Headway Review: Premium WordPress Theme, Is it Worth it?

**Update: There is an updated Headway theme review for version 3.4

Headway Theme Review:

Easily Customize Your WordPress Site using a Visual Editor!. Written by Nick Reese on 8/29/2011.

Headway Makes Web Design Easy

It’s really getting competitive in the Premium WordPress ThemesMarket.I’m actually happy about that… because it means that we… the consumer win. With fierce competition, developers have to offer more and more value.

I don’t know about you… but I’ve had major headaches in the past with WordPress Themes. They have been horribly coded, very buggy, and would completely break down if I just wanted to make the smallest of changes.

Headway being a very flexible Premium WordPress Theme, has gotten a lot of market appeal over the powerhouses from DIYThemes and Woo Themes.

So when I purchased the Headway Theme I was really excited to jump right in headfirst and see what the hype was about. Let’s take a look at what Headway can do for you.

Headway is looking to be the new king of WordPress Themes… and it’s making some good noise in the process. It kinda looks like they have Thesis in their crosshairs.

Let’s see if they can deliver.

Video Overview

Complete Customization Control

Headway’s Visual Editor

While this video is good, it doesn’t quite do Headway justice as to how much customization can be done. If you’ve have ever spent hours online looking for a workaround to a problem that you are having with your theme.You’ll love how instantly flexible Headway is a a WordPress Theme. It’s ridiculous when I think about how much time I’ve wasted trying to find a bandaid solution.

You literally have control over every part of your website. Headway has the ability to drag and drop custom content anywhere on the page. You can design your site in any layout that you like… since it’s all done visually. You don’t waste time tweaking code.

Headway is not about code… it’s about control!

Let’s say that you needed to add a slideshow gallery or a twitter feed to your sidebar… all you do is just drag and drop it where you want it… Amazing!

How about showcasing a post or an announcement… again drag and drop it anywhere. It’s really that easy, simplicity at its finest.

With the control factor being so tight… some people may be overwhelmed a bit. However once you get the hang of it, you really have complete control of your site.

Who should use Headway:

  • Are you looking to upgrade your WordPress Theme to some thing more flexable and robust than you can find with a Free WordPress Theme? If so then Headway might be for you.
  • Do you struggle with making changes to PHP code or customizing your WordPress blog via CSS? If so then Headway might be for you.
  • Do you want complete control over every element of your theme, without knowing any code? If so then Headway might be for you.

Get Headway:

Headway’s SEO Options

Let’s talk about SEO. Headway has built-in SEO controls… so what does that mean?Well, you don’t have to drive yourself nuts researching the latest WordPress SEO plugin. It’s beautifully SEO optimized right out of the box.

The bottom line is that more customers are going to find you… right from day one. Since Headway has free lifetime updates, you can rest assure that your SEO advantage will stay that way.

If you are serious about blogging and rather spend time creating value with your blog. Instead of worrying if your site is going to breakdown at a moments notice. Then do yourself a favor and get Headway.

I really want this post to start a discussion on Headway… so let’s use the comment section below for that.

Updated: October 25th, 2012

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Written by Nick Reese

Nick Reese is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who believes anyone can transform their business and life they they've got guts and hustle. He's also the co-founder of Broadband Now which aims to simplify the broadband shopping process.

Comments

  • I’ve been working extensively with Headway and it is definitely a ridiculously flexible theme. There are a ton of changes you can make with simple hooks that add even more functionality, and the layout is really intuitive. I definitely recommend it.

    • John says:

      Interesting Cory
      It would have been civil of you to allow me the opportunity to give my experience using the Headway Theme on your website, instead you sent a private pm telling me that because your site is actively promoting Headway, you weren’t prepared to have any comments that gave a customer’s negative experience with the theme and the support. You are fortunate that this site gave you that freedom…..that’s what the net is about.

      • You forgot the “e” in my name ;)

        As I remember it, your comments were extremely derogatory and didn’t really offer a constructive view on your negative experience. I’m happy to defend my favorite theme in a debate IF there are actual points to debate other than “this theme is terrible.” Furthermore, I sent you an email to be honest and open with you about the removal of your comment, and invited you to discuss your experience with me.

        If you want to talk, I’m all ears (or eyes, I guess).

  • Lori L says:

    I’m still learning all the cool things that Headway can do, but I love it. I’m a photographer and like to change the colors of my site each month to go my current promotion. Headway gives me that quick flexibility.

  • [...] is Headway, which allows you to move things around visually on your blog. You can read Nick’s review of the Headway theme if you want to learn [...]

  • Danny Brown says:

    I switched from Thesis to Headway back in July, when version 1.0 came out. I’m not a coder, so Headway made perfect sense, and since July I’ve continued to be blown away with each new update. The new Visual Editor layout in 1.5.6 is simply amazing, and any other theme now is going to have to come up with some serious smarts to catch up.

    Cheers! :)

  • [...] Below you will find a list of slick Headway customizations to get your creative juices flowing. If you aren’t familiar with Headway make sure to check out our Headway Theme Review. [...]

