Are you making this silly mistake when choosing a WordPress theme?

Mistake when choosing a WordPress theme

When I started creating websites, I followed the process of choosing a suitable WordPress theme (template) on which to build a new website, as most beginners probably do. I opened google and did a search for “wordpress free themes”.

Then I “rummaged” through dozens of links, read reviews, watched demos of individual topics. After shortlisting suitable templates, I then tried them on my WordPress test site. It was a job for at least a few hours. Unnecessary. Also, the quality of most of these WordPress themes was probably pretty poor. Back then, I didn’t care at all about the history of the theme, the user base, how often it was updated, how fast it was… the important thing was that it was free and I liked it 🙂

I mean, the fact that I liked it is a pretty imprecise term. Mostly it was just some images of the demo page that won me over to the theme, the functionality didn’t bother me that much. But then when I installed it in WordPress, I found out that the theme doesn’t allow importing demo data, so I got a blank page as a result. Even if the theme allowed this import, I still hadn’t won. Anyway, it was necessary to learn how to work with the theme, to open the manual and try what to do and how to do it, what shortcode to use… Another unnecessary “killed” time.


How to simplify the process of choosing a WordPress theme?

You assume correctly, over time I got tired of this, of finding a different theme for each website and learning what to do with it. The road did not lead there. I have been thinking about how to simplify the process. So I started looking around for some theme packages from one author, which could be used for different types of web pages and especially to have a unified way of use. It was also no longer a requirement for me that they be free. I realized that if I want quality themes, with regular updates, I probably won’t get this for free and I will have to pay some euros.

So I started googling again. I gradually worked my way up to PixelEmu themes that met all my requirements at the time. I purchased the developer package outright, so for an annual fee I had access to all of their themes, which I could use on an unlimited number of sites. When creating a new page, I chose a theme from this package only, which saved me a few hours of time, even considering the similar use of individual themes. However, it was still about having to decide what theme to use on the page.


Taking it to the next level

So my thoughts started to go in another direction. Why am I actually dealing with a different theme for each site? Wouldn’t it be easier to create all sites in one universal theme, so I don’t have to deal with choosing the right theme every time? Wouldn’t it be better to know one WordPress theme than X others? Of course it does!

So what followed? You guessed right, googling again 🙂 I set out to find one perfect theme that I could use for different types of sites, including eshops. One that would meet the following requirements:

  • it must be fast and safe
  • must be regularly updated
  • it should be used by as many people as possible
  • it should allow the import of various predefined designs
  • must work well with different page builders
  • it should be localised into Slovak as much as possible
  • must support WooCommerce

After a few days of searching, my research yielded these candidates for my final choice of the ideal WordPress theme:

All of them (except Divi, which is paid by default) offer both free and paid versions. So I installed those free versions on my test WordPress and tried to work with them. After thorough testing and reading X different reviews, I made my decision – I chose the Astra theme. Since its paid version contained various interesting functionality that the free version did not offer, I bought it straight away. Since then, I’ve been creating websites using this theme alone. I am extremely satisfied with it, it is very easy to work with. I think I made the right choice.

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Combination of theme and page builder

Okay, I have the theme selected, but I still need a tool, page builder, to create pages. This choice was made in parallel with the choice of the topic itself. After studying various reviews, I was deciding between Divi and Elementor. However, since I chose Astra as my theme, there was no need to do anything special when choosing a page builder – Elementor won. I also purchased this one so I can take full advantage of its functionality. Thanks to this combination of Astra Pro + Elementor Pro I can more or less create any web design.

The whole process is now complete, I have simplified my work, saved a few precious hours when choosing a theme, thanks to which I can devote the time saved to the actual creation of the site.

UPDATE 8.3.2021
A year after writing this article, things have changed a bit for me. Although I still create pages using Elementor Pro builder, I’m gradually starting to use the Hello Elementor theme instead of the Astra theme, created directly by the company behind Elementor. Why? Over the last year, Elementor has moved forward quite significantly. Currently, it already has its own “customizer” built right in (which it didn’t have at the time of writing), so there’s no need to configure anything in WordPress via “look/customize” at all (and in this theme, you wouldn’t even set anything there). The whole page can be created using Elementor Pro.

The mentioned Hello Elementor theme is an ultra simple theme that provides no functionality, no settings, which makes it very fast and doesn’t need any unnecessary JS/CSS files. It relies on Elementor Pro to create/set up the entire site and takes full advantage of its theme builder.

Attention! If you only have the free Elementor, I still recommend the Astra theme.

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