Free vs. Paid Zendesk Themes



Choosing between free and paid Zendesk themes isn't so easy. You need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages in the short and long run. The main objective of this article is to help you save your money and avoid paying twice.

Are you wondering why a good Zendesk theme is so important? Actually, it’s a proven fact that majority of people base their trust to the companies on the look first. As studies have shown, it takes just 0.05 seconds for people to form an opinion about your business and over 95% of users will leave the website if it doesn’t look trustworthy.

Pros of free Zendesk themes


Saving your budget and achieving your objective at the same time is definitely a pleasant bonus. However, you should also consider the following – if you aren't paying anything today, it doesn’t mean that you won’t pay more tomorrow and the day after when you require changes or updates.

Lack of experience

Improper knowledge of the needs of your target audience or lacking experience in your niche is another criterion to choose a free Zendesk theme in order to win time for analysis of the competitors, consumer behavior, their frequent requests, and other aspects before choosing a paid template.

Cons of free Zendesk themes

Not unique

This is probably the greatest disadvantage amongst all. It’s very unlikely that you want your user to notice that a law company has the same help center look like the junk store around the corner.  Hundreds of knowledge bases over the Internet use the same themes because they are easily accessible to everybody. This is how the businesses lose their uniqueness.

Slow speed & messy coding

Everybody hates waiting and when page loading time takes too long, it spoils user’s experience right away. This is also bad for search engines ranking.

One of the most common reasons for poor performance is the messy coding which is developed by newbies. This means that your team might have a hard time understanding the code in the first place and fixing it on the second.

Limited functional possibilities

Although many free themes include the standard Zendesk features, they are limited by them and don't offer any extras.

Hard to change

Most of the time, free themes are so poorly coded that it’s hard for you or your tech guys to change something. For instance, if you’d like to do something extra like Zendesk branding or customization, you’ll probably spend twice more time. Sometimes even tiny changes may require an unreasonable number of hours and maybe even additional expenses.

Rare updates

Free themes aren’t updated as often as paid themes are. Consequently, they are more insecure and vulnerable to hacks. Furthermore, free themes might look sloppy on certain devices or new browser versions and might have a low loading speed.

Pros of paid Zendesk themes

Easy to use

One of the greatest advantages of high quality Zendesk themes is their simplicity in use, even without technical knowledge of the code. Most advanced templates offer DIY branding along with other simple changes like layout options, page redesign or color choice which can be manipulated via the theme editor. Also, if you need to do some more complex changes, your tech guys won’t have any problems with coding.

Reliable support

The team is always reachable to help you, unlike the authors of free themes who may leave you alone with your questions and issues for a while. We also recommend testing the responsiveness of the support team before paying a penny for a template or service. Simply get in touch with them and see how fast they can react.

Technical quality and frequent updates

Especially today in the world of constant changes, where new screens appear along with other features, you never know what surprises await you tomorrow. Therefore, a clean code that adapts the template to all screens that exist is a very big PLUS.

As a result, paid Zendesk themes give you a comforting feeling that it’s all set.

Cons of paid Zendesk themes


At first glance, the cost of paid Zendesk themes may seem pretty high, especially if you like entertaining an idea of free stuff. However, you should find out what’s included in the price and if there are any benefits or bonuses, such as free installation or content integration. Otherwise, you may fool yourself by thinking that a free Zendesk theme is 100% free including the installation and you’ll end up paying extra for “every move” and detail.

Hard choice

Another dilemma you might have is a difficulty in choosing a trustworthy and reliable contractor, who won’t just disappear one day and who will provide the theme which will have additional useful features and work consistently.

Also, if you want to prevent any unpleasant surprises from happening that may paralyze the functionality of the entire help center for some time, it’s recommended to work with the official Zendesk partners who have already proven to be reliable over time owing to superb results and happy customers.

Who is the winner?

Free Zendesk themes can work well for those who are still uncertain about what they want their help center to look like. Another case is if you’d like to make a test to see the real users’ behavior without paying for it. However, when choosing a free theme as a permanent solution, you should consider that even though it doesn’t require expenses in the beginning (except maybe installation and content integration if you can’t do it yourself), paid templates win in the long run.

When dealing with free Zendesk themes, you may end up changing the layout, structure and other things bit by bit and you will be surprised how much they may cost you in the end, considering that the quality of the coding may not be that good.

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