You desire a WordPress theme that helps your web site load quick…however you additionally need the design flexibility to create a great-looking web site that helps you meet what you are promoting objectives.
In the previous, it was arduous to discover a WordPress theme that might do each. You both went with a light-weight framework, like Genesis, otherwise you shelled out for a mega theme that allow you to do a ton, but in addition slowed your web site down with bloat.
Thankfully, a brand new breed of WordPress themes have managed to package deal design flexibility in a light-weight package deal that received’t gradual your web site down.
The Astra theme from Brainstorm Force is on the forefront of that pack. It provides you tons of pre-built demo websites, tons of controls within the real-time WordPress Customizer, plus much more, in a surprisingly light-weight format that may have your web site loading fairly dang quick.
In my Astra theme evaluation, I’ll take you thru all the pieces this theme can do for you. Astra is versatile and multipurpose, so it doesn’t matter what sort of web site you’re designing, it may assist you to meet your objectives.
The Astra Theme-defined in additional element
I not too long ago had an opportunity to jot down an skilled roundup submit for SmartBlogger the place I requested WordPress specialists to suggest a single free theme to starting bloggers. I hoped to gather a various set of opinions and write up a prolonged submit that featured a bunch of various WordPress themes.
However, writing that submit ended up taking me extra effort and time than I believed as a result of nearly each single skilled I requested really useful the Astra theme. Yes – out of 11 specialists that I requested, a whopping 7 of them really useful the Astra theme, which is fairly wild when you think about that they’d hundreds of free themes to select from.
So – why is Astra so fashionable? Why did greater than half of the WordPress specialists I talked to suggest Astra?
I feel it’s a mix of some various factors, which I’ll cowl in additional element as we get deeper into this Astra theme evaluation:
- It’s multipurpose – you should use Astra for actually any sort of web site. From a portfolio to an eCommerce retailer to a magnificence weblog…Astra could make it work.
- It’s light-weight – out of the field, Astra “weighs” below 50 KB. I do know that quantity doesn’t imply a lot with out context, however belief me that it’s tremendous light-weight, which implies your web site goes to load quick.
- It’s versatile and straightforward to customise – Astra makes use of the real-time WordPress Customizer to allow you to customise your theme, which implies you possibly can modify issues on a real-time preview with no coding data required. Plus, you get tons of choices within the Customizer.
- It works with drag-and-drop web page builders – Astra is constructed to combine with drag-and-drop web page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder, which is a brilliant fashionable strategy for constructing a WordPress web site these days.
- You get tons of of pre-built demo websites – look, I’m not a designer, and I can’t construct an internet site from scratch. I do know a few of you’re in the identical boat. That’s why it’s so superior that Astra gives an enormous assortment of importable demo websites for a bunch of various niches.
Four core Astra Theme options that you just’ll love
To get began, I’m going to dig a little bit deeper into these core options that make Astra so fashionable. All of those core options apply to each the free and premium model, although the premium model provides you “more” performance in every space.
In the subsequent part, I’ll spotlight among the variations between Astra free vs Pro.
Astra is light-weight and able to load quick
Above, I advised you that Astra is light-weight and “weighs” below 50KB. But how does that truly translate into the true world? What’s the relevance of that quantity?
To discover out, let’s run some efficiency assessments with Pingdom.
To make this a good check, I’ll import an entire Astra demo web site (extra on these in a second). Basically, which means my web site appears to be like and features like a completed WordPress web site you may see within the wild – it’s not some “barebones” unfinished web site that I made to juice the outcomes.
Without any efficiency optimizations, my check web site loaded in below one second:
While Astra can not assure you a quick web site – you’ll nonetheless must implement different efficiency concerns like optimizing photographs and utilizing light-weight plugins – it may give you a performance-optimized basis that may set you up for achievement.
As lengthy as you do these different issues, your web site will load quick once you use Astra.
You can import tons of various demo websites
While you possibly can customise the Astra theme from scratch to construct your web site, you additionally don’t need to as a result of Astra consists of an enormous library of pre-built demo websites which you can import with only a few clicks (by way of the free Astra Starter Sites plugin).
There are some things which are particularly nice about Astra’s demo websites.
First, they’re all constructed utilizing drag-and-drop editors, which implies it’s tremendous straightforward to customise any of the demo content material. Beyond that, you possibly can truly select your most well-liked editor, which isn’t a alternative most different themes allow you to make. You can select between:
- The native WordPress block editor (Gutenberg)
- Beaver Builder
From there, you possibly can select from nearly 100 pre-built demo websites. Some of those require the paid model, however ~44+ of them are nonetheless out there without spending a dime.
The great point is that these demo websites are divided into tons of various niches. For instance, you could find free demo websites for:
- Travel blogs
- eCommerce shops
- Portfolio websites
- …and many others.
So it doesn’t matter what your web site is about, you possibly can most likely discover a demo web site to make use of as your basis.