  • [...] Headway WordPress Theme is a framework and a competitor to the well-known Thesis theme. Created by Clay and Grant [...]

  • Kent says:

    Nick, how would you compare Headway to Builder from iThemes. It seems to be similar with what it offers in a number of ways, but maybe not as easy to use.

    • Nick Reese says:

      Kent, I have not compared them. I know Headway is a good product. iBuilder looks cool as well. I’ve tested Headway and it gives you full control, so I can definitely vouch for it. :)

  • Joe Wright says:

    Im having a lot of trouble customizing nav items in headway: Can you tell me why the following css doesnt work?:

    .custom .menu li a { -moz-border-radius-topleft: 1.5em; -moz-border-radius-topright: 1.5em; -webkit-border-top-left-radius: 1.5em;
    -webkit-border-top-left-radius: 1.5em;}

  • Robert says:

    Can anyone please comment on the difference between Headway and Builder Theme from ithemes? I don’t see a difference besides price as they do the same thing. Please explain?

  • Eddie Gear says:

    I switched to Headway as of this month. I’m do code and design WP blogs however, I needed the time to focus on other aspects of my blog, so Headway made perfect sense. I’m glad that there are moving from Thesis to Headway.

  • Lesley Austin says:

    Just want to put in a heads up for all of those non-geeks looking at Headway as an easy theme for your WP blog. Tho’ the colors and columns and such are easy to manage with Headway, once you get beyond the most basic stages of design, it is difficult to use without technical know-how. Help in the forums is, again, very technical and not really helpful. Unless you want to spend hours researching and trying things even after paying so much for a “drag and drop” theme, I can’t recommend Headway.

    I was drawn in by all the positive reviews, and many failed tries with other themes. The blurb on their site that says they will do everything they can to make it work for you reassured me. But I have found that “everything” is very little and this is really only a theme for geeks. I am out $87.00 and don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.

    • JK says:

      A big THANK YOU, Lesley

      • amanda says:

        I agree. I’ve been using this theme for a few months now, and it’s anything BUT drag and drop easy. It’s not the least bit intuitive. As a long time Mac user, I am more than familiar with software that’s intuitive and drag and drop simple. This is a complete miss, and a complete waste of money and time. Stay far away.

        • Melissa says:

          Really appreciate these few comments.

        • Nomada says:

          The fact that you’re a Mac user explains everything.

          • Glenn Dixon says:

            Nomada – I’ve used and supported both PC’s and Macs, and I’m currently using Linux. I also develop WordPress sites. And yet I agree with the Lesley and Amanda, even on the latest, current version of Headway. I debated and waffled for a long time about upgrading to the developer license, and in the end I did not. Neither did I purchase a different framework, although I may do so in the future. In Headway, I found too many things broke and the support forum (lack of) response simply added to the frustration.

            Exhibit A: I recently had an urgent “need it yesterday” request from my brother to set up a site for his fledgling wildlife art business. I installed the Headway theme, a Woocommerce plugin and the Headway Woocommerce storefront plugin.

            I was unable to properly resize product images. But it worked just fine with 2011 and 2012 themes. Something in Headway was restricting this. I posted a help request on the Headway forums. I posted some followup info the next day. Eventually I received a response. I only had to wait SEVEN DAYS.

            Oh, and the best part? The response simply asked for system info, and reminded me to make sure everything was up to date. Of course by then I had already moved on and done it myself. This experience taught me something very valuable though – I don’t need Headway to build web sites.

  • Rakesh Kumar says:

    Headway is really a good theme because of its flexibility and customization. Thanks for review.

  • Trisha says:

    This thing actually works now? I’ll have to give it another shot!

  • Joshua says:

    I bought Headway hoping that the hype about how easy it is to use (no coding knowledge necessary!) would really be true. Unfortunately, I have spent dozens of hours watching tutorial videos (PAINFULLY slow to get to the point, if ever) and experimenting with the “visual editor” and still haven’t got the hang of it. Unless you are a Geek-Speaking developer-whiz, don’t count on Headway giving you what you are looking for.

  • David says:

    Headway is great for flexibility. However, lots of menu problems, and if you run into difficulties don’t expect anyone from Headway to help you. I offered to pay them for their time helping me and they were not interested. So I paid someone else a lot of money for custom code changes so that the Headway menus are not hidden behind the slider images. (While looking for solutions I found this to be a common problem). Also, placing H1 headings is very confusing (which is important for SEO) they only give options for H2 and H3 in the Headway editor. I wonder why they skip H1? Again, I think this is a great product, but don’t expect to use it without problems, and my biggest complaint would be the total lack of support, even paid support, from Headway.

  • Roman says:

    Headway seems promising. I just bought it and have been playing with version 3.1 for a couple of hours. It’s still BUGGY. I can’t even do any basic things, because changes(in grid mode) do not actually get saved! However, once they fix some of these bugs I can’t wait to start customizing my site with it.

