WordPress theme frameworks. They’re like Play Dough or Legos. Those were toys that a lot of us grew up with and what made them special was that they we could make anything we wanted with them. How far our imaginations went was our only limitation. Crayola Crayons. Erector Sets. It was amazing what we created from those simple tools found in the toy aisle. Theme Frameworks run along the same lines. These tools allow us to build websites that are not only professional in its look and feel but also in its functionality. What’s awesome with theme frameworks is how simplistic a lot of them are. This is done for the web developer’s benefit so they can make breathtaking sites as quickly as possible.
This week I’ll talk about 18 of the best WordPress Theme Frameworks out there.
DIVI BY ELEGANT THEMES
Starting the list is my favorite that I use both professionally and personally. If you were to ask a web developer to name a WordPress theme framework, then chances are they’ll say Divi as that is one of the most popular. What separates Divi from the rest is its simplicity; you can get a pretty good understanding of where you can go and what you can do by just looking at its user interface. This of course doesn’t mean that they are skimpy on their documentation. Elegant Themes, the people behind Divi, has extensive documentation that also include video tutorials. You can also be a part of any of the numerous Divi community groups found across the web. Divi constantly improves itself by listening to its community.
Awesome frameworks are not defined by their user interfaces alone. What else that framework can offer must be considered as well. Genesis, by Studio Press, delivers with a wide assortment of extras that makes it stand out as a fierce competitor on the market. Its “step by step” process of creating is top notch. Genesis also offers the standard array of plugins that help get your site noticed like SEO functionality but it also provides you with strong protection. What makes Genesis unique is its ability to update everything with the touch of a single button and this is because Studio Press has integrated everything together. The goal behind this feature is to save you time so that your website can keep going.
Web developers constantly introduce us to new technologies (like Parallax for example) that get many admins wanting to install them on their websites, but those installations can sometimes get time consuming or messy. The developers over at theme-fusion.com combat this with their theme framework – AVADA. Most theme frameworks that are out there can be thought of as palettes that artists use when painting their masterpieces. AVADA can be looked at the same way but it can hold special effects that it can help you apply with ease. While you can create your own page with AVADA, it does allow you to use any of its templates to help get you started.
What do you look for in a theme? Do you look for pizzazz that makes your site pop? How about functionality that runs the gamut from A to Z? Whatever it is you’re looking for, chances are you want good technical support to come attached as well and WPZOOM delivers. All the themes listed in this article have great technical support, but WPZOOM is noted for taking its support to the next level of quality. Along with its easy to use interface, WPZOOM comes equipped with predefined templates to help start you out with. Their theme framework might be strict meat and potatoes but WPZOOM’s developers have put a lot of heart and soul in their product and it shows.
Sometimes artists can get carried away as they work on a piece that they’re passionate about. I know I have started over on a piece several times because the previous version had too many mistakes that annoyed me. We can’t always start over, but sometimes we can roll back to a version of our work that we were happy with. This is where Headway comes in. Headway is cool as it allows you to save your work and even roll back to a previous version that made you happy with ease. What makes it stand out more is its visual editor that allows you to design your page layout as if you were drawing it out. This gives you a greater amount of control over how your site looks.
A lot of developers aspire to make their theme frameworks easy to use and easy to understand. The problem though is that sometimes you might find it difficult to design your layout thanks to how the theme framework’s user interface presents its options. Thesis 2.0 from DIYthemes combats this with a user interface that is made to speed up the layout design process that makes accessible all the tools you need so you don’t have to find them. Also, the designer is unique as it allows you to create your page using a building blocks style approach. You place a block on the page and control its size and how it interacts with the other blocks you’ve added.
Peanut butter and chocolate: one of life’s great combinations. Another worthwhile marriage is between CSS frameworks and WordPress theme frameworks. With that said, let me introduce you to Page Lines. This framework states quite clearly that it combines its framework with one of the web’s most popular CSS framework – bootstrap. If you go to their site, you’ll see a lot of modules that you can buy and install into your framework without any trouble at all. What’s more is that Page Lines essentially presents itself as a coding free framework. It does this by presents its user interface in a “plug and play” format. Just choose the element you want, fill in a few fields, and that element gets inserted into your page.
Let’s be perfectly frank for just a moment. You have to buy the frameworks listed so far. Now don’t get me wrong as that’s only fair. After all, the developers of those theme frameworks have put a lot of time and energy and skill into making them work, so it’s only natural that they be compensated for their trouble. At the same time, many of us don’t have the funds to buy Divi or any of the other theme frameworks out there. So, what do we do? Well, Redux has got you covered. Redux is an open source theme framework and that means that you can download it for free. If a theme framework is for free does that mean it’s any good? It is, but don’t take my word for it. Give Redux a try and see.
