TL;DR – If you’re a small site owner looking to design and deploy attractive sites very quickly, check out Themify. It’s awesome.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve noticed me recommend Themify a few times. Now Themify is offering bloggers an opportunity to get a free plugin or theme in exchange for writing a review.
The thing is, I didn’t need an incentive to recommend Themify to small business owners and entrepreneurs. I do it all the time for free.
However, this lets me get my hands on one of their new plugins for free, which is awesome.
That disclosure aside, know that I wouldn’t write a positive review of someone just to save $39 on a plugin. My integrity is worth more than that, and you’re probably smarter than that.
Alright, that’s out of the way. Let’s get to it.
What I Love About Themify
The Themify Framework
I like to think of Themify not so much as a company that designs themes as a company that delivers an amazing framework to build WordPress sites.Their actual themes are nice, but it’s the Themify Builder that’s included with every theme that really excites me.
You see, it used to be building websites required some awkward shortcode finagling. Even if the framework you were building a page with supported easy layouts, you’d still find the process of putting together page required careful shortcoding.
Frankly, choosing a theme with an easy-to-use framework aren’t picking it because they’re great coders. (I sure wasn’t.) This meant pages often broke when trying to figure out which columns went where, etc.
Even more frustrating, the lack of a visual editor meant you didn’t see your mistakes until you’d saved or previewed your page. If you had a slow hosting provider (*coughDreamhostcough*), this took FOREVER.
Themify removed all of these problems. By using the front-end Themify Builder, it’s possible to see exactly what your site will look like as you build it. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to constantly build and test web pages themselves (instead of waiting on a dev to put it together).
Once you find a theme you love, building is super easy. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but the newer versions of the Themify Builder framework are much better and less fragmented than previous versions.
Regular Theme Updates
That brings me to my absolute favorite thing about Themify: updates. I used to build sites using WooThemes and its offerings. It was fine – shortcodes sucked, and they still do – but about a year and a half ago, they dramatically changed their pricing and support terms. Any theme club you joined, even those you signed up for with the promise of lifetime updates, would now need to be renewed annually.
Great Theme Designs
I used to primarily use WooThemes as my source for WordPress themes. And in 2012, they were alright. Shortcodes were…. fine. Creating great layouts using shortcodes got a bit confusing, and don’t even think about rows and containers.
But when WooThemes reneged on its pricing plan and promise of lifetime updates, I started taking a harder look at alternatives. While WooThemes’s themes seem to have an aesthetic that’s better than average, all of their themes kind of looked the same. In the words of a colleague, “All of these look kind of bloggy.”
I wasn’t initially impressed with Themify’s offerings when I first saw the site in 2013, but they’ve pushed themselves in the last year to produce some of the most modern, attractive WordPress themes
The more I used Themify’s themes, the more I liked them.
Then Themify did something that blew me away: it added new, different looking themes, on a regular basis.
Now I had more flexibility about what my sites looked like without needing to create my own themes from scratch. Even better, it seemed like every new theme had all the features of the old themes and more.
It’s this constant updating that makes me recommend you get a Themify Club membership. The upfront cost is crazy low – even lower than an hour or two of work hiring a developer – and you get unlimited theme updates and support for a year.
If you like building your own sites instead of hiring out to a developer, Themify is the best way to go.
What I Don’t Love
There are only a few quibbles I have with Themify as it is.
- It takes a little bit of time to learn how Themify works. It’s a great platform with lots of features. Their support forum is great, but the initial documentation is sometimes not quite enough to help me figure out what I’m trying to do. Specific terms (what’s the difference between padding and margins?) can be confusing to new people.
- I’d love a walkthrough to show me how to build each demo page. I’m personally good at copying webpages I like and rebuilding them in the Themify framework, but I can’t imagine most small business owners have the same knack. (Maybe this is something I should do? Tweet @matthallcopy and let me know.)
- I have to make tweaks to the CSS sometimes, like in the case of defining the width of an individual page. Seeing this option would be a nice addition to a new version of the Builder framework.
These are minor, and I think I might be asking too much of a drag-and-drop website builder.
I know there are other theme frameworks that deliver similar functionality as Themify. I can’t speak to those as I haven’t used them all. But I can say my experience with Themify has been completely positive, and I recommend it without reservation. If you:
- Like to be able to quickly edit your pages
- Want flexibiltiy without being overwhelmed by options
- Enjoy being able to quickly design and launch attractive pages
…then getting a Themify club membership is probably a smart decision.
Check it out today.