It’s a good thing that you’re planning to use the Elementor page builder for the design of your website. After all, how powerful and how user-friendly it is make it one of the better choices for creating beautiful websites. However, once you go past this decision, you still gotta choose a theme.
This is actually a problem that people often have, because every time we finish the process of installing WordPress or have our hosting provider install it for us, we come into a sort of wall that is all about deciding which theme should be used on the website. By default, the first thing that we do is make a Google search for “best WordPress themes”, which is too general. Sometimes, we go even further and add the industry of the website we’re building. This can narrow it down a bit but it doesn’t really help our situation because the results are too varied and some of the themes aren’t even compatible with Elementor, or they use a different page builder.
So, what we really need to know is which themes are the best partners for Elementor. These are themes that are designed to work specifically with the page builder. They have layouts and pre-made designs that were all done in Elementor and they can really help you in building a beautiful website. Sometimes, they’re also compatible with other page builders, but that’s besides the point.
Now, how do we know which are these themes? Just keep reading, because there are basically three themes that I’ve found to work best with Elementor:
I put this first because this is the one I’m currently using for this website and for the projects I’m doing with my clients that require a website designed from scratch. When I say scratch, is because the Hello Elementor theme, created by Elementor’s own team, is as close to a blank canvas as you can have. It’s what many people would refer to as a ‘plain-vanilla’ or ‘starter’ design.
However, if you do get the Elementor Pro license, the possibilities are endless with the theme builder becoming your best friend and you getting the chance to design all parts of your website without the restraints of the pre-built layouts of other themes.
Plus, by being so minimal in its components, the Hello Elementor theme can help you in creating an extremely fast website, something that’s more and more important each day. (Learn how to optimize your website for fast loading times here)
OceanWP is actually the first theme that I used when I started building Elementor websites and it still holds its ground as one of the best themes for Elementor and WordPress as a whole. This one is also compatible with Beaver Builder, so to all of you Beaver Builder readers (I don’t think there will be many though), you can use OceanWP.
There is a reason I started my website design journey with OceanWP and that’s because this theme is easily the most feature-packed free theme that is available in the market. I, too, was on the fence on which theme to choose and I tried several, from Magazine to Zerif, but none of them really got me to how I wanted my first website to look. With OceanWP and Ocean Extra, which is one of the add-on they have for free, I was able to do some pretty interesting stuff and created a website that suited my needs.
This was actually how the theme’s creator, Nicolas Lecocq, started working on theme. He originally worked as a freelancer and became frustrated with the themes out there, because none suited his needs, so every project on his plate was a lot more work than it should have been.
He says, and I quote:
So for every project I worked on, I had to either create a complete theme or purchase a premium theme. Not only was this process time consuming, but it also increased the price of the service. On top of that, customers would often ask me how to do such and such manipulation due to the complexity of some premium themes. – Nicolas Lecocq
To me, the fact that it has a free version you can try on without committing to pay for the theme puts it already on the top. OceanWP has several features and benefits, but one of my favorites is the ability to enable/disable certain JS scripts or CSS styles at will. This means that you can increase the performance of your website if you’re not going to use them.
Developed by the Brainstorm Force team, Astra is another popular theme that has a lot of features that make it a contender for one of the best WordPress themes in general. Out of the three themes in this list, Astra is the one that I’ve used the least for my personal projects, which is where I can experiment to the fullest, but that doesn’t mean I can vouch for it.
One of the most notable features that I’ve found with Astra is that it is lightning fast and so much so that the preview version of the Astra theme loads in less than 1 second. In fact, I’ve been able to load websites in 700ms with the preview version of Astra. Obviously, this time increases as you start to add more content, images and other resources, but with caching and other optimization plugins by your side, you can still have a site that loads in 1.5s or even less than that.
As for the customizations and features, Astra and OceanWP really don’t differ that much. They both come with what one-click import sites and a myriad of modules for the customizer that you can play with to adjust the style to your brand.
Ever since I changed to Hello Elementor, I’ve never – and don’t think I will – looked back. Having nothing pre-designed that would create a conflict with my vision for the design is something that I cannot trade. However, this doesn’t have to mean the same for you. You can have a different situation on your hands where Astra or OceanWP work best for you due to their native integrations with other plugins like WooCommerce, EDD or LearnDash that can quicken the production by styling and creating layouts for these plugins.
The main thing to keep in mind is the goal of your website and how you’re planning to implement that goal. Hello Elementor gives you better performance and flexibility, while Astra and OceanWP, being multi-purpose themes, are sometimes easier to work with and can be used for several different types of projects.
I hope this has made it easier for you to choose a theme for your next Elementor project.
*Note: an honorable mention is to be made to GeneratePress. I’ve heard amazing things about it on some Elementor groups on Facebook, and even some general WordPress subreddits, but this theme is one that I’ve never used before so I can’t really comment on it.