When you are first starting out a small business (or have even been doing a business), it’s hard to figure out the best theme for your small business. Plus, many business owners are on a budget and themes can be incredibly expensive! So how do you balance wanting a beautiful, responsive website with saving money?
Enter Astra – a fully responsive WordPress theme that is lightweight and comes with tons of starter sites…for FREE!
What Should I Consider When Choosing A Free WordPress Theme for a Small Business ?
If you have a hosted site, there are millions of themes out there to choose from. But, not all themes are created equal all themes are created targeted to a specific business or niche . Here are some things to consider when you are choosing a theme for your business:
- Is the theme responsive (easily accessible for smaller screens)? This should be one of your top considerations – I personally get 80% or more visitors who are on mobile! This is a key factor in SEO!
- How “heavy” is the theme (you want lightweight so it doesn’t slow down your site)?
- What is the cost of the theme?
- How popular is the theme? The more popular the theme the more likely you will have solutions to common problems (and many YouTube tutorials to choose from!)
- Does the theme creator provide support? If something goes wrong or you need help, can someone actually help you?
- How customizable is the theme?
- How easy is the theme to update and customize?
- You will also want to see what kind of plugins are required to run a specific theme. I’ve personally purchased a theme I didn’t thoroughly investigate – while the theme itself was “lightweight”, the plugins used weren’t (and were NOT user friendly).
What’s So Great About The Astra Theme For WordPress?
This theme is made by Brainstorm Force based in India, and they offer more than just the Astra Theme (they also have plugins – a couple I personally use).
The Astra Theme is said to load in less than a second and integrates nicely with some great page builders (namely Elementor and Beaver Builder with native WordPress Gutenberg for the less tech savvy!). The themes are all responsive and display amazingly on mobile devices.
Personally, I use Astra and Elementor on ALL of my sites and blogs. No joke. I also recommend you to use this WordPress theme for your small business.
I have used many themes and page builders in my many years of blogging and business websites – I wish I had known about this combination when I first started my WordPress journey !
What Kind of Starter Sites Does Astra Offer For Free?
At the time of writing this post, there are 100+ starter sites to choose from!
This is an unbelievable offering from a single theme and makes it the perfect solution for most small businesses.
There are also premium and agency-level themes available for purchase. There are two types of websites I use based on requirement: free starter sites which use free Elementor and paid Astra sites which use paid Elementor Pro.
Most businesses will easily have a beautiful site with a combination of one of the free starter sites using free Elementor!
(yes, you can also use Beaver Builder on many of these starter sites – 50+ free starter sites).
Do I Have To Use A Page Builder To Use Astra?
They do offer some starter sites that rely merely on Gutenberg (the block editor in WordPress). If you are using the “classic” WordPress editor, your site will change over to Gutenberg.
They currently have a couple of free starter sites using only Gutenberg.
They also offer integration with Brizy, but I have never personally used it. If you would like to use Brizy then you can learn from here how to create a small business website with WordPress and Brizy and astra.
The top five page builders are listed below. If you wish to use a different page builder instead of the default templates of Astra, check the list.
The Top 5 Astra-Compatible Page Builders for Stunning Website Creation
Creating an attractive website takes time. There are many website builders available online. Finding one for your company’s website might be challenging.
The process of creating a website takes time. Without website builders or page builders, creating a website takes a long time.
But nowadays, there are many website builders or page builders available online. You might be confused which one is perfect for your website.
To resolve this confusion, I am going to discuss the top three WordPress page builders. That is compatible with the Astra theme.
1. Elementor – The Ultimate Page Builder
Today, Elementor is One of the most widely used WordPress page builder plugins.
This WordPress page builder plugin offer easy drag-and-drop functionality and customization options. That make this plugin popular.
You can create a stunning website for your business with the help of this plugin and its design library. You don’t need any codding knowledge to do that.
There are no bounds; you can create anything from a simple landing page to a complex ecommerce page by it.
Every website built with this plugin is fully responsive, which is a boost of using it. So, making the website responsive won’t require any additional effort from you.
Beaver Builder is another widely used best WordPress page builder plugin. It works well with the Astra theme. This Beaver Builder is the best option if you want a simple page builder to design your website.
It provides simple UI . That allow you to easily add content by dragging and dropping elements onto your pages.
The combination of the Astra theme and Beaver Builder allows you to create a fantastic website for your business.
Please visit Beaver Builder’s site if you’re interested in learning more. One thing that’s make this plugin is you can see the demo of this plugin before purchase it. If you would like to see the demo, please visit this demo website.
Another excellent page builder for WordPress is Divi page Builder. The customization features offered by this page builder are numerous.
You can create some stunning web pages for your business website by using this plugin.
The fact that this plugin includes a variety of modules and widgets is by far its greatest benefit. You can use it to make blocks and widgets for your websites.
It includes responsive design, just like Elementor or other page builder plugins. Therefore, your websites will display properly on any mobile device.
Second, the Astra theme and this plugin work extremely well together. You can build a nice and user-friendly business website using the Astra theme and the Divi Page Builder plugin.
Do I Need To Install All The Plugins And Page Builder With A Free Astra Theme?
When you import the starter site it will automatically import all the necessary plugins and page builder (unless you already have it on your site).
Do I Need To Create A Child Theme To Use Astra?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is that it depends on how you plan to customize your site.
For those that don’t know, there’s a way to add more security to your site by creating a “child theme” that segments out your customizations so that if you update the theme you won’t lose the work you have done.
Where this gets complicated is that if you are merely modifying through the theme customizer, there should be no change to your work when you update the theme.
However, if you make any deeper changes using CSS stylesheets, edit your theme’s functions.php file, or any sort of underlying code, then you will definitely want to create a child theme.
There are tons of tutorials out there on how to create a child theme if you are at all worried about it. For the sake of brevity in this post, I will assume you are not creating a child theme.
Read More : Ultimate Small Business Custom Design and Development Guide
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How Do I Get Started Installing Astra And A Starter Site?
Here are the basic steps to follow:
Login : Go to your wp-admin and login.
Add The Theme : Go to Appearance > Themes, then click on “Add New”. Search for “Astra” and Install then Activate.
Add The Starter Site Plugin : Go to Plugins > Add New, then search for “Astra Starter Site”. Download and Activate.
Select Your Starter Site : Go to Appearance > Starter Templates. Choose your starter site based on the page builder you want to use in the dropdown in the upper right hand corner. You can also select to only show “Free” themes in the dropdown that says “All” at the top.
Import Your Starter Site : Now that you have found the site you want, click on the image of the starter site, then on the button near the bottom-right that says “Import Complete Site”. It will then begin the import, including the page builder and plugins needed for the starter site you selected.
The best thing is that it takes a few minutes to have a fully functioning site!
You’ll have to play around with where everything is located and where you customize the theme – much of it will be under Appearance > Customize to change fonts (typography), colors, etc.
Run into any issues? There are hundreds of thousands of people using Astra and the page builder you chose – check YouTube, and I’m 99% sure you will find answers to all of your questions!