Astra is one of those popular brands in the WordPress space. Whenever someone searches for “fastest WordPress theme” / “fast loading WordPress themes” / “performance-oriented WordPress theme”.
It will always appear on the FIRST FEW PAGES of SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGE, usually on the first page. Due to the popularity of the BRAND & THE DEVELOPER.
It’s also a MULTIPURPOSE THEME that could literally allow users to create ANY KIND OF WEBSITES from personal to professional-grade websites & eCommerce websites too using the WooCommerce plugin.
It’s EASILY NOTICEABLE on search engine results like Google, Bing, Yahoo & has a strong presence on social media too.
There’s even a CLOSED GROUP at Facebook that’s specially created for Astra lovers & the community.
We can easily learn new tricks & ways to improve on our WordPress site by using the insider information shared by the community & of course the developer itself, Brainstorm Force.
Editors for YUPMS are either great learners or executors, that’s because we always stay up to date to whichever website framework that’s trending & is usually BEST IN CLASS to help our clients generate the most web-traffic out of it.
Apart from Astra, there’s also Neve by ThemeIsle.
Neve comes close in terms of the PERFORMANCE OF THE THEMES & also the vast array of USEFUL PLUGINS developed by ThemeIsle.
Neve has a REPUTATION of becoming 1 of the FASTEST PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEMES range in just a short amount of time.
Hestia is also another MULTIPURPOSE FREE THEME that’s available for literally ANY WORDPRESS USERS.
Apart from themes, ThemeIsle has also developed VERY USEFUL PLUGINS like OrbitFox, which is available for FREE at WordPress plugin library.
OrbitFox is an ALMOST JetPack equivalent although JetPack has MORE FEATURES packed into it.
- Why pick Astra? When there’re DOZENS of themes out there…
- Superb Design Options:
- Site Layouts:
- Typography (font designs):
- Colors & backgrounds:
- Blog page layouts (almost all are for paid users):
- Global Design Options (most options are for PAID USERS)
- WooCommerce (options that are available MOSTLY FOR PAID USERS)
- Astra widgets (developed by Brainstorm Force)
- Custom Layouts (available for the pro. users)
- Advantages for choosing Astra
- The disadvantage for choosing Astra
- Let’s see what’s inside the Neve theme:
- Design gimmicks available for Neve’s users
- Custom Design of header & footer
- Wide range of design layouts available
- Custom hooks are available for paid users
- Offers easily customization elements
- Pros for using Neve
- Cons for installing Neve
- Wrapping-up the speedy WP developer clan
Why pick Astra? When there’re DOZENS of themes out there…
Let’s BEGIN with the LONG-LIST of features as stated by Brainstorm Force.
- Less than 50 kilobytes of resources as COMPARED to HUNDREDS OF KILOBYTES required by other WordPress themes
- Loads in just 0.5 seconds, that’s 500 MILLISECONDS!
- Astra uses WordPress’s data & follows the BEST CODING PRACTICES according to BF’s developers
Superb Design Options:
- It offers different types of layout designs, whether it’s 2 / 3 /4 or more columns. The percentage of the column sizes can be adjusted too
- Has transparent header options to further ENHANCE the appearance of a website’s header
- Mobile headers, page headers & sticky header are also GREAT ALTERNATIVES to increase the looks of the header section of a website on desktop & mobile devices (options like this are ONLY AVAILABLE on the PAID VERSION)
- Header & footer options to enhance the FUNCTIONALITY of both sections can be extended further through Astra’s paid version
- Megamenu is available with the theme & we can showcase BEAUTIFUL MEDIA on the top navigation menu of a website, more commonly known as PRIMARY MENU
- Dedicated sidebar that allows webmasters to include widgets into the sidebar area / even DISPLAY ADS on it too
- Enhance the fonts & switch color themes for any page / post within an Astra website with the PAID VERSION of the theme
- WooCommerce ready (1 of the world’s largest eCommerce website providers) can be integrated within a website powered by WordPress, turning it into a TRULY HYBRID site. All done using the “customizer” in the appearance section of a WordPress site
- Boxed layout design allows editors to create content that will distinguish from other content within a website (available on the paid version)
- The fluid layout allows editors to create content with FULL STRETCH to unleash the “end-to-end” effect for web-content (available on the paid version)
- Padded layouts allow editors to insert SPECIFIC MARGINS ON THE EDGES OF CONTENT to give it a PADDED LOOK (available on the paid version)
