2. Fast WordPress Themes
Get the features without the bloat
You already know that 3rd party themes—and custom-built themes—can carry a lot of baggage with them. One of the best ways to speed up your WordPress website is to throw that baggage to the curb and built your site using a lean and fast WordPress theme.
Often times, the best lean themes are either super basic boilerplate themes, or one that you create yourself, with leanness in mind. With that, however, comes the need to know how to design and develop the site. Add in any feature enhancements you might need, and well, it can get pretty complicated pretty fast.
In light of this, my preferred route is a two-pronged approach using Elementor.
Step 1: Install the “Hello, Elementor” Theme and Child Theme
The first prong is to use Elementor’s starter theme, which is called “Hello, Elementor”.
This theme is completely free, and super lightweight. You can download it from the WordPress theme repository, or by going to “Appearance -> Themes” in your WordPress admin, searching for “Hello, Elementor” and installing it. (note: do not install a new theme on your live site – this will break your site, which is something you would undoubtedly want to avoid; always test on a staging site first).
Make sure that you use a child theme for Elementor as your active theme (you’ll need both the theme linked to above, as well as the child theme – install both, then activate the child theme; this allows you to customize the theme itself, without losing your customization’s when you update the core Elementor theme).
Once you’ve got this theme installed, you’ll notice that it looks not so great. That’s where step 2 comes into play…
Step 2: Install the “Elementor” Site Builder / Page Editor
There are two versions of Elementor (WordPress page builder); one free and the other paid.
The paid version gives you an incredible amount of features which make building something more than a non-dynamic site very nice. I highly recommend going paid, as the starting cost for it is just $50/yr as of the date of this post (I’ll try to keep this updated if/when they update their pricing).
Additionally, the paid version gives you the functionality to literally build your very own “theme”, from header to footer and everything in between, using the “Hello, Elementor” theme as your foundation.
My entire site (kylemfaber.com) is fully designed/built with Elementor theme builder. So is nickleroy.com.
Needless to say, there not much you can’t do with Elementor, and the fact that it’s lightweight and able to be optimized for performance, that makes for a pretty sweet and affordable WordPress theme.
Step 3: Enjoy Your New, Fast WordPress Website
While there are plenty of other things that factor into your website, your web hosting and your theme framework are core to your overall success. Moving to a fast host such as Flywheel or Kinsta, then building your site using a light theme and page builder gets you one step closer to blazing fast speeds.