The WordPress Ecosystem is huge and is filled with a lot of plugins, themes, and frameworks. These frameworks improve the ease and power which already the base WordPress provides.
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Astra – Customizable WordPress theme
A faster and more reliable WordPress theme that helps users build high-performing websites at affordable rates. It offers advanced blog templates, typography, and global color palettes, and you can easily customize the layouts.
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So, incorporating a good WordPress framework would drastically improve your productivity and the overall quality of the site.
In this article, we discuss what to look for in a good WordPress framework and consider one of the most important things in recent times, the introduction of Core Web Vitals by Google. We will discuss what it means and why you need to satisfy that on your website.
Next, we will consider WordPress themes that are best for your site that satisfy Core Web Vitals, and have good features. Astra is one popular among them. We consider Astra’s features and the 50 best starter sites for it. We would also consider other great frameworks like Genesis, Generate Press, and Divi.
We also have a FAQ section at the end of this article to get you some quick answers!
What to look for in a good WordPress framework?
One fundamental thing you must not do is choose a framework because it is popular. It is certainly true that if a framework is popular, then it might be a good thing, but not all frameworks are applicable for all use cases.
So, first, you have to understand what features you want for your website. Not complete features though, getting a rough idea regarding them is also fine.
Now the two fundamental dos and don’ts are covered, let us see some other important considerations:
- Responsive nature: Not all people visit your site on desktops or laptops. Mobile usage has increased dramatically in recent years and as such, everybody expects your site to run well on mobiles, too. For that, your WordPress theme must have a good responsive nature at its core.
- Customizability: Unless you like all the features a theme provides out of the box, you need customization of the theme. A good theme always gives a lot of customization options right to choosing specific colors and font sizes.
- EcoSystem: By the ecosystem of a theme, we mean the other things that work well with the theme, like certain plugins or any specific things with the theme. When a certain theme has a huge ecosystem, there would be chances that what you want would be further covered by them, thus giving you more comfort and ease.
Other than them, there is an important thing to consider is Core Web Vitals. These are recently introduced metrics by Google that covers much of the user experience with your site. With this being a key factor in SEO and also in UX, you need to give the utmost importance to your website.
What are Core Web Vitals and why considering them is important for your site?
In the middle of the last year, Google announced Core web vitals, which are a part of the Web vitals, which is also an initiative of Google. In November of that year, it was announced that Core Web Vitals will be considered as a search factor from May 2021.
That means Google would actively consider Core Web Vitals for ranking search pages in it. Putting it into context, this matters just as it mattered to have HTTPS on your website in 2017.
However, not only is the SEO factor but is also a well-researched way of understanding the user experience of the site. So, if your site has any problem with Core Web Vitals, then they would give you the chance of improving the user interface!
Coming to the Core Web Vitals consists of three metrics: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.
Largest Contentful Paint:
It is basically the loading performance of your page. In detail, the Largest Contentful paint is a measurement of the time in which the most important and meaningful content loads up on a page. That is, here, the crux of the page must load faster even when the entire site loads relatively slowly.
It is considered good when LCP is less than or equal to 2.5s and is considered not good if it is greater than 2.5s and less than 4s. If it is more than 4s, then it is considered very poor.
First Input Delay:
First Input Delay is the time between the user interaction with your page and the action taken by the browser. If this metric is less than or equal to 100ms, then it is considered good. If it is less than or equal to 300ms and greater than 100ms, then it might work, but improvement is needed.
Cumulative Layout Shift:
Cumulative Layout Shift is a measure of visual stability. It particularly measures how the content of your site moves around and shifts as the site loads. Your site would be considered good when this metric is <= 0.1s and if lies between 0.1 and 2.5s, then it needs improvement. If it is more than 0.25 seconds.
Getting these metrics for your site is not a tough job. There are a lot of tools that are provided by Google and also other developers that make it easy to get them!
WordPress Themes that are best for your website:
With this change, you need not be alarmed because there are many WordPress themes that are so optimized for the UX that they pass core web vitals. You just need to choose the right theme.
There might be many themes that satisfy Core Web Vitals and give you a ton of features, but one of the most powerful and popular ones is Astra.
Astra is a theme that is Fast, Lightweight, and highly customizable. This theme works well with all major page builders and provides powerful customization that lets you customize everything and make the site look and function exactly the way you wanted it to! The site is also responsive and works well with all devices and sizes.
The most important feature of Astra is that it has a lot of Starter sites that you take out of the box!
What are Astra Starter WordPress Templates & How do they Work:
Starter sites are well-designed sites that serve a specific requirement in an almost complete way. With these starter sites, you can quickly create your own site and completely develop it with ease!
There are more than 250 templates that are available for different page builders of Elementor, Beaver Builder, Birzy, Spectra, and Gutenberg. Just select the one you want and include them in your theme!
