You need a WordPress theme that helps your website load fast…however you additionally need the design flexibility to create a great-looking website that helps you meet what you are promoting objectives.
Up to now, it was arduous to find a WordPress theme that would do each. You both went with a lightweight framework, like Genesis, otherwise you shelled out for a mega theme that allow you to do a ton, but in addition slowed your website down with bloat.
Thankfully, a new breed of WordPress themes have managed to package deal design flexibility in a light-weight package deal that gained’t sluggish your website down.
The Astra theme from Brainstorm Pressure is at the forefront of that pack. It provides you tons of pre-built demo sites, tons of controls in the real-time WordPress Customizer, plus a lot more, in a surprisingly lightweight format that may have your website loading fairly dang quick.
In my Astra theme assessment, I’ll take you through every little thing this theme can do for you. Astra is versatile and multipurpose, so no matter what sort of website you’re designing, it may well assist you meet your objectives.
- 1 The Astra Theme explained in additional element
- 2 Four core Astra Theme features that you simply’ll love
- 3 Astra Free vs Professional: Which model is right for you?
- 4 Last ideas on the Astra Theme
The Astra Theme explained in additional element
I lately had an opportunity to put in writing an professional roundup submit for SmartBlogger where I requested WordPress specialists to advocate a single free theme to starting bloggers. I was hoping to gather a various set of opinions and write up a lengthy submit that featured a bunch of different WordPress themes.
Nevertheless, writing that submit ended up taking me more time and effort than I assumed because virtually every single professional I asked advisable the Astra theme. Yes – out of 11 specialists that I asked, a whopping 7 of them really helpful the Astra theme, which is fairly wild when you consider that that they had hundreds of free themes to select from.
So – why is Astra so fashionable? Why did more than half of the WordPress specialists I talked to advocate Astra?
I feel it’s a mixture of some different factors, which I’ll cowl in more element as we get deeper into this Astra theme evaluate:
- It’s multipurpose – you need to 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 lightweight – out of the box, Astra “weighs” beneath 50 KB. I know that quantity doesn’t mean a lot without context, but trust me that it’s super light-weight, which suggests your website is going to load quick.
- It’s versatile and straightforward to customize – Astra makes use of the real-time WordPress Customizer to let you customize your theme, which suggests you’ll be able to regulate things on a real-time preview with no coding information required. Plus, you get tons of choices in the Customizer.
- It works with drag-and-drop page builders – Astra is built to combine with drag-and-drop web page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder, which is an excellent well-liked strategy for building a WordPress website these days.
- You get a whole lot of pre-built demo sites – look, I’m not a designer, and I can’t build an internet site from scratch. I know a few of you’re in the same boat. That’s why it’s so superior that Astra presents an enormous collection of importable demo sites for a bunch of different niches.
Study More About The Astra WordPress Theme
Four core Astra Theme features that you simply’ll love
To get began, I’m going to dig a bit deeper into those core options that make Astra so common. All of those core options apply to both the free and premium model, though the premium version provides you “more” performance in every space.
In the subsequent part, I’ll highlight a few of the variations between Astra free vs Professional.
1. Astra is light-weight and able to load quick
Above, I informed you that Astra is light-weight and “weighs” beneath 50KB. But how does that really translate into the actual world? What’s the relevance of that number?
To discover out, let’s run some efficiency checks with Pingdom.
To make this a good check, I’ll import an entire Astra demo website (extra on those in a second). Principally, which means my website seems and features like a finished WordPress website you may see within the wild – it’s not some “barebones” unfinished website that I made to juice the outcomes.
With none performance optimizations, my check website loaded in beneath one second:
Whereas Astra can’t guarantee you a fast website – you’ll still have to implement different efficiency issues like optimizing pictures and utilizing light-weight plugins – it may give you a performance-optimized basis that may set you up for fulfillment.
As long as you do those different things, your website will load quick if you use Astra.
2. You’ll be able to import tons of different demo sites
When you can customize the Astra theme from scratch to build your website, you additionally don’t need to because Astra consists of an enormous library of pre-built demo websites which you could import with just some clicks (by way of the free Astra Starter Websites plugin).
There are a few things which might be especially nice about Astra’s demo sites.
First, they’re all constructed utilizing drag-and-drop editors, which suggests it’s tremendous straightforward to customize any of the demo content material. Past that, you’ll be able to truly select your most popular editor, which is not a selection most different themes let you make. You possibly can select between:
- The native WordPress block editor (Gutenberg)
- Beaver Builder
From there, you’ll be able to choose from virtually 100 pre-built demo sites. A few of these require the paid version, however ~44+ of them are still out there free of charge.
The good factor is that these demo websites are divided into tons of different niches. For instance, you will discover free demo sites for:
- Travel blogs
- eCommerce shops
- Portfolio websites
- …and so forth.
So no matter what your website is about, you’ll be able to in all probability find a demo website to make use of as your basis.
