Recently I had the opportunity to work with the Aeris theme. Here’s what I found.
The cost is $48 on ThemeForest, but the theme comes with the WPBakery Visual Composer plugin (which sells for $33 on it’s own) and the the Revolution Slider plugin (which costs $18). So, considering that buying these separately would cost you $51 just for the plugins, it’s not that expensive. Both the theme and plugin purchases are for use on one site only.
Visually Appealing: The theme looks great and uses I catching animations.
Responsive: Don’t even think of buying a theme that is not responsive.
Comes with Sample Data: The theme is super easy to set up because you can import the sample data to make it look exactly like the demo. I love this! Makes it much easier to take the things you like and delete the things you don’t. That way you are assured of getting your site set up like the demo. The thing to note here is that you must replace the images you are given with your own images, but that doesn’t seem too much to ask. At least you can see what size images work best. One note to this is that it doesn’t set up the Portfolio pages by default. It gives you the images so you can set them up yourself, but doesn’t really give you good documentation on how to do that.
Documentation: It comes with fairly good documentation that walks you step by step though the setup of the sample theme. There are some areas missing, like I mentioned, on how to set up the Portfolio areas.
Theme Settings: Aeris comes with some nice theme options, so it is easy to add your Google Analytics code and upload a favicon.
There are lots of font options and color options, and it lets you create custom sidebars to use on different pages, although there are no other widget areas. You can set up your social media links by just adding the URL’s. Then, if you love the options you’ve set up, you can export theme to use on another site where you are also using the Aeris theme.
Shortcodes: This is a personal preference, but I like working with shortcodes and this theme comes with them. It saves me from having to style things myself and some people find them easier to use than writing HTML. For me, it’s an easy way for people to style their site without having to know CSS.
Page Speed: When I simply downloaded the sample data to a fresh install of WP running on HostGator hosting and tested on Page Speed Insights, it got a 61/100 for mobile and 77/100 for desktop. Not a good place to start. And that’s for the home page. The About page tested even worse.
Personally, I don’t like the loading box when you first open the site and whenever you move to a new page. I don’t see any way to disable that or change it. It just seems to take too long to load.
WPBakery Visual Composer: For me this is a con, but some people may consider it a plus. As a developer, I want to code things with HTML to be exactly as I want them. Being new to this plugin, I found it confusing to use and I was never sure exactly where to click to add what I needed. Maybe after I get used to working with the plugin it will become easier for me, but I am someone who is used to working with technology. I wanted to insert a simple WordPress default gallery and could not do it with the WPBakery plugin installed. You can choose not to install, or to disable this plugin, but then all the sample pages do not display correctly. The good news is that the images at the top of the pages work separately than this, so you can still use them if you choose not to use WPBakery.
Have you used the Aeris theme? I would love to hear about your experiences with it.