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All businesses need a good website.

The sites must load quickly, and they need to have a winning design.

The good news is there’s a wide variety of excellent WordPress themes that do just that.

WordPress themes use different layouts to present content beautifully and boost engagement with your brand.

I’ve put together a guide to the best WordPress themes available now to help get you started.

The Top 7 Options For WordPress Themes: 

  1. Astra — The Best WordPress Theme for Beginners
  2. Sydney — The Best WordPress Theme for Freelancers
  3. Foodie Pro — The Best WordPress Theme for Food Bloggers
  4. Jayla — The Best WordPress Theme for Online Shops
  5. Zakra — The Best WordPress Theme for SEO
  6. Tusant — The Best WordPress Theme for Podcast Creators
  7. Travel Way — The Best WordPress Theme for Travel Bloggers

How to Choose The Best WordPress Themes For You

Deciding on a single WordPress theme for your brand can be overwhelming. There are tons of options out there, and it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re struggling to pick one, try thinking about the complete picture.

The first aspect to think about is whether you should get a free or paid WordPress theme. The difference isn’t just in the pricing.

A free WordPress theme can offer a lot to the right person, but it’s worth knowing some of the drawbacks. The main one is the lack of ongoing support for that specific theme, which, in most cases, can mean you’re left tracking down the original creator’s email for help when something breaks.

Far from ideal.

Not to mention that the same free themes can pop up on many websites, taking away originality from your branding.

But you can usually try out a theme for free before deciding to invest in the full paid version, so they do have their uses.

Paid themes are a better bet for brands in general, though. They generally include regular updates and support, higher levels of customization, and higher-quality code.

Another thing to mention is that WordPress.org, or ‘self-hosted WordPress,’ (as opposed to WordPress.com) is the best bet for most businesses as it gives a greater level of control and is cheaper overall. This extends to themes, availability, and customization.

With that said, I’ve seen some top brands on WordPress.com, or ‘hosted WordPress,’ with some genuinely dazzling themes, too.

If you’re in doubt, I’d still say go for WordPress.org.

Other key things to think about are the following:

Theme Functionality

Thinking about functionality is very important. I’m talking about what you need a site to do to conduct business.

Do you need social media icons that link out to brand accounts? How about a comment section or forum, and what about the e-commerce side of things like a shop?

In other words, you need to think hard about the features you need.

The great news is that WordPress plugins can add a significant number of extras whenever you want, but it’s worth looking into the functionality of a theme you like.

For example, specific themes might be coded in such a way that adding a forum could prove difficult.

If you like a theme, make sure you’ve done your research before buying it and that it can support your core needs.

Site Responsiveness

How responsive a site is can make it or break it. It’s that simple. There are more devices out there than ever before, and the list keeps on growing.

Can the theme you’ve chosen adjust to these different devices?

A mobile reader needs to have the same complete experience as a desktop user, so any good WordPress theme will adapt to this on a case-by-case basis. Don’t forget that Google has made it mandatory for sites to be mobile responsive, which can affect your rankings in a big way.

Mobile traffic is increasing every year, so a responsive WordPress theme is essential. Most WordPress themes include this as standard, but not all do, and free themes often don’t. Think carefully about this when researching.

Page Builders

A good page builder will allow you to drag and drop to create pages with little fuss.

Most WordPress themes come bundled with page builders, but not all of them do. Some themes may even use a bespoke page builder that could slow down a site with unwanted code.

Ideally, you want a WordPress theme optimized to work with the best page builders, particularly if you have a preference.

You could find a WordPress theme that provides almost everything you want, only to find it’s incompatible with your favorite builder. Or buy one that features a proprietary builder, but it’s just not very good. Too late, though, because you’ve already purchased it.

Browser Support

A theme can load smoothly and look beautiful on your browser, but what about on your customer’s browser? It’s worth noting that not all themes will work correctly on every browser, so a good deal of testing is a sound idea.

