There’s a lot of stuff online that’s free – sort of. Google and Facebook are free to use in the sense there is no financial cost to access them. We pay through the nose if we consider the millions of data points we willingly exchange for these online giants to use, but hey – cat videos . . .

In addition to the hidden costs of free, there are also risks to consider. Especially when it comes to your business. From your website to those social media marketing platforms we’ve come to rely on so dearly, relying on free has its downsides. Some thoughts for you to consider.

Free Themes For Your Website

The latest statistics are that 33% of websites are built on the WordPress platform. For cost-conscious businesses there can be some joy in finding a free theme that does everything you want it to do. Unfortunately there are many risks to using a free theme. Here are a few:

  1. Even though a theme is free, there is often a user agreement in place for a theme’s use. Within those agreements are wording stating that the developer’s links in the theme must be kept in place. What links, you ask? Sometimes there are hidden links in a theme which may direct visitors to less savoury websites. That can directly harm your site’s reputation in Google and other search engines leading to less than desirable SEO outcomes.
  2. Free often means there is a lack of support for the theme. When you have a problem there may be nobody you can call to fix it. There may also be no updates for the theme which can leave your site vulnerable to hacks in future should the theme turn out to have vulnerabilities in it.
  3. Worst case scenario: free themes can have malware embedded in them or have features that allow the theme owners to add their own content.

The cost of fixing a site that’s been hacked or has malware in it is going to be higher than paying for a commercially available theme. Add to that the cost of having a bad reputation in the eyes of search engines and your site visitors and you can see why a free WordPress theme might not be in your best interest. Using a free theme is taking a gamble that everything will be just fine without really understanding that the deck is stacked against you in ways you may not know until it’s too late. It’s just not worth the risk.

Tomorrow I’ll cover another free item you might be tempted to use on your website that can become costly very, VERY quickly. Please stay tuned!

If you need any assistance converting a website using a free theme into something less risky, contact us today! 🙂