As I mentioned in an earlier post, WordPress premium themes have a number of advantages. Along with features you don’t find in most free themes, premium themes usually come with an active support community which can more than pay for itself when it comes to learning the them, customizing and helping when you run into problems. Of the premium themes available, one of the most interesting is Headway. Featuring drag and drop design, Headway brings advance design features without the need for advanced programming.
For those who don’t like getting their hands dirty, the Headway visual editor makes it very easy to change colors, fonts, character spacing, just about anything you want without even thinking about HTML code. About the only coding you’ll need to know are the HTML color codes. One of the great things about the visual editor is that you can see your changes as you make them. No need to jump between browser windows refreshing the page.
Each content box is shown in a sidebar with drop down menus making it easy to make changes. If you don’t know the name of a corresponding field, you can click on the appropriate box in the sidebar and it will momentarily highlight the coordinating field. For example, if you don’t know the header from the body, it is easily identified so you can make changes to your site.
Leafs are by far one of the most interesting features of the Headway theme. Leafs are basically content boxes that you can drag and drop wherever you want them on the page. This allows you move elements on the page in ways usually only possible with advanced coding. Don’t like the size of a content box, change it. Want to see featured posts on the bottom left corner, drag it there. Don’t like that look, move it to the right side of the page. All can be done visually without any custom coding.
Another aspect of leaves I really like is the wide variety of content that can be added to a page using leafs. Along with the usual featured posts and rss feeds, leafs also include advanced photo slider and gallery options and widgetized sidebars that run horizontally across the page wherever you want them.
Site configuration and Navigation Menu
As with the rest of Headway, uploading headers, changes to the nav bar and full width framework can all be done from the control panel. Header elements such as logos and advertisements can also be changed using drag and drop. Drop down menus and the ability to hide pages from the nav menu are just a few of the features that can be changed without coding.
Adding content such as banner advertisements or text below each post usually requires going into the WordPress files and making PHP programming changes. Headway uses what they call “Easy Hooks” that clearly identify the hook and provide a field for entering text, images or whatever. Say you want to add an advertisement after each post. Just use the drop down menu to find “after post” and insert the advertisement. That’s all there is to it.
Although I haven’t tested Headway’s SEO abilities, it does include everything you could ask for in a premium theme and more. Along with the basic meta fields, Headway automatically optimizes WordPress slugs, includes the ability to set no-follow and no-index links and uses categories to create breadcrumbs throughout the site. This last feature is interesting as it creates the potential to use categories as powerful keywords.
Design Without Programming
Headway is a great theme for those who want to design their own website but don’t want to spend time struggling with code. Designers may also want to consider the theme as a way to speed workflow and quickly build great looking websites.
Headway offers a personal option for $87 which allows the user to use the theme on two websites. A developers options is available for $164 which allows for use on unlimited sites (including client’s sites) and the removal of the Headway footer credit.