The Extra theme, a highly anticipated theme by Elegant Themes has finally been launched recently. Ever since its announcement back in June 2014, the crowd has been eagerly waiting for Extra to be completed and fulfil the needs of bloggers the way Divi fulfilled the need for many portfolio and business sites. As such, we present to you our Extra Theme Review!

What we liked about the Extra theme

We recently had the chance to try out the Extra theme, and boy we were impressed! Extra came with more refinements and if we could say it, is like a better version of Divi 2.0.

To start, Extra with the Divi plugin enables you to customise not only your home page but to build really nice layouts for your blog archives. The blog and the blog archives for TechGarage looked really good when we installed and configured Extra.

Extra review 1

Elegant Themes did a really great job in building Extra. Details like a news bar, a built-in cart within the menu, easily customisable footers and simple, but engaging animations when you select a page in the blog archives, are plenty to look forward to. Much love has been put into the theme making it really compelling and pretty.

Setting up Extra is really easy as well. Unlike certain themes which look good but is hard to setup, Extra doesn’t have those quirks. The layout of the menus is intuitive and well thought out.

Extra comes with its own author profile, social sharing and even SEO if you need that. And with the famed Divi page builder plugin, you can easily build something with Extra and then switch theme without worrying about shortcode hell.

What we felt Extra could do better

The weakness with the Extra theme is that, while the Elegant Themes team did a great job with making it a compelling magazine theme, it doesn’t fare so well as WooCommerce theme.

For example, on single product pages, Extra still shows the distracting sidebars while the product description gets only 20% of the total page width.

Extra review 2

While this might appeal as aesthetics to minimalists, we feel that it would adversely affect the SEO of your store. For us, we experienced a drop in traffic within a few days of implementing Extra. This drop became worse and all our latest updated products did not appear anywhere within the first five pages of Google.

In comparison, uploading products while using our SuperStore theme by Woothemes, did not get us into this issue. That also could be due to the fact that Extra uses an accordion style javascript on their product page to hide away details. Then I recalled reading about accordion style tabs affecting SEO.

Another thing that will affect your site’s SEO is how much space (or width) is given to the product description compared to overall width. To test this out, I tried Googling some of our recently uploaded products. There were two tests I was subjecting the results to.

Firstly, I googled the name of the product and the country I’m based in, Malaysia. All newly uploaded products did not appear on the first five pages of Google!

Then I googled the name of the product and our website, TechGarage. The products did appear! That meant that

  1. Google did not ban our site for fraudulent activities. If it were so, we would not be able to find our site at all
  2. Even though we were indexed by Google, Google considered our content as not-so-important, due to the fact that we did not give it sufficient width.

I then did another test. I googled the product name for one of our best selling product. It has always been in the first three slots of Google. Interestingly, it was also missing from the first page but found when I googled our website name and the product name together.

As such, I’ve switched our site back to Woothemes’ Superstore to maintain the highest level of product SEO. While Woothemes might not build the best-looking themes, their themes are the best when it comes to WooCommerce. Unless you have the time and/or the money to build your own, you won’t go wrong with a theme like Canvas, Superstore and Storefront.

Conclusion of the Extra Theme Review

While we really liked the Extra, like the Divi, we feel that Elegant Themes is still ignoring the ecommerce users section. Unless you have the skills to build your own product pages, your SEO for products would be affected by Extra.

Rather, if you run a magazine or blog site, Extra does really well and is highly recommended!

However, Elegant Themes is always improving and Extra could be a viable option for ecommerce store owners on WooCommerce. If Elegant Themes solves the problem with the accordion and the lack of width for product description, Extra can be a formidable theme for ecommerce store owners.

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