Headway Theme Review: A Versatile Drag and Drop WordPress Framework

I get a lot of questions asking me what theme I use and whether my site actually runs on WordPress, so I’m taking you behind the scenes in this Headway theme review.

I’ve been making websites for 15 years now, and blogging for 10 (back when we called them “weblogs” and we updated static pages manually when we had something new to say). It wasn’t until I started building websites on WordPress that I was able to step above the technical stuff and focus on the content creation.

That’s the beauty of running a website on a content management platform like WordPress: it gets all the nitty gritty coding out of the way so you can be the website owner instead of the coder.

Allow me to explain how Headway themes actually take the power of WordPress one step further, and why I’m putting my money-maker (ahem, my website!) in the hands of Headway and WordPress.

No Code Knowledge Necessary

headway theme review

Even though I’m a programmer, I can appreciate the time savings that I get from building a website using Headway theme’s drag and drop functionality, instead of coding all the custom pages I wanted to create for this site.

I knew I wanted to make use of as many of Headway’s features in the new version of my site, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time building the site.

My designer extraordinaire Natasha Lakos designed the site from a visual standpoint, and Headway themes was able to mirror her vision in WordPress.

Headway Theme Review Pros: Flexibility

headway themes review

One of the things that I love the most about Headway is that you can have as many different page layouts as you can imagine.

I knew I wanted some basic one-sidebar pages for my blog, but I wanted to break out of the mold for my services page, my free training page, and my shop page.

My site relies heavily on photography, and being able to put the content and a featured photo in different spots based on the size of the image was really easy and effortless.

It also allowed me to create a site where people want to keep clicking through to the next section, because every page is original and exciting and fun.

It Doesn’t Stop There: Headway Extensions

Book Reviews

I used the Headway Excerpts+ addon to design a fully functional book reviews page, that looks professional and is easy for me to maintain.

I wanted to highlight the business book reviews that I occasionally offer, and there wasn’t an easy way for me to display all the books I had reviewed.

With this add-on I was able to display all of the book covers, the title of my book reviews, and offer a quick way to navigate between them.

Plus, I don’t have to maintain this list, Headway’s advanced filtering mechanism just pulls all the blog posts that are tagged as book reviews!

Headway Theme Review: You Can Get Techy With It

I love that I’m able to fully customize my Headway setup just the way I like it. I’m getting the best of both worlds because I can insert custom CSS code and advanced jQuery scripts… but I don’t have to code every little piece of the site.

Some of the custom coded bits include blocks with custom code for my opt-in form on the front page. I also used custom CSS to get the navigation bar colors to alternate. There’s also custom CSS code to animate the rollover images on the front page.

But for the most part, I used the configuration options that are built into Headway, and relied on blocks and formatting through the Visual Editor.

This also makes it easier for me to duplicate the look on sub-sites like my members area.

Custom Members Area Site Leverages Headway Themes


I wanted to create something special for the members area where my customers go to access their training programs. With a number of products on the go, I didn’t want to force people to login at different WordPress sites…

Headway came to the rescue, along with the AccessAlly plugin that we developed to integrate with my Infusionsoft account.

The result is that I can have one main login area, where people can see all of the products they’ve purchased. And when they click through to one of them, they get a branded header that tells them where they are.

Find Out If Headway Is Right For You

Click here to check out the Headway site if this Headway theme review piqued your curiosity.



  1. Hollie Flynn on January 30, 2013 at 10:12 am


    You are my favorite person on the planet! :) You absolutely make it easier for me to make things happen. So appreciate you and your work!

    My BEST!

  2. Marinda on January 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I always wondered how you got everything to display together in the membership site! Is there a plugin like iMember360 for Whishlist Member instead of Infusionsoft?

  3. Trinidad Pena on January 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Marinda. You can also do it using the gravity forms plug-in

  4. Fit Missy on January 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I like your theme, it’s clean and to the point.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Aimee's Simple Living for Busy People on January 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Oooh! Now I get a better idea of its functionality — thanks for the breakdown. Love the membership piece for headway. I had no idea. Good to know as I morph and grow. As always, thanks, Nath.

  6. nidhi on January 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm


    Did you make this review just for me?? :)
    Perfect timing, thank you!

  7. Jolene on January 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm


    Thank you SO much for this review! I just bought Thesis 2.0 last week and felt overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge. I was under the impression that my (somewhat limited) HTML and CSS knowledge would be more than enough to build my website. I seem to be completely wrong!

    Headway sounds much more like what I envisioned Thesis to be like! I just want to have a website up and running, then (if I still want to) I can get all geeky with it and learn the nerdy stuff!

    If you or anyone else reading this comment, have any comparisons between Headway and Thesis 2.0 I’d be glad to hear them!

    Thanks for the review!!

  8. Marinda on February 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Trinidad Pena, thanks!

  9. Jen Vertanen on February 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I adore Headway. That is all, lol!

  10. Sarah on February 5, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Hi Nathalie!
    Thanks so much for your review.
    I have a question – Right now I have a wp site with another theme which I’d like to change to headway but, I already have existing traffic being routed to my site with my seo terms, etc.
    By switching is it possible I’ll lose this traffic? I’m thinking no, since it is just another theme but I dont know.

    Thanks again for your help and for this informative post!!


