Headway WordPress Theme Review Pt.1

A week ago I bought the Headway premium theme for WordPress.  I’m using it on this blog and have been very happy with the options that Headway provides.  Over time I’ll review more of the features that Headway has and I’ll add some tutorials.  In this Headway Review I’ll provide an overview of how Headway works, and explain why I’m using it.

My Blogging History

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and have a couple of active blogs.  On two of those blogs I’ve been using the Cutline theme.

When I started blogging it was a steep learning curve and I wanted to use a theme that looked good, but wasn’t too complicated.  I settled on Cutline because it was free and looked good.  When I set up this blog I wanted something a bit different, so I used DeepBlue1.1.

I got to the point where I wanted more design options, and I began to look at what other bloggers were using to get ideas of what looked nice.  I soon decided that the good themes weren’t free, and buying a premium theme like Headway was the way to go.

I’ve never used Thesis, and my WordPress experience has been based on the two themes I’ve mentioned above.

My Introduction to Headway

I can’t remember where I first found out about Headway, but I spent a while looking at the site and watching the videos.  The thing that attracted me to Headway is that you don’t need to have programming knowledge to be able to use it.  I know very little about html and css and want a theme that is easy to use, and won’t look like everyone else’s site who use the same theme.

Setting It Up

Headway is simple to install.  I’ve installed other themes before, and I found Headway to be no different.  I downloaded the file, uploaded it to my WordPress folder using FileZilla, and selected it under the WordPress Themes menu.

The first thing I noticed when I activated it and viewed the site is how basic it looked.  It looks as appealing as the default WordPress theme – not very attractive!

Thankfully, this is easily fixed.  The things I did to improve the look and feel of the site were:

  • Install a header image.  This is simple to select from the Headway Design / Header page.
  • Change the fonts.  From the Headway Design / Typography (Fonts) page I changed the fonts to Helvetica.  Headline allows you to select different fonts for a whole range of things – header, titles, body text, sidebars etc.  For now I’ve kept it simple, but will probably get more adventurous as time goes on.
  • Changed the colour scheme.  I selected the Galvanized Grey colour scheme.  I’m happy with the look of this for now, but Headway gives you the option to change colours on the pages, headers, post text etc.
  • Set up keywords, page description etc in the Headway Configuration / SEO tab.  This was easy to do.
  • Set up my feed details in the Headway Configuration / General section.

Once I completed these steps, I went to the Layout Editor to set up my pages.

Using Headway’s Layout Editor

Headway has a leaf system of arranging pages.  Think of a blank desktop, then start adding things to it.  This is essentially how Headway works.  You have a blank page, you can then add a sidebar, content and a whole range of other things.  You can then move them around the page, and re-size them.

This is one of the big attractions of Headway for me.  I don’t know a lot about programming (I’m a business coach and financial planner!) so to have the ability to easily change the look of my pages is very attractive.

Headway makes it very simple to add a ‘Featured Post’ leaf, a ‘Recent Post’ leaf, Image Rotator, Text and Twitter leafs.  These can be arranged in any order on your page and each ‘leaf’ has some options so you can change the way it looks or the content it displays.  I’ll talk more about these in a future Headway review.

The separate ‘Widgets’ section makes it simple to add widgets to your sidebar.  A lot of the standard WordPress widgets are there – Archives, Categories etc – but there’s a few others.  I like the ‘Social Widget’ which enables your readers to follow you through the various social networks.  This one only took a couple of minutes to set up, but is so effective.

I feel that I’ve only touched the surface of what Headway can do.  I’ve managed to set up a separate home page for this blog that has a mixture of text, blog posts and the sidebar.  Next up I’ll get to work on the sidebar, adding a newsletter sign-up box as well as some other links.

What Could Headway Improve?

Being a new theme, there are bound to be some teething problems.  The web site has a lot of information in the videos that show off the main features of Headway, but it doesn’t provide much else.  There is a users guide, but this is only available to people who have purchased the theme.  There’s also a forum where users can ask questions and share ideas.

I’d like to see Headway put up a FAQ section on their site where they can answer a lot of the questions people may ask.  They also need to explain the pricing a bit better.  I only wanted to buy the Personal option ($87) which enables me to use Headway on two websites.  The Developer option ($164) enables you to use it on multiple websites that your company owns or has developed.  The website doesn’t say this, but there is an option to upgrade from the Personal option to the Developer option.  This was important to me as I only wanted to test it out on one blog first.  Once I’m happy with it I’ll upgrade to the Developer option and use it on all my blogs.

The other thing is that the documentation can be brief in some areas.  As I’ve mentioned, I have very little programming knowledge, but I do have a good amount of WordPress experience.  I’ve found the documentation explains some things at a basic level, but sometimes assumes that the reader has a certain level of knowledge.

On the other hand, the forums are an excellent source of information, and I can see that the Headway team are active in the forums answering questions and suggesting solutions to problems.

Should You Buy Headway?

It depends!

If you’re new to blogging and have very little WordPress experience, you may find Headway a bit of a steep learning curve.  My advice to those people is to consider using a free theme for a few months whilst you learn how to blog and work out what you want your site to look like.  Then you can spend the money and buy Headway once you have a bit more knowledge.  Of course, if you’re new but have someone who can help you, buy it now!

For the rest of you who have some blogging experience, know your way around WordPress and are looking to improve the look and functionality of your site, Headway is a great option.  I can only compare it to the free themes I’ve been using, but I’ve found it’s certainly worth the money.

First impressions are very important and the Headway Theme has helped me improve the look of my blog so that it looks inviting to my visitors.

Over the coming weeks I’ll add some screenshots and video of Headway.

Where Can You Buy The Headway Theme?

You purchase from the Headway site – click the link below.

Headway Personal – $87

Headway Developer – $164

If you use Headway or have any questions about it, leave a comment below.

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Allan lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife and two boys. He is the founder of Blogger Business Plan and loves helping bloggers learn how to transform their blogs from hobbies into sustainable businesses.
When he's not blogging or working in his financial planning business, you'll find Allan playing guitar, reading or coaching his son's soccer team.

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One Response to Headway WordPress Theme Review Pt.1
  1. Headway Theme 1.5 Preview Video
    November 4, 2009 | 9:49 pm

    […] you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!A few weeks ago I reviewed the Headway WordPress theme that I use on this blog.  At the time I mentioned that one of the […]

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