- Full width allows editors to use the entire width of the primary content on a website (unlocked on the paid version)
- Default container provides a PRIMARY CONTAINER with its specific layout & settings within the “customizer”
- Spacing control allows editors to MANAGE THE MARGINS & PADDING AROUND ALL ELEMENTS & OVERRIDES THE DEFAULT SPACE SETTINGS (unlocked on the paid version)
Typography (font designs):
- Astra synchronizes with Google Fonts to provide its users with OVER 700+ types of fonts to choose from
- Offers responsive font size for DIFFERENT DIGITAL DEVICES
- Font sizes “PX” & “EM” is available for tuning in the settings panel
- There’s even a CUSTOM FONT PLUGIN for users to IMPORT THEIR PREFERRED FONT DESIGN into the web pages
- Paragraph margin options are AVAILABLE TOO for ADJUSTMENTS OF SPACING in between PARAGRAPHS
- There’s a TEXT TRANSFORM TAG that allows users to set the UNIFORM TEXT FORMAT for a PARTICULAR ‘HEADING TAG’
Colors & backgrounds:
- The primary header provides the FLEXIBILITY for CHANGING COLORS & BACKGROUNDS for BOTH MOBILE DEVICE & DESKTOP VIEW
- Same as the primary header, the STICKY, ABOVE & BELOW HEADER’s background & color settings CAN BE ADJUSTED TOO (AVAILABLE FOR PAID VERSION ONLY)
- Transparent header settings are AVAILABLE FOR THE FREE VERSION TOO
- Content which is available for PRO. (PAID) USERS ONLY gives its users the option to TUNE THE COLORS FOR “HEADING TAGS”
- Colors for the blog / archive pages can be ADJUSTED USING ‘CUSTOMIZER’ SETTINGS
- Single pages too CAN BE ADJUSTED using the ‘Customizer’
- Sidebar & footer settings can be modified using the ‘customizer’
Blog page layouts (almost all are for paid users):
- Blog content width is THE ONLY OPTION that’s available for the FREE USERS
- ‘Bloggers’ can showcase their wonderful blog posts with a GRID LAYOUT (preview of the blog posts with the featured images & other metadata)
- List layout is pretty much SELF-EXPLANATORY
- Masonry layout is kind of similar with RECTANGULAR SHAPED MEDIA on a webpage
- The first post can be HIGHLIGHTED using the feature
- Date box, excerpt(summary of the post), post pagination can be added into the ‘metadata’ of the blog page preview
- Blog structure control is another feature that’s available in the ‘customizer’ to allow users to ARRANGE THE FLOW of the elements (like featured image, date, excerpt, author, category tags)
- Infinite loading is another INTERESTING FEATURE that allows users to keep scrolling on the content of the page. Most commonly seen on social media websites.
Global Design Options (most options are for PAID USERS)
- Left, Center & Right logo header settings are available in the ‘customizer’ for users to ALIGN THE POSITION OF LOGO WITH TAGLINE & its available for FREE
- Footer bar layouts are the nominal copyright & brand names available on most websites & the position of it CAN BE ADJUSTED as well
- Mobile header designs allow users to add breakpoints & display fly-outs & adjust the ‘hamburger menu’ as well according to the needs of webmasters
- Above & below header content allows users to ADD WIDGETS, HTML CODE, SHORT-CODES / JUST PLAIN TEXT to the header of a webpage
- Above & below header layout allows users to manage the LAYOUT DESIGN WITH THE CONTENT
- Flexible footer layouts are similar with the ABOVE & BELOW HEADER CONTENT settings which allow users to ADD WIDGETS, HTML CODE & SHORT-CODES / TEXT BOX to the header of a webpage
WooCommerce (options that are available MOSTLY FOR PAID USERS)
- Grid settings allow products to be displayed in GRID FORMAT & CUSTOMIZATION-READY
- Infinite scroll feature (same as the blog page) allows website visitors to scroll the WooCommerce page with “infinite amount of products” displayed on the page
- Off-Canvas sidebar, sidebar feature that could be TRIGGERED by a BUTTON / LINK
- Quick view allows site visitors to preview the products without opening a new page
- Gallery options allow users to display all of the products in the “shop page” via a grid / list display
- Dropdown cart is a preview of the shopping cart for users to preview the number of items listed added into a shopping cart BEFORE CHECKING OUT
- Sales bubble style are REMARKS that users can put on the product display to INDICATE SALES, creating the urgency for site visitors to buy the products
- Astra integrates with LifterLMS to help users BUILD APPEALING & DISTRACTION FREE online course websites (available for paid users)
- LearnDash is another brilliant integration for users who are building online courses website
- Astra is integrated with basic “schema markup” for search engines to better understand the website
- Theme users can also reap the benefits of having a SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZED website out-of-the-box just by installing & using the theme.
