You guys, I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I wasted hunting down free WordPress themes. I was convinced that with enough effort, I could turn a free blog theme into the polished, feminine style I had in mind.
I came across Georgia Lou Studios early on in my search for the perfect theme. I fell in love with their gorgeous, feminine themes but decided that a paid theme was out of my budget.
I spent a crazy amount of time tweaking free themes only to get frustrated and trash my work. I wasted hours and hours on theme design when I should have been growing my blog.
When I finally purchased the Phoebe Theme from GLS, I was immediately blown away. It was so easy to create the beautiful design I had in mind!
I could have saved myself literally MONTHS of frustration had I invested in a paid theme right off the bat.
Related: My Favorite Blogging Resources
You don’t have to waste as much time as I did styling your blog. And I don’t want you to break out your credit card unless you need to.
I want to help you decide if a premium theme is right for you.
What to look for
If you’re new to blogging, I recommend checking out WPBeginner’s guide to Selecting the Perfect WordPress Theme. This will help you with the technical side of choosing a blog theme that won’t slow your site down or cost you traffic. Most of their advice here also applies to other blogging platforms.
There are two things I look for in a blog theme first:
You need a mobile responsive blog theme. This means that your blog will adjust to whatever size screen your readers use to view your content.
Around 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices so it’s important that your blog looks good on a small screen.
You need a theme with plenty of customization options so that you can tweak your blog to stand out from others using the same theme.
You want to be able to change as much as possible – colors, fonts, header, footer, widget placement – the more options, the better.
Every blog theme, free or paid, will have a list of its features and customization options so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
What to avoid
Stay away from poorly coded themes! A poorly coded theme can slow your site down, hurt your SEO, and may be incompatible with certain browsers and plugins.
The last free theme I used was not made by a skilled designer. When I switched to a premium theme, my blog sped up immensely! That said, if you choose a free theme from a good designer, page speed should not be an issue.
Pro-tip: Use Google PageSpeed Insights to check how fast your blog is loading. This tool will break down how fast your blog is loading and show you anything that is slowing your site down so that you can fix it.
The easiest way to avoid these problems is to look for blog themes with high reviews and themes from reputable designers. This is equally important whether you’re looking for a free or premium blog theme.
Why consider a premium blog theme?
Okay, so you know what to look for and what to avoid. It’s entirely possible to find all those things in a free theme, so why would you purchase a premium theme?
Here are 3 things to think about:
1. Stand out from the crowd
If you purchase a premium blog theme, fewer people are likely to be using that same theme. This may be more or less important to you, depending on your goals.
If you want to make money from your blog, you want to differentiate yourself as much as possible. A premium theme can help you stand out and craft a unique brand.
2. Customization galore
You guys, this was HUGE for me. Premium blog themes offer way more options to tweak your theme so that it matches your brand image. If you’re not as picky about what your theme looks like, you can probably get away with a free theme (especially as a beginner).
My problem was that I already had a picture in my mind of what I wanted my blog to look like and NONE of the free themes I found had enough customization options to achieve that look.
If you’re detail-oriented and have a specific style in mind, I highly recommend going the premium theme route. It’s the absolute easiest way to get the look you want.
Most designers offer support with their premium themes. So if you can’t figure out how to do something or if your theme doesn’t seem to be working properly, the designer is there to help you sort it out.
With free themes, you’re usually on your own. Unless you’re a coding wizard, it’s extremely helpful to have someone who knows what they’re doing available to help with any technical issues.
Is a premium theme right for you?
You may want to invest in a paid theme if…
- You can’t find a free theme that you love.
- You’re wasting time trying to learn to code so you can tweak your free blog theme.
- You want to create a unique brand and make money with your blog.
If any of those sound like you, I highly recommend finding an affordable premium blog theme that you love. You won’t be disappointed.
So tell me…
Have you found the perfect blog theme yet?