Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
- Avoid Perfectionism in Blog Design [Blogging Distractions] - August 30, 2018
- Avada Theme Review [4 Years On] [2018 Update] - August 19, 2018
- How Flexible is Avada Theme for Bloggers? [Avada 5.X Backend] - August 7, 2018
This article is updated every year. Last update in August 2018 captures my 4 year feedback and experience of using Avada theme on this blog.
Avada theme is over 6 years old now.
With over 440,000 sales on ThemeForest, it has been a no. 1 WordPress theme on Envato for a long time now.
I have been with Avada from day 1 of this blog. Despite all the ups and downs, I found it to be a solid theme and it has been my companion for all those years.
What makes Avada so special?
Has it still got the shine now that I have used Avada for a significant period of time?
Is it still attractive enough for me (and you) to use?
If you are looking to buy this theme or just curious to know more about it, my aim in this review is to give you a real-life and personal feedback based on my interface with Avada.
First hand experience and advice.
what is Avada’s biggest strength? – features, performance or design?
“Swiss Army Knife” theme
Avada can do a lot of things for your WordPress site if you want it that way.
It can overwhelm you with the options and features that are built into this theme.
It is a versatile and multi-purpose theme which covers so many bases. It has a wide set of features that are loved by thousands of its users. No doubt they call it a “Swiss Army Knife” theme for WordPress.
If you are after a flavour of its features and offerings, I suggest you to look at the Avada’s official demo.
“For me, versatility in terms of features and specs is not the key, I am sure I can get these with other themes as well. It is the design and customisation options which are important for me. It has helped me to design my blog in a way I wanted – minimalist approach”
The point is, although Avada has many options in it, you might not need to use everything. Pick up the ones that you are after and turn off the rest.
Avada’s speed and performance
This is my only website that I have ever designed and managed.
I am not an expert in coding or technical language.
My simple criteria for judging the speed and performance of a WordPress theme is based on 4 main points.
- The back-end processing and management should be easy, smooth and error free – when I am in WP admin panel.
- The front end display and final presentation to the visitors should be good quality and error free.
- Smooth interface and welcoming environment for plugins and other additions in the theme.
- The website should load fast and perform responsively on different devices for a great user experience for blog readers.
I must say that there is a learning curve here for those who have not used Avada before. I am not talking about the basics here. You can learn them in a matter of days.
I am talking about smooth and comfortable working with Avada which is free of surprises and unknowns.
It may take you a few weeks, possibly months to get used to the theme mechanics fully. In this period, there may be times when you feel frustrated. But if you dig your heals firmly and aim to resolve any issues no matter what, it won’t take you long to master it.
My back-end (WP admin panel) is smooth.
My front-end (blog presentation) is fine.
All plugins and the theme itself have no clashes.
And most importantly, the site loads fast when appropriate cache plugin is in place.
I dismiss the statement when people just plainly say, Avada is a heavy theme and will slow you down. It is bloated.
Before blaming Avada, there are other speed-impacting factors we need to keep an eye on. Avada, if used with care, should not be the main reason for your slow website.
Avada is flexible to design and easily customisable
If you spend five minutes on REASONTOUSE, you will realise that this blog is a clean, not-very-busy and minimalist design generally.
I have had a journey of design curve with Avada already.
From the “sidebar” full of information to a “double-header” approach stacked with menus and options. And designing a “footer” with tons of information for my readers.
I have done it all.
None of that is present anywhere now.
“I have finally settled and opted for a simple and minimalist design approach with Avada. I want my content to be the “focus” to ensure an excellent reading experience for my readers. Everything else comes second.”
This simplicity and minimalism in blog design has a lot of iterations and months of work behind it.
No matter how simple it feels, it has been a complex process for me to reach to this stage. I feel that Avada’s flexibility and highly-customise-able nature allowed me to achieve this for which I am thankful to the Avada theme.
This is one of the strongest reasons for me to stick to Avada.
I found it to be offering me a plenty of options to keep my design in a tip-top form. I am not a designer and I am not a pro when it comes to web-development. However, I like to have things displayed on my blog “my way” and Avada helps me in achieving that.
I am scared that if I ever have to move to a different theme, I will struggle to find that level of flexibility in design and customisation to keep my consistent brand image.
support and updates with Avada?
quality of support when required?
When I am writing these lines, Avada has nearly 440,000 sales on its ThemeForest’s Page.
This is a huge user base and to achieve 4.77 stars out of 5 is a tremendous achievement in my eyes. I believe that Avada’s support and the team’s effort behind have a big role to play in this achievement.
