Are you thinking of launching an e-commerce section of your blog or new site to sell physical or digital products? Diversifying your monetization strategies (no matter your current business) is one of the smartest things you can do in the online realm. But how do you choose the right theme and storefront for your venture?
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Why Use The Astra Theme?
See this article about Astra Starter Sites for a more in-depth look at the Astra Theme for WordPress.
Anyone that knows me is very aware of my love of the Astra WordPress theme.
Not only is it lightweight, but is fully customizable with a ton of starter sites you can use for FREE.
Below is a speed test by GTmetrix to show how amazingly fast the theme is:
All of my blogs and websites are built using Astra and Elementor (the BEST and easiest page builder I have found…and I’ve used many!).
My previous themes were slowing down my site and/or were incredibly complicated to update. That’s why I decided to switch them all to Astra!
My most recent launched site (EmbraceTHATMom.com) is also a combination of Astra and WooCommerce. This means, I have first-hand knowledge of how this theme integrates with your store.
I cannot tell you how amazingly easy it was to create my site using a free theme (Astra) and the free WooCommerce plugin. Plus, the free theme was customizable enough that I didn’t need to install a page builder (like what I use on all my sites – Elementor).
While I use the free starter sites from Astra on a couple of my sites, I also use the Pro license to get access to an extended list of features (I bought the lifetime Pro plan to save TONS of money in the long run for Blogging About Momming).
But, for anyone just starting out or if you are on a budget, I highly suggest you take a look at their free starter sites.
Here are some great things about Astra:
- Lightweight (meaning it won’t slow your site down – e.g. reduces your site load time)
- Ready-to-use starter sites: free and paid versions that are a “built and ready to customize” sites
- Popular theme so there are TONS of tutorials…everywhere! (there’s nothing worse that getting an unknown theme and can’t find answers when you get stuck!)
- Responsive – looks amazing on desktop, tablets, and mobile devices
Why Use WooCommerce For Your Store With Astra?
Now, there are a lot of people who say that WooCommerce can actually slow down your site. If you plan to have thousands of products, I can see how this could happen since it’s not the most light weight plugin out there.
On the flip side, if you choose a lightweight theme (like Astra) it balances out, and you save an amazing amount of time using a “plug and play” store that can be ready to fill with products in no time (seriously…it’s easy).
Agencies regularly recommend using Astra if you have a WooCommerce store:
I chose to go with WooCommerce because of it’s ease of use and customization abilities:
- Choose a content width on the product archive page
- Decide how many products to display per page
- Customize how your products are displayed
- Add or remove a side bar to your store (for ease of promotion or searching)
- Add a cart button to your top nav (for usability for your customers)
- SEO friendly! I cannot stress how important it is to master SEO – the Astra/WooCommerce combo has built-in schema to support a structured markup of your products to be found in search engines.
Is There A Difference in WooCommerce If You Have Astra Pro?
With an upgraded plan to Pro, you are able to have further customization of your store:
- Include a “sale bubble” (example below).
- Grid and list view styles for products on your shop page (example below).
- More advanced customization for individual product pages – product image gallery layout, breadcrumbs, “Add To Cart” styling, Product Navigation, and related/up-sell products options.
- Quick View option for products (example below).
- Two-Step checkout (with a coupon field – this is made to be more “distraction free”).
- Custom checkout page styling
- A minimizable (is that a word?) sidebar for a cleaner look – they call this “Off Canvas Sidebar” (see below).
What If I Need Help With My WooCommerce Store Using Astra?
WPAstra offers dedicated email support 24/7! Plus, there’s a Facebook group with over 10,000 members and a knowledge base with in-depth articles and video tutorials (not to mention endless tutorials from other users on YouTube!).
Want To Learn More About Astra And WooCommerce Integration?
Check out this page on WooCommerce and Astra for any questions you may have integrating both on your own site.
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