Quick Summary of Theme.Works
Rating: 3.5 Good, but not for everyone, and only drag and drop for the homepage
The Good: Really easy to create a theme Good looking themes Plenty of options for modules
The Bad: Only the homepage can be made via drag and drop Modules only go in rows (no columns) Not much different to most builder themes
The Bottom Line: Overall, Theme.Works is a good choice if you need a basic business or portfolio theme building and have specific criteria, but it's not great for more exotic sites like ones with magazine layouts.
Every business, whether brick and mortar or digital, should have an online presence in the form of a website.
A website not only helps you sell your products and services, but it also helps convey what you and your business are about, which is just as important for finding the right sort of customer.
A lot of people are still wary around building their own site, citing costs and technical issues, but with the growth of WordPress more and more people are realizing that it isn’t that hard, or expensive, to get a website up and running.
One of the most difficult decisions though is how the website looks.
Thousands of Themes
WordPress uses themes to control the look and sometimes functionality of a website. On WordPress.org there are over 3,000 free themes (source) alone, and when you take into consideration all the themes on premium services such as Themeforest, etc, the count must easily push towards the 5,000 mark.
That’s a lot of themes to review to find the one that would be a perfect fit for your site.
One of the issues that you tend to find is that even if you come across a theme that is suitable, it usually has something about it that you would like to change, e.g. it has a fixed width slider, when you wanted it to be a full width one.
These issues can sometimes be fixed with code, but then you either need spend the time fixing it, or hire a developer, and then there’s the issue of updates potentially causing breakages.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pick and choose the elements of your site, without code, and have the theme generated for you?
That’s exactly what the team behind Theme.Works thought when they created their theme building site.
Simple theme building
Theme.Works uses a simple drag and drop functionality to insert different modules in order to make creating a theme a snap.
You click a button on their site and up pops a modal window with some options for sections of your new theme.
Currently there are 14 different options to choose from:
When you select each one of these you are then given a varied list of sub-options to choose from.
For example with the header module you can choose from 18 different styles of headers: tall ones, thin ones, sidebar ones, ones with text on the left, right, or centered, video headers and slider headers.
This happens with each module selection so you can easily create one of hundreds of different structures.
The choice is enough for most people for sure, without being completely overwhelming.
It also allows you to get the exact style of theme that you want.
Not for Every Use Case
The above statement wasn’t quite true though. Yes, Theme.Works allows you to control each aspect of your site, but it’s not an ideal choice for every business.
If you wanted a magazine layout for instance, then you’re out of luck as Theme.Works doesn’t support columns at this moment in time, meaning making complex layouts quite difficult.
However, if you have need of a basic business or portfolio theme but want to customise the look without code then Theme.Works is definitely worth a look.
Not Really Simple
Theme.Works core selling point is that it is simple to create a theme, but the reality is slightly different.
While you can create a homepage with their drag and drop system, the rest of the theme is still standard fare.
If you want to change other aspects of the theme or want to tweak each homepage module, you will need to use the theme settings or the Customizer (or both as options are split among them).
This then calls into question whether Theme.Works is a better alternative to builder themes such as the excellent Divi theme by Elegant Themes.
Sure, Theme.Works allows a home page to be built very quickly, but to change that home page you need to recreate the theme again, whereas in a builder theme you do it from within your own site.
The lack of columns is also a big downer.
Only the Homepage
Another issue is that while you can easily create a fantastic looking homepage via the drag and drop editor of their site, you can’t do the same with posts and page layouts. For those you need to use the post formats or in built page builder, within the theme options itself. There are also templates, but this are still static compared to the homepage builder.
This then leads back to whether Theme.Works is any better than a quality builder theme.
In my opinion, the answer is no, but that doesn’t mean that it’s worse either.
As far as the admin area of the themes go it is about the same as most other themes out there, and have the expected number of features that most premium themes provide: Shortcodes, options to change styling, clients section, testimonials, and so on.
Unlike some themes, Theme.Works themes are functionality light, in that there’s no in built ecommerce/event/other complex functionality built in. And that’s fine. It has the basics (slider, social icons, etc) and anything else you need can be obtained via plugins.
Boring things you need to know
When checking out the general consensus of Theme.Works, one major concern was updates. They have this nailed though as the themes have lifetime (lifetime of the company, not your lifetime) updates available for them.
Of course, once your licence expires you can’t create new themes (which means you can’t modify the layout of your existing theme), just update the existing themes code.
The themes are GPL (GNUv2) so can be modified if you want, though that kind of detracts from the purpose of drag and drop themes.
The Bottom Line
Is Theme.Works worth the money? That’s a debateable question and really depends on you and your business’s needs.
If you need a quick, good looking business or portfolio theme then Theme.Works is definitely a viable option, but if you need something more complex it just doesn’t cut it.
Really I can’t see much benefit as is from using Theme.Works over a builder theme like Divi. In fact Divi et al will likely give you more control and still without needing to code, though the learning curve will be slightly higher.
Perhaps in the future Theme.Works will allow more control over the styling and allow posts/pages to be structured as well, allowing for a wider style of site, but until then I can only give Theme.Works a 3.5 out of 5.