Astra widgets (developed by Brainstorm Force)
- Widgets that are specially made for Astra users to display Google Maps on the pages that are intended to show location map
- Info list widgets are available for users & with the use of various icons, information can be displayed ATTRACTIVELY in any pages
- Social icons widget EASILY ALLOW users to link social media pages with the pages / posts within a website
Custom Layouts (available for the pro. users)
- Users are allowed to create CUSTOM-MADE HEADERS & FOOTERS across the entire website to showcase the beautifully designed header on specific pages & every page / post
- Users are allowed to design UNIQUE 404 PAGES to entice people who’re viewing the usual dull looking “404 pages”
- With hooks, literally any content can be injected with custom code & placed anywhere within a website
- Display conditions allow users to SHOW CUSTOM LAYOUT across the WHOLE WEBSITE / SPECIFIC PAGES
Advantages for choosing Astra
- At just $59 for UNLIMITED WEBSITES, that’s really some serious deal we’re looking at! Most WordPress developers offer themes & plugins for a 1, 3 & 5 site licenses
- It has integration with some of the TOP-NOTCH PAGE BUILDERS that’s available in the market such as Beaver Builder, Elementor, Brizy & the default WordPress block editor (Gutenberg) & other page builders too
- Has a ready-made website template ready for users TO EXPLORE
- Top-notch customer service provided by the developer, replies in a short amount of time
The disadvantage for choosing Astra
- We’re still seeing some traces of JQuery in the “waterfall chart” while having website speed check using tools like GTMetrix . Not like what Astra has claimed.
- Customizing without HTML coding knowledge (according to Astra’s tagline) is SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE for customizing a website’s appearance & at the same time PAY HEAVY ATTENTION on SEO factors (such as the website loading speed)
- The MONEY BACK GUARANTEE is rather short as compared to other major developers on the market, it’s just 14 days!
- The MINI AGENCY BUNDLE & LIFETIME LICENSE is still considered quite pricey for freelancers / agency startups
Let’s head over to the Neve theme by ThemeIsle
Let’s see what’s inside the Neve theme:
- The stock version loads in under 1 second
- Has FULL INTEGRATION with CACHING & “MINIFY” PLUGINS to provide ULTRA FAST LOADING SPEED right out of the box
- Mobile device (responsive) ready & Accelerated Mobile Pages ready. Ensures content is viewed in a correct proportion across all mobile devices & ranked high on Google’s search results page for the content a user inputs on a website
- WooCommerce booster (paid version only) enhances a WooCommerce store with great features on the FRONT-END such as
- CHANGING SHOP PAGE LAYOUTS
- ADD TO CART BUTTON
- QUICK VIEW
- WISH LIST
- CUSTOMIZE ELEMENTS ORDER
- GALLERY LAYOUT
- NUMBER OF RELATED PRODUCTS
- TUNING THE POSITION & ALIGNMENT
- ENABLING & DISABLING SALE PERCENTAGE
- USE LABELS AS PLACEHOLDERS
- ENABLE DISTRACTION FREE CHECKOUT
- SHOW ORDER NOTE
- Blog booster (paid version only) provides BLOG PAGE ENHANCED EXPERIENCE for visitors to the blog posts like:
- CHANGING BLOG LAYOUT
- CHANGING POST ORDERS
- GRID COLUMN LAYOUTS
- MODIFY EXCERPT LENGTH
- SWITCHING POST PAGINATION
- POST CONTENT ORDER
- SHOWING / HIDING ‘METADATA’ FOR THE POSTS ON THE FRONT-END
- Header booster allows NEW ELEMENTS to be ADDED to a header such as:
- Sticky & transparent header
- Multiple HTML header components
- Socials, contacts, breadcrumbs
- Advanced styling options
- Mobile headers & much more
- Page header builder