Clicking on a website will open a stay preview. Then, to import a website, all you do is click the Import Website button and Astra handles the remaining:
Because I chose to use Elementor as the base for my demo website, I might then go in and customize all that demo content material utilizing Elementor’s visible, drag-and-drop editor:
three. You possibly can customize your website in the WordPress customizer
To customise the theme itself, Astra uses the real-time, native WordPress Customizer. The benefit of this strategy is that, as you make your modifications within the sidebar, the reside preview of your website will replace to mirror those modifications:
Numerous themes use the WordPress Customizer these days, but what makes Astra distinctive is simply what number of customization choices it provides you, even in the free model.
Whereas displaying you every single choice would require an entire submit of its own, suffice it to say that you’ve a ton of management.
For instance, you’ll be able to choose from a couple of totally different header layouts and customise all the spacing:
Or, you would shortly insert breadcrumbs, without the need to edit your theme’s code like a whole lot of other themes make you do:
Principally, these settings are what make Astra so adaptable, and you’ll use them to show Astra into the right theme on your specific wants.
4. Astra is built to pair with a WordPress page builder
For those who plan to make use of a web page builder for some or your whole content material, you’ll love Astra’s page-level settings that offer you 100% management over the canvas in your page builder.
For particular person posts or pages, you possibly can:
- Change the width
- Select the variety of sidebars
- Disable particular gadgets, like the header, title, featured image, and so on.
For example, if your website usually has a sidebar, but you need to create a full-width gross sales web page together with your page builder, you might just disable the sidebar and change the width for simply that page.
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Astra Free vs Professional: Which model is right for you?
The core Astra theme is obtainable totally free at WordPress.org. Then, there’s a $59 Astra Professional model that provides a bunch of further features.
So…which one is right for you? Do you want the premium version to construct a website? Or will the free model be nice for you?
To these latter two questions, you do not want the Professional version to build a great-looking website. I exploit the free version on a few of my sites and it provides you the whole lot you’ll want to create a primary website, especially in case you’re planning to make use of a WordPress page builder as nicely.
Nevertheless, there are some causes to think about going Pro. Let me share a few of the highlights…
Extra importable demo websites
If you are going to buy the Astra Professional Company package deal, you’ll unlock every single importable demo website. You’ll also get entry to all the developer’s other plugins, together with useful instruments like Schema Pro to add wealthy snippets, WP Portfolio that will help you add a portfolio, plus much more.
The free version of Astra does nonetheless let you customise your header, however Astra Professional provides you a lot more advanced options for customizing your header in additional unique methods. You’ll get options like:
- Cellular headers – create an awesome customized cellular expertise.
- Sticky header – make your menu “stick” whilst a consumer scrolls down.
- Mega menu – create a mega menu for better navigation.
Extra type options
Whereas the free model of Astra provides you primary colour and typography management, Astra Professional puts that on steroids, letting you customize the color and typography for pretty much every single aspect on your website.
Extra format choices
Equally, Astra Professional additionally provides you much more format options in your content and weblog. For instance, you possibly can choose from numerous weblog archive layouts and insert content material above or under 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 options for WooCommerce, like a conversion-friendly two-step checkout, Ajax cart, and more.
Beyond that, Astra Professional additionally provides devoted integrations for LearnDash and LifterLMS, which is awesome should you’re planning to launch your personal online course with WordPress.
So do you have to get Astra Pro?
You in all probability observed that I used the phrase “more” quite a bit when describing the brand new options in Astra Pro. I feel that’s type of the point – Astra Professional just isn’t inherently “better”, because it’s the identical actual core theme.
As an alternative, Astra Professional simply provides you even more of the great things you get free of charge.
In case you installed the free model and it’s already letting you do every thing you need – that’s great! You possibly can cease – you don’t want the Professional model.
But if you find yourself hitting some partitions – such as you actually need a sticky header, otherwise you need a totally different weblog archive format – then that’s a reasonably good indicator that you simply want Astra Pro.
My advice is that this – start with the free theme and see how it goes. For those who hit those partitions, upgrading to Astra Professional is tremendous simple. The truth is, Astra Pro is actually a plugin, not a theme. So you’ll still use the same theme you’ve already installed – you’ll simply set up the Astra Pro plugin on prime.
Moreover, all of the Astra Professional functionality is modular, so you possibly can decide and choose exactly which features you employ, which keeps your website lightweight:
Last ideas on the Astra Theme
If I needed to advocate one all-purpose WordPress theme for individuals to use, it will be Astra.
By way of the large array of customization options, you need to use Astra for literally any sort of website. What’s extra, as a result of it uses the WordPress Customizer, customizing Astra doesn’t require any particular information. Yup – you gained’t must be a developer to create a custom website.
Or, in the event you don’t need to construct from scratch, you possibly can import one of many ~100 pre-built demo sites, all constructed together with your most popular page builder.
And finally, the cherry on prime is that Astra is tremendous lightweight and performance optimized, which suggests you will get all those different advantages whereas nonetheless having a website that masses quick.
So, whether you’re using the free version or Astra Pro, put this one in your toolbelt and think about it for the subsequent WordPress website that you simply construct.
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