The Options theme framework presents itself in a totally unique manner. It comes as a plugin that allows you to add an options panel to WordPress themes. So instead of trying to create a new theme from scratch you can simply edit existing themes that are out there. Though you can also use the Options framework to help you create a new theme should you want. You’ll noticed that once installed that you can add your own specific options and features to the options panel that you’re adding, and once it’s up and running, the panel will affect the theme you’re working with. Options theme framework is free and can be downloaded from WordPress or from Github.
Another free theme framework that is out there is called Unyson. One of the things that makes Unyson special is its consideration to those who don’t know much about coding. Their drag and drop user interface is simple, easy to understand and use. A lot of theme frameworks out there have issues with making every page look seamless; meaning your site might be professional looking but it’ll make you think that you’re looking a patchwork quilt. Whatever you make with Unyson will always come out looking seamless, as if everything looks like it belongs and blends in with one another nicely. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it is free as well?
If THEMIFY could be summed up in one word it would be – adaptable. THEMIFY is like any other framework out there as it is used to create pages easily and efficiently. What separates it from the rest of the pack is that THEMIFY tries to appeal to a wider audience when it comes to web developers and to handle a wide range of issues when it comes to developing a website. THEMIFY is very compatible with very well-known plugins like WooCommerce and Yoast. They also have a wide assortment of plugins that you can download and install. THEMIFY also has animation capability so if you need to spark up your site with a little pizzazz then they have you covered.
The developers at Tesla theme are well known for creating beautiful WordPress themes. What makes them stand out amongst their competitors is their framework. Each of their themes comes bundled with their theme framework done up in a nice and easy to follow user interface. Through this interface, you can alter any of their themes to fit your needs. The options that they have run the gamut from changing your website’s logo to enhancing your site with SEO functionality and customizing your contact form. Tesla also provides short codes and the ability to change your post attributes. Tesla Themes provide quality work for low prices.
DYNAMIC WEBSITE BUILDER
As they advertise on their website, Dynamik Website Builder is a “Do-it-yourself Genesis Child Theme.” So, it seems strange that a theme framework is built on a theme framework but if you stop to think about it you will get to see that it makes sense. The developers of the Dynamik Website Builder understood how good the Genesis theme framework is and simply added to it to make it even better. The Dynamik Website Builder creates child themes for the Genesis framework. It is specifically designed so that little to no coding experience is required. This of course saves on time so that you can get your creations done and published in no time flat.
The first thing you’ll notice when visiting WordPress theme frameworks website is its statement – Ultimatum is not just a WordPress theme or framework. It is a total WordPress suite. The developers of Ultimatum deliver on their claim by offering a ton of features and a lot of functionality, so this of course makes Ultimatum very versatile. Included with their suite is bootstrap, custom widgets, one click updates, short codes, an easy to use and understand font control panel, and the list goes on. While this might seem overwhelming, Ultimatum includes video tutorials, extensive documentation, and technical support. Ultimatum is easy to install and easy to use as well.
A flaw some theme frameworks have is that you can’t really design your layout to however you want it. Usually you use whatever the developer had come up with. Builder gives you greater control with your layouts and works to make building your website as painless as possible by using drag and drop technology. If you’re not a coder but would like to know a thing or two about it then they offer video training and regular webinars. Of course, they also have extensive documentation as well as great tech support. What’s special about Builder is that it has been around for quite a long time since 2008 and they’re as strong as ever today.
It’s no secret that you need to pay when using the best plugins and themes WordPress offers. Jump Start is no different than the other WordPress theme frameworks, but, if you don’t like their product then you can return it within 30 days. What’s more is that their product is very reasonably priced with adding their framework to unlimited websites for $89. Like all the other theme frameworks that are out there, Jump Start offers you the ability to create your site however you want with ease and efficiency. Jump Start comes bundled with bundled with the usual assortment of plugins and features that other theme frameworks have but it also comes with Retina and HDPI support which helps make your images and other graphics pop spectacularly.
Gantry, noun, a type of structure that acts as a bridge between one point and another. A good name for a theme framework. The developers of Gantry created their theme framework as a bridge between yourself and the WordPress core so that you can understand it and work with it. A key feature worth noting is its Ajax support so you can create websites that update themselves without refreshing. All the typical theme framework functions and plugins are included as well. Gantry is both free and open sourced. It has a very active community so that if you need any support then they can take care of you. It includes solid documentation as well. As they say on their page, Gantry is coded with love.
Last on our list of WordPress theme frameworks Like Gantry, Beans is a free theme framework that you can both download and install on your WordPress system. Beans is also open source so if you have a hankering to customize the framework then you can do so. As user interfaces go, Beans presents itself in a unique way making it look as if its theme framework is a part of WordPress itself. It is built with speed and ease of use in mind. It also comes with an assortment of goodies that helps give your site the pop it needs. One of its key features is its front-end library that gives you great control in how your site looks. Its tech support is done simply to resolve any of your issues quickly. I know I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again. Its free!