Let us see the top 50 of them! The title of these themes is descriptive enough!
- BrandStore – Free – Demo
- Photographer – Agency – Demo
- Plant Shop – Agency
- Freelance Artist – Free
- Cosmetics – Free
- Furniture Store – Free
- Fashion Lifestyle Blog – Free
- Co-working Space – Agency
- Inspirational Speaker – Agency
- Business Coaching & Consultancy – Free
- Florist – Agency
- Mountain – Free
- Petcare – Free
- School & Kindergarten – Agency
- Tarot Card reader – Agency
- Tech Startup – Free
- LearnDash Academy – Free
- Makeup Artist – Free
- Life Guide – Agency
- Massage Therapist – Agency
- Outdoor Adventure – Free
- Baby Care – Agency
- Coffee Shop – Agency
- Meditation Courses – Free
- Pharmaceutical – Free
- Courier & Delivery Service – Free
- Learn Oil Painting – Free
- Moving Services – Agency
- HortiCulture – Free
- Cake Shop – Agency
- Travel Agency – Agency
- Yoga Instructor – Free
- Church – Free
- Nutritionist – Free
- Health Coach – Agency
- Shoe Store – Agency
- Chartered Accountant – Free
- Windows & Doors Services – Free
- Construction – Free
- Cleaning Agency – Free
- Home Remodeling – Agency
- Towing Services – Agency
- Car Wash – Free
- Fly Movers – Agency
- Sierra Industry – Free
- Interior Design Firm – Free
- University – Free
- Psychiatric – Free
- Food and Drinks Blog – Free
For more check their Astra Starter WordPress Templates library.
There are other alternative themes for Astra that many developers love. These are unique in their own ways and also provide a good and responsive user experience for the website.
Genesis Framework by StudioPress is a highly useful tool for building WordPress sites that helps not only beginners but also advanced users. It contains many things that you expect of a full-fledged theme: security, SEO readiness, good customization capability, and a lot of themes and templates. It is Gutenberg ready so you can easily use it with your favorite page builder.
Being responsive, you do not need to worry about how your site works across a lot of devices.
There are a lot of child themes of the Genesis Framework that cater to various use cases. Some of the popular child themes are Foodie, Essence Pro, and Fearless.
Genesis also has a good ecosystem of exclusive plugins for you to use. Some popular plugins include Genesis Extender, Genesis Design Palette Pro, and Genesis Simple Hooks.
Just as Astra is, Generate Press is a lightweight WordPress theme that has a limited free version and a premium version that is highly customizable and powerful. It is highly focused on performance and is secure. With Generatepress taking care of many things for you, it gives you a head-start in SEO at the start itself!
It also has built-in support for Accessibility, which adheres to the standards of WCAG 2.0 and It is customizable well and easily integrates with a lot of page builders and plugins.
GP’s premium plan gives you much more features including various site demos, advanced customization of Typography, Sections support, and more.
Elegant themes are known for their beautiful responsive themes and Divi is a premium theme by them.
Divi has advanced visual building technology, and this is one of the best aspects of Divi. Divi has more than 40 website elements that are generic enough to support much of all general use cases of a website. They include sliders, blogs, forms, testimonials, galleries, and more.
It also has different layout packs for different categories, including but not limited to Business, Community & Non-Profit, and Events. These provide a good head start to building websites.
There are also a lot of third-party plugins exclusive to Divi that improve the overall theme. One finest of them is Divi Booster, which adds another 50 configuration options that provide you with even more customization!
There is also a custom full-width Header extended module that provides you with a lot more power in handling headers.
The performance of your website is a sum total of the theme you use, how you use it, the plugins you use, and the hosting environment. However, having a good WordPress theme relieves a great amount of burden.
With Core Web Vitals being announced by Google which is coming into effect in May 2021, there is a rush to check whether the sites are satisfying the requirements and make sure they got the correct tech.
Astra’s optimized themes and starter sites provide a great way to have WordPress-powered websites that look and work exactly the way you wanted and are optimized for search engines. Other than Astra, there is Genesis, Generate Press, Divi, and other frameworks that are popular.
So use these frameworks and make your website compatible with the coming changes!
What is the difference between Web Vitals and Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a subset of Web Vitals which apply to all web pages. The concept of web vitals was also an initiative by Google as is Core Web Vitals.
Do I have to manually tweak my WordPress themes to pass Core Web Vitals?
That depends on your themes and the setup of your website. If your WordPress site is well structured, optimized, and uses the right themes, you may not even need to change anything!
Which themes are good for passing Core Web Vitals?
There are a lot of themes that are designed well for performance and stability. Astra, Generate Press, Genesis, and Divi are some of the popular themes that pass Core Web Vitals. However, even though you have a powerful theme, there are other factors that could slow down your website.