I have very exciting news – it seems that my neverending quest for best WordPress framework came to an end (at least for now). As you probably remember from my Gantry framework review I was looking for responsive theme I could easily define my own layouts with minimum amount of coding. Recently I found Headway Theme which allows to develop fully customized WordPress sites quickly and easily.
What is Headway Theme?
Headway is WordPress framework that was designed and optimized to speed up and simplify process of creating new websites from scratch. Headway Base can be use as starting point for your site development, but if you need to get your website up and running fast you can get some pre-built Headway Child Themes.
Why Headway Theme is so special?
When you think about WordPress you think about blogging and blogs – usually simple websites with basic layout: content area and one sidebar on right or left. OK, there are some blogs with two sidebars. It’s good enough for personal blogs, but WordPress can be so much more – think big, think about proper sized websites with lots of customized pages you can tweak according to your needs. Standard WordPress and most so-called frameworks won’t allow you to do it easily – you will have to fire up your text editor and get your hands dirty with coding. I did it before and I have to admit I didn’t like it (and I am an experienced programmer). When you want to create a website you shouldn’t have to spend your time digging in WordPress guts. Headway relieves you of this unpleasant task and let’s you define almost any layout in very simple way – just by clicking and dragging. And I don’t mean some fake, half-baked, buggy solution – it really works!
List of Headway Theme features
Layout visual editor – the most powerful part of the framework, allows you to define your own fully customized layouts for every class of pages (Posts, Pages, Archives, 404 pages etc) or even single page instances (e.g. your News page can look completely different from the rest of your website). Visual editor is a masterpiece itself – it introduces concept of Blocks which are similar to native WordPress widgets. There is 10 default block types (Widget Area, Header, Navigation, Breadcrumbs, Content, Footer, Slider, Embed, Text and Custom Code) and even more third party ones.
Flexible Grid – theme can be fully responsive so your readers can view it without problems on mobile devices as well. You can even tell specific block not to show on mobile devices (big logos etc) – excellent functionality! Template uses CSS3 and HTML5.
Design editor – another very powerful feature of Headway Theme, allows you to customize any website element even if you are not master of CSS (if you are, you can modify styles manually in very convenient way too). Just click and select an element on your website and modify its values in the Inspector. You can easily change fonts, text, border styles and corner roundness, shadows, padding, margins, colors and images. All the things you would usually have to do in text editor.
Security – theme developers made sure Headway is secure and stable: it was analyzed by independent external company Sucuri for vulnerabilities and coding standards. You can read the report HERE. I am actually really pleased by this – most themes and frameworks are not doing these kind of tests.
SEO optimized – Headway Theme comes SEO friendly out of the box. While adding new post you can define all set of SEO friendly settings including meta description and meta title. There is even Search Engine Results preview, which shows how meta tag are gonna look like in Google SERPs. Headway works without problems with most popular WordPress SEO plugins.
Easily extensible – with Blocks available you can add fantastic functionality to your website in seconds! There are galleries, testimonials, sliders, pinboard, features, excerpts, community builder and other stuff to download – and the list is constantly growing. Of course these extensions are completely optional, but you can save some time by using them.
WooCommerce support – you can use WooCommerce with Headway. The only thing it requires is to install free Headway Storefront block first.
Developer friendly – Headway Theme gives developer ability to write their own blocks using Headway API which can be used or sold on the Headway Marketplace (excellent opportunity as you developer gets 70% of the sale). Theme has very good Live CSS editor with syntax highlighting and supports Child Themes.
Theme is reasonably priced – for $87 you get one year of support and updates, if you are developer and you would like to resale themes you made you will have to pay $174 (also one year support and updates). These options are not bad at all considering that good quality regular WordPress themes are about $50 (and you cannot modify them easily without hiring programmer).
Good way to learn what this framework is capable of is to check out Showcase page where you can find all sorts of great websites made with Headway Theme.
If you want to try Headway before purchase you can check out live demo, which allows you to test all the features and find out if you like the way framework works. I really enjoy it and I think Headway will become my WordPress framework of choice – I have some plans to make all my three sites responsive with custom designed layouts. It means you can expect detailed review and some tutorials soon!
If you are looking for WordPress framework that allows you to easily define and modify layout, you should definitely take a good look at Headway Theme – it may be the one for you!