Introducing Light & Bold

As a web developer and web performance evangelist, I spend a lot of time optimizing my websites. Having access to a well-optimized theme would have made my life so much easier…

So, as a response, I created Light & Bold which, after a year or so, has now completed Themeforest’s approval process. Today, I’m proud to officially introduce the Light & Bold theme. The fastest WordPress theme on the market.

Light & Bold - Speed-Focused WordPress Theme

An Ultra-Fast Theme

With Light & Bold, I wanted to offer a super quick WordPress theme for everyone. Whether used by a beginner or a web performance fanatic (such as me), the theme had to be exceptionally fast and either easy to manage.

From the very start, L&B’s speed budget was very ambitious. The theme needed to come out way ahead of the competition.

Speed Index Under a Second

The Speed Index is the time required for the visible parts of a page to be displayed. It measures how quickly a page’s contents are visually populated.

Several major influencers specialized in web performance, including Paul Irish, recommend that a website’s speed index remains below 1000 milliseconds.

Load Time Under 0.5 Second

Page load time is the time it takes to download and display the entire content of a web page in the browser window. Page load time is the most common web performance metric as it is the easiest to understand.

100% in Google PageSpeed Insights

Truth be told, reaching a perfect PageSpeed score is not a necessity for optimal performance.

For me, however, I felt that it was essential that I reach a perfect score. Why? Because the WordPress theme industry often focuses (wrongly) on the Google PageSpeed score as a performance indicator. I had no choice, but to play the game…

Fortunately, because of the Speed Index optimization, reaching a perfect score is much easier than it used to be.

And, let’s be honest, a perfect PageSpeed score is a tremendous marketing tool!

Making Choices

Building such as fast theme was not easy. I had to make several decisions on how to build it and which technologies to use.

Zero Dependency

One thing was certain, though: I knew what I did not want.

I did not want a theme that requires jQuery or another JavaScript framework to work. Those frameworks bloat sites and block the critical rendering of a page.

Starter Theme

I could have chosen not to use a starter theme, but I really like the minimalist structure of Underscore, and I had already developed several themes with it, so Underscore it was.

CSS Architecture

Now on to architecture… Which one should I choose: OOCSS, ACSS, oCSS, SMACSS, BEM, SUITCSS?

The CSS had to be lightweight and easy to modify. I finally discovered BASSCSS on an ACSS architecture. I quickly got used to this architecture and I think that, when it comes to long-term development, it is an excellent way to go.

BASSCSS lets me create new templates without adding even a single line of CSS. It is a great way to keep the stylesheet as light as possible.

Page Builder

I tested several page builders to find one that would not hurt the theme’s performance.

Sadly, my search was unsuccessful. The problem is not really the page builder itself, but the flexibility that it offers to the user.

If the user has the option to add carousels, accordions and parallax effects on the same page, he will do it!

I also thought a lot about how the page builder would be used. People buy themes because they like its design and templates, right? If the design already pleases them, then why allow them to modify everything in it?

Am I wrong?