Making headway and keeping things easy

Headway Premium ThemesLate last week I was part of a really interesting conversation about using Headway Themes for WordPress; I was told that their IT guru said Headway makes updating websites impossible.

I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time (and suspect their guru was touting for business).

In context of WordPress, a theme  controls how your website looks. The font, the colours, the menus, the widgets… all of what makes your site look nice is controlled through the theme. Once a theme has been setup there shouldn’t be a reason to be making changes to the theme.

Making themes is BIG business. Custom themes take a lot of patience and testing to ensure they are robust and secure. Typically every different page template will have to be individually coded (read: royal pain in the butt and huge time waster) which can cause consistency issues with the look at feel of your site.

Technically speaking a theme is designed to work with a particular version of WordPress (or whatever CMS you are working with).  This is because a theme will ‘talk to’ parts of WordPress to automagically display parts in the right place. These right places can change from version to version which means the theme could stop working altogether, make things display strangely and what I think is actually more of a concern is creates security vulnerabilities in your site.

If a theme is custom designed it will need to be updated and sometimes completely rebuilt to ensure it will work properly and keep your website secure. They also generally require a stack of additional plug-ins to give you features like SEO, dynamic widgets and other cool stuff.

Personally I think custom themes are a hell of a lot of work, expensive to maintain and simply not worth the effort.

What has this got to do with Headway?

Headway gives you the ability to create a custom theme in a stable, secure and tested framework without the hassle of understanding the geek stuff and it costs you peanuts.

You have complete control over the look and feel of your website. The best part of all is that you don’t need to a single line of CSS, HTML or PHP to create an awesome looking website because their unique drag-and-drop framework makes creating your website layout about as difficult as creating a PowerPoint presentation.

Actually the best part of it is that Headway costs $87 (then around $67 per year for all of your updates and unlimited premium support).

Back to the IT Guru’s comment: “Headway makes it impossible to update your website.”

Pfffffffffffffffft to that!

Pfffffffffffffffft to that!

I gave a copy of Headway to a friend of mine who was starting her own business (I have a developers license). She has very limited HTML knowledge and knows nothing about CSS or PHP.  In less than a week she had created a very sexy website from scratch (all by herself) and updates her blog every week without having to touch Headway.

So if Headway is truly that awesome why am I telling you about it? Isn’t it going to put me out of business?

Simply no. Website design is such a tiny part of the development process and a tiny part of what we do at Across Communications.

Frankly I have no interest in creating dependent relationships with my clients. That’s why we include Headway in our quotes so our client retains the license and ultimate control. Of course we take care of the initial Headway design for you. The point in you will have complete control of it throughout the process.

Headway means our clients and our team can work smarter by leaving the ultra geek to the code monkeys at Headway who love that stuff and we focus on things that actually make websites a powerful and effective marketing tool.

We are always happy to have a chat about the right solutions for your business. Shoot me an email or give me a call on 0403 515 665.

If you want to just check out Headway. I totally get it, it’s an awesome product. Click on the banner to find out more 🙂

Oh an in case you weren’t convinced that Headway is the bomb – here are some other features that I love, love, love about Headway:

  1. Build any layout you can think of, customise any page, add colours, fonts, and more. You are only limited by your imagination and the best part is that you don’t need to know CSS, HMTL or PHP to make it work.
  2. Headway features a robust suite of options for improved search engine optimisation (SEO). The team at Headway are totally across Google’s ever fickle nature when it comes to SEO and take it into account when they release their updates. This means you don’t have to worry about a dozen different SEO plugins… for each post or page you create for your site, there are options you can set to improve that page’s search rankings, such as title tags and meta descriptions. At a higher level, there are site-wide options you can set, such as SEO templates for multiple pages of your website.
  3. They are highly responsive to user trends and have a mobile theme inbuilt which means you don’t have to create a mobile version of the site. Headway recognises when people are using a mobile or tablet to view the site and automatically renders a mobile version of the site. You can also provide your mobile users with an option to go the desktop version of your website. I think they are still the only premium theme to have this a default option.
  4. Their technical support, wiki and forum is the bomb. There is a massive designer, developer and user community who are highly responsive and helpful. Then there are the Headway techs that moderate the forum. It’s a brilliant source for design ideas and well as troubleshooting.

I could keep going, but you’d be better off checking it out for yourself.

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