By the Edwiser team.
We often come across these questions about Premium Moodle themes. They are, of course, from people who have never bought one:
- Why opt for a premium theme when there are so many existing free themes?
- How are premium themes different from free themes?
- Are we being charged for just a few extra features?
- Why should I spend money on premium themes? Is it worth it?
In many cases, the answer is resoundingly in favor of premium themes! A thoughtful consideration put into the purchase of a premium theme shows it can definitely be worth it.
It is understandable that people have genuine doubts about putting money into something that seems to be available for free. But people who have experienced several different Moodle themes, until they realize the value they were getting on premium themes that are nowhere to be found in free ones, know what I’m talking about.
Let me give you 8 reasons why, when it comes to Moodle themes, “Premium” is more than a nice-sounding prefix.
Everyone who has used Moodle knows how confusing Moodle’s basic themes can be. We faced this ourselves when working on our own LMS solution.
As we believe most people have, we came across the free themes first. We found these themes to be not very different from Moodle’s basic layout, in terms of design and navigation. As we considered the options, we also studied the features our customers consider to be the most important. Well-defined features and readability are just two of them.
We then tried a few premium themes. Even if you try only a demo of a premium theme, you can see the difference in the interface and quality of the LMS right away. A good theme can really transform content and make it almost jump off the screen.
The functionality that a premium theme can give you is often unmatched by any of the free ones. With so many additional features, like customizable calendar and collapsible sidebars, your Moodle site is significantly optimized. Premium themes strive to provide a better interface across the board. Quick customization options help you in increasing your website’s operability.
Extra features, like dynamic icons, give also you an edge in organizing your Moodle content, the visual space, and the user’s ability to find relevant content faster. Premium themes can also be customized to your specific needs. Most of them let you build a “child theme” from its premium, that is unique to only your site.
Finally, better navigation options make both the admin and user experience smoother.
The security in free themes cannot always be certified. Premium themes are always secure.
A free theme always comes with the risk that it stops updating, sometimes without notice. With Moodle’s regular updates, your free theme becomes vulnerable if no one is taking care of updating that theme anymore. This makes your LMS open to all kinds of threats.
In a premium theme, you have the contractual assurance that there is a team working to make sure that the theme is secure and patched to the latest version.
Technical support can be a very important aspect of the Moodle experience.
Using a new theme is not child’s play; it takes expertise and the ability to properly follow the documentation and to devise and implement solutions. On top of that, tech support must be able and willing to answer each one of your queries.
Free themes hardly offer the level of hands-on support your organization might need. They might have an FAQ page, but they don’t have a support team for dire or urgent situations.
This disadvantage is overcome by premium themes. They have a dedicated support team that is ready to help you with all your needs and questions.
Some premium themes such as RemUI even offer free support.
Moodle is a dynamic platform and keeps updating. With each update, your theme also needs updating.
Many free themes stop updating after a certain Moodle version for various reasons. Evolve-D and BCU were some of the most downloaded free themes, however their last update was in 2015. Premium themes keep updating and those updates enhance your Moodle site.
Every Moodle website with a free theme looks more or less the same. They feature minimal differences in options, menu bar positions, and color patterns.
However, when you browse through an LMS developed using premium themes, you can see that it has unique icons, fonts, and overall appearance.
With a little customization, you can get many variations of a website. This feature of a premium theme makes your LMS stand out.
7. Cost Savings
With free themes you will get either: A sloppy looking LMS, or a good-looking LMS, with the extra efforts of many developers.
You will either need to have a thorough knowledge of CSS customization or you will have to hire a bunch of developers to make your website look really good.
And when you hire developers, there are some strings attached to it. They will need to work on the CSS day and night to match the optimized looks of a premium theme.
Hiring developers is not cheap. More often than not, you will end up paying more to these developers than what you would’ve spent on a premium theme.
With even a small glitch on your website, you will need your developers again and will have to pay them again, while in premium themes you get free assistance and support to resolve issues.
8. Time Savings
CSS customizations for an optimized theme with a user-friendly interface don’t happen overnight.
They need a good amount of testing and, as we all know, perfection comes from trial and error. This can take up a lot of your time and resources. Instead, you can use that time to work on your courses and student enrollment, if you use a paid theme.
When your Moodle site uses an optimized theme, engagement rates improve. Snappy themes help usage and conversion, while laggy sites can be a business downfall. Your customers, users, and you, yourself, never have time to spare. An optimized theme is built with that in mind.
Hopefully we’ve given you enough reasons to believe that premium themes are better than free themes.
If all your doubts and concerns have been cleared, you have realized that to make a successful LMS, you will need a premium theme.
Since this post has probably saved you the time of trying out different free themes, it’s now time to look for best premium themes and choose one according to your needs.
Can’t decide where to start looking? These articles might help you:
- “‘RemUI’ For Moodle 3.4, The Theme To Begin 2018 In Style”
- “Top 7 Premium Moodle 3.2 Compatible Themes in 2017”
- “15 Best Moodle Themes of 2017”
With a premium theme, now you can start creating your perfect Moodle LMS.
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.