In mid-December, I changed the theme from which to How to Make a Website I used it for nearly two years. Astra has been replaced by the Kadence. What are my impressions after nearly three months of dealing with this theme? Here are my impressions.

Why I switched from Astra to Kadence

But first I should write why I made the change using a great theme? There were several reasons. On the one hand, I make a change to JZS every now and then (such is my affliction) and it was its time. Secondly, I wanted to test Kadence on a site with traffic and a site I update almost daily. It doesn't take much practice to understand that only with practice you can evaluate a theme or plugin and tell if it suits you or not.

The third reason was that the previous version used Elementor in 100%, and my goal was to use Elementor only where I actually see sense in it. Watching the development of Gutenberg and the Kadence theme, I came to the conclusion that I am able to do a lot of things quickly and sometimes even faster in Gutenberg, which in addition can positively affect the DOM structure and ultimately the quality results.

Capacities

I was also persuaded to change the theme by the tools that, together with PRO version I receive, which I did not have in the case of Astra.

Header and footer builder

In December, the Astra I had been using so far did not yet have a header and footer builder, and it was this functionality that I was keen to test, especially from a performance point of view, juxtaposing it with the header and footer so far generated in Elementor PRO.

Header and footer builder in Kadence

Adaptation

In the "Customize" section I have practically everything I need, even a bit too much, but in this case I don't have too much to eat 🙂 I'm not crazy about it.

I really like how hooks work in Kadence. The huge number of places to inject code and their publication logic allows me to do a lot without having to code in the child theme's files. This is important because I sometimes make a lot of modifications and having them grouped in a clear way in Kadenka makes my work much easier later on.

Hooks

Blocks for Gutenberg

As I was aiming for more frequent use of Gutenberg I bet on a theme whose authors have also prepared additional extensions enriching the editor with more blocks. Kadence provides this for me.

Gutenberg blocks created by Kadence theme authors

You could say that there are plenty of plugins for Gutenberg. Yes there are, but when choosing tools for my projects I try to rely on the least number of developers, which generates fewer problems in the future. If the creators of the theme are also the creators of extensions, then by choosing them I have a set, which in theory should exist well together. So far, this is exactly the case.

Other additives

For some time I was considering using an extension to generate pages in AMP technology, because Kadence has such an add-on. I tested it... it works. In the end, however, I did not implement this mechanism on JZS, which does not mean that I will not do it in some time. I approach AMP quite cautiously, because getting into it once means staying with it for better or for worse. For now, I do not feel such a need and I do not use it at JZS. However, I use AMP and the Kadence plug-in on my testing ground https://wooj.plwhere it has been operating for nearly 6 months and I have no reservations.

No reservations, as we have a repeat of the previously mentioned theme. A theme + plugin coming from the same development team has a chance to work without giving us unnecessary trouble...

Among other extensions created by the creators of Kadence I could mention Woo Extras. Although I don't need this extension on JZS, because it doesn't have a shop, but from time to time I add shop functionality using WooCommerce plugin, so it's not out of the question that I will use this extension as well.

Kadence theme performance

Compared to the previous version of the site, I decided that this time it was necessary to put some weight on the performance and quality results. After I put the page together the results for February looked like this:

Quality and performance results before the addition of external scripts.

The main page is built in Elementor, so you can see that you can achieve good results using this builder, which is something its opponents try to undermine. Of course Elementor generates more code than needed, but it doesn't mean that a website made in it doesn't have a chance for good results. I invite you to PoznajWP courseswhere these topics are discussed.

After adding additional scripts, especially external ones, the homepage lost one point each, but this is still a very satisfying result for me. See the test from the day this article was published:

Quality and performance results after adding additional scripts

The TBT indicator has jumped slightly, albeit to an acceptable level, and this is the main reason for the lower rating than at the start. However, the full page load time is still under a second. Remember, this is Elementor!

Do I regret my decision?

By no means. Often the shoemaker walks without shoes and this was also the case with me. I didn't pay much attention to the performance of the site and as a result the results on GTMetrix and other tools were unsatisfactory to say the least. There was no time to sit down and do something about it. The idea of changing the theme was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, which in hindsight I think was a good move.

Do I recommend it?

I mainly recommend three themes, which you can read about in the article The 3 best WordPress themes. Among them are Astra, Kadence and Blocks. No matter which one you choose when launching a new site or revamping an existing one, you will be able to achieve high quality and performance results.

Keep in mind, however, that the potential of even the fastest theme can be easily undermined by the wrong choice of plugins and their incompetent use.

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