In the last few years, WordPress’ ease of use and inexpensive customization options have made it popular with companies who have fairly simple online needs. Many people are lured to WordPress by the thousands of available free themes, but there are a number of disadvantages to using free themes. There's a lot of junk out there, for one, and it can be tedious to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are also many security concerns with using free themes, especially if you find them from questionable sources. And lastly, the most popular free themes are used so frequently that you run the risk of creating a generic-looking site.

Of course, an alternative to using a free theme is to hire someone to create a custom theme from scratch; however, this can cost thousands of dollars and defeat the purpose of using WordPress to save money. A less expensive option is to purchase a premium theme—a professionally designed theme from a reputable source. Premium themes typically come packed with all the bells and whistles you'd want and often look better than the free options.

One source for premium themes is ThemeForest, a marketplace through which hundreds of designers sell their wares. ThemeForest themes start around $15, but can be a mixed bag in terms of quality and support. A more upscale vendor is WooThemes, which offers a smaller collection of high-end themes starting around $70. Themes from WooThemes are created by a single company focused on creating and supporting high-quality, premium themes.

Sure, we all like the sound of "free," but spending a little extra dough could give you a more dynamic and unique website. If it gets you greater attention on the cluttered Interwebs, we think it's more than worth it.

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