  11. 360 Web Design on March 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Good review of Headway – especially the two blocks. While I haven’t used this framework yet for my web design clients in Michigan, I strongly considering using it very soon to build their websites.

  12. Siegfried on April 19, 2013 at 2:18 am

    thanks, I fell in love with Headway. I was looking for wordpress theme like this for a very long time!
    best regards!

  13. PCRepairGuy on April 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Good review. I’m pretty stoked about Headway myself. The theme is really the only choice in terms of user-level design with that amount of freedom. Being able to layout different pages pretty much how you like and widgetise them is very strong. Whilst say Genesis is a more “serious” developer framework it takes much longer and is far more complex doing things that take mins in headway. Just wish they’d improve the documentation and support.

  14. Michael Priestley on May 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I have just had two days of Headway and two day's of headache, I'm sure that the experienced computer geek love's solving all the problems it presents, but as a non geek I found it annoying in the extreme. The first problem is that the documentation sucks, you are left in no man's land after the first three instruction, "why isn't the box there?", "How do you do the simple things?" Don't get me wrong, I think it is probably a great leap forward in website building accessibility, it's just not accessible to me and if it's not accessible to the non geek, what's the point? The geeks will figure it out anyway.

  15. Fran on October 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Nathalie, just wanted to say THANK YOU for putting me on to Headway, I really love it and has improved what I can offer my clients SO MUCH!! Thank you for being my awesome little techy angel :) x

  16. Kevin Velasco on October 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I used Thesis from 2011-2013. I’m glad I made the switch to Headway in July!

  17. Tara Conley on November 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Michael Im thinking of purchasing Headway. Have you figured out the next steps or received any assistance

  18. Tom Brown on December 2, 2013 at 1:54 am

    I’ve been a web developer in Dreamweaver since 2003. And subbornly refused to use WordPress due to limitation of theme customization. That is until I tried Headway 3.6. OMG. It’s a web developers tool sent from heaven. I doubt I’ll ever use Dreamweaver again. And certainly removing my Ultimatum/Genesis/Dynamik Website builder themes. They’re mediocre compared to Headway. And I frankly don’t even see need for hyped up OptimizePress 2, when you can design a OP2 page in Headway in 10 minutes. By far, Headway is officially the best tools I’ve seen.

    And trust me, I’m one of those “know it all”, who has to use every framework under the sun, until I come to the final conclusion. With Headway, you can practically design every theme you’ve ever seen on the web, and a lot easier then with any other framework, including Dreamweaver (which is supposed to be the ultimate in WYSIWYG tools, but it’s obviously not any longer).

    • Alicia on April 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Tom Brown can you get in touch with me asap? We are seeking a Headway developer for ongoing work. I don’t want to post my contact info but you can find it or reach me through my website at http://www.alicianagel.com

    • Peggy DaValt on January 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Awesome critique and analysis, Tom Brown. I, too, am really old school – FrontPage, Adobe Image Ready and Dreamweaver. I am glad to hear that Headway is really as good as its been tauoted to me.

      This is a great blog post that Natalie did and I need to get working on Headway as I think its functionality is really the best.

      Peggy DaValt

  19. Steven Serpa on April 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this post before spending the time redoing the theme I purchased from a WSO a while back… It’s getting a few annoying errors but I do like the layout and how I can display my photography and storytelling about the shoot but the mail problem is I’m not a programmer to repair it and don’t have the time right now to learn the language.

    Your Headway review was very detailed and hit on cylinders that I want in my main site and finding out that Headway is a drag and drop editor trumps all other choices.

    Last but not least is the fact that I can also use the Headway theme to support and manage a membership site is truly the icing on the cake.

    Thanks Nathalie your review has made a very daunting and time consuming task… FUN!

  20. sandy bassett on May 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    hi – one of your links went bad on you: when i click “this Headway site” directly underneath your headline “Find out if Headway is right for you” it takes me to a “bad” link and says the referral company you were using has changed to a company named Ambassador.


    wish me luck – I am using your advice through marie’s bschool to build my first site and optin page tonight!

    • Nathalie Lussier on May 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks for letting me know Sandy – I’ve just fixed the link. :)

  21. Garen on January 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm


    I have been using Headway for about 6 months now and I love it. I’m a web designer but I am not really that technical when it comes to coding or anything. In fact, if I get really stumped I have to pay people to help me.

    I have used Headway on a clients site and I was instantly hooked. Seriously, why didn’t I ever discover them before 6 months ago. I used to get kind of frustrated when I have that one client that is always changing their mind. I would spend hours and hour switching stuff up with Genesis or another theme. When I started using Headway I realized that it was insanely easy to customize sites to my liking.

    Having the ability to drag out how you want everything to look is awesome. Then if you want to make changes in the design editor it’s really easy to customize different elements of your website.

    I did want to stop by because I saw your Headway review and wanted to share my thoughts on it.


  22. Bruce on June 9, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the great review of the Headway theme! I recently received the recommendation to switch my website over to Headway. My current “design” leaves a lot of room for improvement.

    I also realize that I need to seek out a designer to help me improve the site. I’m considering a budget $500 to $1000. Is that in the right range?

  23. Oliver Nielsen on July 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Hey Natalie

    I’m curious as to how you view Headway 4.0? Do you find it as good as Headway 3 – or better? Or worse?

    So many different opinions on that release.