There are a whole host of very good free themes for most blogging platforms, which can often be used “as is” or customized just a little to create something a bit different, but is it time you invested some money in a premium theme to really push your site forward?
It’s true that content is very important, but the way that it’s presented is not to be ignored, particularly when you consider that first impressions count a lot, people will initially judge your site on what it looks like, and it takes just a second or two to click on the “back” button.
If you have the time, knowledge and dedication to work out a theme from scratch, or rip out the guts and replace swathes of code on a free theme, then good for you. I know there’s satisfaction in creating your own design that’s completely yours. I also know, now, that I’d rather spend that time creating content than designing from scratch.
How to get a premium theme
There are two routes to getting a premium theme.
The first is to find a designer that sells premium themes. Generally you’ll want to look for designs that are highly and easily customizable, have a degree of support (whether that be direct with the designer or via a forum), offer upgrades/updates to fix bugs or add new features, and offer more than “run of the mill” features you could easily find in a free theme.
The second is to hire a designer to create a unique blog template to your exact specifications. You’ll want to take a look at their portfolio to ensure that they’re creating bespoke sites, and maybe talk to some of their previous clients to see how the process went.
The first option is cheaper and quicker but you still may not own a completely unique theme.
The second option is more expensive and takes longer to implement, but you’ll hopefully get a design that’s truly your own.
Look and Feel
Whether you’ve had your blog template designed for you, or you’ve customized a premium theme, the way it looks and operates will be unique and tailored to your blog.
Ease of use
If you’ve picked a good theme or designer, it should be really easy to add new elements without breaking the template or having to get bogged down in the code. This means you have more time for creating content and building community than wrestling with how things work.
I found that after I’d invested some money in a premium theme, I took more pride in my blog. Though I didn’t spend much on the theme, it was enough to change my mindset and take my site more seriously. Not only did the theme present content much more attractively but it looked more professional and encouraged me to work harder at building it.
This might not work for everyone, but I find that if I’ve invested money (beyond basic hosting and domain name costs that everyone incurs) I’m more likely to stick with a project.
Long term view
Linked to the pride factor, I’ve taken a much longer term view of my blog design, and am more likely to let it evolve over time rather than completely redesign it.
When I was running free themes, I found myself tweaking or even replacing the design more often. After I invested in a premium theme, I left the foundations alone and added things that created more worth.
That’s not to say that I’ll never revamp the design in the future, but I’m far less likely to do so on a whim.
It’s possible to run a successful blog off the back of a free theme, but moving to a premium theme definitely has its advantages.
If you’ve not considered it before, why not take a look at some of the options available. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get something a bit different that could set your blog apart from the crowd.
What do you think? Do you use premium themes and how has it changed your view of your blog? Or do you think free themes are fine?
I will now get a premium theme…
Great post, thank you for the info!!
It’s true, you don’t need a “premium theme” to make money and quality content is imperative. Of course if the theme looks bad, or the website is full of bugs or hard to use then people probably won’t bother to read the content.
In any case, one of the primary aims of an Internet marketer is to add value to the user. One such way is having a unique web design which looks stunning and tailored to suit the organisation or individual.
From my personal experiences as a Web Designer, I’ve had clients who insist their “old” website doesn’t need to look fancy because it does the job – nobody complains about it. On the flipside, nobody compliments it either.
However, as soon as I redesign it all of a sudden people become more engaged in the website and begin giving the client positive feedback. It creates positive word of mouth for the client which is effectively free publicity.
If your website looks like something out of the late 90’s many people may not give it the time of day, while it may still perform well, it could be perform a lot better. It comes down to the requirements and objectives of the organisation/individual, so in some cases a free theme may suffice.
It’s not necessary to have to get a preminum theme.
You can get many free theme with perfect features.
The most important thing is your blog content, I think.
You can get a free theme and customize it.
A premium theme is great if you wanna stand out, but I still think that you can make so many tweaks with free themes so that it aint necessary to pay for a premium.. If you know some coding, that is, it can be hard to get the codes right sometimes. Anyway, I think it all depends on your niche, since it`s most of all webmasters etc that can recognize a theme. “Regular” people wont even think about what kind of theme you`re using, imho.
Perception is reality it never fails to amaze me how noobs in internet marketing do not understand that the laws of real world business apply to almost everything we do. This so much happens in the MMO sector especially how you see a noob start an MMO blog teaching people supposedly how to make money online but yet they can not even afford a 70 dollar premium theme this is beyond me.
I have found the biggest advantage to using premium themes is the level of customer support. This is not to say that free themes do not come with any sort of support but I have failed to find one with the level of support that is sometimes required when you run in to difficulties when customizing the theme (even if you have some coding knowledge you can still make mistakes.) 🙂
Premium Themes do not have to cost that much either, the Theme I’m using on my website is $19.95 and I think it does the job nicely.
Thanks for sharing,
Free wordpress themes are definitely a great place to start. Purchasing a premium theme depends on the needs of the website owner, sometimes it may be best to have a “plain” website. Premium themes offer a lot, especially if there are new plugins/scripts included, and great support offered from the author. In the end, for the more successful website owners who have a large website and don’t want to bother with coding and customization, getting a professional and unique wordpress theme may be the answer in the long run. Some designers are expensive and some are not so much…you gotta shop around.
I’ve been working on the skeleton of a future blog site and I’ve been going back and forth on whether to use a free template, work on my own, or just shell out the cash for premium theme/design. This blog is helpful, but not enough to convince me completely.
What are the odds? I actually wrote a similar entry on my blog yesterday. About the topic then. Well, I agree that a premium theme is a great method to stand out. If you use a free theme there will be a lot more bloggers looking just like you.