I stopped using Free WordPress Themes when I joined Elegant Themes about 2 years and started using paid Themes. From there, I got myself the Thesis Theme, followed by the Frugal Theme which I am still using now. I had lots of fun using the Thesis, but along the way, things happened that made stopped using it. However, it has nothing to do with the Thesis, it remains to be one of my most favored Themes though it is not free.
Through the years that I have been using premium Themes, I have not exactly abandoned the Free WordPress Themes arena. I have Google Alerts set for them and each time there is new release, I will make it a point to check these free themes out and I must say, the themes are getting rather good. In fact, some are of premium quality in coding, looks, as well as designs. Some even go the the extent of giving you pages upon pages of options for you to customize your Theme. It was something quite unthinkable a few years ago when you download a free theme.
Some Free WordPress Themes Are Sponsored
Along with these improvements, many sites offering Free Wordress Theme downloads sprouted up. If you have checked some of them out, you will find that these Themes offered are very professionally done and true, it is done by professional theme designers. You might wonder why these free themes are not available from the official WordPress site. It is for the simple reason that WordPress.org does not allow sponsored themes.
For those who are new to all this, sponsored themes are themes that has links embedded in the Theme. Money is paid to the designer to have their links embedded for back-linking purposes. It is also a source of livelihood for these designers who churns out WordPress Themes for a living.
Download Clean and Free WordPress Themes
The best place to look for Free WordPress Themes that are clean and which do not contain any unwanted links except for the authors is from the WordPress.org repository. Unlike before when you have to go there to look for the Themes you prefer, WordPress users can now search and download these Free WordPress Themes right from their dashboard.
In your WordPress dashboard go to Appearance – Themes. Click on ‘Install Themes’ then search for your Theme preferences. Once you have found your Theme, just click ‘intsall’ and WordPress will do the rest. After that, all you have to do is to activate the Theme and you are done.
On the other hand, if you have downloaded the Theme from a third party, you can also have WordPress install the Theme for you automatically. Still under ‘Install Themes’ click on ‘upload’. Browse and navigate to the location where you have saved the zipped file. Select the file, then click ‘install now’
Be reminded that you have to make sure the zipped file that you have downloaded elsewhere is ‘clean’ and do not contain any other files except for the Theme files.
Free WordPress Themes Or Paid WordPress Themes
Whether you want to use a Free WordPress Theme or opt for one that you have to pay is entirely up to you. The advantage of paid Premium Themes is of course the support and the updates that you are going to get throughout. Most will come with a free lifetime upgrade whereas for a free theme, most developers never upgrade the Theme once they have released it.
Another thing you pay for is of course the superior code architecture that, believe it or not, plays an important part in your onsite SEO. Though many free themes claims to be SEO friendly, the most you get will be Validated codes, Premium Themes goes deeper that that.
Many are skeptical as to whether Premium Themes really does help increase organic traffic. It will be hard to convince as you have to try it to believe it but from my experience, though I have only used the Thesis and The Frugal, it does help. A lot, if compared to the Free WordPress Themes that I have been using prior to the change.