Why You Should Buy Headway Today

Headway is the WordPress theme that this site runs on. I’ve talked before about why I think it’s great, but the current version is not for everyone.

At this moment it means designing the site yourself, learning the interface, graphics added and so on. But this is all about to change. 40 seconds into the video below introduces the new Child Themes that will be available for use with the next version of Headway.

The next version is out on November 25th, so why am I saying to buy it now? When the new version is released they are moving to a subscription model with a recurring fee, and not only that, but the price will be higher. So if you buy BEFORE the 25th and get the current version of Headway:

You will get the Headway 3.0 upgrade for no extra cost, and no ongoing/recurring fees.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting Headway, then now is the time to do it as current members get the best deal. Of course there are many other changes in the new version, it’s been built from scratch, has a new blocks system and many other changes. But the child themes is something I know a lot of my clients are excited about, and while these will be an additional cost they save you the time and effort of designing complicated layouts yourself. I may even be releasing some child themes for sale myself….

Watch the video below to learn more about the new theme.

I will be upgrading this site to run on the new theme once I get time to play around with and see what new features I can use and what it can do. If you already own the theme then don’t worry, you’ll be seeing version 3.0 very soon!

Headway 3.0 Preview

The new version of the Headway Theme for WordPress, 3.0 is coming very soon. It has some great new features that you can see from the video below, but it looks AWESOME!

If you’re a current owner you will get the upgrade for FREE and will NEVER pay a subscription fee for Headway. Yes, the new version of Headway will be a subscription and be more expensive than the current version.

So if you’ve been ummming and ahhhing over getting Headway, now is the time to do it. If you buy now, you’ll pay the lower price, get a free upgrade to 3.0 and never pay a subscription fee. If you wait until 3.0 is out then you won’t get those benefits.

Doesn’t it look good? I use Headway on this site, so know how great the current version is. You can read my review of Headway here and buy the theme here.

Premium Series: Headway Theme Review

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

Headway is a WordPress theme that has a unique Visual Editor that lets you easily change the layout and look and feel of your blog right in front of your eyes. This makes it simple to change colors and fonts, and completely removes the need for any coding. There is a learning curve in how the system works and what the options do, and it’s not perfect (yet) in a few ways (nothing is), but is a fantastic option for the non-technical blogger.

I like it so much I use it on this site and a few others that I own, as well as for many clients, mainly because it’s so flexible and versatile.

If I want a different layout for every page, I can have one no problem. If I want different sidebars I can have them. If I don’t want to do any coding I don’t have to, but if I do there are easy hooks and a live CSS editor and other goodies to allow me to do the complicated stuff I need to do without any extra hassle.

Below is their demo video, which is obviously biased but does give you a good impression of how it aims to work.

The Headway Visual Editor allows me to design my whole site, or just a page of my site easily. It works on the concept of Leafs, which are building blocks of your site. You can have a content leaf, to display the content, and a sidebar leaf to display a sidebar. You can create infinite combinations with these and different leafs, such as a Featured Posts leaf, an image rotator leaf, even a Twitter leaf, amongst others.

It even has a quick start wizard that, once you upload your logo, will suggest colors to match for the rest of your site, and you can drag those colors to the elements you want to use them for. It’s unique and pretty slick.

It does take some getting used to, like WordPress itself or any new piece of software. But I think once you get into it, you’ll never look back, I honestly do.

There are free upgrades and it works with WordPress Multi-Site so you can install it once but use on multiple sites on the same WordPress installation. However you don;t need to get that complex, a personal license allows use on two sites you own.

Overall I’ve recommended Headway a lot to people, and while some have preferred simpler themes, those with needs to do squeeze pages, sales pages, home pages with sliders, and good old blog posts, all on the one site, have loved it. Hey, if I use 10 different themes a day, every day, and I choose to use Headway, it can’t be bad, can it?!

BTG logo Summary

Where I use this: Right here on Blog Tech Guy

Pros: Wonderfully versatile; No coding required; Lots of features

Cons: Learning curve like with any software

Cost: $87 – $162

From: Headway Themes (affiliate link)

Premium Series: Woo Themes Will Make Your Visitors Say Wooooo!

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

Premium (or paid-for) themes have really taken off in the past year or two, with many seeing them as a viable alternative to a complete custom design. In fact, even with complete custom designs, these are often done on the top of a premium theme to provide the best of both worlds – the great backend features, and the unique design.

One company that provides a lot of WordPress themes is Woo Themes.

Who Are Woo?

Started by three guys, Adii, Mark and Magnus, Woo now has a large number of collaborative designers who contribute code and designs to Woo. They’re also behind the new menu system in WordPress 3.0 that I absolutely love.