You can usually check a browser’s compatibility under a WordPress theme’s details, but the developers won’t always list this. In that case, test it yourself.

It’s as simple as downloading a few of the most popular browsers, loading up your site with its new theme, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

More often than not, you’ll find an issue or two that only occurs on a specific browser. I’ve seen pages breaking inexplicably on certain browsers while others were fine. This is often an overlooked area, so it’s prudent to get ahead of any potential issues.

Different Types of WordPress Themes

WordPress can be a little more complicated than you might first think. It isn’t just free themes versus paid themes or basic versus premium themes.

There are quite a few different groupings of themes, but they can be split down into the following core clusters:

Starter Themes

A starter WordPress theme is essentially a skeleton of a theme. These themes offer the vital infrastructure a WordPress theme needs, but that’s all.

From there, it’s up to you to create the rest of the site. For some brands, that might be just what they want, and for others, it might be a scary thought and too much work.

The idea is that these themes are minimal in design and are malleable and very customizable.

Framework Themes

Framework WordPress themes are all about meshing together different parts. A framework theme combines a parent and child theme into a fully functional and customizable theme.

A child theme is effectively an add-on that goes on top of a parent theme. This allows you to modify and tweak a site to your heart’s content.

A parent theme, on the other hand, is the base theme underneath. It can operate alone, but you can’t modify it without the child theme’s help.

The advantage of these themes is that they can be turned into something unique using the parent theme’s existing structure as the starting point.

Tailored Themes

Tailored themes are another category. These are themes designed by a professional team tailored to your specific niche and needs.

You can tailor a theme yourself, of course, but if you have the budget, a theme designed and created by a team could prove to be far more successful and can be built exactly how you want.

Be warned, though, these can be expensive.

#1 – Astra — The Best WordPress Theme for Beginners

We all have to start somewhere, and the same is true with WordPress themes. Where do you even begin? The answer is with Astra.

Astra is our top pick for WordPress beginners for its slick customization options, high level of functionality, and the considerable number of free extensions available for it.

I mentioned earlier that ensuring great page builders were compatible with a theme was important, and Astra doesn’t disappoint. Some of the most popular page builder plugins, like Elementor and Beaver Builder, are easily used with it.

On top of that, Astra offers a lightweight experience, allowing it to load exceptionally quickly. That’s without mentioning the super easy customization and pre-built options for blogs, portfolios, and online shops.

Other key features of the Astra theme include:

  • Dedicated sidebar
  • WooCommerce ready
  • Mega-menu
  • Mobile headers
  • Fluid layout
  • Spacing control
  • Custom fonts
  • Infinite loading

In terms of pricing, you can get Astra for free, and this provides you with a basic theme able to get you up and running. For some, it might be all they need.

There is also a pro version of Astra available that offers additional settings and options. The pro version is a must if you need a great deal of customization and new layouts. You can purchase it for $59.

#2 – Sydney — The Best WordPress Theme for Freelancers

Whether you’re a freelance marketer, editor, or content writer, an excellent theme to show off your accomplishments and details is essential.

That is where Sydney comes in. This is a powerful and feature-rich theme ideal for freelancers, both those new to the industry and those who have been doing it for years and might want to change things up.

Sydney has more than 600 different Google fonts to choose from, and users have access to a full-screen slider, which can make a strong first impression on potential clients.

I also like the custom Elementor blocks that can be designed just how you want, enabling you to focus on getting your branding right.

Other features of the Sydney theme include:

  • Slider or static image header
  • Translation ready
  • Social buttons
  • Cross-browser support
  • Regular updates
  • Live customizer
  • Parallax backgrounds
  • Color controls

Sydney has a free version, and you’ll have access to a lot of vital features.

With that said, the pro license only costs $59, and the upgrade will allow you to take things to the next level with extra page options, templates, WooCommerce, video headers, and more.

It’s a good idea for most freelancers and small businesses.

