A Faster Loading Theme For Spiderweb

2021 Theme Using Kadence

It’s been way too long between posts so here’s an update on the latest WordPress theme and design choices for the main Spiderweb site. Long time customers may notice that the site is no longer using the Elementor page builder with the purple highlights and all those flashy animations. It is now much simpler using only the Kadence theme with Kadence Blocks and our minimal set of standard plugins. All the WordPress components are free to demonstrate that a reasonable looking site does not have to cost any extra above and beyond the actual domain registration and hosting fee.

I find sites that are created with Elementor are “heavy” and slightly sluggish to load even though I love using the editor itself. Pages sometimes contain components that shift slightly while loading and try as I might, for instance, I could not fix the top nav menu elements of the previous Spiderweb website design. Compared to Elementor, I find the native Gutenberg WordPress editor very clumsy to use and nowhere near as intuitive as Elementor, but it does keep improving with each major release.

Some Advantages When Using Kadence

  • It is indeed a lightweight and fast loading theme
  • it includes better header management options than Elementor Pro
  • it can cache Google fonts locally without needing an extra plugin
  • the companion Kadence Blocks plugin makes using Gutenberg possible
  • the Kadence Blocks “Row Layout” and “Form” widgets are essential
  • both the free Kadence theme and free Kadence Blocks plugin are regularly updated
  • and of course, WordPress itself is free and can be automatically updated

The last point about being free is not a matter of cost, although that doesn’t hurt. It means there are no annoying paywalls impeding the use, adoption and updates for this theme and plugin. That means over the years, particularly with auto-updates enabled, a site will not become stale and insecure with some commercially licensed theme or plugin (perhaps expired) preventing the site from being fully up-to-date. This matters when considering 5 and 10+ year life spans of websites.

As for the design choices, I know it doesn’t look like many other “corporate” hosting provider websites, but it is unique and distinctive in its own right. It’s also about as simple as I could possibly make it and represents a WordPress website that any Spiderweb customer could create themselves without needing a degree in IT and web technology. And again, the fact that it’s not using any commercial components means that anyone can create, at a minimum, a similar looking site for no more than the cost of the domain registration and hosting fee… and some time spent learning how to use the WordPress Customizer, the Gutenberg editor and the Kadence theme and Blocks plugin for overall layout.