With the loading speed of your website becoming an important ranking factor for Google – but also a solid opportunity to keep your visitors on your site, getting a lightning-fast theme is essential.
Today, we’re going to talk about the fastest of them all: the Trellis WordPress Theme by Mediavine.
I’m writing this review after being invited into the theme’s beta program almost two months ago. Please have in mind that I currently use the theme on a different website, not here on Nomad Not Mad (will explain later why).
Trellis Theme Review
I’m not the person that gets overly excited, but the truth is that Trellis surprised me to bits. Even before getting it, I was reading reports from people who used it, claiming that it did wonders to their PageSpeed – both in actual loading times, as well as increased scores on places like PageSpeed Insights.
I always told me: “Ah, these are just people who know nothing about optimizing their theme, but I did everything I could to have my blog run as fast as possible”.
I also told me that I always end up spending some money on a course or program that proves to be a dud, so why not give Trellis a try? Maybe I can get at least a bit of a speed boost.
This is the score that I am getting now, after installing the Trellis Theme by Mediavine:
And this is the score I get from GTMetrix:
I couldn’t believe my eyes and I sure was happy I decided to give it a try after all.
Here is how things looked like on my site where I considered that I had done everything possible to get the maximum Page Speed scores:
How did I get this massive improvement?
I simply switched the theme I was using to Trellis. Nothing more. Absolutely amazing!
Getting a score of over 90 on PageSpeed Insights for a blog that runs display ads is very difficult for most users out there. You have to be really tech savvy and properly optimize your website to get there (and you still might not do it).
Or install Trellis.
I was extremely happy and honestly surprised. I never though it was possible to instantly increase my loading speed scores by just switching themes (and I repeat: I had done everything I could to make sure that my previous theme was as fast as it could be).
After all, going from Fully Loaded (according to GTMetrix scores above) in 14.8 seconds to 3.8 seconds is amazing. Time to interactive score has also dropped from 6 seconds to 3.7 seconds which is just as good.
But did this have any impact over my traffic and/or ad earnings? I personally believe that there was a positive impact, for sure although it’s difficult to estimate.
First, here’s how my Google Analytics stats look like for the blog where I installed the Mediavine Trellis Theme:
As you can see, there is an increase after some 20 days, but it’s difficult to attribute it to the theme change only (although I do believe it matters).
Mediavine’s Trellis theme also has an important trick up its sleeve with how it loads the Analytics code for your visitors. I can’t say more about this, but I can say that a number of visitors that were counted before installing the theme were no longer counter afterwards.
This means that, even though there’s no obvious or impressive uptick in traffic, at least some visitors that were counted before were no longer counted once Trellis was live. And since traffic didn’t drop as a result, we can safely consider it an increase.
All in all, the traffic went up eventually, my blog page loading speeds went up A LOT, and I am extremely happy with that!
Important Features of the Mediavine Trellis Theme
Let’s leave all the technicalities above aside and talk about some of the features of the theme and how I feel about it.
The thing is that Trellis itself is a framework that allows for Child themes to be created and used to fully personalize the site.
However, you can still run a barebone Trellis install with no child theme and still get a properly running blog with similar page speed scores as above.
At the moment of writing this article, there are three child themes you can choose from. So you have a total of 4 different designs to choose from at the moment, including the base Trellis design.
To be honest, I am not really a big fan of any of these designs, but I to choose one instead of the base design. I prefer more magazine-like themes and I can’t say any of the ones available at the moment matches my taste perfectly.
But I just found out that the development team is working on other designs, and I got a sneak peek at the upcoming child theme and it’s absolutely amazing – exactly how I like it!
The best part about Trellis, in my opinion, is that it is a modern theme created with ad revenue in mind.
Unlike most other themes out there that try to offer as many functions as possible – most of which you will never need if you run a blog – Mediavine’s Trellis theme focuses on the content creator. It’s a theme created for bloggers and optimized for ad revenue. Which is perfect.
This is also an extremely simple, minimalist theme that offers all the basic features that a blogger needs, but without any of the bells and whistles other themes offer.
This is a great thing and I never felt that I needed a feature that wasn’t present. You get a pretty basic theme control panel where you can activate and deactivate various settings… but that’s it!
No fancy page builders for you, no extra (yet mostly useless) features. Focus on creating content and giving your visitors the fastest theme there is!
How to Get the Trellis Theme?
At the moment of writing this article, the Trellis theme is still in Beta, meaning that you can only get it if you have applied to be a beta tester. (In order to do that, you need to have a Mediavine-approved blog too).
However, in the future, once the theme is fully launched, you won’t have to be a Mediavine member in order to enjoy all the benefits of this amazing theme. But it is still unclear when will the theme get out of Beta.
How Much Does the Trellis Theme Cost?
I am not allowed to share pricing details at the moment due to the fact that the theme is still in beta. But I can tell you from start that it’s not a cheap theme if you compare it with your regular WordPress theme.
BUT. This is not a regular WordPress theme!
Of course, things can change a lot when Trellis is released publicly, but I don’t think it will ever be a cheap one. It is a premium theme with premium options and an amazing performance, as you saw above.
This is the reason why I haven’t rushed yet to switch all my blogs to using Mediavine’s Trellis: most of my websites are still not making enough money to cover the costs. I am also in a process of reorganizing my blogs – so I don’t know just yet which ones to keep and which to sell.
However, as soon as you can afford Mediavine’s theme – go for it. As you can see, it’s totally worth it!
In the end, the increased page speed and the fact that it is optimized for running display ads, will help your blog flourish, get more visitors and ultimately make more money.
I was absolutely blown away by the instant and major effects Trellis had on my blog. I didn’t really think it was possible for my scores to go up (and definitely not by that much) and now I am happy I switched over.
Changing my old WordPress theme to Trellis was the best decision I made in recent times.
I am sure that, as Google will put more and more weight on your Page Speed when it comes to ranking, this theme will prove even more useful to all bloggers.
Sure, it’s not a cheap theme to start with – but it is fairly priced, in my opinion, based on the awesomeness it offers.