In this issue we discuss two newish themes: the Hello Elementor theme and the Neve theme. Their success tells us that the theme market is far from dead or over-saturated, but perhaps use cases have changed and new themes need to reflect that. We also mention the Essential Addons and Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugins.
The Hello Elementor Theme
It is safe to say that the Hello Elementor Theme is a success. In the short time from its mid-March launch on WordPress.org, it has moved into the #3 spot of most popular themes (according to the WordPress.org secret calculator), just behind the Twenty Nineteen and Twenty Seventeen core themes. As of this writing, it has more than 30,000 active installs.
Hello Elementor saw four releases during June and though it was touted as a bare theme, some basic theme styling was added. Purists may begrudge the few extra KB, but I imagine it saves new users from having a “what the heck” moment. Though you can enqueue your own style sheets, the Github page says:
All of your site’s styles should be handled directly inside Elementor.https://github.com/elementor/hello-theme
Therefore, I imagine that most people will not bother with creating a child theme.
Somehow I expected that a modern theme, even a bare bones theme, would have included a lot of hooks. Astra, GeneratePress, OceanWP, and the Page Builder Framework themes have taken this route and doing so has made for better and more versatile themes. Do hooks not make sense in a bare bones theme?
ThemeIsle recently launched the Pro version of their new Neve theme. It may come as no surprise that Neve is designed as a multipurpose theme for use with page builders. This makes total sense. What may be a bit of a surprise is that for a long time ThemeIsle avoided multipurpose themes, focusing instead on niche themes.
The launch of their first “page builder” theme isn’t the only change at ThemeIsle. They launched a redesigned website and changed their pricing structure yet again. For a long time ThemeIsle published a transparency report and it was clear that they are very interested in tracking analytics and trying new things. That’s great, but frequent pricing changes can be confusing for customers. Fortunately, the new scheme is simple and I’m happy to say that it includes lifetime options.
ThemeIsle long offered a “club membership” option which gave customers access to all themes and plugins for a limited number of domains. Now, their products are sold singly. Neve Pro, for instance, is currently on a 50% off launch discount. Packages are available in either 1 year or lifetime terms. All of the packages include unlimited domains and support. The “Personal” package is the entry tier, and the next step up “Business” level is distinguished from that by the addition of a “WooCommerce booster” and priority support. The “Agency” package includes “WooCommerce booster,” while label, and priority and live chat support. Information about the WooCommerce booster is sparse, but apparently it is a series of additional sections added to the Customizer for styling WooCommerce.
The lifetime package pricing, for instance, goes at $99 for Personal, $149 for Business, and $299 for Agency. Mind that these are on sale for 50% off … so the regular $598 price of the Agency package looks high when compared to the Astra Agency option, for example.
Neve has header and footer designers in the Customizer. Instead of options, there are components that can be placed and ordered via drag and drop, a bit more visual than most Customizer options. The theme supports all major page builders. In chat I was told that it supports the Elementor theme builder (and Beaver Themer also). One thing that caught my eye, however, is Neve Pro has built in support for AMP, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages program. AMP has been off to a slow start, but I expect to see it pick up steam and adoption to increase.
The Essential Addons pack has a massive sale on their lifetime plans going on AppSumo. The free version of this addon package for Elementor is very popular, has over 200,000 active installs and more than 500 five star ratings. I’m not sure what’s up with their lifetime offering … if they are removing their lifetime plan or just temporarily did so, but the lifetime packages on their website disappeared when the product was launched on AppSumo. The 5 site AppSumo package is $39 and the unlimited site AppSumo package is $78. They claim to offer 24/7 support.
Ultimate Addons for Elementor
The Ultimate Addons for Elementor pack is from Brainstorm Force, the makers of the Astra theme. Ultimate Addons has been out for a while. It is nice to see them continuing to add and improve. The recently released a “Business Reviews” widget for displaying Google Places and Yelp reviews. There are “skin” and layout options for the reviews. Schema markup is also available. Be aware that to use this widget, you will need your partner ID from Google and Yelp.
Early in 2019 Elementor Pro added a powerful popup maker. Popups done right can be a pleasant experience and foster conversion. Done wrong, popups are an annoyance that may drive visitors away. There are a ton of options in Elementor’s popup builder. In this tutorial Rolf Mistelbacher of Fresh Van Root shows how to create popups that work effectively, but don’t annoy site visitors.
That’s it for this issue. Happy Elementoring.
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will still pay the standard amount so there is no extra cost to you.