Regular visitors to For Bloggers By Bloggers will notice the redesign we put in place over the weekend.
Whereas our previous design was built on the Genesis framework and used the Church child theme, which went for a magazine-style approach, our new design is built on the Headway framework (affiliate link) and goes for a cleaner, more traditional blog look-and-feel.
This wasn’t because there was anything wrong with Genesis, or the Church child theme that we were using for the magazine layout. It’s an awesome platform, and one that lets bloggers get a design out the door pretty quickly.
But there’s just something about the Headway framework that feels right when you’re building your blog. I was one of the first users of it when it first came out, and while I’ve gone for a custom design on my own blog now, I still use Headway for other projects.
But since folks have asked on Google+ and elsewhere why the switch, here are a few of the main reasons behind moving to Headway for the redesign.
Ease of Use
For anyone that builds blogs (note – builds, as opposed to design, as I know designing is a completely different beast), you know how time-consuming it can often be. Deciding on the look; testing if your existing content will “fit” the new design; reworking the placement of widgets and social buttons; and more.
While ready-built themes are an option, they limit you to the look and feel of your blog. With Headway, this wasn’t an issue. From the time I switched the Maintenance Mode on to the time I set the new design live, it had taken me all of three hours to move from Genesis to Headway, and achieve the look and feel of the site you’re reading now.
When you compare the two designs, I think that’s a pretty damned impressive turnaround time. Given, I was used to Headway and how its Leaf system works because of my experience building other sites with it – but still, three hours for a blog redesign, with no coding involved? I’ll go with that anytime!
Quick Design Layout
Headway uses a Leafs and Columns system. The easiest way to explain this is that the content area is a Leaf, and the sidebar is a Column. Leafs sit inside the Columns, and once you understand how they work together, you can come up with some pretty cool designs really fast.
Additionally, Headway uses an incredibly intuitive Visual Editor, which lets you see the changes you’re making live on your site without the need to Save and Refresh. Think of it like drawing an image, being unhappy and using an eraser then making the changes you need to make. Just as you can see what you’re doing on the paper, so you can see what you’re doing on your site. For anyone that hasn’t seen this in action, prepare to be impressed. Heavily.
Perhaps one of the best options, though, is the Quick Start Wizard that Headway offers. When you install it for the first time and open the Visual Editor, a guide pops up and lets you style the layout of your blog. Not only this, but it allows you to upload your logo, and automatically offers the best colour scheme for your blog based on the logo design.
Like I said, impressive, and just one more reason why I was able to make the change so quickly.
Headway 3.0 is Coming
While all this is impressive enough, and there are a host of other cool features and reasons why Headway is one of the best WordPress frameworks around, the biggest reason for changing back to Headway is simple – Headway 3.0 is just around the corner.
Like I mentioned earlier, I was one of the first to use Headway back in 2009. I was impressed with how it made building sites easier for folks like me – read, non-coder – and the options available for beginners to get a great-looking website out of the box.
Since then, the father-and-son team of Grant and Clay Griffiths have continued to set the bar for premium WordPress frameworks, and the current version of Headway (and its redesigned Visual Editor) is testament to that.
But all that’s about to change when Headway 3.0 is released.
Due soon, it’s another leap beyond what’s currently out there for WordPress users, and promises to take blog design and build to another level completely. Using a Blocks System, Headway 3.0 really looks the business and pretty much allows you to build any design you want, without the need for coding (although that will obviously still be an option). Check out the video at the end of this post to see what I mean.
So it was a no-brainer to get For Bloggers By Bloggers ready for the switch by moving back to Headway. Well, that, and the fact that it was just so damn easy to get this design up-and-running. And while I’m obviously biased, I think it’s a pretty nice design, all things said and done. Hehe…
So, there you have it. Just some of the reasons we moved over to Headway for our redesign.
If you’re looking for a new WordPress theme or framework, check out Headway for yourself. And since Grant Griffiths has announced that Headway 3.0 will be increasing in price and switching to a licensing model when it comes out, now would be a good time to jump onboard, since existing users of Headway will receive all future updates for free.