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Tools we use:

Themes

If your website is a car then your Theme is like the frame and chassis that the car is built on. In WordPress talk a theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets that define the overall appearance of your site and dictate how it is displayed. There are a lot of options for your theme choice. I want to share with you the ones that I trust to be well coded, well supported, most future proof, and easy to use.

My #1 Pick

Even the freemium version of Astra offers just as much as many premium themes! It is fast, lightweight, customizable and offers integrations with many of my favorite plugins. It's clear that a ton of thought went into developing this theme.

  • Very Easy to Configure
  • Made for Page Builders
  • Built for Speed
  • Many options in the Freemium version
  • Stellar Add-On (Astra Pro)
  • Ready Made Templates (click to import)
  • Astra Pro is a Plugin that greatly extends the functionality of the Astra theme.

Price Structure:

Free - $59/yr or $249/lifetime

The theme was designed specifically to work with WordPress page builders, like Beaver Builder & Elementor.  So many themes 'compete' on some level with page builders. PBF was made to complement them perfectly. 

  • Super duper flexible. Build any type of website with endless customization options directly in the WordPress customizer. I love the 'menu' and 'header' options for PBF.
  • Using custom sections you can add custom content & saved rows/templates anywhere to your website with no coding skills required! Think something like Beaver Themer, but baked into the theme.
  • Super lightweight. This has continuously been the fastest theme I use.

Price Structure:

Free - $58/yearly or $248/lifetime

Divi is one of the original names in Themes + Page Builder combos for WordPress. It has years of history and a huge base of users. Unlike some other 'originals' Divi has continued to innovate along the way. The biggest perk of using this theme is that you get ALL of Elegant Theme's plugins and themes, not just Divi.

  • Options just for churches! Our friends at Churchly have integrated the Church Pro plugin with Divi. 
  • Very customizable theme (can be a little overwhelming if you dive in head first).
  • Buying the theme comes packaged with Divi's page builder and other helpful plugins. Great 'bang for your buck.'
  • Support isn't amazing, but the community around Divi makes up for it.

Price Structure:

Divi: $89/yr or $249/lifetime
Churchly: $99/yr

GeneratePress is like Astra and Genesis Framework had a baby. Also like Astra, GP has a free version as well as a Pro version that extends a lot of the functionality found in the free version.

  • Highly customizable without being overwhelming.
  • Page Builder comparability.
  • Very developer friendly if that's your cup o' tea.
  • Top notch support from Tom (GP's creator/developer).
  • Great base of users.
  • Extensive documentation.
  • Solid dev extensions from Cobalt Apps.

Price Structure:

Free - $39/yr

I rarely recommend themes made JUST for churches as I find most are subpar, lacking customization, poorly coded and just ugly. Church Themes is definitely an exception. Their newer themes (Maranatha and Saved) are visually solid. 

  • Deep integration with their Church Content plugin (sermons, location, team, events).
  • Thoughtful additions for church content are built in.
  • Widget based design features.

Price Structure:

$99/yr or $129/yr (depends on the theme you get) with a 30% discount on renewal

Don't Use These

Knowing what NOT to use is sometimes as important as know what TO use. Being that a theme is foundational to the frame and display of your site I want to suggest some players to stay away from. There are tons of other themes that I'd suggest staying away from, but I promised in this 'Tools I Use' section I'd only discuss tools I have experience with.

Themeforest

I was like some of you once. Bright eyed and bushy tailed staring at all the bells and whistles on Themeforest. Granted, there are thousands of themes and I've only worked with maybe 20, but my experience is out of all the themes I've worked with I'd only still suggest using one of them. Check out this blog to read about why I don't use anything from Themeforest anymore.

I've listed some of the ones here that looked amazing on the demos (some even worked well for a while) but as time went on support fell off or stopped, the code got even crappier, and my sites slowed to a crawl.

  • Bridge

  • X Theme

  • Themize

  • BeTheme

  • Medusa

  • Rebound

  • Flatco