#3 – Foodie Pro — The Best WordPress Theme for Food Bloggers

This compelling WordPress theme is perfect for sharing new recipes and the best cooking tips with your online audience.

Minimalist and clean, yet offering loads of features and specific design choices, you can’t go wrong with Foodie Pro.

Consisting of the Genesis Framework—both secure and search-engine-optimized—Foodie Pro offers an almost countless number of color and typography options.

You’ll be able to upload your brand’s logo quickly, and a selection of pre-built templates only helps speed things up if you’re in a hurry to launch.

Other features of Foodie Pro include:

  • Customizable header
  • Mobile responsive
  • Widget areas
  • Recipe index
  • Works with popular plugins
  • Child theme based on the Genesis Framework
  • WordPress customizer
  • Lightweight design

There’s no free version of Foodie Pro, but you can buy the theme and complete framework package for $129.95, which I think is a fair offer based on what you can do with it.

There’s also a Genesis Pro option for those who love the framework and want to invest further. The Genesis Pro variant includes access to additional support and every future theme the company releases.

Genesis Pro is a good choice for those with big plans and costs $360 a year.

#4 – Jayla — The Best WordPress Theme for Online Shops

The Jayla theme offers a minimal and contemporary approach to the e-commerce industry, allowing you to create a store and sell products online with ease.

Jayla is built around the popular and powerful WooCommerce plugin, which means you’ll have access to a large number of features.

Jayla also gives you access to multi-block builders to speed up your site’s creation and an almost unlimited number of colors for your layout.

Perhaps most impressive is the wide variety of shops you can build with the theme. From furniture shops to tech stores and everything in-between, Jayla is useful in most e-commerce scenarios.

Other highlights of the Jayla theme include:

  • One-click install demo
  • Lifetime support
  • Header and foot builder
  • Drag and drop page builder
  • Woo product filter
  • Compatible with Yoast SEO
  • WooCommerce product wishlist
  • Supports over 800 Google fonts

On the pricing side, Jayla costs just $59 for the regular license, which is more than enough to get your store started.

That regular license also adds in future updates for no extra cost and six months of support with site bugs and other issues.

If you want additional support, you can extend it to 12 months for $17.63.

#5 – Zakra — The Best WordPress Theme for SEO

Zakra isn’t just a memorable name—no, this stylish WordPress theme will help your brand rank higher on Google.

Zakra is optimized for the largest search engines, loads quickly, and supports almost all essential SEO plugins.

One particularly impressive feature is the 50 or so demos that are pre-built and ready to go with the theme.

These demos cover multiple scenarios you may need and can be quickly set up with a one-click demo importer. From there, you’ll be able to customize the demo to your liking.

One major advantage is the speed at which you can do this, so it’s an excellent option for those short on time.

The Zakra theme also delivers:

  • Lightweight designWooCommerce integration
  • Suitable across multiple devices
  • Compatible with key page builders
  • Translation-ready theme
  • Right-to-left text direction languages
  • Dynamic, customizable areas
  • Menu styling option

Zakra is free to use, but be aware that multiple features are locked out. Once you’re happy with the theme, you can upgrade to one of the more premium packages.

There are four pricing tiers, and all of them feature the Zakra Pro extras. The following prices are for lifetime access:

  • Personal: $112 for 1 site license
  • Personal Plus: $139 for 3 site licenses plus 30+ premium starter demos and Elementor companion
  • Professional: $259 for 10 site licenses plus 30+ premium starter demos and Elementor companion
  • Developer: $359 for unlimited site licenses plus 30+ premium starter demos, Elementor companion, and future plugins

You can also choose to pay via an annual fee. I think the Personal Plus package with a lifetime subscription would be a great option for most.

#6 – Tusant — The Best WordPress Theme for Podcast Creators

Tusant by Second Line is a first-rate theme that’s best suited for podcast creators, musicians, voice-over actors, and music streaming.

