Hi there, cherry pie! (I must be hungry.) In this post I will discuss why Headway is my go-to theme and the only one I use when building fully custom websites for my sharp and successful clients (hi, gals!) and even for DIYers.
I will also cover why Headway 3.6 is amazing and how it is different from and superior to the theme frameworks Thesis 2.0 and Genesis. There’s enough information to write a book, so keep in mind: this is an overview.
I’m gonna get in a lot of trouble for this, but here’s a crazy comparison: it’s kinda like how taking an invigorating hike in a lush forest awash with the smell of pine trees is 10,000 better than taking a rushed stroll through your local park and having a dog pee on you. And you’re wearing flip flops, not boots, because it’s summer. Ewww. (And yes, it’s happened to me. His name is Sammy and he’s a puppy, friends with my pup Naomi, and was so excited to greet me that he peed on me. I tell you, that little bastard’s lucky he’s so adorable.)
So what is the best WordPress theme?
First, let me clarify: neither Headway nor Thesis nor Genesis are in truth themes per se. Headway is a theme builder and Thesis and Genesis are theme frameworks. (More on this below.)
Now that that’s clear, let’s get to the tofu of the matter.
What is Headway (and what is it not)?
Let’s start from the beginning. Headway is a drag and drop theme builder, as opposed to a theme per se. You can use its kickass Visual Editor to build your own layouts and themes and create anything you want.
Meaning: when you first install Headway, you won’t see a default navigation, content area, and sidebar like you do with other themes. You’ll see a blank canvas. So you can make it look like whatever the heck you want, and unless you want something radically unconventional, you can do it all code-free, baby. This is hardcore epic shi*.
Why (else) is Headway amazing? (Check out these Miami-in-the-summer-hot features.)
- It has a revolutionary Visual Editor where you can drag and drop boxes that you then turn into widgets, navigations, content, etc. in 1 click. Just click your mouse, hold the button down and drag. This method lets you position your “blocks” wherever you like in relation to each other. For example, if you have a really bad day and want a vertical navigation running through the middle of your pages to
violate best practicesblow up the user friendliness status quo, you can do it… and without any code, yo! (Disclaimer: I don’t recommend this.)
- You can create any layout or theme you desire without the need to program it. For some instances of unconventional layouts, you might need to add CSS (code), but you’ll never have to program in PHP (a programming language) like you would with other WordPress themes, which are much less flexible than this puppy. Translation: it’ll be quicker and cheaper if you hire out these changes, and if you DIY, you can learn to do it without taking an advanced course in PH-freakin’-P.
- You can get your desired layout going FAST with no code knowledge necessary. I’m kinda repeating myself, but this is huge.
- You can see what things look like before saving thanks to its WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) Visual Editor. Wanna see how a different font would look on your headlines? Or if periwinkle would look better than white as the background color for your navigation? You can test it inside your Visual Editor before saving any changes, so you can realize you’ve made a huge mistake (ahem, watch the video below!) and scrap your experiment before the world gets to see it. Phew.
- It’ll be responsive (look rad in phones and tablets so you’ll impress all your friends) if you don’t mess it up (and it’s kinda hard to mess up).
- You can create a unique layout for each page (or just customize the main front page or blog layout and be set), again sans code. This is especially smart for when you want to set up a membership site and want to make the pages hosting your protected content look different from your main website. I mean, imagine if the pages where you have your course looked just like the rest of your site: people would be confused as hell. You’d be getting 70 emails per day from people asking why “Module 1” contains your About page (because they’re on your About page, not Module 1, but they don’t know because everything looks the same!). You’d get a stress ulcer and want to quit and go live on a boat. A membership site deserves its own different design, damn it, if only for the sake of everybody’s sanity.
- Abundant documentation and an impressive support forum.
And tons more. But you don’t have all day, so those’ll do.
How is Headway different from and superior to Thesis 2.0 and Genesis?
You may have heard of Thesis 2.0 and Genesis, the popular theme frameworks with supremely cool names. Yup, they’re really good too. But they’re different. And arguably inferior to Headway. But if you’re on WordPress you gotta pick one, so here are a few ways the Headway theme builder surpasses Thesis 2.0 and Genesis:
- Headway makes it easier to position the elements of your page (say, a photo, social media icons, opt-in, navigation, and copyright all snuggled up together in your footer).
- There’s no Visual Editor in Thesis 2.0 or Genesis that lets you see what things look like before saving. Made a wrong move? It’s exposed to the world like a soiled naked baby until you fix it, buddy.
- Thesis 2.0 is super confusing for non-technical peeps. Opening the editor is a clustereff. A clustereff! You need to learn what the hell boxes and skins are and where they are and what they’re for and how to use them. Even Genesis is more intuitive.
- Learning curve: all 3 options have a moderate learning curve. But some curves are sexier than others. And Headway has Marilyn Monroe’s coveted hourglass figure. Just sayin’. Overall, Thesis 2.0 is the hardest to learn for non-geeks, and Genesis is in the middle.
There is SO much more to cover I could write a book. This overview only gives a taste of how mind-blowing Headway is, and there are many nuances I didn’t cover regarding the differences between Headway and Thesis 2.0 and Genesis, and why I recommend Headway hands-down. (By the way, if any readers have worked extensively with Thesis 2.0 or Genesis, I heartily welcome your input and questions too!)
So for now, I hope this post helps you understand this whole theme thingamajig better.