  • michael says:

    The folks over at Headway theme are using its customers as guinea pigs for a still beta 3.0 release. You would not believe the ridiculous amount of problems that people are having over on the support forum. First of all, if we knew css, then I guess that we wouldn’t have had to purchase the “drag and drop” theme in the first place. There is alot of “use CSS” answers given to queries submitted by users. And they usually leave it at that, not even offering any bits of CSS to use. They wait for users to jump in and help each other, sometimes they know what they are talking about, and sometimes they don’t, a real crapshoot. 3.0 is FULL of bugs, user’s work, that they have spent hours creating, keeps disappearing instead of saving. The “documentation” is pathetic, most of it says “coming soon.” How are we supposed to use the theme with “coming soon” documentation? There is no upgrade path from the previous version to 3.0, again, “coming soon.” Vital features, such as being able to create fluid headers and footers, have been removed and have been promised in a future upgrade. We’re holding our breath, as promised upgrade has been “coming soon” now for awhile. Ability to use Buddypress also, you guessed it, coming soon, and will have to be additionally purchased. Support, especially Grant, also gets very snarky and defensive just because customers keep asking the same (very valid) questions. A total lack of respect for its customers and their needs. How they can expect to stay in business with this business model is beyond me. Don’t waste your money, which you can’t get a refund on, by the way.

    • Amanda says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Headway is awful. Ironically they used to offer refunds. I’m guessing that too many people asked for them.

      If you’re thinking about Headway, don’t throw you’re money away. It’s a complete waste of time and money.

      Not only is Grant snarky, but he deletes users’ posts when people call him out. So not cool and he’s one of the founders. If he treats customers this way, what kind of example is he setting for this team.

  • Charles says:

    I *really* wanted to use, and be able to recommend, Headway but I am finding the v3.x visual editor to be VERY buggy (and support isn’t great either, even with dligent troubleshooting by me). Not happy that there was no way to demo it, coupled with a NO REFUND policy. I am pursuing this matter and will post an update later.

  • HeelShields says:

    I currently have Thesis Theme sites and I found it relatively easy to use to get up and running for a basic site. I am not a coder or graphic designer so my site is basic. I bought the Headway Developer license thinking I was going to be able to expand my sites and add more flair.

    I find the Headway Theme to be really hard to use. After days and days of trying to get something – anything to work I am hoping that some real tutorials will be posted to explain how to get started – and not the information that explains how to install and set up wordpress – that is done NOW WHAT!

    • Dexter9 says:

      I agree, Headway is extremely difficult to comprehend and the videos are useless, the theme is buggy, if you lose your content like I read one person did on their forum – that is devastating. Buyers – keep looking and don’t buy this theme.

  • andrew says:

    Well thanks for the info everyone..on Headway. Please post back on what you find. Please update as you go along and maybe do a write up? Thanks.

  • Charles says:

    Here’s my update from December 9. After careful deliberation, I’m afraid I have to agree with most everything that ‘michael’ (Dec. 8, 2011) has said — for the most part his statements accurately reflect my experience. As cool as Headway looks, save your money until the visual editor is improved or they figure out a way to provide a demo or sandbox.

    I tried to pursue getting a refund (even though I knew of the no refund policy) because I honestly believe I paid for something I did not receive: a working visual editor that allowed me to build my site (which is now further behind schedule). However my only recourse was to go through PayPal arbitration, which would have wasted even *more* of my time. I patiently explained to G in support that I don’t make a lot of money in my business — $68 may not be much to Headway, but it’s a lot to me. However, no joy.

    I realized there is no way for Headway to verify that I would delete their theme and not use it again, so I dropped it. Nevertheless I still feel – I KNOW – that I was taken. I guess I have 11 months left on my 1-year Headway purchase and I thought maybe I could get some use out of it by building a site for a client, but I realized that given my experience I cannot and would not recommend Headway to clients. I’ve turned my attention to other themes like Thesis.

    This is my sincere and honest report, for whatever it may be worth.

    Charles

  • Raymond says:

    Unfortunately, I was dooped into believing that Headway 3.0 was the solution for beginners getting started with wordpress and not wanting to have to pay others all of the time to make tweaks to the site. Silly me for listening to another affiliate marketer pushing it to make a buck! I’ve got to say that I’m new to this but after hours of trying to figure things out, I’m sorely disappointed with Headway as this just is not a product for beginners. I had thought that it was like a simple PaintShop canvas that you can do anything you want with and it would be really intuitive….not the case for me. Another waste of money on the quest to find a simple drag and drop website builder for beginners that that actually looks professional. Seems to be the perfect solution for those that are quite experienced already.

  • Jake says:

    We filed a dispute with Paypal to get our money back. Headway hasn’t delivered any of the child themes they have promised. Paypal limits the amount of time you can dispute a purchase so do it now before its to late.

  • PatrickPine says:

    Looks like I got snared too.

    Just got Headway 3.1 and yikes. It is barely functional. I’m waiting on support for some various critical issues and my overall review will definitely be swayed by how well they respond.

    But for now, really, don’t buy it. They don’t offer refunds or trials. And it’s a shame because the premise of a simple visual webpage design program is so promising. I hope they can fix things up.

