What about to tell you my own experience with Headway Theme? And what a better to way to show a vivid example with this blog – yes, this blog is based on Headway.
Part of the planning of my move to WP, was to have already chosen a new WordPress theme. I considered several options, including free ones, but I decided to have a WP premium theme most because the support and lifetime updates available.
Also if you decide for a free WordPress theme, do it very carefully, they can have security holes and a tip: never – ever – Google for a WP free theme, you can find perhaps at top positions, free themes with “nasty gifts” already added. Explore instead on the WP repository and check out all the reviews.
There are excellent other themes like Thesis, Genesis, Elegant Themes, and so on, but I concentrated in having a theme that save me time, effort and I can use it almost without coding, great thing! Most of the themes need to code, a lot, to see some changes and I didn’t want more delays; I needed my site up and running soon.
The principal advantage of Headway is that you’ve near endless themes in one package and the possibility of tailoring to your needs, practically without touching code. The Visual Layout Editor lets me to configure the layouts I wanted, with the columns, as I wish. Yeah, with other themes you can set different layouts, but without the Drag & Drop function. After hitting publish and voila! you see the changes in real time, looking professional. The same apply with the header, navigation, dimensions, footer, sidebars, colors, backgrounds, etc.
Do you need prior knowledge building WordPress sites? The answer is no. Do you install it and in few minutes, you’ve a full website? Actually, the answer is no again. Why? As all software you need hours, perhaps very few days to acquire the necessary skills to manage the powerful VE. It’s depending all of your desires if they are basic, more “normal” or truly advanced. In my case, to have this blog working took me approximate two days of full work. Hey, have in mind that I’ve a job also!
Surely, you’ll want to add a button here, change layout there, and time is running. But I guarantee that the learning curve is very short, compared with other themes that you need to code, code and more code. I’m tired only of mentioning
Is Headway Theme for beginners? Yes! Is Headway Theme WordPress for experts at design or coding? Yes again! You can have almost complete control via coding, apart of the Visual Editor (VE), with Live CSS and Easy Hooks, for advanced users.
I have control of the layout of every single page/posts and I can disable the sidebar, or footer in very few minutes. Visit my resources page with blogging resources and you’ll see it in action. If you want the same layout for all the pages, no problem – use the linking options or use templates saving it for future modifications.
Headway WordPress Theme Review
Let’s dig into the principal technical characteristics of this Premium Theme:
Headway WordPress Theme is completely SEO (search engine optimization) friendly, indeed I avoided installing many necessary SEO plugins, because their functions are already installed in the theme. As you know, less plugins is always better for speed on loading and less troubles.
Some SEO features:
- An automatic Slug Cleanup. (Slug the portion of sweetsfoods.com/slug or sweetsfoods.com/yourpost) vital to improve in SERPs (position on searches, the top the better)
- Preview of the Title and Description. I’ve an idea beforehand on how it’ll look on Google, essential to improve in searches.
- Complete control on posts/static pages about “nofollow” and “noindex”. Indispensable to tell to search engines of what to follow or index of your site.
And the list is extensive; you can manage them in Headway Configuration / Search Engine Optimization.
The core of Headway WordPress Theme is the Visual Editor (VE).
- Styles and Design
Here I control general colors, font’s sizes/colors, etc. I recommend having in mind a clear idea of the style of your site, before touching all the possibilities – this will save you time.
If you’re installing from other site, copy the hexadecimal colors and fonts’ style somewhere and apply to the VE – this will speed up the process. If your blog/site is brand new, then experiment and experiment! Don’t forget to press Publish to save changes!
The element selector will help you to know all the characteristics when you put the mouse anywhere on the page; very useful.
- Leafs and Columns
Leafs (for me, synonym of blocks) – I use them regularly arranging, resizing widgets and so on.
Inside these modules can be put text, images, html, etc.
Actions: Resize Leafs and / or Arrange Leafs. I use both frequently also.
Tip – having enabled Actions / Arrange Leafs + Resize Leafs and you’ll have a clear landscape of the page you’re editing.
Columns: Set up how many columns your site will be.
Add – well lot of things can happen here. I use principally the Widget ready sidebar, Text/HTML/PHP and Featured Posts
Widgets are the ones that will appear on your WP dashboard / Appearance / Widgets. The kitchen of WordPress to cook everything you want with them
Featured Posts see it in action in my page http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ on the right side. (Today, I changed for other option inside Headway)
The rest of the options: Header, Navigation, Footer and Dimension speak by themselves. Again, you’ve control of everything. Navigation on the last version is managed internally via the WP dashboard.
First of all, there are hundreds of pages, videos and tutorial with examples, tips and tricks available for Headway users. Anyway, sometimes you cannot find your answer there.
Certainly on those cases, with my doubts I asked them in the Headway forum-support and I had good responses.
Till know, I didn’t need to send an email directly to support (crossed fingers). On the forum, depending of the subject and day, you’d receive a reply in few hours.
For me it’s fundamental to have access to support and also to updates for life. I don’t know you, but I experiment constant changes in browsers, WP versions, plugins and I need real people to help with these changes. It’s hard with some WP themes with a restricted support, e.g. a year and later on, you need to pay again.
Just being honest, nobody is perfect and therefore the products made by them, either.
Sometimes, I pressed “publish” and I didn’t see the changes on the VE. The problem was the W3 Total Cache plugin that had a delay to show changes. My first Headway version had this temporary problem with that plugin. Later, it was solved completely.
