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Introducing Sydney 1.75: jQuery Removed, New Onboarding Wizard, Schema Markup & AMP Support

Introducing Sydney 1.75, featured image

The latest release of our free business theme Sydney has arrived.

You get the same features you already love, but with faster load times, a better user experience, and more SEO benefits.

Here’s a quick run-down of the new features of Sydney 1.75:

  • Performance improvements – to make your website load faster
  • jQuery removed – to provide frontend functionality solely by native JavaScript
  • New onboarding wizard – to help you with getting your site up and running faster
  • Structured data/schema markup – to get your site into Google’s Rich Results
  • AMP support (optional) – to make your site load faster on mobile devices

Improved Performance for Faster Load Times

Your site’s page load times are important for everything from user experience to SEO rankings to conversion and bounce rates.

As your theme is the foundation of your site’s frontend, it plays a huge role in page load time.

Sydney has never been slow, but with version 1.75, we have managed to make it even faster.

Now, a fresh install of Sydney loads in under half a second and has just 8 HTTP requests and a file size of 82.2 KB.

It has near-perfect performance scores in all popular speed test tools, including Pingdom, web.dev, and GTmetrix.

Sydney performance data

Sydney is now more ready than ever to help you achieve a fast-loading WordPress site.

No More jQuery – Only Native JavaScript

Past versions of Sydney relied on the jQuery library, which had an unnecessarily high overhead and increased page load times.

With version 1.75, we’re happy to announce that Sydney no longer has any JavaScript dependencies. It uses 100% native JavaScript and the latest web technologies.

Don’t miss out on faster load times and fewer dependencies.

User-Friendly Onboarding

In addition to speeding up your site, we also wanted to make Sydney easier for everyone to get started with, whether you’re building your first WordPress site or your 50th.

To make this happen, we launched a new onboarding wizard that takes you through every step to go from nothing to a working website that looks exactly like your favorite Sydney demo site.

Let’s quickly see how our new three-step onboarding process works.

Step 1: When you first activate Sydney, you’ll see a prompt to pick a starter site. Clicking that button will automatically install the new aThemes companion plugin and send you straight to our starter site library.

Sydney onboarding wizard

Step 2: Use the filters to find the perfect starter site. When you’ve found the right design, click the Import button. This will let you choose exactly what to import.

Sydney demo sites

Step 3: Either import everything or pick-and-choose exactly what content and plugins you want to add.

Choose what to import

And that’s it! Within a few clicks, you’ll get a fully functional site, and it will look exactly how you want it to.

Successful import

Wondering why your theme doesn’t look like the demo site is a thing of the past. With Sydney 1.75, you can spin up a new site within minutes.

Schema Markup for Rich Snippets

Adding schema markup is important to help increase the chances that you get eye-catching Rich Results from Google.

Now, Sydney can help you add basic sitewide schema without the need to install another plugin. Just head to Settings → General in the Customizer, and enable schema markup with the tick of a box.

Sydney rich snippets

Google AMP Support (optional)

Sydney 1.75 also adds support for Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) out of the box.

Basically, AMP is a Google-specific markup added to your HTML pages. On a WordPress site, AMP code needs to be inserted into your theme’s template files.

With AMP, your pages will load faster on mobile devices and rank better in Google’s mobile search results.

If you want your Sydney site to serve AMP pages for your mobile visitors, you only need to install and activate the official AMP plugin for WordPress — which is available free of charge.

As Syndey 1.75 automatically integrates with this plugin, that’s all you need to do to add valid AMP markup to your theme.

Get Started with Sydney 1.75

Sydney 1.75 is officially out and ready for you to try.

Create a new WordPress site with the free Sydney theme or update your existing Syndey site today to experience better page load times, cleaner code, a new user-friendly onboarding wizard, schema markup, AMP support, and more!

If you like the free version, also consider upgrading to Sydney Pro to get access to even more features and starter sites.

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