  • PatrickPine says:

    I want to add, in fairness, that I found Headway’s support staff to be quick to respond to my issues. And I was able to work around some of the bug issues (un-intuitively but worked around non-the-less). If their coders are working as hard as the support guys, hopefully we can expect good things in the future.

  • Orilea says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for the honest feedback. Was considering purchasing Headway before reading of the issues. Thanks for saving me from that horror. As a novice, it would be *bad*. Will perhaps reconsider Thesis in the meanwhile.

  • Karen says:

    I was about to purchase Headway earlier so I can re-design my site (I don’t know how to code and web development is not my thing). I’m just so happy to find all your reviews about Headway. Customer support is very important for me, and since most of you had problems with support, then maybe I should stick with Genesis.

    • john says:

      can you believe these people at Headway? NO refunds -even when promised child themes are -about SEVEN MONTHS late. It has been a joke. Their theme store opens in a couple of days. Yeah right. Good luck with that.

      I bought a “developer” licence with all the hype of them raising the price and child themes etc etc. Lies and more damn lies.

      Version 3.0 was VERY tough to use and the grid layout thing was not intuitive at all. It sounded promising. There have been several more reliable entries into flexible themes in the last few months – good!

    • Becky says:

      I have been using headway for about 3 months now. I love what i was able to create. But since switching from Thesis, my website is running painfully slow. I have removed several plugins in an attempt to speed it up. Including next gen gallery and e commerce. I have watched my stats go down on the website. I haven’t been able to resolve the issue. Even from the backend it is sooooo slow. I am considering abandoning it and returning to Thesis.

  • John says:

    Interesting read. For what’s it’s worth I’ll relate my experience with being a member of the following:
    Headway themes:
    Joined in the early days, and initially spent hours installing, reinstalling and not producing anything that I couldn’t have done a lot easier with less pain with another theme. The support forum was often heated with dissatisfied members, who like me were having many problems with a piece of software which should have been labelled as alpha & shouldn’t have been released for members to do testing on. Grant (co-owner, I think) probably under pressure, often reacted in an unhelpful manner and at times was aggressive and defensive. Replies to many problems that members were experiencing were often blamed on the hosting service, or “it doesn’t work with that browser”……unbelievable really, and one the reasons I’ve shelved Headway until such time as they become more professional about their business. They should be asking themselves why every other WordPress (that I use, anyway) never have a problem with browsers crashing the editor and not working on major hosting services. If a piece of software can’t work with major hosting companies and browsers they shouldn’t be selling it! You can’t view their forum unless you’re a member, and if you could you most likely wouldn’t want to be one. They have been promising an upgrade from Headway 2.0 to the current version 3.0 for many months, with no sign of one. They have also promised child themes going back months, again no sign of them. They say they are having a weekly screencast, which is delayed over and over again. Look I could go on and on, but the bottom line is don’t get sucked in by multiple sites giving it glowing reports. They have either never used the theme or in most cases are parasite affiliates who are only interested in getting commission on the sale. There are surely not going to make negative comments. DON’T buy it!

    Elegant themes:
    If you are not a coder but want to get beautiful themes up and running with minimal effort for a USD39 dollar yearly sub then look no further. Not easy to customise but in most cases you will probably find ones that you like without the need to code. Now I use them less often, not because I like them less, it’s just that I’ve moved on, in that I like to customise my themes more. I do go back and take a look and use a theme if I think it will suit a client’s needs,

    Studiopress:
    Great themes, appear to be well coded. Helpful forum. Timely responsive if you need help. I have used a number of their themes and am well satisfied with all aspects of their business.

    Woothemes:
    Established business and appear to have a lot of members. Expensive on-going monthly fees and have had some major hiccups lately, with a possible unethical move on another company, followed by a major hack into their website, where they lost a lot of data, including some of their affiliate transactions (maybe someone had a gripe). Had a great framework”Canvas” which looked promising but they seem to be deliberating not putting effort into it, possibly because if it becomes that good , why buy their other themes. Had a Buddypress child theme for it, which they have done a turnaround on & are not now supporting it. I don’t use their themes any more. I not saying they are bad but I think they lost direction & in the process have alienated some of their members.

    Catalyst Themes.
    If you want freedom in customising your themes, then this has to be my favourite. It’s an amazing WordPress framework and more importantly has the best forum I’ve experienced, polite, timely, and helpful, plus great videos and documentation.

    Premium press:
    If you want to start up a business directory, real estate and many others go and check out their website. Payment options that woothemes will be charging you extra for ( they give you PayPal free but everything else you will be paying USD 40 up for each additional payment gateway), Premiumpress includes them all in the price. Great forum, helpful.

    I am not an affiliate of any of the above but a member of all.

    • carlyjcais says:

      What a great run-down, John! I really appreciate all of the info about other themes.

      I have been a Headway user for over a year and a half now…and boy what a bunch of problems I’ve gone through. And am still going through. It’s unbelievable.

      Headway’s marketing claims that it’s the only drag-and-drop theme out there, which is kind of funny, since Elegant Themes offers drag-and-drop themes as well (on a better editor that doesn’t crash constantly like Headway’s visual editor). A little bit of exaggeration there?