They offer over 60 different themes, each with different in-built color schemes, there are themes for almost every conceivable type of blog. They also release at least 2 new themes per month, each with new features.

Not all are paid for, in fact there are over 10 free themes available, so it can be worth downloading one of those to see the quality.

What’s Great?

There are a lot of things that Woo do really well:

WooThemes - Quality Themes, Great Support
  • The themes look wonderful. It’s all a matter of opinion of course, but generally their themes look great.
  • Price.They have a permanent 3-for-1 offer for $70, but more about that later.
  • Updates. One thing that has always impressed me is the constant updating of even pretty old themes. Whether it will be bug fixes or adding functionality that other themes have, often you will find a new and improved version of a theme you already have.
  • Support. Like most premium theme providers, Woo give a lot of forum support and each theme has it’s own support if you’re having any problems.
  • Theme framework. Without getting too technical, Woo have a great menu system for all of their themes that work in a similar way for each theme so even if you change which of their themes you’re using, the admin options and template functions work in the same way. The admin options work smoothly and provide various levels of configurability so you don’t have to touch the code. You can also now automatically update this framework through the admin panel, so you get the latest features and fixes.
  • Demo system. The website has a great demo system where you can not only demo any of their themes, and their color style choices, you can also get your own WordPress login and play with the theme options panel for each theme. Very nice!

What’s Not Great

While there are a wonderful number of styles for each theme that can be changed with one click, the themes are not as easy to customize as, say, Headway is. HTML and CSS skills are required to customize some parts of the theme, and PHP experience is often a bonus.

Some people prefer to start from a blank canvas, and here themes like Thesis and Headway are better for that.

The styles also often require a reasonable number of graphics, so if the in-built color styles are not quite to your taste, it takes some graphic work on all the elements to change. This can be time consuming and needs a little experience, though is no different to most other themes but the number of graphics can be frustrating. However a Photoshop of the file helps a lot, but this is only available in the Developer packages. This leads us to the pricing plans…

Pricing

There are four options overall, two single purchase and two monthly subscription.

The license for any option is awesome, use on as many WordPress blogs as you want! Very refreshing compared to more common stricter one or two site licenses.

The monthly options allow you get the new themes as soon as they come out, PLUS access to all the previous themes (yes all of them!) that have been released. You have to remain a member to get the new themes and updates however you get to keep any themes you have already downloaded if you do quit.

The single purchase options are very well priced. The Standard package now offers their permanent 3-for-1 deal, so three top quality premium themes for $70 is a great deal. The Developer package varies only by providing 4-for-1 and the Photoshop file for each themes. As I have previously mentioned, the themes are quite graphic intensive so the Developer theme is a must if you, or your tech person, are going to be changing the graphics.

What Type Of Sites Are Woo Themes For?

Woo provide a great number of types of themes. They broadly categorize them into six groups: Magazine/News; Personal Blog; Portfolio; CMS; Business; and Multimedia. Most of the free themes are in the Personal Blog category but with the 3-for-1 offer you can pick up a theme from different categories if you’re unsure of what type of site you have, or use them on multiple sites.

Which Are The Best Themes?

Theme choice is a very personal decision, the same as what clothes you like to wear. It also depends on the purpose of your blog, a business site is going to require a very different theme to a video blog or a site promoting your latest paintings. The Woo Theme Playground demo system really is the best way to take a look at the choices available.

They do have a Theme Leaderboard which is ranked by sales, but I really urge you to make up your own mind and see the choices that are available. There really is something for almost everyone!

BTG logo Summary

Where I use this: On many sites, such as Theme Vids.

Pros: Great variety; Excellent Value; Nice designs with different color options

Cons: Can be relatively complex to alter structure or graphic design if needed.

Cost: $70 for three themes

From: Woo Themes (affiliate link)

Testing Your Site in Different Browsers

Not too many years ago, virtually everyone who surfed the Web used Internet Explorer, with the AOL browser lagging slightly behind as the world’s second surfing utility. The rise of Mozilla shifted the tide significantly, as Firefox fans showed the world other browsing possibilities indeed existed. These days there are literally dozens of ways to surf the Web, and the odds are good that your blog traffic is divided among multiple browser users.

Continue reading Testing Your Site in Different Browsers

What’s In A Font?

How to choose the best font for your blog

OK, this may seem like an odd post for blog owners to think about, but the font that you use for your updates and site really does have an effect upon the response of your customers. As with most things, psychologists have spent time and effort looking in to the reaction of people to various font styles online, to work out how reading in certain styles can affect our customers’ perception of us and our blog in either a positive or negative way.

