Book Marketing & PR, Wordpress/ Author Websites

If there are free WordPress themes, why pay for a premium one?

Hi there! Yes, it’s Friday (thank goodness!) but no, there is no round up of book marketing from across the web here this week.

While I enjoyed sharing the links with you each week, it’s something that I am seeing on several sites, and I’m not sure I was really adding any value to the table. Sooo… from now on, Fridays are going to be author website Fridays! If you have a burning question about your author website – be it hosting, design, SEO or anything else, get in touch!

On to today’s author website topic… “If there are free WordPress themes, why should you pay for a premium one?”

You may or may not know, but Brandon and I recently launched a premium WordPress theme designed and built especially for self-published and independent authors.

It’s Authorlicious, baby!

With some great free themes available, you may be wondering why anyone would pay for a premium WordPress theme. Well, like most things in life, I believe that You Get What You Pay For.

Please note: This post is not intended to be a hard sales pitch for Authorlicious. Rather, I’d like to share the knowledge of what I learned about free vs. premium themes, and provide you with the information I wish I had had 3 years ago.

I happily used free themes for years, but when I realized how this was harming my long-term goals, I re-thought the choice and wish I had done it sooner. I made the switch to premium themes on all of my author sites a year or so ago and have been much happier with my SEO and security as a result.

Here are some of my fave reasons why you might want to shell out a little moolah for a theme. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!

Free customer support

Free themes don’t come with support, and this alone is worth the price of the theme – free customer support means you won’t have to call up your brother in law or pay for a developer every time something happens to your site that you can’t control. Premium theme developers provide full support for limited time period or for lifetime. Authorlicious comes with a year full email support and, the option to extend the support beyond that.

More options

There are usually more options on the back end of premium themes to allow you to customize your site more than cookie-cutter free themes allow you to.

Access to forums

Usually in the form of FAQs and forums. (Authorlicious comes with access to a forum where you can post questions and comments.)

Added security

This is a MAJOR reason why I recommend paying for a theme. While free themes might look nice on the surface, it’s hard to know what’s going on under the hood. Malware & bugs are a big problem with free themes, and the creator has no obligation to fix them since the theme was, well, free.

Compatibility with updates

Premium themes are updated to be compatible with each new version of WordPress (free themes are usually not). Having an updated theme can save a lot of time and frustration down the line and prevents security issues than can arise from having outdated themes.


Premium themes are usually optimized for search engines so they show up better in search results. With free themes, there have been many cases where developers encrypt back links into the theme, which can seriously damage the site’s search engine results.