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Best WordPress Themes for Business – Free OR Premium?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate/referral links which means if you click one and subsequently make a purchase I get to pay my bills on time. Seriously though, we only mention products and services we use on a daily basis and feel could be a potential good fit for you as well.

Chances are you have a basic WordPress site established and you have come across the ever popular dilemma of what are the best WordPress themes for business and should you go with a free theme or a premium (paid) theme. This is an area I battled with for the first few years I was learning the WordPress platform and know it is still a big topic of discussion.

Like most online entrepreneurs, you want to do things as cheaply but as efficiently as possible. That word ‘efficient’ is why you are going to learn that I feel the best WordPress themes for small business and solopreneurs are the premium versions.

By now you may already know that I am a fan of all things Thrive Themes. All of the sites I build for myself and my clients utilize their premium themes and plugins. Yes, on some occasions I do use Elegant Themes Divi but still incorporate numerous Thrive Themes conversion focused WordPress plugins.

The reason is simple...THEY WORK!

But before I dive into the main reason they are so effective, let’s take a look at the battle between Free vs. Premium when it comes to choosing the best WordPress theme for your business website...

When you first start a WordPress site it comes with a few default free WordPress themes to choose from. But you also have the option of searching a larger database of themes that may fit your brand and style much better...still going the ‘free’ route. Or even searching around the internet to find which free WordPress themes others deem viable options.

You may be overwhelmed by the vast amount of free themes available and wonder why you would ever consider purchasing a premium WordPress theme. You are right, there are PLENTY of options, but there is catch...

Almost ALL of those ‘free’ themes have ‘premium’ versions.

Developing themes costs money. Although these developers love the WordPress platform and make their ‘free’ versions as functional as possible, most do want to monetize their time.

To do this they may limit the amount of color options you have, maybe there are added features that will improve the user experience, or an array of possibilities that they will add to the basic ‘free’ version for a fee.

There is nothing wrong with this model of course. They are providing a solution at a very low cost...does it get any lower than FREE?...but they also have a business and businesses need to make money.

Your typical premium WordPress theme will start out around $29 and go up from there depending on the feature range one may have. This is not a bad starting point and for most WordPress newbie’s, it is a cost that is easily justifiable to get the look and feel you truly desire.

What happens next though is that the snowball has just gotten started. You then find out that you need a landing page to highlight your email opt-in offer or a sales page to promote your product or services.

On top of that now you realize you need some way to capture a user’s information such as name and email address via pop-up forms or email opt-in boxes on your site.

The battle between Free vs. Premium when choosing the best #WordPress theme for your business website.

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One thing snowballs into another and next thing you know is that that $29 theme has turned into hundreds of dollars of various other plugins to accomplish various tasks on your site - which in the case of plugins, more is NOT better.

That is just assuming you are happy with the first theme you purchased and do not spend any more money on different themes to actually arrive at the finished product you so desired from the outset.

It is at this crucial juncture where most online entrepreneurs give up unfortunately. The frustration sets in, the extra costs (that could have been avoided by the way) start mounting, and thoughts about ‘is this what I should be doing’ overtake the mind. The next thing you know there is one less website that you are competing against.


I want you to ask yourself these 3 questions before you even go any further. They will provide some valuable insight into your mindset and ultimately the direction you should go in regards to the free vs. premium debate.

1. What is the goal of my website?

2. How much do I care about being able to customize the look and feel of my site?

3. What can I afford at this stage to invest in my site to enable me to provide a quality user experience and drive conversions?

Ok...back to the task at hand...why I feel you should give serious consideration to choosing WordPress premium themes from the start.

If you are setting up a WordPress website as a hobby then chances are you do not need the extra functionality premium themes provide. But if you are treating your site as a business...which I hope you are...then you need to be thinking 10 steps ahead.

Although I focus most of my attention on Thrive Themes and their conversion focused WordPress themes and plugins, they are not the only show in town.

You do have other options and one in particular has a strong following.

Elegant Themes has a full range of WordPress premium themes along with complimenting plugins for social sharing and lead capture, although I feel the Thrive Themes options are better suited.

Their Divi theme is very popular, but with that popularity comes a saturation of WordPress sites that all look the same. They have made massive improvements to their Divi Builder which is a huge plus to simplify the process of making your website stand out.

I have no doubts though that if this is what you learned from the start you could come to like their layout and make it work for you. The problem for me is that I can replicate most any site in a fraction of the time now that I have been using Thrive for well over a year.

The Divi theme is modern, appealing, and along with Elegant Theme’s Bloom plugin for email opt in forms, makes for a viable one-two punch.

By now you have seen that it is possible to build your online presence on the super cheap or even by investing a little into the personalization and functionality of your WordPress site.

Now I want to display the power of Thrive Themes and why EVERY site I build uses their products.

It is based on one word...CONVERSIONS!

In the same way I focus on helping new entrepreneurs, such as fitness professionals and military veterans start and develop their online businesses, Thrive has a laser type focus on developing high quality WordPress products all based around driving people to take action on your site. Not to mention they pump out helpful content on a weekly basis such as this one that shows you how to build a conversion focused homepage.