      Headway’s forums are so useless. I have asked many questions there, only to receive cryptic, non-explained replies (“just use CSS!” is a favorite, so I learned CSS, but it isn’t always clear where to insert the CSS into the theme), or in many cases no reply. Often the reply was “you just can’t do that in Headway.” (Well, to be fair I should say Headway 2.0.13, which is also being left behind in the forums since Headway rolled out 3.0 in January) And what was I wanting? A Twitter feed posted on top of a png image (oops, sorry, Twitter’s API changed and Headway isn’t compatible with it). A Facebook comments box that doesn’t overlap my content. (oops, Headway creates a conflict with Facebook social plugins, and you can’t even use the Developer Facebook plugin at all on Headway, so you can’t moderate FB comments). It also doesn’t work with bit.ly custom urls, multiple conflicts with social bookmarking plugins like Digg Digg and WP to Twitter, can’t change the font/appearance of the link to the Comments section, can’t create a widgetized Header, doesn’t work with certain PHP snippets, and most egregious of all and what is not explained fully to its customers:
      IT LOOKS LIKE A BLANK SLATE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX.

      People who don’t know what they want their website to look like gravitate towards Headway because it touts its ease of use for non-designers and non-coders. The fact that it starts out looking like nothing and you have to work from scratch is a big drawback for said non-designers….how are you supposed to create something from scratch? And themes that have colors, CSS, spacing, fonts etc. specified…i.e., “child themes”…are a purchase above and beyond the $87 Headway price! As well as content image sliders ($25)…included as part of some themes in Elegant Themes…all for the $37 pricetag. (And no I’m not an affiliate of Elegant Themes.) What a ripoff. Had I known then what I know now I NEVER would have purchased Headway for my main monetized site.

      And, to top it off for all those loyal customers who have been with the theme for awhile and are stuck at 2.0.13 with all its bugs and incompatibility with a variety of standard wordpress plugins? Version 3.0 was rolled out in January 2012 and they first promised an upgrade path from 2.0…and promised…and promised…and in the past couple months? “There won’t be an upgrade path available since we rebuilt 3.0 completely from the ground up.” Lovely. And all the emails I’m getting and chatter on the forums is about 3.0; very little support is now being allocated to everyone else who is stuck at 2.0. Thanks a bunch, Headway.

      For my next two websites I bought from Elegant Themes, and am now considering either Thesis or the Genesis framework for my main site.
      I’m reticent to leave Headway behind because of all the time I’ve spent wrestling with it…but it just isn’t beautiful to look out, I can’t make it beautiful or take it to the next level, and it’s impacting my site’s growth. Oh, and loading time? My site is slower than 83% of other sites out there. Yikes.

      Making headway, I’d say, is about leaving Headway for another theme.
      ~Carly

  • Douglas says:

    Aloha Everyone,

    Yes, I am so thankful that I googled Headway reviews. I am very busy developing website so I need a productivity tools to meet all my project. I was looking to purchase Headway until I read all your comment. Shame on the Author of this article. I am not going to purchase this product.

    Mahalo to sharing your comments. It is very important to tell how the products are in the real world. By doing this we can get ride of all the bad vendors and put them out of business….

    Mahalo,
    Doug
    Big Island, Hawaii

  • heelshields says:

    I wish I could remember which affiliate blogger, who was also a Thesis user, who wrote the glowing review of Headway so I could ask them for my money back – at least their affiliate portion. I blindly went over thinking it would be easier than Thesis since I am not a coder and bought the developer license.

    The argument for not refunding money is they can’t tell if you are using their product – not really an argument since it doesn’t work. Every other organization selling an information product gives refunds if you are not satisfied – maybe the people behind this product would continue to use someone else’s product even after a refund.

    So I wait hoping at some time in the future there will be a Headway product that I can use that doesn’t cost additional money cause I am not buying anything else associated with this product. Even if the third party software worked, the Headway software needed to support it doesn’t.

  • Charles says:

    BTW, around the same time I was duped by Headway (Dec. 2011) I also checked out Ultimatum by Wonder Foundry. It offers drag-and-drop site building, and although I haven’t used it enough (recently) to give it a definitive thumbs up or down, I must say it looks very good.

    Also, during email correspondence with Onur, one of the founders, they set up a dedicated test environment just for me so I could try Ultimatum — without me asking (it remained active for 6 months).

  • Charles says:

    Today Headway released “v3.2.5 updates and bug fixes.” I am shocked at how many things are in this update — things that, considering the way the product was being promoted, *should* have worked a year ago or more. It confirms many of our suspicions that Headway were charging (and not giving refunds) for what was essentially beta software. Here’s a small sampling of the many, many bulleted items in today’s release:

    • Design Editor: Design Editor Inspector now works properly when switching layouts in the Design Mode
    • Visual Editor: Fixed issues where if you switch a block type then open the options it’d be opening the old block type options
    • Visual Editor: Switching block types in Manage mode now properly works
    • Visual Editor: Fixed an issue where editing an option for a new block would cause the Visual Editor to lock up

  • Barry R says:

    Do I struggle with PHP and CSS? That’s an under statement My wallet did for sure. I spent about $500 for custom coding and about $300 for themes this summer before I grabbed Headway two months ago….so far I haven’t spent a dime for custom work.