- White labeling (paid version only) the theme is a great feature for freelancers & agencies to not EXPOSE everything that’s happening on the back-end of the website to the public
- Elementor Booster (paid version only) boosts the functionality of the famous Elementor page builder by providing ADDITIONAL WIDGETS like:
- Flip card
- Social share buttons
- Animated headline
- Review meta box
- Translation & Right-To-Left Languages cause the theme supports translation for RTL languages for EVERY ELEMENT within the website
- SEO friendly markup ensures the content of the website is “Google-ready” thus leading to HIGHER RANKINGS with its CLEAN & OPTIMIZED SOURCE CODE
- Ready-made website templates are also available within ThemeIsle’s library
- Has a 1 CLICK ROLL-BACK FEATURE for users to revert to the previous version of the theme & even ThemeIsle’s plugins too if things don’t turn out well
- Includes eye-patch service for detection of “breaking-changes” while updating the theme
- The accessibility-ready feature is available for users who have senses disability to access the content of the website
- Seamless integration with POPULAR PAGE-BUILDERS available like Elementor, Brizy, Divi, WPBakery, SiteOrigin, Gutenberg, etc.
Design gimmicks available for Neve’s users
Custom Design of header & footer
Customize & redesign the header & footer of Neve through drag-and-drop elements
Wide range of design layouts available
The canvas for the content could be in CONTAINED / FULL-WIDTH according to the preference of the user
Custom hooks are available for paid users
An option for users to embed the short HTML code / custom content into ANY OF THE HOOKS LOCATION
Offers easily customization elements
Every element within the theme is editable to achieve FULL CUSTOMIZATION for a user’s needs
Pros for using Neve
- State-of-the-art features that are comparable in terms of PERFORMANCE & FEATURES, comparable to Astra & in certain aspects outshines Astra such as the WooCommerce booster
- Has a good reputation in the WordPress community & famous for offering QUALITY & TOP-NOTCH themes & plugins like WP Product Review
- The developer has an official Youtube channel if you prefer to watch videos instead of reading documentation / tutorials about how-to use its themes / plugins
Cons for installing Neve
- Priority & live chat support is ONLY AVAILABLE for freelancers & agencies package ($99) whereby live chat support seems to be excluded for PERSONAL & BUSINESS PACKAGE ($39 & $59)
- The website template library isn’t as LARGE as Astra’s version (by Brainstorm Force), this is absolutely important if you’re a copywriter / blogger who focuses heavily on creating AWESOME CONTENT at LIGHTNING SPEED & not having to design a website from scratch
- According to reliable sources the speed test for the theme is STILL LACKING BEHIND Astra & GeneratePress in the “speed test tournament”
Wrapping-up the speedy WP developer clan
All-in-all, YUPMS’s editors still prefer using Astra as 1 of its main WordPress theme suppliers as the developer behind Astra (Brainstorm Force) never failed to amaze in terms of the after-sales-service & also its continuous innovation of plugins (extensions for a WordPress website).
All of these will enhance the user experience in SEARCH ENGINE’S EYES & also the site visitors.
Therefore YUPMS’s mission is to help content for a website RANK HIGH & CONVERT LIKE MAD in the long run. All achievable in just a matter of months. So for more inquiries about how to do so, please visit our CONTACT US PAGE for further details.
P.S. Do share your thoughts about how you think of Astra & Neve / any other themes + plugins DEVELOPED by ThemeIsle / BrainstormForce you’ve used before in your WordPress site