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Beware of Free Blog Themes

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I’ve created several blogs over the years. My go-to theme is now Genesis, but not-so-long-ago I used to search out free WordPress themes to implement. There are several stunning ones out there – with great designs and interesting details – themes I could never recreate because I’m an HTML girl, not a Photoshop girl!

So, what’s the problem with the free themes? Well, first off, they’re typically clunky. I’d end up doing a lot of edits to the code just to make it work as a functional blog with the items I wanted to include. Just as I’m an HTML girl, I think some of these theme creators don’t know much about coding at all!

But, most important – free themes aren’t always free. No, they won’t cost you money – but several of them contain affiliate links in the footer of the blog, linking back to a website that provides a product or puts money in the coder’s pocket. In essence, this isn’t a bad thing. But because you have no control over the links, it’s definitely something to be wary of.

  • Affiliate links can contain content that doesn’t match your website’s content – especially if it contains links to adult material. Because you lack control over the content, you never know what’s going to show up. And you never know who’s going to click on a link, and then never come back to your sight.
  • Affiliate links can lead to a lower Google rank if you are inadvertently “punished” for being part of a backlinking ring – pushing links to someone’s website.

One way around this is to go into your theme files and edit the file that contains the link (typically the footer). Another option is to buy a well-code, easily-manipulated, legitimate theme!

Image Source: SXC

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld.com. She has been a freelance writer and blogger for over a decade, writing for About.com, iVillage and b5media. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni.


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