While many themes can offer flashy designs, Tusant is practical, too, allowing you to embed audio and video from multiple sources.

For example, a podcast creator would be able to embed an entire ongoing series with ease, while musicians could display their latest work. The developers say Tusant can showcase an unlimited number of entries.

What’s more, Tusant supports all of the vital podcasting plugins such as PowerPress, Seriously Simple Podcasting, and PodLove. You can host MP3 files locally, too, so there’s little to get in the way of your creativity.

Tusant also offers the following:

  • Over 900 Google fonts supported 
  • One-click theme install
  • Dedicated support
  • Responsive mobile design
  • WordPress built-in customizer
  • Full documentation for each section
  • Translation ready
  • Page builder support included

For the pricing, there are three distinct tiers from the Tusant creators:

  • Single Podcast Theme: $69 for one Second Line Podcast WordPress theme of your choice + 12 months of updates and support
  • Podcast Theme Bundle: $139 for access to all Second Lines Podcast WordPress themes + 12 months of updates and support
  • Lifetime access: $389 for unlimited lifetime access to all Second Lines Podcast  WordPress themes + lifetime updates and support

Second Line currently has five different podcast WordPress themes. Tusant offers multiple layouts, beautiful displays for playlists, and supports over 20 podcast hosting providers. If you’re a podcaster, you cannot go wrong with Tusant.

#7 – Travel Way — The Best WordPress Theme for Travel Bloggers

Travel Way is perfect for travel bloggers and photographers who want to show their locations’ real beauty. Travel Way is also great for travel agencies and portfolios.

With call-to-action buttons, multiple sections, and handy social icons, it’s a theme ready for the modern traveler.

The free version of Travel Way is flexible and highly customizable, with the option of setting up galleries, booking forms, services, and portfolios. There’s a huge amount you can do with this theme.

Even better, it works well with all of the major browsers, is very responsive, and offers unlimited pages for each section of your site.

Other attractive features of Travel Way include:

  • Featured sections
  • More than nine custom widgets
  • Testimonials
  • Tour packages
  • Custom sidebar areas
  • Full layout controls
  • Page builder compatible
  • Extensive slider options

The pro version features advanced custom widgets, multiple options for comment sections, more menu and logo positions, and quite a bit more.

It costs just $55 for personal use and $99 for developers, so if you’re pretty set on the theme, I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade for the rest of the features.

Summary

There are tons of beautiful WordPress themes out there, and my list has given you just a snapshot of everything you can do on the platform. But many themes work better for specific uses.

The picks on the list offer some of the best themes available in their respective areas:

  • Astra — The Best WordPress Theme for Beginners
  • Sydney — The Best WordPress Theme for Freelancers
  • Foodie Pro — The Best WordPress Theme for Food Bloggers
  • Jayla — The Best WordPress Theme for Online Shops
  • Zakra — The Best WordPress Theme for SEO
  • Tusant — The Best WordPress Theme for Podcast Creators
  • Travel Way — The Best WordPress Theme for Travel Bloggers

Whether you’re a freelancer, travel blogger, podcaster, or you want to launch an online shop, WordPress has got you covered.

The best part is how much you can do with a single theme, so dive in and get started.

The sky really is the limit.

Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-wordpress-themes/

SaaS

Investors still love software more than life

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Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday morning? Sign up here.

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors.

Despite some recent market volatility, the valuations that software companies have generally been able to command in recent quarters have been impressive. On Friday, we took a look into why that was the case, and where the valuations could be a bit more bubbly than others. Per a report written by few Battery Ventures investors, it stands to reason that the middle of the SaaS market could be where valuation inflation is at its peak.

Something to keep in mind if your startup’s growth rate is ticking lower. But today, instead of being an enormous bummer and making you worry, I have come with some historically notable data to show you how good modern software startups and their larger brethren have it today.

In case you are not 100% infatuated with tables, let me save you some time. In the upper right we can see that SaaS companies today that are growing at less than 10% yearly are trading for an average of 6.9x their next 12 months’ revenue.