They test, develop, and test some more to ensure that you have the ability to make your site how you want it, but most importantly, that you have the right tools for the job. This means a full range of premium WordPress themes from magazine style (Performag), a luxurious feel (Luxe), or even something simplistic (Focus Blog), all customizable to suit YOUR taste.

View Thrive Themes Demos

Discover Thrive Themes
See Thrive Themes Demos

Two of my favorite themes of theirs are the Squared theme and Rise - what this site you are on now is built with. It has a nice, modern look to it, but as you can see below all three of these sites that use it have a different look to them. I will save the deep dive into how to customize them in later posts, but for now I want you to be able to visualize the creative possibilities.

Reve la Vie Media

Bold Brilliant Branded Homepage

*Disclaimer* Not a site I built...But uses the Squared Thrive Theme - Amber has also rebranded her website since I wrote this post but is still using the same theme as before.

Since you may be one of the many fitness professionals visiting my website I wanted to show two endurance sports related sites that utilize the Rise theme that I am also using for Launch Your Damn Website.

FlockFit Homepage

Run Buzz Homepage

*Disclaimer* Not a site I built...But uses the same Thrive Theme (Rise)

Even though the main focus of this post is to help you determine the viability of what type of WordPress theme to choose for your versus premium...I would be doing you a disservice if I did not highlight what benefits you do get from choosing a premium membership plan, such as Thrive Themes Annual Membership. Elegant Themes has a comparable plan so make sure to weigh your options. I personally feel Thrive has more to offer and is justifiable in their cost versus Elegant’s.

Sure, I get a referral fee if you go the Thrive route, but the great thing is that it does not cost you a penny extra. Nor did they approach and pay me to voice my opinion.

To prove how much I believe in their themes and plugins, anyone that purchases a Thrive Themes Annual Membership from one of my links get a free 30 minute consultation with me to help you implement their products onto your site. All you have to do is send me a copy of your receipt so I can verify your purchase and then we will schedule a Skype call.

If you still haven't launched your damn website then make sure to click below...​

It’s that simple...I want to thank YOU for believing in my recommendation!

You may be wondering what all you get in an annual membership and if it is worth the upfront investment. First let me tell you that Thrive has a no questions asked 30 day money back guarantee on ALL of their products. They feel that if you are not happy with what you purchased then you have that right to change your mind. Plus, 30 days is plenty of time to test out their themes and plugins to make sure they ARE the right fit for you.

Secondly, their support is amazing! I have never had to wait more than 24 hours for a response to any issue I have had. Plus they have a very thorough knowledge base of help articles and videos to point you in the right direction. Bad support is the #1 reason people will switch companies no matter the product and Thrive values their customer base too much to let that happen.

Third and probably most important is cost. At $228 per year (or $120 per quarter if you choose) it is more than a viable alternative to often compared Leadpages. You would have to pay $588 per year, but that does not offer any theme choices, to get close to the same level of functionality and split testing that Thrive’s products provide.

Leadpages is great at what it does and they have one of the most rabid followings in the online marketing industry. But I like to get the most for my money and I am sure you do too!

And not only get access to ALL of their themes and ALL of their current get access to ALL future plugins they release!

Last, but not least, Thrive is constantly innovating and tweaking their products. They are close to releasing a major overhaul of their SUPER POPULAR Thrive Architect plugin and coming out with a new themes.

Plus more great things in the works such as...

A new plugin I just received beta access to that will handle your learning management systems needs for your online courses - Thrive Apprentice.

Don’t forget...I want to make sure you get the most out of what Thrive has to offer. That is why almost all of the content on my site is geared towards showing you how to utilize their products to grow and monetize your online presence. Plus you can take me up on my offer to provide you a free 30 minute consultation to implement Thrive onto your site.

The choice is yours though. When you try to determine what the best WordPress themes for your site are just remember those 3 key questions I had you ask yourself earlier on:

1. What is the goal of my website?

2. How much do I care about being able to customize the look and feel of my site?

3. What can I afford at this stage to invest in my site to enable me to provide a quality user experience and drive conversions?

Once you answer those questions you will no doubt have a clearer understanding on the topic of free vs. premium when it comes to choosing the best theme for your WordPress business website. No matter which direction you go, be glad you have so many options. That really is the power of the WordPress platform and why so many online entrepreneurs consider WordPress to build their sites and blogs.

If you are still trying to decide if you should start a WordPress website for your small business, think no longer! Click below to get access to our 7 Step WordPress Website Setup Guide...

About the Author Andrew

Hi, I'm Andrew, your Flight Director at Launch Your Damn Website and I appreciate you stopping by! Just like you, I have no formal IT or technical background but 6 years ago I discovered WordPress and have not looked back. Before that I was an endurance sports coach for over a decade and planned adaptive cycling events/programs around the world. So if I can tackle this then I have plenty of confidence you can too. I look forward to having you on board for what will no doubt be an amazing journey!