There are three levels of support I have experienced in my journey with Avada so far.
1Community Support and Documentation – You come to an issue, you type it in Google with “avada” at the front or back, and most of the times, it brings you a discussion or a page which answers or semi-answers your query.
If you want to be a bit more formal and organised, head over to their support page and type your query in. Not only there is a large set of official documentation by Theme Fusion, you will also find that results include discussions and previously posted topics by community members as well.
I found it to be excellent. Many of my queries have been resolved in this manner.
Don’t forget that Avada users have formed a Facebook Group as well which you can ask to join if you are a user of the Avada theme. The group has now got over 14000 members and the community is active there. If you have a query or customisation related issue, there is a good chance that if you ask in that group, someone will help you to resolve the issue.
2Email Ticket System – If the matter is more trickier and needs specialist attention, you can raise a ticket any time. It is an email based response system until the matter is closed out at which point the email chain stops.
I have contacted Avada dozens of times this way.
Most of the times, the requirement was accurately understood and resolved. There are times though, when the support team struggled to understand the issue or did not provide a response in a clear cut manner.
However, the attitude is right and there is an effort and desire from the team members to resolve the issue and make the customer happy.
We have to realise here that managing a full website/blog without the help of a web-developer is a big ask. While a theme can do so much, there are plenty of other factors that count in as well for smooth operation of the overall website.
We tend to forget many times that it may not necessarily be a “theme-related-issue” that we are asking the support team to resolve.
Overall and generally, I am happy with the email support system.
3On even bigger issues such as clashes with the plugins and server settings etc., I took a step forward and tried to approach the more senior technical management of the theme.
I wanted to see how far will Avada go to help me out with my genuine query.
I was pleasantly surprised. There was always someone who took the case personally and resolved it for me eventually.
This shows the commitment from Avada team to keep the customers happy and content. Can’t fault it.
I have to mention the Avada’s Grandfathered Support initiative for its customers who bought the theme before 1st of September 2015. Basically, it allows the buyers who bought the theme before September 2015 to enjoy lifetime free support by Theme Fusion despite the fact that Envato has changed this policy now and charge for this service when it expires.
Absolutely amazing and I thank Avada for this gesture. Decisions like these matter for the end user.
theme updates and continuous improvement
Avada is recently updated to version 5.6.
The process of transition and updates was relatively smooth throughout and there was ample support and documentation available for the users to follow.
The biggest update in my experience happened when Avada switched from version 3 to 4. There were a few hiccups but they were eventually resolved with a good support provided by the staff.
Avada has been kept up to date and continuously refined.
A big positive change came when Avada was updated from version 3 to 4. The code was made lightweight and speed improvements were brought. This was the update when separate Fusion Core and Fusion Builder plugins were brought in to keep the actual theme size and hence the speed in good shape.
Other small but useful changes and refinements have been incorporated in Avada over the period of time. The list is long but if you are keen to know more, check Avada’s Changelog here.
“All in all, a big peace of mind for me that the team behind is working on the theme so that the competitive edge is maintained and Avada users enjoy an up to date and modern theme for their blogs”.
Desire to improve
I recently contacted Avada Support and asked if a few design specific tweaks can be considered and hard coded in the theme in future revisions.
The response was positive.
I am told that the changes proposal has been passed on to the senior development team and will be incorporated. However, the time frame could not be given.
I am fine with it. I will wait and keep an eye on that.
It is a good feeling that the theme developers are approachable and listen to the genuine needs and requirements of the end-users. We just need to keep in mind that there could be unlimited desires of the end-users
my concerns around using Avada
While Avada has been excellent generally, it is important to highlight my worries and second-thoughts to give you a full picture.
Nothing is perfect in this world. You go for the next best.
Let us explore a few points worth considering. Feel free to chip in and share your thoughts.
Avada’s continuous support for how long?
What if Theme Fusion is not interested or become lesser interested in Avada going forward?
What if the theme doesn’t remain competitive to other options and trends in the market?
What if Avada doesn’t feel like one of the top players in the market in a couple of years time?
Well, there are no easy answers to these questions. This can happen to any theme.
With nearly 350K users, I believe Avada has a better chance to remain competitive than most of the other premium themes in the market.
Users like me and you perhaps need a bit more assurance from the developers.
A further refined website perhaps by Theme Fusion?
Or regular press releases and updates fully communicated to the users?
If anyone from Theme Fusion or Avada team is reading these lines, we would really appreciate your views on this matter.
Avada’s speed factor (bloat and fat code)
Show the code of the Avada theme to a critic of the multi-purpose themes and it will be ripped apart in minutes.
