier in those day than now. If you make only cheesy looking, crap autoblogs, then you may find the free themes appropriate.

Buy a Quality Theme from a Proven Source

Buying a premium theme from a proven theme making source is where I recommend anyone begin. If you seriously want your site to look the way you want, and want it to work for a long time, then the only thing I could legitimately recommend is you buy a premium WordPress theme.

It is true you can have conflicts with plugins and you might not like the first on you get. But here’s the deal…

  1. You paid for it, from a proven source, and they typically will fix conflicts with plug ins when you find them.
  2. Proven sources have money back guarantees, so there is no risk
  3. Premium WordPress themes are 5 to 10 fold more functional then just about any free theme out there
  4. Proven premium providers update their themes. That is part of what you pay them for.
  5. Most premium themes you need are not very expensive. They run in a price range of about $37 to $97. Sometimes a little more, but you will likely find what you need for a price in the middle of that range.

Custom Themes are a premium option also. Of course, a custom theme will deliver exactly what you want because it is custom for you.

  1. A custom theme will cost more because it is unique
  2. You should find out what kind of updates will be available for you. Because it is custom, you will most likely have to pay for your updates.
  3. When getting a custom WordPress theme, make sure you know what kind of plug in conflicts the creator will do for you.
  4. Though more costly up front, and over its lifetime, the custom theme may be what you need depending on your website functions. If the site is a money making site, and is intended to be around for a long time, then custom may be exactly the right thing for you.

Where to Go to Save Time and Save Money

Over the years, I’ve gained a bit of experience getting themes for myself and my clients. I come to use only 3 places for 95% of what I need.

If you are not building websites for other people, one of these three places will have what you want and need, and they all will take care of any problems, conflicts or difficulties you have with any WordPress them you from them.

Here or my top 3 places for getting premium WordPress themes…

  1. Elegant Themes
  2. Themeforest
  3. Woo Themes
  4. ThinkBigandGrow Media

Each of the above locations has at least a 30-day, money back guarantee, and each of them has demos sites for their themes so you have a pretty good idea of what you are getting, and increasing the odds you get the right one the first time.

For custom themes, my company ThinkBigandGrow Media can build your site for you and fully customize its look and functionality. Call us at 202-642-4375 to get a quote and professional estimate. We build exactly what you want, to your specifications. All our sites are fully responsive and we can build sites from premium themes or make them custom. View our portfolio gallery here.