  • Hi guys. I was really about to get Headway went i found your reviews…really?? I dunno what to think, but i would love to hear an honest, updated comment.

    Because when i look at Thesis side, after the launch of 2.0….so many complains also, and suddenly, in the middle of complains some users show up so excited and satisfied. Same goes here with Headway.

    Now, with the latest fix, does Headway still not worth the investment? I am looking for something exactly as they announce it…still doesn’t work?

    Thank you,
    Paulo

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Hey Paulo,

      I did not write the review of Headway and do not have much experience with it. Buy, I’d like to help you. Shoot me an email through the contact form on this website, and I’ll give you my recommendation for a theme for you.

    • Paulo,

      The version in this review and the version we have now are completely different.

      You can demo our currently version here – http://demo.headwaythemes.com/

      If you have any questions from the demo, don’t hesitate to ask. We are always glad to answer them.

      • Thank you so much Grant. I will check it right away.

        Honestly it’s hard for me to believe that such respected brand as Headway would let it’s products fade away in quality. That is why i keep inquiring and do not just believe everything i read.

  • I have been using Headway since shortly before they moved to the 3.0 version… The above reviews were spot-on for a long period of time. Headway was virtually unusable for a period of several months, and Headway 3.0 *should* have stayed in beta for a MUCH longer time than it did.

    That being said, their recent updates have changed the game significantly. It is once again reaching a very usable point – though I do find myself having to use custom CSS here and there on every site I build, and some features that should be standard (like a full-width header) are not. I also had a site about 90% of the way completed, and then something just… broke. One of Headway’s addon blocks was updated, and the entire site layout became unfixable. Weeks of work down the drain. *sigh*

    I have hope that Headway will soon reach the point that I can strongly recommend it again. While I do still suggest you give it a shot (especially if you are good with CSS), I also purchased Ultimatum recently due to many glowing reviews and recommendations from professionals who are actually using it NOW to create awesome sites.

    All this competition can only be a good thing, and I look forward to seeing how things develop in that arena over the next couple years! Thanks so much for this overview of themes I’m not yet familiar with. :)

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Hey Briana,

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

    • joe says:

      Thanks for the honest review Briana. Good, useful info.

      I am one of those who, less than a year ago, lost money as a Headway guinea pig — there was no demo *and* a No Refund policy. I’ve moved on to Ultimatum, and now the new Thesis 2.0.

      • Joe, thanks for your comment about Headway. I would urge you to give Headway 3.3 a try. That is our latest version.

        And isn’t it great that one of the huge benefits of being part of the WordPress community, you get so many great choices for themes and frameworks.

  • Glen Morgan says:

    I bought Headway in its early days and was impressed. For a non-techi it is a very hand tool. In late 2011, they changed their licence program. But first they sent an email out offering a lifetime upgrade:

    ” • You can install Headway on an unlimited number of domains that you own
    or control.
    • Access to detailed documentation and video tutorials specifically for
    developers as well as the stuff that’s available for everyone.
    • Early beta access to new updates.
    • Lifetime support and free updates.
    • 3 Headway Child Themes (child themes developed by Headway–this does not
    apply to 3rd party child themes). These child themes will be available
    when Headway 3 releases.”

    I purchsed this, and now a year later they have suspended my licence – requesting more money. Not only have I lost access to downloading Headway, all the blocks I have purchased are no-longer avaliable on my account login.

    Be very carefull.
    Not impressed!

    • Glen,

      Drop me an email concerning your account at grant@headwaythemes.com. There should be no reason your account is suspended.

      • Glen Morgan says:

        Followed up on contact request from Grant. Turns-out it was bad timing on with a server glitch by a third party supplier. All is good. I would like to say that – I have read that some people have expressed problems with the product in user friendliness etc. At first I found the product took a little learning to understand (we are asking it to do a lot for us). Now however, over the past 18 months (give or take) with Headway I have learned it’s various personality traits, they have come along way over the past year or so. Nothing is perfect. All things take time and the product offers me a level of flexibility that I would find difficult to replace. Hence my shock and statement when I logged in and found nothing there.

        Will I continue to use? Yes. Would I recommend the product for someone with a similar skill set as mine who is prepared to learn? YES.

        Remember that there are so many variables to anything we choose to go with. Would I like to retract the statement “Be very careful” YES.

        Regards,
        Glen.

  • carlyjcais says:

    I left an earlier comment that was relating to Headway 2.0.13 and its difficulty of use for non-designers, and its many conflicts with 3rd-party plugins and social media. Since leaving my comment above I became frustrated, and manually did an upgrade to Headway 3.0 (still, the “no upgrade path” issue from 2.0.13 remains, though the community does have tutorials on how to re-create your site on 3.0). The community recommends utilizing a 3rd party plugin, Theme Test Drive, to build your development 3.0 site, while still running 2.0.13, which seemed like a great option…until I found out I had to use child theme for 3.0, because 3.0 does not support custom CSS. And you can’t use Theme Test Drive with a Headway 3.0 child theme yet.