Yes, it is a heavy theme and it does include tons of code weaved into it.
But look at the options it gives you. With such a versatile offering, I don’t mind the theme which is fat and bloated unless it affects my website’s speed and performance to a degree where I am uncomfortable.
As a non-technical end-user, I am happy to defend Avada. Just because I feel that it has not slowed me down significantly.
But I have a feeling at the back of my mind that if I am not careful, my blog can soon be feeling sluggish and burdened.
I don’t think that it is an Avada specific item though. With any theme and set of plugins you use on your website, you always need to be aware of speed and performance implications.
I would really appreciate if Avada team can help us in a form of a detailed guide to suggest speed and performance tips to go with Avada.
So me and you are comfortable in our minds that Avada cares for speed and loading times.
Avada locks you in (using custom fields and shortcodes)
A WordPress theme in an ideal world should not lock you in.
This means with a few clicks, you switch your website/blog from one theme to another without losing most of your functionality and intent.
In real world, this is difficult to achieve.
Most premium and multi-purpose themes come with custom fields and shortcodes which are required to be used to fully benefit from the theme style and offering.
When we change the theme, these custom fields and shortcodes etc. will not work any more unless additional measures are done to transfer them over properly. I don’t think that it is an easy task for a non-development-background person like me to carry out.
I am slightly worried.
I need to know more about this and I will carry out further research to understand this phenomenon further. I intend to write in more detail about this issue.
Recently, Avada has taken a major step in this regard. In its upgrade from version 3 to 4, Avada has brought a separate plugin Fusion Builder in addition to its already established Fusion Core plugin. Between these two plugins, most of your settings and styles are saved and can be taken forward to a new theme should you wish to change at some stage.
Avada has given me a few memory related issues in the past.
By memory issues I mean, either the back-end is not available to me to work on or the front-end for the public goes down causing the site to go offline.
In almost all the cases, the root cause is one of the following 3 main reasons.
- A conflict with a specific plugin.
- Hosting related configuration or allowances etc.
- External calls blocked or interfered by cache or security plugins.
In all cases, be prepared to seek advice. You need a good hosting provider (I use SiteGround) and preferably with a “WordPress” management expertise.
Handling “meaty” themes like Avada can be tricky for casual and not-well-designed hosting solutions.
Don’t be surprised if you need to carry out a bit of research, Googling, speaking to your hosting support, speaking to Avada support and even carrying out a few checks yourself.
The learning curve is worthwhile to certain extent but it can become complicated if not managed carefully.
Don’t be afraid. You may not have these issues at all. It all depends on the nature of your use and how complex is your website based on Avada and other plugins in your hosting environment.
user implemented CSS customisations
Avada comes with a built-in set of theme options to adjust the layout, styling and other design elements. This is the set of options I use most of the times and has helped me to achieve 99% of my design.
It is generous, plenty and covers many items.
But what happens when there is something you want to tweak in design which the theme doesn’t offer outright?
Depending on your level of expectations and requirements, you may need to add custom CSS tweaks manually. There is an editor within the theme settings that you can use for this purpose. To date, I have just used this for 3 minor tweaks in my design.
The point I am trying to make is that if you are a complete code-avert, Avada will have plenty of options for you to design the things your way.
But anything specific, you can soon be in a situation where you need to start tweaking the code to make them look “your way”.
I try to avoid it as much as I can to keep the things simple.
(extract) HTML and CSS aren’t scary but can be time consuming and trial and error if you aren’t au fait. I know this from my own experience. Therefore I can see Avada’s appeal. The less twiddling you have to do the better.
Avada after 4 years – my verdict
Before I give you my verdict, share with us in two clicks below what has been your interface and dealing with Avada so far. You will be able to see other results when you submit your feedback.
My 4 years with Avada have been pleasant.
I am a sort of person that if I was not fully satisfied with the theme, I would have jumped on to a different theme straight away.
Avada has something in it that has kept me glued up to it. Perhaps its design and customisation options in the short term and then a peace of mind that I can extend it for other things such as WooCommerce and bbPress etc. in future.
“It has been a solid platform for me and I am happy with it. I would like to keep using it for foreseeable future as long as the passion and support of Theme Fusion remains behind it.”
You need to analyse your requirements and expectations in the light of what Avada offers.
Have a scan of the user comments on their official page on Theme Forest and get a feel of what real customers are saying about it.
You have got me here if there is any question that you think I can help you with. Don’t be shy, fire away. My experience with Avada may help you to solve your query.
Let us know what are your concerns and observations about Avada so far.