The makers of the popular Astra WordPress theme announced an update to their Starter Templates plugin. Starter Templates 3.0 features a redesigned interface that makes it easier to create a website with over one hundred free professional quality templates.
The updated Starter Templates plugin is compatible with two popular WordPress site builders as well as the WordPress Gutenberg block editor.
The newly redesigned interface allows a user to design the look and feel of a website before importing the template.
Starter Templates Plugin 3.0
The Starter Templates version 3.0 makes it easier than ever to create a professional looking template.
The new Starter Templates plugin has a redesigned interface that makes it easier to sample different website color schemes as well as to use a selection of predefined color palettes.
It’s an entirely new interface that is designed to provide a fast user experience.
Brainstorm Force described it to me like this:
“If you ask me about the plugin experience and performance in the backend, it is basically a full page React app.
This improves the user experience as there are no page loads in between each step and we are also able to provide an immersive user experience to the user.
In this app, we have improved the search results of the existing templates so that every user finds a template for their search.”
It also has a feature that provides a recommended font typography that helps users create an attractive and easy to read website faster.
I asked the Brainstorm Force team what the Recommended Typography is all about.
“Recommended fonts are combinations of classic and contemporary fonts that we’ve tried and tested to help maintain the readability of a website. These fonts are widely used and suitable for any industry or niche.
We often see that people go with their gut feeling or guesswork to select a font family for their website. This makes them pick anything that they like, something that others have been using on their website or just go with a trending font.
But, not every font may be right for a project and not everyone would understand how typography looks on different devices.
We believe that every font adds a vibe and a feeling to a website. That is why we’ve listed sets of effective fonts to suit any kind of website one might be building.
While this option is made available in the initial phase, website owners still have the freedom to use the theme options to change fonts later if they like.”
100+ Free Professional WordPress Templates
The newly updated Starter Templates plugin features over one hundred free to use templates. They are designed to look professional and attractive and are compatible with Elementor, Beaver Builder and The WordPress Gutenberg block editor.
That means users who are used to editing sites with any three of those site builders can easily use any of those templates.
There are also 180 premium templates to choose from as well.
Visualize Website Before Importing Template
An important new features of the plugin is the ability to customize a template before importing it to see what it will look like with your logo, font and chosen color scheme.
The interface makes it easy to upload a logo and preview how it will look in the template.
The Brainstorm Force announcement, published on the WP Astra website stated:
“With Starter Templates 3.0 we have made design easy with powerful search, improved website builder, logo selection, website colors, and typography selection.”
Plugin Will Not Slow Down Your Website
The Starter Template plugin is a completely backend plugin that works from the admin side of a WordPress site. It makes zero impact on page load or performance of the website itself.
I asked them about impact on site performance and this is how they responded:
“It does not load anything on the frontend of the user’s website. So, the Starter Templates plugin does not affect the loading/performance of those websites.
We have taken utmost care to keep up with performance expectations and import only the necessary plugins that are lightweight. The media and images used in the templates are also optimized for performance.
Starter Templates is a 100% backend plugin. Also, it does not load any JS/CSS or any markup in the frontend.”
Starter Templates Front End Performance
It’s great that the backend plugin has zero impact on the front end of a website, the part that site visitors interact with.
What’s great about the templates themselves is that they too inherit the Astra theme page speed optimizations.
The developers explained:
“Our main focus has always been on improving website speed and performance. That’s why we created the fastest WordPress theme, Astra.
It is taken a step further with features specifically for getting the best Core Web Vitals score. So, Astra by default comes with settings to use self hosted Google fonts, enhancements with respect to SVG logos, mobile headers and more.
Although the Starter Templates can be used with any WordPress theme, the templates are individually built using Astra and inherit those core features.
Furthermore, every template is built using plugins that are fully compatible and lightweight. We optimize images and test every template to deliver the best possible performance with what it has.”
Starter Template Library Plugin
The updated starter template plugin offers pre-built sites and starter pages all 100% free, with the full functionality of the backend interface. The only difference between the free and paid version is that the premium version has 180 more templates. Otherwise the free and premium versions of the plugin are the same.
The WordPress Gutenberg site editor is a powerful way to build fast performing websites. Something like the Starter Template plugin can potentially speed up the process of building a website.
Because it’s compatible with Elementor and Beaver Builder can also take advantage of the free templates.