It may sound quirky, but graphology (the study of handwriting) has now moved on in our digital age, to the study of font styles and what they represent, in an effort to establish how people respond to certain styles, and what the favorite choice of font for individuals may say about their characteristics and personality.

Getting to the science bit

According to new study by a group of Graphologists, the choice of font used in e-mails, online and type-written letters could say more about an individual’s personality than their creative writing skills. Graphology – the art of studying handwriting – has been used for centuries to try to analyze people’s characters, and experts have moved on to online media as handwriting declines in favor of keyboards.

The Psychology of Fonts study was commissioned by Lexmark Printers, and headed up by eminent psychologist Dr Aric Sigman. It explains how a typeface will influence what the reader thinks about you on your blog. According to the study, Courier is seen as the choice of sensible people, whereas more curvaceous styles such as Georgia or Shelley suggest a more outgoing, flippant personality.

The study looked at the preferred fonts of celebrities and famous icons, and matches fonts to certain personalities. Kylie Minogue favors Shelley, Richard Branson likes Verdana, and newsreader Anna Ford is fond of Times New Roman.

The psychologist comments: “Using the wrong font may give people the wrong impression about you and could affect decisions that will shape your future.” This means that the choice of font on our blog can leave people with an unwitting impression of us that we may need to reconsider, in order to gain customer trust when we write.

According to the study, we should be using Times for CVs and job applications, Courier New for resigning from a position (as it is seen as cold and unpleasant!) and Verdana for more creative purposes. If you are a serious blogger, consider Times for your site as it is seen as being trustworthy, whereas if you blog for creativity, try opting for a more curvaceous style such as Calibri.

The study also showed that the size of font we pick on our blog is important, as people prefer to read smaller fonts when it comes to generating an impression of power and authority. Men prefer rectilinear fonts, while women tend to respond best to curves and prominent tails on letters.

When it comes to setting your personal brand, and working out the impression which you want to portray on your site, it seems that font choice is as important as color schemes and images for getting your customers onside, enhancing relationships and generating trust!

What font do I use? I use Arial, I like it and plus using Headway as my theme framework I can change it instantly if I get bored. What font do you use, and why?

Headway 2.0 – Interview with Co-Founder Grant Griffiths

The great WordPress theme Headway has come out with version 2.0 as of today, so I caught up with Grant Griffiths, one of the Co-Founders of Headway to talk about the new version and the advantage to bloggers.

Press play below to hear the short interview, and let me know if you have any questions! We cover what new features 2.0 has, what advantages the new features will give to you as a blogger or business and the support you can receive from them.

[audio:http://blogtechguy.com/audio/BTG_GrantG_Oct10.mp3]

Complete Theme Control For Beginners To Experts With No Need For Code — Headway For WordPress

Disclosure: I run the Headway Theme on my site and am an affiliate for the theme.

Blog Tech Guy Now Runs On Headway

You probably haven’t noticed (at least I hope not) but the Blog Tech Guy website now runs off the Headway theme for WordPress. Headway tries to take the programming and technical challenges out of customizing a theme and each version it gets better and better.

Headway Themes — Manage your website with drag and drop layout editing and more!

My design is a wonderful custom design by Nate from Unique Blog Designs and I didn’t want to lose that. With Headway I didn’t have to and hopefully not many people have noticed that I’ve even moved.

So why switch?
There were a few reasons. Being a geek I wanted to see if it was possible. Not just from a technical standpoint but from my own abilities. I customize sites all the time for clients and I wanted to see if what I thought I could do, I could. I’m glad to say I was right!

I also recommend Headway to a lot of people and I wanted to get more hand on experience on how it works and what it does when you ask it to do something. I also wanted to see how easy it was for others to change elements. With 1.7 things are getting easier and easier, and more intuitive.

Can you transfer your site to Headway?
I’ll be lying if I said my transfer was easy. It was straightforward, I had a list of things that needed to be done, and with a few minor hiccups I achieved them. But it wasn’t easy and took about 6 hours. However it’s unlikely that you will be transferring to Headway and wanting to keep exactly the same theme as you have now, like I have. The beauty of Headway is that you can easily make a different layout or design to what you have now and you have ultimate control over colors, fonts, layouts and more.

You can see a video of me taking a quick look at the new features for Headway 1.7 (early September) below. Additional features include a quick start wizard, leaf templates, automatic upgrades, SEO improvements, speed increases and much much more.

Making Your Blog Mobile Friendly

With mobile phones becoming more and more popular as a tool to access the internet, here are some killer tips to make sure your blog is mobile friendly.