Back in 2011, SaaS companies that were growing at 40% or more were trading at 6.0x their next 12 month’s revenue. Climate change, but for software valuations.

One more note from my chat with Battery. Its investor Brandon Gleklen riffed with The Exchange on the definition of ARR and its nuances in the modern market. As more SaaS companies swap traditional software-as-a-service pricing for its consumption-based equivalent, he declined to quibble on definitions of ARR, instead arguing that all that matters in software revenues is whether they are being retained and growing over the long term. This brings us to our next topic.

Consumption v. SaaS pricing

I’ve taken a number of earnings calls in the last few weeks with public software companies. One theme that’s come up time and again has been consumption pricing versus more traditional SaaS pricing. There is some data showing that consumption-priced software companies are trading at higher multiples than traditionally priced software companies, thanks to better-than-average retention numbers.

But there is more to the story than just that. Chatting with Fastly CEO Joshua Bixby after his company’s earnings report, we picked up an interesting and important market distinction between where consumption may be more attractive and where it may not be. Per Bixby, Fastly is seeing larger customers prefer consumption-based pricing because they can afford variability and prefer to have their bills tied more closely to revenue. Smaller customers, however, Bixby said, prefer SaaS billing because it has rock-solid predictability.

I brought the argument to Open View Partners Kyle Poyar, a venture denizen who has been writing on this topic for TechCrunch in recent weeks. He noted that in some cases the opposite can be true, that variably priced offerings can appeal to smaller companies because their developers can often test the product without making a large commitment.

So, perhaps we’re seeing the software market favoring SaaS pricing among smaller customers when they are certain of their need, and choosing consumption pricing when they want to experiment first. And larger companies, when their spend is tied to equivalent revenue changes, bias toward consumption pricing as well.

Evolution in SaaS pricing will be slow, and never complete. But folks really are thinking about it. Appian CEO Matt Calkins has a general pricing thesis that price should “hover” under value delivered. Asked about the consumption-versus-SaaS topic, he was a bit coy, but did note that he was not “entirely happy” with how pricing is executed today. He wants pricing that is a “better proxy for customer value,” though he declined to share much more.

If you aren’t thinking about this conversation and you run a startup, what’s up with that? More to come on this topic, including notes from an interview with the CEO of BigCommerce, who is betting on SaaS over the more consumption-driven Shopify.

Next Insurance, and its changing market

Next Insurance bought another company this week. This time it was AP Intego, which will bring integration into various payroll providers for the digital-first SMB insurance provider. Next Insurance should be familiar because TechCrunch has written about its growth a few times. The company doubled its premium run rate to $200 million in 2020, for example.

The AP Intego deal brings $185.1 million of active premium to Next Insurance, which means that the neo-insurance provider has grown sharply thus far in 2021, even without counting its organic expansion. But while the Next Insurance deal and the impending Hippo SPAC are neat notes from a hot private sector, insurtech has shed some of its public-market heat.

Stocks of public neo-insurance companies like Root, Lemonade and MetroMile have lost quite a lot of value in recent weeks. So, the exit landscape for companies like Next and Hippo — yet-private insurtech startups with lots of capital backing their rapid premium growth — is changing for the worse.

Hippo decided it will debut via a SPAC. But I doubt that Next Insurance will pursue a rapid ramp to the public markets until things smooth out. Not that it needs to go public quickly; it raised a quarter billion back in September of last year.

Various and Sundry

What else? Sisense, a $100 million ARR club member, hired a new CFO. So we expect them to go public inside the next four or five quarters.

And the following chart, which is via Deena Shakir of Lux Capital, via Nasdaq, via SPAC Alpha:

Alex

Checkout PrimeXBT
Trade with the Official CFD Partners of AC Milan
The Easiest Way to Way To Trade Crypto.
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/06/investors-still-love-software-more-than-life/

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