From one old version to other, there was a glitch with the element selector who didn’t allow modifying colors. (I think that this former version was updated to a new one too quickly or without enough tests). Nevertheless, this issue was corrected on the following version.
In my installation, at the beginning on Firefox after hitting “publish” the browser never stopped loading. On Chrome, I didn’t have this issue. Again, today it’s solved too.
If you understand something about software, you’d know that all type of programs (no matter the application or use) must be updated constantly, according to the technical requirements of the season. The problem is not having access to future versions of the theme chosen and this can bring security holes or bad functions due to faulty plugins.
Headway WP Theme has luckily, both, constant support and free updates.
Headway Live CSS Editor and Easy Hooks
My own experience is that near 95/97% of my site was done practically without coding. Of course, it’s up to you how much customization you require for your site.
I used the live CSS Editor to handle my profile like the one, at the end of this post. I saved a plugin on that process.
The advantage of live CSS is that every change you do, you can see it in real time. For updates of new Headway versions, this code is transferred to the new version automatically.
Also I’ve some Easy Hooks on my site. In a nutshell, are extra bonuses to insert, precisely, code in places like wrapper, header, navigation, pages, comments and so on. As an example, the Google Plus button +1 on top-left, below of all post’s title, is done with an Easy Hook (I saved one plugin)
Headway WordPress Theme is 2 Years Old
Really, I had planned this post for next weeks, but after I received the news that Headway is just two years old on last July 31st, 2011 – I needed to post it before.
As a celebration, the Headway Team just released a 30% off coupon. This Headway Theme coupon code will be valid for few days of this 2011: Code – Headway2years (promotion ended) The personal license is for $60.90 (Normal price is $87.00) and the developer’s license would be $114.80. (Normal price is $164.00)
Definitely they are coming new versions like the Headway 3.0 (today I’ve the 2.0 series) with new look to the Visual Editor, new interfaces, Headway Themes Child Themes and more to come. I’ve read that perhaps there will be an increase in the price; I expect it’ll be a minor adjustment to continue boosting the WordPress Premium themes area.
These are the reasons why I chose Headway Theme (affiliate link) for this blog (yeah I recommend it because this WP Premium Theme saved me hours & hours of coding, making my life easier).
I’ll use it possibly on other projects coming, taking the developer’s license (support unlimited Headway sites) – it’s like chocolate, frequently you want more sites, identical situation with the chocolate, you want even more (Pss the personal license allows you to have 2 sites of your own)
UPDATE: 8 AUGUST 2011
Today I’ve just received this important news:
Future Headway 3.0 prices will go up (I already knew), but this is new for me: also it’s moving to a subscription model with updates and ongoing support – either 6 month or 12 month renewal. Actual users of 2.0.x series (like my case) and new users, before entering into the 3.0 version, will get free upgrades to Headway 3.0 and will never pay a subscription.
If you’re considering Headway Theme as an option to your WordPress portfolio, perhaps you’d consider it before jumping to the new subscription model, saving several bucks.
UPDATE: 7 November 2011
The official release date for Headway 3.0 is November 25th, 2011.
As I explained before, since that date, Headway Themes is moving to an annual renewal fee for updates and support, and will cost more.
My advice, don’t wait until Headway 3.0 is live, because you’ll pay more, also you’ll need to pay an annual renewal fee. Therefore, if you’re thinking to buy it, do it now, because you can lock: the actual price AND free upgrades AND support.
UPDATE: 29 December 2011
Headway 3.0 is live!
I’m using the new 3.0 version and it’s rocking.
Certainly having my experience with the 2.0 version, helps to speed up the process.
The upgrade path to get you moved from 2.0.x to 3.0.x is coming soon but it isn’t available till today.
So, by the moment, you can install on new sites the Headway 3.0 directly.
Is Headway 3.0 for newbies? Yes, you don’t need to code practically, but as every designing-software (it’s not just a WordPress framework, is a complete package to design blogs or static sites), you need some days to play around touching, changing and reading/watching videos, but worth the effort because later is easier to design with the new 3.0.
Once you’ve accustomed to use it, is like baking brownies in series, with your sites
With these busy days near end of the year I’ve little time to everything, but as soon as I’ll advance with several new installations, I’ll write a complete and long review of the Headway 3.0 (today there is the 3.0.4 version)
Speaking about the new structure of prices, I believe the best prices are the first and the second:
Base: $87 – for unlimited sites and complete access to support and documentation, valid for one year.
Standard: $174 – the same like before, but more a plus of 3 Headway Child Themes. I suppose that if you need something pre-done is great.
Anyway, as Child Themes aren’t ready, I’d choose the Base by now, until seeing how useful the free child themes are or not.
Meantime, take a look some of new videos about the Headway 3.0:
Headway 3.0 – Designing Your First Site:
Headway 3.0 Visual Editor- Changin Block Settings:
Update October 22nd, 2012
Headway Themes has 33% OFF starting on October 22nd, 2012 until November 1, 2012.
The discount code: HW33.
Save some money getting Headway Base or Headway Developer to a 33% OFF the regular price.
Update January 2013: Headway 2.0.14 was pushed out to fix some issues with WordPress 3.5 (it wasn’t my case, but some people had some troubles and this is the reason of the new version)
Did you already know Headway? Have you used or are using it on a blog/site? Would you use it in your site or on a client’s site?
I’d like to hear your overall experience with Headway WordPress Theme.
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