Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
- Blogging with Chromebook – Can it Handle Everything? [2017 Update] - June 8, 2017
- SiteGround WordPress Hosting – 2 Years On (2017 Update) - May 17, 2017
- The Challenge of Consistent Blogging: 3 Reasons, 3 Remedies - May 14, 2017
A few days back, I completed my two years running with Avada theme.
Avada has been powering this platform since day 1 of the journey. After my first 3 months of using the theme, I gave you my early thoughts about its quality.
Then after 1 year of using and analysing it, I wrote Avada theme review again to give you more flavour.
This time, it is a further-matured and informed feedback that you are going to get in this article. Based on 2 years of companionship with Avada theme.
Has it still got the shine now that I have dealt with it 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 own dealings with Avada.
You won’t find any diplomacy here.
How it feels is how it’s going to be told to you.
Table of Contents for Quick Navigation
- Avada’s Biggest Strength – Features, Performance or Customisation?
- Support and Updates With Avada?
- My Concerns Around Using Avada
- Avada After 2 Years – My Verdict
“Swiss Army Knife” Theme
Avada can do a lot of things for your WordPress site/blog if you want it that way. And possibly 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” kind of theme for WordPress.
If you are after a review and explanation of its features and offerings, I would suggest you to look at the Avada’s official “demo” site. You should be able to see most of its features explained there.
You pick up and analyse the ones which are close to your requirements and make a judgement accordingly.
“For me, versatility in terms of features and specs is not the key, although I don’t mind it. In fact, I like it if I can have it.”
“With a minimalist approach to design and more focus on the words that are written here, it is the design and customisation-ability which are important for me.”
I am not going to dig deep into features here. The official Avada page will answer that question for you as explained above.
Avada’s Speed and Performance
Read the following lines while keeping in mind that a person with non-developer background is writing these.
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 my users.
I must say that there is a learning curve here for those who have not been through similar situation before.
I am not talking about basics here. Basics you can learn 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 issue no matter what, it won’t take you long to master it.
I am not going to go into the detail of individual instances where I had to research and analyse the issues. I am going to give you a summary of where I stand today.
My back-end (admin panel) is smooth.
My front-end and blog presentation is fine.
All plugins and the theme itself have no clashes.
And most importantly, the site loads fast when appropriate cache solution is in place.
I dismiss the statement when people just plainly say, Avada will slow you down.
Before blaming Avada, there are other 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, it won’t be hard for you to pick up that REASONTOUSE 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 you.”
This simplicity in design and minimalism has a lot of design tweaks and days of work hidden behind it.
No matter how simple it feels, it has been a complex process for me to reach to this approach. 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.
Quality of Support When Required?
When I am typing these lines, Avada has over 242,000 sales as shown on its ThemeForest’s Page (aff).
This is a huge user base and to achieve 4.78 stars out of 5 is a tremendous achievement in my eyes. I believe that Avada’s support and the team’s effort behind has a big role to play in this achievement.
There are three levels of support I have enjoyed in my journey with Avada so far.
1Documentation, Forums and Community Support – 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.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 effort from the team 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 for us. While a theme can do so much, there are plenty of other factors that count in as well for smooth operation of our 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 co-founder Muhammad Harris over Twitter or via the support ticket system.
I wanted to see how far will Avada go to help me out with my genuine query.
I was pleasantly surprised. Muhammad took the case personally and resolved it for me over a period of three days.
This shows the commitment from Avada team to keep the customers happy and content. Can’t fault it.
Finally, I forgot to mention 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.
Absolutely amazing and I thank Avada for this gesture.
Updates and Continuous Improvement
Avada is recently updated to version 4.0.3. The major upgrade from Avada 3 to 4 brought significant changes in relation to the user interface and the Theme Settings panel.
The process of transition was relatively smooth and there was ample support and documentation available for the users to follow.
The new “options panel” looks smart, more practical and streamlined. For a full list of changes, refer to this article by Theme Fusion.
There is another recent announcement that Avada 5.0 is on its way. The highlight of this upgrade is the refinement and enhancement of Avada’s own builder – the Fusion Builder (currently Fusion Core).
It seems odd that why this major change was not included in Avada 4.0 but I am assuming that the two significant changes have been kept separate from each other to avoid conflicts.
It is also promised that in Avade 5 release, the overall size of the core theme is reduced and optimisation and performance are key considerations.
“All in all, a huge peace of mind for me that the team 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”.
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.
05.11.2016 update – Avada released its version 5.0 in October 2016. It was a major update and came with its niggles and annoyances when upgrading to this version. I had to contact the support a few times to overcome a few upgrade-related issues. Eventually REASONTOUSE is now upgraded to 5.0.3
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 see a few weak points as I understand right now. Feel free to chip in and share your thoughts if you have any views on any of the following headings.
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 an year time?
Well, there are no easy answers to these questions.
With nearly quarter of a million 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.
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 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 aware that Avada cares for speed and loading times.
Locking in (Using Custom Fields and Shortcodes)
A theme in principle should not lock you in.
This means in an ideal world that with a few clicks, you switch your website/blog from one theme to another without losing most of your functionality and intent.
Let us say for example from “Avada” to “another-good-theme” of your choice in 2 years time.
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.
If you can shed more light on this “locking-in” demon, do share it with us in comments below. I will add your thoughts in this section here (with your reference) if they are relevant and authentic.
Otherwise and ideally, we would like Avada / Theme Fusion to tell us more about this in a form of documentation and guidance.
Clarity brings trust.
We want Avada to come out clear and outline positives and negatives precisely. Let the users and audience make the call then.
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.
For me as an end-user, something I always need to keep an eye on.
User Implemented CSS Customisations
A difficult heading but I will try to explain.
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. You will soon realise that “time is money” in blogging too.
(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.
What do you think?
Is it a big factor for you to design your website to your full satisfaction doing manual changes?
Before I give you my verdict, tell 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 2 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 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 (aff) on Theme Forest and get a feel of the real customers and what they 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.
Wherever you stand, share your thoughts with us in comments below. Let us know what are your concerns and observations about Avada so far.