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79% of Bloggers Pay Nothing for their Blog Design

Posted By Darren Rowse 23rd of July 2009 Blog Design 0 Comments

Over the last few weeks the poll I’ve been running here on ProBlogger has asked people about who designed their blog. The results are in and it looks like that the vast majority of bloggers are not paying for themes.

61% of our readers are using free themes in some way – either using a default theme that the blog came with (11%), downloading a free template (21%) or taking a free theme and tweaking it (29%).

18% of our readers are designing their blogs completely on their own and while the market for premium themes does seem to be growing only 13% of you have paid for a theme.

The lowest response of all was for people to pay for someone else to design a blog for them (8%). That brings the total of those paying for their design in some way to 21%.


Total Votes at the time of publishing these results: 2513

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Amazing and surprised result but frankly I think it is true as blogger who are capable to pay for their own theme is earning a lot from their blog while newbie blog like me, using free theme is the best way to make my feet wet. T

  2. Oops, sorry to miss out on the poll mate. I’ve been using free themes for most of my blogging career but then I decided to lash out and buy a professional one as I just wanted to show others how serious I was about blogging.

    I initially bought the Thesis theme but I was pretty disappointed with it as it didn’t live up to all the hype. I really wanted something that would work straight out of the box, something that Thesis was supposed to do, and so I kept looking until I find just the right one. I now run Thesis on one of my blogs and the rest run on the more flexible one.

  3. I don’t see a need to pay for or design a template. I’m a new blogger and I’ve already seen so many unique free templates that are available to me. Maybe in the future as my blog progresses I will design or pay for my own.

  4. I am proud to say that I am among those 79% of bloggers who pay nothing for their blog themes. In fact, I just didn’t get a free theme, I created my own.

  5. where is my message ?i say thank s for remember

  6. It is also worthwhile to mention the experience of the bloggers in question. For example, when someone starts blogging they would better go with a free template but later migrate to a paid one, when the blog matures (or starts making money!)


  7. The result doesn’t surprise me as I know many blogger prefer to use a free theme instead of hiring someone to design or buying a premium 1. My theme was designed by my friend as I won a prize on his blog few weeks ago.


  8. not much surprising ,
    i think Its normal Most people go for premium themes if they are starting a blog or site for Business which is running great,
    i mostly see Free tweaked templates On most of the blog isee Which are mainly personal blog or multiple niche related so Its good for them i think so

  9. Result doesn’t surprise me either. Blog is supposed to be concentrated on content, not design. Most of them are not making any profit. So that way most of the bloggers doesn’t spend any money for a blog design.

  10. I made a living off of free themes with blogger, but I do use premium themes for my blog designs, not all themes are alike and some themes are seo optimized and do get better search results with the same effort v.s the free themes. Blogger is differant because google just loves them all. And a premium theme with a few tweeks can make your site original and stand out more. I dont want the same tatoo as you nor do I want the same theme. But thats just my oppion I could be wrong. http://eautoblog.com/

  11. Free themes, either tweaked or not, are good for beginners. After their blog start to give them more confidence and earning, better themes is a good and affordable option. Why would you pay for your theme if you can’t make a decent income out of your blog yet?

  12. Looks like I’m one of those 29% too. Cool

  13. Building your own blog from the ground up is a great way to sharpen your HTML/CSS skills, while learning a bit of php at the same time.

  14. Those who get a designed done are quite serious about blogging. Anyways a clean design can be had any way!

  15. I have to say, when I first invested some money in a premium theme, it made me take that blog more seriously. I’m also extremely happy with it.

  16. Crusader says: 07/24/2009 at 3:41 am

    I think that you are totally fine with a free theme or tweaked free theme if you want a classical blog design. If you want some advanced display options like the in the RichWP Blogbeast theme or the Studiopress magazine styled themes most of us are probably not that good in tweaking or programming than those guys. Or if you have a look at the professional designs of the woo themes for example. Which average blogger does posses those design skills?

