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Archives for May 2010

Why I Switched to the Headway Premium Theme for WordPress

Headway Premium WordPress Theme
The Headway blog theme is now powering chrisg.com and so many people asked me about it that I thought I would write up my thinking behind the decision.

Mostly people were either shocked or congratulated me.

Shock came from the fact a lot of people know me as an advocate for the Thesis Theme from Chris Pearson and Brian Clark. Why would I recommend this theme so much and so often, but then go with their main competitor for my signature blog?

Of course the congratulations came from all the people who are big fans of Headway and like to see people adopting it :)

What I think about Thesis

I am still a huge fan of the Thesis Theme and I am still using it, in my own projects (a whole bunch of existing and some new ones), and client projects.

  • The typography looks great, the best of the premium themes out there.
  • It’s fast, and speed is an important element.
  • As a framework to build upon, it is top-notch. Chris Pearson has put in a great deal of effort “under the hood” and it shows.
  • They have built a fantastic environment for affiliates – Chris Brogan pays his mortgage using it and every other big name out there recommends it.

So why not use it here on this blog?

Why Headway?

I had intented to for quite a while, in fact that was the plan right up until Grant demonstrated the Headway theme for me at SOBCon and blew me away. Had Grant not sat near me in Chicago this site would have been running Thesis right now.

Fact is, while the current incarnation could have been done with Thesis, what I have planned for this site would have required a significant amount of hacking and coding in the form of hooks, CSS and PHP. This site is not going to be a simple blog for much longer, which means I am going to be moving stuff around and testing different things. Tinkering and tweaking ability is a major plus for me.

This is geeky code stuff I could do, given time, but it brought home the feedback I had been getting from certain clients and readers.

You see there are people and businesses that Thesis is ideal for. If you have a designer or know enough CSS/PHP then you are going to completely rock your blog with Thesis, no question.

As Chris Brogan says on his blog Thesis is “a great template/starting point for designers to work from”.

If you don’t want to code or pay someone else to, then I recommend Headway.

What Headway offers is a great theme that you can customise visually. You don’t have to know any of the geek stuff if you don’t want to. Simply drag items around to move them, point and click to change colours, and so on. If you want different pages to have a different look, perhaps different items in the sidebar, you don’t need to add any plugins or know any programming talk.

Yes, it is a powerful system so is not the fastest theme on the block. It also does not look fantastic “out of the box” because the idea is you are buying a solid foundation. You make it yours.

I am going to recommend you try Headway, not just because I get an affiliate commission (I will, not enough to pay my mortgage, but I will) but because I already knew there was a need and now I know Headway is the solution to that need.

Summary

I love Thesis, I am still going to recommend it and use it. But, and it is only a small but (unlike Brogan and Mixalot I prefer small ones) I recommend Thesis to the people who can use it. Headway and Thesis will continue improving and competing, that has to be good news for customers like us, but for now they each fit certain markets better than others.

The combination of WordPress and Headway means anyone can build exactly the site or blog they want without having to know any programming or design code. That’s powerful.

Check out Headway right now and see if you could create something fantastic with it because I can recommend it.