Thursday, May 23, 2019

Elementor Launches Hello Theme on WordPress.org

Elementor launched its Hello theme on WordPress.org this week. After just a few days in the directory, the theme already has more than 10,000 active installations. It is essentially a blank starter theme that offers 100% compatibility with Elementor.



Page builders with a large user base are in a unique position to influence the WordPress theme market. Loyal users will often select a page builder before choosing a theme from a limited pool of those that boast compatibility with their preferred plugin. Elementor is no exception, with more than 2 million installations and a 4.8-star average rating on WordPress.org.


Lately the trend with some of the most popular and intuitive WordPress themes is to offer a strong, niche design out of the box, where users don’t have to make too many choices or fiddle with settings. Hello takes a different path, opeorating as more of a conduit to the Elementor page template library.


The theme’s screenshot shows a home page designed in Elementor but the actual theme has very few styles and doesn’t look like anything out of the box.



Once installed, the first step is to create a page and select “Edit in Elementor.” From there users can select from a library of different landing page templates or start building their own layouts from scratch.



Hello is not a new theme. Elementor first released it on GitHub in March 2018. Hosting it on WordPress.org allows users to more easily install it and get automatic updates for improvements and security fixes.


“The plugin repository played a huge role in Elementor’s exceptional growth, and we hold similar high hopes for the Hello theme,” Elementor CMO Ben Pines said.


There are a few major drawbacks to using the Hello theme that may hinder its potential growth. Access to headers, footers, and widgets is restricted to Elementor Pro users. This seems like a confusing way to build a WordPress site and might be a useful detail to include in the theme’s description on WordPress.org. If there’s another way to access headers and footers without purchasing Elementor Pro, I wasn’t able to find it.


WooCommerce store owners should be aware that the Hello theme does not yet offer comprehensive support for WooCommerce page styles. Although the release post advertises the theme as having “out-of-the-box” compatibility with WooCommerce, the store pages are bare bones and not very attractive. One user commented that the checkout and cart pages do not look very inviting and asked if it will be possible to edit fonts and colors with Elementor.


Elementor representative Matan Naveh responded to multiple concerns about WooCommerce support and said that full compatibility is still in development:



WooCommerce is a highly complex plugin and any pages that rely on its basic elements (e.g. Cart, My Account, Checkout, etc.) are even more so. The level of complexity is such that changes in something as routine as a WooCommerce update could cause havoc on a layout, resulting in a devastating effect on the webpage’s functionality.


Currently, Elementor enables you to customize the areas surrounding the WooCommerce elements. Take the cart page, for example – You may not be able to customize the table itself, but you can customize the title or the area where the table is located. You can also insert your own images, backgrounds, and content according to your needs (e.g. adding an FAQ).


We are considering several options for achieving full compatibility with WooCommerce. But this is still in its development stages.



Some users who switched from the Astra theme, another one commonly used by Elementor users, have reported significant (50%) decreases in loading time on real world sites after switching to the Hello theme. Elementor claims that it is “the fastest WordPress theme ever created,” but the comparison benchmarks posted don’t include any themes that are known for high performance.


Elementor is working on creating a child theme for Hello. It is currently in development on GitHub and the team is working on getting it approved for WordPress.org.


The primary purpose of the Hello theme is to offer compatibility with the page builder, but it is not recommended for users who are not using Elementor.




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