As the year is flying past already, I thought it would be a good time to freshen up my blog design. If you haven’t stopped by my site for a while come and check it out.
I’m still using the awesome Headway theme, but this time it’s on the latest 3.0 version which has been completely rewritten to be even more powerful. It allows you to “draw” your own site by creating grids and boxes where you want things to be, and adding some graphics and you have what you see here. It takes a little getting used to ans is not an “instant theme” but you have so much more flexibility
I actually created a child theme for Headway. This is a good idea with almost any theme, all it is is keeping all my changes in a separate theme to the main Headway theme. Then when any changes/upgrades are made to the main Headway theme I don’t lose any changes to my own site.
Feel free to let me know what you think, I’ll be changing it as I go along.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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!
Headway is a relatively new WordPress theme that attempts to simplify customizing your site with different colors and layouts, in an easy to use interface.
What is Headway?
Headway is a premium (aka paid-for) WordPress theme. It is designed for those who don’t have the time and/or knowledge to customize a theme using traditional coding methods, and instead gives them a easy to use tools, such as drag-and-drop and color-pickers, with which to easily redesign and customize their site. Even if you are a pro at this sort of thing, custom hooks and the usual custom CSS are also available.
The thing that will blow you away in the new version, is the Visual Editor – you can edit your site at the same time as seeing exactly what it will look like!
I had a chance to meet some of the guys behind Headway at BlogWorldExpo, and they are excited about the brilliant customizable features in Headway, and have even more planned. As you would expect, any owners of Headway today will get access to new versions for no charge.
If you set up new affiliate sites often, then you’ll know what a pain it can be to constantly create new designs. That’s where the aptly named Affiliate Theme from Unique Blog Designs come in.
The guys who have created my new design (coming very soon!), particularly Nate Whitehill have done a sterling job coming up with a solution to that problem. In fact it’s more like a solution+.
For a general brief overviews, take a look at the Affiliate Theme promotional video below.
Nate kindly gave me the theme to test, and I have to say it’s one of the most powerful WordPress themes out there, in fact, it’s one of the most powerful affiliate products full stop.
Of course, you have to have to have affiliate products to promote, and the requirement to set up different sites on a regular basis.
I took the theme for a test drive, and recorded it using my favorite free screencast tool, Jing, take a quick look at the video below.
You may need to turn your volume up and also depending on the size of your screen, scroll down a little to see the pause button and progress bar.
As you can see there are a huge number of options, you’re able to change the background image (from pre-made templates) and color, font colors via a neat color picker (that would be a great addition to Thesis), page layout, call to action buttons, footer code and much more.
There are three packages that you can see on the Get Affiliate Theme page, ranging from $97 for single use; $147 for multi-use, free lifetime upgrades, 10 bonus header graphics; through to the Super Affiliate package for $197 with 30 bonus header graphics, and a higher affiliate payout for the theme. Personally I would have liked to see free lifetime upgrades on the single-use package too, but the main users will be people using this on multiple sites – in fact the main benefit is from being able to use this on multiple sites because of the wide range of different sites you can make from the same theme.
As a great bonus there are video tutorials, a knowledge base, a support forum, and Affiliate Interviews with top affiliate marketers such as Yaro Starak, Ryan Wade, Zac Johnson, John Chow, Jonathan Volk and Jim Kukral.
Overall the theme fulfills a certain, growing need. That is for an easy, fast way to get affiliate sites setup. Using WordPress as the base means it’s free for everyone, so with hosting, a domain and this theme, all you need is the products and you’re halfway there. The big half remaining is adding content, driving traffic and making sales. But at least the first half was easy 🙂