First, I won’t stretch this personal review into 10,000 words, but keep this Astra theme review as short as possible.
There is no doubt that the sheer number of WordPress themes that are available can be overwhelming. Finding the perfect blend of aesthetics, functionality, and user-friendliness is a pursuit that can be daunting for the WordPress beginner.
I might have the perfect solution for you with the Astra WordPress theme. An extremely popular theme that has captured attention with its promise of simplicity and adaptability. With 2,369,964+ Websites using it, Astra obviously has this one in the bag!
As I dive into this review, I’ll explore the various facets of Astra and determine whether it truly lives up to the hype.
What is the Astra Theme?
When you first delve into the Astra theme, you will discover that it’s highly customizable; this is one element that stood out for me when I first installed it. Astra is designed to provide users with enough versatility to build a wide range of websites. In my opinion, mostly for blogging websites.
It offers a clean and modern design, coupled with an extensive array of customizable options. The Astra theme has also earned a reputation as a go-to theme for both beginners and experienced developers alike.
The Core Features of Astra
Let me take you through the 5 strong features of Astra, although there are a LOT more:
- Speed and Performance
- Schema Markup
- Starter Websites
(1) Speed and Performance
Astra’s lightweight code and optimized structure contribute to impressive loading times. Users have reported noticeable improvements in website speed right from the start. Much of the speed can help increase engagement by your website visitors, but also greatly improve your SEO rankings.
I’ve yet to test this with an actual website, but most of the reviews online about Astra have made this claim with posted screenshots of this theme’s speed. The screenshot above is based on Astra’s demo site which is just a standalone WordPress installation using Astra. I ran that test at the time of writing this article.
NOTE: Speed is going to depend on what kind of content you have. You will want to make sure your images are optimized. However, one critical component will be your third-party plugins; how many and are they optimized too?
Aside from the option to use starter templates, the Astra theme comes with a load of customizable features. To give you an idea, here is a short list of options:
- Layouts: Use layouts to manage the layout of the website container such as the headers, blogs, single pages, posts, etc.
- Header and Footer Options: Astra comes with several inbuilt header and footer options that can be extended further with the Astra Pro addon.
- Transparent Headers: Consider a transparent header to basically be a header with a beautiful image banner.
- WooCommerce Ready: Astra is completely WooCommerce ready and helps you build and design your store through the customizer itself. You can build a fast and attractive store today!
- Typography Options: Everything from choosing the font of choice to the different methods of sizing your text.
- Colours Management: Even with the free version of Astra, you can manage colours for various elements. If you opt-in for the Pro version, this expands to even more options.
With compatibility with page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder, the Astra theme provides users with unparalleled customization options. I would recommend checking out the Elementor plugin if you really want a massive enhancement of layout and other customization abilities.
(3) Schema Markup
Astra comes with the basic schema markup implementation that is needed to help search engines understand your website better. This is especially critical if you want to get your website positioned well within Google.
Below is the list of all Schemas Astra adds on your website:
- WebPage: On WordPress single pages
- Blog: On Blog Index Page
- On author archive pages.
- On blog posts meta to the author link.
- Author Bio on blog posts
- WPHeader: To the header
- WPFooter: To the footer
- WPSideBar: To the main sidebar
- SiteNavigationElement: To the primary navigation menu.
- SearchResultsPage: On Search Results Pages
- Organization: To the title & logo
- BreadcrumbList: To the breadcrumb through the Page Header module in Astra Pro
(4) Starter Websites
With 240+ ready-to-import WordPress Templates (starter templates), there is one for almost every type of website. So, if you are a web designer using Astra for your clients, you can guarantee there is a template available.
If you run a design agency or you’re a freelancer, using Astra templates is a smart choice. Running out of templates for Astra is not really going to happen. One reason for this is that they continue to add more.
If there is one component to focus on, with any theme, is going to be support. In my opinion, support is just as important as the theme itself.
So, what kind of support can you expect from the Astra team?
- Video Tutorials: With detailed video tutorials and practical demonstrations, we make sure that you understand every nook and corner of the theme and modules.
- In-Depth Articles: We understand the need for a helpful knowledge base and have that for you. With every new feature, we make sure we have an article that explains it well.
- 24/7 Support: With a dedicated team on board, we do not let you feel left out. Should you need help, we are just an email away!
The video tutorials are great, but in-depth theme tutorials are very important. But when it comes to 24/7 support, that is a winning factor in anyone’s decision to try out the Astra theme for your blog.
Astra: Free vs Pro
Even though Astra offers a free and pro version, let me take you through a quick layout of the pros and cons of both.
|Aspect||Astra Free||Astra Pro|
|Customization Options||Basic customization features||Enhanced customization with additional controls|
|Starter Sites||Access to a selection of starter sites||Access to a broader range of exclusive starter sites|
|Typography Settings||Limited typography options||Extensive typography settings and fine-tuning|
|WooCommerce Support||Basic WooCommerce compatibility||Deep integration with advanced WooCommerce features|
|Page Headers/Footers||Basic header and footer customization options||Advanced header and footer builder|
|Performance||Solid performance with lightweight code||Enhanced performance optimization for quicker loading|
|Priority Support||Standard community support||Priority support with faster response times|
|Advanced Hooks||Basic hooks for customizing functionality||Additional hooks for developers to create custom features|
|Pricing||Free||Paid subscription with various pricing tiers|
In a nutshell, this is what each one is narrowed down to:
- Astra Free – Astra’s free version provides an impressive array of features, making it a solid choice for those on a budget. While it offers a good level of customization and functionality, the Pro version expands on these features to provide even greater control and flexibility.
- Astra Pro – Astra Pro unlocks a treasure trove of advanced features that can take your website to the next level. From enhanced customization options to exclusive pre-designed templates, Pro users gain access to a toolkit that empowers them to create truly unique websites.
Who is Astra Good For?
Astra’s versatility extends to its target audience:
- Beginners – Astra’s user-friendly interface and starter sites make it an excellent choice for beginners who want to create a professional website without a steep learning curve.
- Developers – Experienced developers benefit from Astra’s lightweight code and compatibility with page builders, which allow for highly customized and complex websites.
- Agencies – Agencies appreciate Astra’s efficiency in rapidly launching websites for clients using starter sites as a foundation, while still allowing for extensive customization.
Important Astra Integrations
Astra’s compatibility with various plugins and tools is a testament to its flexibility. In fact, you are covered for most types of websites with Astra. :
- WooCommerce: Astra’s deep integration with WooCommerce makes it a compelling choice for e-commerce ventures.
- LearnDash: Create online courses and educational platforms seamlessly with Astra’s LearnDash integration.
- Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO’s partnership with Astra ensures that your website is primed for search engine success.
- Elementor: Astra’s seamless compatibility with Elementor empowers users to build intricate designs with ease. Whether you use the free version or Elementor Pro. See what Elementor can do for your website.
In the ever-evolving landscape of WordPress themes, Astra stands tall with simplicity, adaptability, and innovation. From its versatile starter sites to its customizable design and deep integration possibilities, Astra caters to a wide spectrum of users – from novices to experienced developers. Whether you seek a clean and speedy blog, an engaging e-commerce platform, or a visually striking portfolio, Astra empowers you to bring your web presence to life.
My recommendation is to first try the free Astra theme, and then if you want to jump into a full-on set of features, go for the Astra Pro version. Of course, don’t forget Rough Pixels offers WordPress templates too!