At The WordPress Helpers, we talk a lot about themes. Spend more than a few minutes playing with WordPress in any form and you understand why that might be; your theme determines not only how your WordPress-based site looks, but also controls quite a bit of how it acts, what it does, and whether these things happen efficiently and safely.
It stands to reason, then, that Free WordPress Themes are a bad idea. After all, you get what you pay for.
This isn’t correct; it isn’t even close. Sure, assuming you aren’t going whole-hog and developing a theme from scratch the themes you pay for will (tend to) have more—and more robust—features than many free WordPress Themes. But there are theme developers cutting their teeth who release their work for free, and others with tremendous theme-development pedigrees releasing free themes to get you familiar with their work; it’s the epitome of content marketing.
This leaves you with two issues. If you’re going to run with the idea of free WordPress themes you need to be sure your selection doesn’t contain rogue code, and you need to have a way to find free WordPress themes worth your time to even consider. Both problems are addressed when you find collections from others you can trust. WordPress itself is a great source, of course; take a look at free themes in the WordPress Theme Repository, and start with what’s most popular.
There are many other “collections”. We happened across one pretty cool one while we were planning The WordPress Helpers; WPLift publishes a list of great new free WordPress Themes every month. November 2014’s is linked below. Even better, once you get there, you can change the date in the URL to find more, and more, and more.
We’d like to throw a little tip at both you and at WPLift, though. Images need to be optimized, and themes do as well, in far more complex ways; if you need help with that, please feel free to contact The WordPress Helpers. As a really simple example of how easy it is to get this wrong, look here:
The image on the left is from WPLift’s November 2014 collection of Free WordPress Themes, and the one on the right is a properly compressed version, as we included at the top of this article. 145K vs 17.6k. ‘Nuff said, right? It doesn’t matter that a resource is free; sloppy practices aren’t what you’re shooting at.