Clicking on a web site will open a stay preview. Then, to import a web site, all you do is click on the Import Site button and Astra handles the remainder:
Because I selected to make use of Elementor as the bottom for my demo web site, I may then go in and customise all that demo content material utilizing Elementor’s visible, drag-and-drop editor:
You can customise your web site within the WordPress customizer
To customise the theme itself, Astra makes use of the real-time, native WordPress Customizer. The benefit of this strategy is that, as you make your modifications within the sidebar, the stay preview of your web site will replace to mirror these modifications:
A variety of themes use WordPress Customizer these days, however what makes Astra distinctive is simply what number of customization choices it provides you, even within the free model.
While displaying you each single choice would require an entire submit of its personal, suffice it to say that you’ve a ton of management.
For instance, you possibly can select from just a few totally different header layouts and customise all of the spacing:
Or, you can rapidly insert breadcrumbs, with out the necessity to edit your theme’s code like loads of different themes make you do:
Basically, these settings are what make Astra so adaptable, and also you’ll use them to show Astra into the proper theme in your particular wants.
Astra is constructed to pair with a WordPress web page builder
If you propose to make use of a web page builder for some or your whole content material, you’ll love Astra’s page-level settings that provide you with 100% management over the canvas in your web page builder.
For particular person posts or pages, you possibly can:
- Change the width
- Choose the variety of sidebars
- Disable particular gadgets, just like the header, title, featured picture, and many others.
For instance, in case your web site usually has a sidebar, however you wish to create a full-width gross sales web page together with your web page builder, you can simply disable the sidebar and alter the width for simply that web page.
Astra Free vs Pro: Which model is best for you?
The core Astra theme is obtainable without spending a dime at WordPress.org. Then, there’s a $59 Astra Pro model that provides a bunch of extra options.
So…which one is best for you? Do you want the premium model to construct a web site? Or will the free model be wonderful for you?
To these latter two questions, you don’t want the Pro model to construct a great-looking web site. I exploit the free model on a few of my websites and it provides you all the pieces it’s worthwhile to create a fundamental web site, particularly when you’re planning to make use of a WordPress web page builder as properly.
However, there are some causes to think about going Pro. Let me share among the highlights…
More importable demo websites
If you buy the Astra Pro Agency package deal, you’ll unlock each single importable demo web site. You’ll additionally get entry to the entire developer’s different plugins, together with useful instruments like Schema Pro so as to add wealthy snippets, WP Portfolio that can assist you add a portfolio, plus much more.
The free model of Astra does nonetheless allow you to customise your header, however Astra Pro provides you much more superior choices for customizing your header in additional distinctive methods. You’ll get options like:
- Mobile headers – create an superior customized cell expertise.
- Sticky header – make your menu “stick” whilst a consumer scrolls down.
- Mega menu – create a mega menu for higher navigation.
More fashion choices
While the free model of Astra provides you fundamental colour and typography management, Astra Pro places that on steroids, letting you customise the colour and typography for just about each single aspect in your web site.
More structure choices
Similarly, Astra Pro additionally provides you much more structure choices in your content material and weblog. For instance, you possibly can select from varied weblog archive layouts and insert content material above or beneath your header.
More detailed plugin integrations
The free model of Astra is suitable with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, however Astra Pro places that on overdrive.
You’ll get tons of choices for WooCommerce, like a conversion-friendly two-step checkout, Ajax cart, and extra.
Beyond that, Astra Pro additionally gives devoted integrations for LearnDash and LifterLMS, which is superior when you’re planning to launch your personal on-line course with WordPress.
So do you have to get Astra Pro?
You most likely observed that I used the phrase “more” rather a lot when describing the brand new options in Astra Pro. I feel that’s type of the purpose – Astra Pro is just not inherently “better”, because it’s the identical actual core theme.
Instead, Astra Pro simply provides you much more of the good things you get without spending a dime.
If you put in the free model and it’s already letting you do all the pieces you need – that’s nice! You can cease – you don’t want the Pro model.
But if you end up hitting some partitions – such as you actually desire a sticky header, otherwise you desire a totally different weblog archive structure – then that’s a reasonably good indicator that you just want Astra Pro.
My recommendation is that this – begin with the free theme and see the way it goes. If you hit these partitions, upgrading to Astra Pro is tremendous easy. In reality, Astra Pro is definitely a plugin, not a theme. So you’ll nonetheless use the identical theme you’ve already put in – you’ll simply set up the Astra Pro plugin on high.
Additionally, all of the Astra Pro performance is modular, so you possibly can decide and select precisely which options you employ, which retains your web site light-weight:
Final ideas on the Astra Theme
If I needed to suggest one all-purpose WordPress theme for individuals to make use of – it will be Astra.
Through the large array of customization choices, you should use Astra for actually any sort of web site.
What’s extra, as a result of it makes use of the WordPress Customizer, customizing Astra doesn’t require any particular data. Yup – you received’t must be a developer to create a customized web site.
What when you don’t wish to construct an internet site from scratch? You can import one of many ~100 pre-built demo websites, all constructed together with your most well-liked web page builder.
And lastly, the cherry on high is that Astra is tremendous light-weight and performance-optimized, which implies you will get all these different advantages whereas nonetheless having a web site that masses quick.
So, whether or not you’re utilizing the free model or Astra Pro, however this one in your toolbelt and contemplate it for the subsequent WordPress web site that you just construct.