WordPress is the most powerful and dynamic website builder. In fact, 43.2% of all websites in the world are powered by WordPress. Top websites like Nike and the New York Times all use WordPress. If you work with me, you’ll be joining that impressive statistic of WordPress users!
Choosing WordPress means you are choosing a highly customizable website builder. WordPress websites can be designed to look and function in almost any way you desire. Once you get started with WordPress, you will first want to choose a theme.
Themes are WordPress’s most useful features. They allow you to customize your site’s appearance and add personalized functionality without needing an advanced degree in coding or design.
What is a WordPress Theme?
Simply put, a WordPress theme is a collection of files that work together to create the design of your site. When you first start a WordPress site, it will be loaded with a default theme. The first step will be to install a theme that works for your brand.
When you download a theme, it will come in a zipped folder with files for templates, stylesheets, fonts, colors and images. All of these files determine how your website looks.
Some of the files in a theme are called templates. Templates control the layout of one page, or a part of a page, on your website. Within each theme, there will be separate template files for a sidebar, footer, header, blog post, etc.
There are thousands of free and premium themes to choose from. It’s important to choose a theme that not only meets your design needs but one that is frequently updated and maintained by the developers.
There are WordPress themes created for certain industries and niches. It’s important to consider the functionality and user experience that you want your website to have. A blogger will need different elements than an online boutique would need. Your brand will require a certain aesthetic as well. Choose one that matches your design needs and allows for easy customization.
There are a couple of places to search for WordPress themes.
1. The WordPress Theme Directory. This is the official library of free WordPress themes. You can access them on the web or from your WordPress dashboard. You can read reviews and browse a live demo of the theme before downloading.
2. Directly from a WordPress developer. There are several quality theme builders in the market. Elegant Themes, StudioPress and Theme Garden are a few to check out. Brainstorm Force are the designers behind the Astra theme which is my recommendation as the preferred theme to work with in conjunction with Elementor.
What is Elementor for WordPress?
Elementor is a Page Builder designed to work with WordPress websites. It is a plugin that replaces the basic WordPress editor with a live frontend editor. It has drag and drop features that allow you to easily and quikly build dynamic and unique web pages.
Just like WordPress themes, there are several choices for a WordPress Page Builder. I recommend and use Elementor for all my website builds.
ELementor requires zero knowledge about coding and is super intuitive to use. In the Elementor editor, you’ll see a fixed sidebar to the left of a live view of the web page you are editing. That sidebar contains elements and modules to build your website with. Elements like text, images, buttons and video. Using the drag and drop feature, simply select the element you want to add to a design and drag it on to the page.
Elementor is compatible with all WordPress themes. My preferred theme to pair with Elementor is Astra.
Benefits of Astra theme
The Astra Theme was developed to integrate seamlessly with Elementor. It is fully compatible and so adaptable within Elementor that you can get the look you need for any website design. For me, this means I can build websites for my clients even faster because I don’t need to search for a compatible theme each time.
1. Powerful design options. Astra Theme comes with 150+ pre-built starter sites in its library with layouts for every industry and functionality you can think of. As a developer, that means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and start from scratch on every build. And because Astra is so highly custimizable, I can create unique and dynamic websites for every type of client.
2. Lightweight and fast. Elementor is a heavy plugin. Astra helps balance that out by being one of the lightest themes on the market. It requires just 50K of resources and loads in less than a half of a second!
3. Easy to use. Astra is designed to be user- and developer-friendly. So no matter if your a beginner or a pro, Astra is easy to use. From the editor, Astra will walk you through setting up your website. With simple questions like what is your website for? You can select pre-built sites to start with. Or use the templete bar to build a site from scratch. Once the initial set up is done with color pallete selection and logo upload, you can start designing your site with Elementor.
4. Excellent support. If you need help using the Astra theme, you’ll find a video library of tutorials and access to a 24/7 support team. All documentation included with Astra is clear and comprehensive which makes troubleshooting a breeze.
I choose to use Astra Theme because of the limitness design capabilities it gives me. This allows me to offer a truly personalized experience for each of my clients without a learning curve slowing me down. It’s the best way for me to offer the high level of professional service I’m known for.
Other popular themes to pair with Elementor: Hello and OceanWP
While Astra is my preferred theme to work with, there are lots of theme options available and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. If Astra isn’t going to suit your needs, I recommend Hello Elementor and OceanWP themes to use with Elementor.
Hello Elementor was built by the same developers as Elementor. If you’re new to building web pages, this is a great theme to start with. It is lightweight and offers minimal styling. It’s a great choice if you want to create a custimized site and need simple styling.
OceanWP is fully compatible with Elementor and offers access to custom Elementor modules and templates. OceanWP also has built in feautres like sticky headers, cookie pop-ups and white labeling which makes it a good choice for agencies as well.
Stuck with what WordPress theme you should use? Check out my library of WordPress resources or schedule a free consultation call and let me do all the hard work for you!