    So I bit the bullet, did the upgrade manually, and dealt with my site looking terrible during the upgrade. Because my site had many customizations and I wanted to do further customizations that required custom CSS, apparently I have to create a child theme for Headway in order to implement these changes. There are 2 tutorials online instructing one how to make a child theme for Headway. Neither created a child theme properly; I cannot switch over to it, and when I posted multiple times on the tutorial site, as well as in the Headway forums, NO ONE could help me. Even Corey Freeman (a commenter above and the author of one of those tutorials), said she had no idea what was going on (since I did a complete copy-paste from her code, which she’s used numerous times before) and I should post in the forums.

    Since no one is willing to help me do what Headway is supposed to, I now, on top of the cost of the theme, plus on top of the cost of extra “blocks” (how Headway 3.0 adds customization to parts of the site), also have to find and pay a developer/coder who knows about Headway and can troubleshoot why my child theme is not working, and implement said custom CSS.

    There are a number of hidden costs associated with this theme, and the forums have been completely unhelpful. I had no idea that upon the upgrade to 3.0 I would have to create a child theme in order to re-create the customization I attained on 2.0.13 with easy hooks. Though the Visual Editor in 3.0 is much improved, and drag-and-drop actually has become a working reality for 3.0, if you want more control (i.e., to do more than what you can do inside the Visual Editor) and are not a coder/developer/troubleshooter for this theme, then you’re going to find yourself in a world of difficulty.

    In short: much easier to use than 2.0.13 straight out of the box, and a couple child themes are already available (for a price) from the Headway store. But much more customization requires more steps that can easily go wrong, and you’re on your own for that. Extra costs for basic functionality, and lack of support, makes me still very hesitant to recommend this theme.

    • carlyjcais says:

      Update to the above: I finally received help from a Gary in the Headway forums, who was able to figure out that TextEdit, what I had used to create the child theme, had inserted extraneous text into the style.css while in Rich Text Format. Upon converting to plain text, I found my Child Theme now functional. However, the theme menus and widgets had to be re-set (some inactive widgets from Headway showed up active in the child theme), and the code for my ad networks is now not showing up. Problems still abound…

      • Hey Carly,

        Please e-mail me directly at clay@headwaythemes.com and I’d be glad to take a look into the ad network code.

        Also, a child theme isn’t required to use a custom CSS. This is why we have built-in Live CSS editor which I’m sure you’re well aware of. The only thing a child theme is required for is for hooks and more advanced customization. With that said, we will be re-adding Easy Hooks.

  • I’ll chime in here and say this:

    YES when Headway 3.0 was released, there were some initial bugs. I experienced some myself, but Clay (the developer) quickly helped me out, he’s a very friendly and courteous guy by the way.

    NO Headway is not a bad theme, in fact it’s the best, in my opinion, and I’m a professional web designer, earning my living doing just that. I currently do ALL client projects on Headway and save SO much time doing so.

    I have in the past worked with Thesis, Genesis and PageLines, but Headway is supreme. And now, in version 3.3 it is very stable and solid.

    PS: Do you know the fields in your comment form lacks labels?

    =)
    Oliver

  • Glenn Dixon says:

    I find it a bit odd that people have such difficulties getting good help on the forums, but when they complain about it on a random blog they get the co-founders of the company offering direct assistance via email! LOL

    Maybe the Headway staff should spend more time in their own forums and less time setting up Google search alerts? (jus’ sayin’)

    • Glenn,

      No matter the product, there are going to be frustrated and angry people. I dare you to find one company that doesn’t have at least one frustrated customer.

      As I’m sure you know, people speak out. So, what sounds better to a frustrated person that’s about ready to pull their hair out? “Please e-mail me at clay@headwaythemes.com” or “Please visit http://support.headwaythemes.com and create a thread in ___ category and ask for Clay.”

      My point is this. No matter how hard you try, there are going to be upset people. Especially with a product like Headway due to its complexity. This is our livelihood, we try our hardest to build the best drag and drop website builder out there and we try our hardest to support it the best we can.

  • HeelShields says:

    The problem is not that people are upset because of the complexity of the product. The problem is people were not given the opportunity to find out if they would be over their heads trying to use this product if they did not have certain skills. Basically, you have made me make a donation to your company until probably version 5.0 or 6.0 when I have developed the skill to use CSS, PHP, HTML and what ever other language is necessary to work comfortably in this framework. And, I don’t imagine I will ever be happy with the product. And I bet that Thesis will always be a better product because they really believe in it and provide the opportunity for people to try it before they buy it. I wish I could remember who suggested this product so I could make sure to NEVER believe anything they say AGAIN about ANYTHING!!!!

    • @HeelShields, I replied to your other comment about the white screen. If you have any other questions about Headway or how to do something, please ask us!

      Also, we do offer a demo at http://demo.headwaythemes.com and we have plenty of material on the site showing how it works before you make the decision to purchase.