  17. The point to be noted that the average bloggers or webmaster are very technically sounds. And thus they start blogging in blogspot or book a hosting plan from somewhere and host their own word press. The blogger who visit your website from learning purpose are also technically very sounds and thus they prefer not to spend a penny on design…

  18. If I didn’t want my blog to match my web store’s theme at greenandchic.com, I would have probably paid for a premium theme and called it a day. There are a lot of great free and premium themes available today.

  19. Great chart! I found many have actually use free theme. Begineer definitely go for a free theme, the slowly follow to upgrade the design by choosing a premium free theme. I don’t think I will paid for a theme unless I really need it when I was very good and making money with my blog

  20. Leslie Nicole says: 07/24/2009 at 6:48 pm

    As a designer, I’d like to give it a try to tweak my own template. I’m not a programer though. (I do know basic html and can do a basic website.) If I decide the programming is just too hard, will I be able to change the blog I create – or hire someone to integrate features I want? Would it be better to buy a premium theme like Thesis that I know works well “under the hood”? Thanks for any comments. I’m just getting started.

  21. Your survey results give a clear picture of what is happening in reality. I’m glad that I’m in 29%.

  22. I’m surprised you didn’t mention people who buy a premium theme (Like Thesis) and instead of staying with the default – work hard at being a self-taught hacker and customizing it themselves without paying anyone anymore money.

    I knew nothing about coding 18 months ago – tried free themes – wasn’t happy – purchased Thesis – learnt how to make it unique – became addicted to the possibilities – upgraded to the developer’s licence and went on to design 6 websites in 4 months. Curious where I would put myself in your pie chart?!

    Read some of my story/experience with learning how to design at Thesis Theme HQ

  23. I fall under make my own theme…
    But i try to make it unique..

  24. Still, 1 in 5 people are paying to have a design. Whether they’re hiring someone to design it or purchasing it from some of the professional designers, I think that 21% is a pretty significant number. Especially since there are many designs available it goes to show that even though something is free, people are willing to pay to have it done professionally. Also, if you look at Google Trends for “WordPress Premium Themes” (as an example) you will notice that there continues to be significant growth for people at least searching for them.

    Very interesting results, I’ll be curious to see if you do a follow up down the road and compare those numbers as that would be very telling of where things are headed for designers.

  25. I don’t think you really need a paid theme! I use only free and free premium themes for my blogs but it doesn’t get too much of impact if i chose one or other!

    People come to blogs and sites to look for what they are searching and not for the look of the site!

    Here i am not talking about a messy them or something like that but you can easely find a decent free theme out there on the internet!

  26. Sonia says: 07/26/2009 at 5:59 pm

    yeah! its right bloggers are confined to design of their blog not about the writer.pay may improve the writing efficiency and ideas

  27. Sonia says: 07/26/2009 at 6:02 pm

    yeah! it si righlty hitted on bloggers.writer are the real actors for blog

  28. Hi Darren

    I dont understand? I liked this article and wanted to share it on twitter. But no twitter link? Am I missing something here?


  29. Because I wanted my blog to be an expression of who I am, I made my own by tweaking a theme. It was fun to put together.


  30. I think it is awesome. Most people learn a lot from tweaking there own templates. I usually try to tweak them all!

  31. I would be interested to know the metrics for the proportion of bloggers that make 4 figures or more profit a month from their blogs – or better yet a pie chart of income/profit brackets of bloggers.
    I wonder if 8% would correspond to about the percentage of bloggers making ‘real’ money (like 100k+ per annum, gross profit) …give or take a sensible error margin like 3-4%?

    Just curious…this was a fascinating and informative post as always Darren, thanks!

  32. I don’t pay for my blog designs, I do them myself!

  33. Hey Darren here i got what i want.. Actually i am thinking about this only that how much i have to pay for design the blogs but now i am happy because here i come to know that most of bloggers are not paying any thing to design the blogs so why should i?

  34. […] 79% de blogueros no pagó nada por el diseño de su bitácora. […]

  35. I have to say, when I first invested some money in a premium theme, it made me take that blog more seriously.
    When we come across a new blog, we may well say “nice design!”, but the decision to become a reader will have nothing to do with the theme, and everything to do with the quality of the content (and the educational or entertainment value of it).

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