Make signing up easy

I can’t count the number of times I have found a blog that really interests me and then have spent ages trying to find the RSS feed button – or in some cases haven’t found one at all. When you are setting up your blog, make sure the RSS feed button is right at the top of the page – or as near to the top as you can place it. If you place it at the bottom of the page, you will get fewer subscribers and probably no mobile ones at all. There has to be a really good reason for someone visiting your blog, via a mobile phone, to scroll all the way to the bottom of your list of posts.

Get shorty

Once a mobile user has found your feed button, the next problem they will face is your feed URL. Many blogs will place lots of data, or even a description of your blog, in the URL. This means that the URL can run to fifty or more characters, which is not a great sight to be greeted with. The best way to overcome this is to use a URL shortener to make your feed URLs short and easy to work with. Many online sites offer free URL shortening applications, WordPress 3.0 has one built in for it’s own posts, or a free plugin like Pretty Link can help.

Bigger isn’t always better

When writing a post, especially a post aimed at mobile users, use bold snappy headlines and keep your paragraphs short. If you have ever tried to view a blog with a mobile phone you will understand what I mean. Many bloggers will use one main heading and then paste a single block of text into their post. This is so frustrating when viewed on a mobile because it is easy to lose your place in all that text. With bold headers and short paragraphs, even if you scroll too far or get distracted, it is easy to find your place again.

Picture this

It is always good practice to host your pictures and buttons yourself (or on an account you own, like Amazon S3) and not to rely on third-party services. The simple reason for this is, although it might not affect page loading when you are on your home computer or laptop, it really slows things down when using a mobile phone. Another good tip when using pictures is to limit not only their size but also their dimensions. Anything above approximately 100kb is just too big for mobile phones to handle at the moment and an image that is too wide, or to long, will really cause problems for you when scrolling.

Keep yourself mobile

Finally, subscribe to your own mobile content. Many bloggers forget this simple step and it is the easiest and quickest way to see whether your blog looks good on a mobile phone. If you are signed up to your own feed, you can make tweaks and changes quickly, before visitors have the chance to see your feed.

Use a Mobile plugin

There are a couple of plugins that you can use to transform your site into a mobile friendly version. WPtouch is one and WordPress Mobile Edition another. Both are good but do transform the look o your site completely but optimize it for mobile devices.

Headway 1.7 Theme Sneak Preview

For those of you who like this stuff, I’ve recorded a sneak preview of the upcoming Headway 1.7 theme.

Headway tries to take the programming and technical challenges out of customizing a theme and each version it gets better. The latest, 1.7 adds a number of features, a few of which I’ll take you through in my unpolished rambling video below (no hard sell from me!). For those who want to read the benefits, see below the video.

Quick Start Wizard
The wizard will guide you step-by-step through choosing your layout, uploading your header image, building your site’s color scheme (it will even detect colors from your header image – I can’t wait to give that a go!), and selecting fonts. At the end, you’ll click a button to build your site and it’ll all be done in a few seconds.
This is one of the best features I’ve seen in any premium WordPress theme, ever.

Automatic Upgrades
“No longer do you have to go to the Headway site, download the latest version, upload it, and activate it. Oh, and if you ever did any custom.css or used the custom folder in Headway, you won’t have to worry about transferring that to the new installation either. The automatic upgrader does it all with only a few clicks”
I’m honestly looking forward to testing this!

HUGE Speed Improvements and Optimizations
“We’ve made major improvements to the visual editor to drastically reduce the amount of conflicts from third-party plugins and also make loading the visual editor MUCH faster. Also, we completely rewrote the content leaf to be more efficient and more stable than before.”
It certain loads faster and is easier to navigate than before.

Column System For Leafs
“Those who have a more column-based layout will find the new columns system to be incredibly beneficial. Instead of jogging all of your leafs around, you can put them into columns and move and resize the entire columns with ease. Don’t fret, the previous layout system is still present. You can specify whether or not you want columns for the particular page in the visual editor.”
I’m sure this will become more useful as I develop more sites with Headway, columns were sometime problematic.

Styles Manager
Before Headway 1.7, Headway came with 1 layout and you had to work from there. Headway 1.7 comes with 4 pre-loaded styles in the new Styles Manager, which allows you to save and load styles. You can also import and export styles just like before, but in a much more organized way!
It’s quick and easy to use and makes default styling nice and easy.

Leaf Templates
Instead of linking pages and being locked into the layout of the page you are linking to, you can now save your leafs (and columns) into Leaf Templates. Leaf Templates can be loaded onto any page. Once a template is loaded, you can modify it just like any regular page.
Beautiful!

Looks great!