  • Jac says:

    Been using Headway Themes for about a year now. I only have good things to say about them. Control is not the only thing here. It is quick, efficient control that makes this premium theme so good. And it only promises to get better.

  • Truth Be Told says:

    Headway in a nutshell:

    Headway has evolved into decent program but is not as intuitive for beginners as they would have you believe and they need to realize that competing frameworks are also evolving.

    It’s headway or the Highway.

    Damage control is everything.

    The codex is seriously lacking.

    The ecosystem is built around making more money for HW and their helpers who also make money from Headway.

    Need hosting? We recommend this (click our affiliate link).

    Need a plugin? We recommend this (click our affiliate link).

    • “Truth be Told”

      First of all thank you for your candid comment on this post.

      You are correct in your premise that Headway has evolved and we hope we continue to do so as we aggressively push out updates and new features.

      While some beginners may find the learning curve somewhat difficult. I would also put forth we have literally thousands of users who are beginners and using Headway to build some great sites.

      At the same time, we are seeing the more advanced user take Headway to even great levels. Some are building sites we quite frankly are amazed at. It is awesome seeing the work both the beginner and developers are doing using what we ourselves have built.

      We are well aware other competing frameworks are evolving too. And isn’t it wonderful that one of the huge benefits of the WordPress community is the fact the community is the winner. They are the true winners because the do have such a great selection of themes and frameworks to pick from.

      I would be the first one to admit our documentation, tutorials and codex behind. And the Team is working on that currently as we try to keep up with how fast Clay and his development team are progressing and introducing new things. While this might be seen as a negative. We see this as a very positive thing. I for one would be worried if our Codex was not a bit behind our developing Team.

      As to your other points. Our ecosystem is amazing. We have 3rd party developers building some awesome add-ons for Headway and why not. We love to see others building their own businesses around what we are doing. As for making sure our helpers make money, only one person who is on the official Headway Team has an add-on in the Headway Extend marketplace. And one reason he is part of the Team is because he does great stuff. All of the other developers are 3rd party developers building their own add-ons for Headway and building their own businesses around what we do. And we could not be prouder.

      As to your complaint about using affiliate links when we recommend things. Let me ask, why not? We are a business and we are in the business to provide a service to our customers. As part of that service, if we do not have a product of our own to provide, why shouldn’t recommend others. And at the same time, if we feel confident enough to recommend that product, I for one see nothing wrong with being paid.

      My question to you is would you feel the same if a company only recommended products they built themselves and of course were paid for those recommendations? While we do not have some of those products in house, we plan to. And when that happens, we will continue to be paid for providing those additional products.

      Like any business we want to be here well into the future to provide what our community deserves. And that is the best product and support we can provide. In doing so, we need to operate a business which can scale and be profitable. Without profit, we would not be able to provide a Team of 7 individuals who develop and support Headway Themes and the ever growing community. And without profit, a business has a far lessor chance of lasting into the future.

      Again, thanks for your comment and if you have any other questions, please ask. I and the Team are always glad to discuss Headway Themes.

      In addition, if you want to see the Art of Blog’s latest review of Headway, I would suggest you take a look at – http://www.artofblog.com/headway-3-4-review/

    • Truth Be Told >

      What you write, and anonymously so, simply isn’t true. It’s skewed.

      Should Headway realize the competition is evolving? If you ask me, Headway is the most revolutionary AND user friendly WordPress theme framework available. Could it be better? Of course! God thing is, it is making headway (pun intended) at high speed! So much great stuff has been achieved in version 3.3 and 3.4. I have a good feeling Headway 3.5 will be just as amazing, and make Headway even better.

      The Codex is sparse, I’ll give you that. I mustbsay though: I’ve only ever needed it once. Once.

      Oliver

      • Eric Binnion says:

        Hey Oliver,

        I just happened to see your website the other day. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

        • Jason says:

          How is Headways Seo compared to thesis? What about speed? I just started working with Thesis 2.0 and Headway is looking pretty appealing right now due to the steep learning curve. Seo will be the ultimate deciding factor for me.. Thanks ahead of time..

          • Hi Jason

            Thanks for getting in touch!

            Headway is very search engine friendly. I personally believe that the days of deliberate use of H1 tags etc are long gone. Of course it is still important that the code is clean, fast and efficiently loaded. Headway is good on all fronts, but Thesis 2 is a little bit better in that respect. Now, you’d have to cope with its cumbersome UI to make your site though…

            Personally I think you’ll get more SEO-benefit from creating good content instead of wrestling with Thesis.

            =)

  • I have used headway for about 15 various sites I have built over the last year.

    My biggest complaint is from the following error.

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<‘ in /home/content/22/8720222/html/seo/wp-content/themes/headway/header.php on line 10

    This has happen to almost every website that I have used headway in. It’s an easy fix but it’s frustrating because you have to constantly check the site to make sure the error isn’t hiding your content.

    There are also issues with navigation, there are several computers and browsers in which a horizontal navigation shows vertically, it is very unappealing visually.