WordPress Theme Review: Enfold

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If you’ve spend any time glancing the most popular WordPress themes for sale on Themeforest, Enfold is most certainly a name you are familiar with. With a whopping 103,858 sales as of the date of this article, they are a proven player in the premium theme space.

I’m partial to Enfold, and I make no bones about it. I’ve developed a number of WordPress websites with Enfold, and each one has been a success.

I began thinking about whether or not to try a premium WordPress theme about three years ago. As a web developer conditioning to building from the ‘bottom up’, the notion of using any sort of a page builder was definitely a foreign concept.

Nevertheless, I was attracted by the possibility that I might be able to reduce development time by using the built in features and integrations some of the premium themes offered.

I felt that in some situations, starting a new development with a theme builder, or customizing an existing theme,  would be a better choice than starting from scratch. For example, It seemed logical that a magazine or e-Commerce site would be easier to build out if some of the design elements were already in place.

On the other side of the coin, I was concerned about working with a theme that may have excess functionality – and therefore render a sluggish performance.

My goal was to find a lean, well coded, easy to customize theme with a solid page builder.

I did as much research as I had time for, and eventually decided that Enfold was a good choice for my specific needs and goals.

My instinct was correct.

I should mention that since my initial investigation, a lot has changed in the premium WordPress theme world. There are several new theme additions that I’ve worked with quite successfully.

Nevertheless, for my needs of versatility and flexibility, I would still choose Enfold. It is not the only first class theme, but as far as I have seen, it remains the most flexible and easy to customize.

A framework as much as a theme

Enfold is more of a framework than what is commonly thought of as a premium theme. What is a WordPress theme? Here’s an excerpt from an article from WPbeginner.com that nicely defines a theme framework:

WordPress theme frameworks are intended to be used as a parent theme template where all the functionality resides. Developers can then create a child theme to add custom styling while leaving the functionality aspects of it to the framework.

A web designer and/or developer wants a framework to become familiar with, and eventually use for many different sites. As I mentioned, this is something I have done quite effectively.

An end user, on the other hand, only intends to build one site, and may prefer a theme rather than a framework, and one that offers many ready-made design templates.

These templates are referred to as demos, and they offer considerable design help. Often times, a site that that closely follows the demo, and does not stray far from the core design, turns out quite well.

While Enfold has added a number of new demos recently, they don’t offer the quantity and selection of some of their competitors. This may be a drawback for those intending to design just one site.

Avia Advanced Layout Builder

The Avia Builder is Enfold’s fully integrated page builder, and the heart and soul of the theme. After you work with Avia for a while, you begin to understand and appreciate the thought that was put into its development.

I am especially fond of its layout tools that allow the designer to easy create distinct vertical sections with very little effort.

The ‘color section’ tool is extremely handy for doing this, and allows for the easy insertion of an image as a background.

When compared to Visual Composer, the most commonly used 3rd party builder, the Avia Builder has fewer options (although it has plenty). The key point is the Avia builder integrates effortless with the core theme design. This is not something I have always experienced using Visual Composer with themes using it as an add on tool.

The Avia Builder offers an excellent variety of image and video sliders:

  • Easy Slider
  • Full Width Easy Slider
  • Fullscreen Slider
  • Featured Image Slider
  • Accordion Slider
  • Layer Slider (3rd party add on)

An area some will find deficient is  the icon selection. The theme does not offer  access to the kind of rich icon library available from other theme publishers.

Blog formats

Here is an area that can also be improved upon. Staying with the minimalist design concept, the blog formats are quite plain, and devoid of visual relief so helpful when reading large masses of content.

The theme does offer a masonry gallery blog format, but Enfold seems vulnerable here to some of their competitors who offer many blog design options.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I think more developed blog formats would enhance readability.

Support

It would be difficult to overstate the quality and responsiveness of the Enfold support team. In my experience working with their support team, I was continually surprised by their willingness to help on issues that I found other theme developers less inclined to help with.

Enfold has been willing to tackle just about anything – cheerfully, and quickly. In most cases, I received an answer within 24 hours.

Even for experienced WordPress web designers and developers, the benefit of getting questions answered by the theme developer is enormous. In most cases I could have figured out a solution, but having a quick answer from the support staff cut my development times by a considerable amount.

Another important Enfold support feature is their well maintained and documented help forum. I find it easy to navigate and once again – a major time saver.

Conclusion

Enfold is a solid choice for experienced web designers and those just starting out. The lack of predesigned demos maybe a drawback for some, but the theme’s ease of us, flexibility, and support, make it a winner for everyone else.

Sample websites built with Enfold:

index

screenshot-fitforbucks-com-2016-10-07-11-15-18

screenshot-henrysegerstrom-com-2016-10-07-10-56-19

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