Theme Spotlight: Avada and Enfold

by | Sep 25, 2018

There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from to help you build your website – but not all of them are created equal. Avada and Enfold are two of the most popular themes online – for good reason.

Both themes are responsive – the content “responds” to fit the screen size – and use modular layouts. They include pre-set design elements for you to pick from to build your site.  They are builder themes – where you can drag and drop elements into your page.

Builder Theme Basics

Here’s a quick overview of how themes like Avada and Enfold work.  There are three components to the build: Section, Row, and Module. Sections are primary container that hold rows. You choose the number of columns you want in the Row settings. For each column, you choose a module or element – Text, Image, Video, etc.

The Section, Row and Module are all customizable. They have settings for spacing, background images, colors, fonts – and depending on the module you choose, specific customizations.  For example, when you add a blurb module – you can choose to use an icon, change its color, etc.

All builder themes allow you to add custom CSS as well, but the more customization they pack into the theme itself, the less you need to use it.  That goes for plugins too – many of the modules in these themes eliminate the need for add-ons, like contact forms or opt-ins.

Minimizing plugins is good thing for performance but make sure you don’t your theme isn’t so bloated it takes too long to load. You can always check your site’s load time at www.pingdom.com.

Let’s start by taking a look at Avada.

Avada

The Avada theme is very impressive – it’s a bestseller online, with more downloads than any other theme. Avada was one of the first mega-themes – it came on the market in 2012 with it’s unique Fusion Builder.  The Fusion Builder was a “backend” editor that introduced the modular page layout.  (One year later, the Divi mega-theme was introduced – more on that theme here.)

Avada is stacked with options that give a first-time web builder the same capability as an experienced developer, without knowing a single line of code. The Fusion Builder 5.0 expanded to include a front-end builder too – in other words, now you can make changes right in the browser.

Avada offers an amazing number of templates for your home page and interior pages. If you hate starting from a blank page, these templates let you load an entire layout.  You can change the images, the styles, the fonts and colors  – so this isn’t just a cookie cutter.

It’s your new website.

Home Page Layouts
Interior Page Layouts

Complete Websites Included

One of the other big pluses with Avada are the demo sites. Demo sites are complete websites for specific industries – from daycares to pet adoptions to dentists – there are 45 different options as we write this. And no doubt more on the way.

Avada Demo Sites

Demo Importer

On your Avada Admin bar, you should see a menu item for Demos.  You will see a listing of available demos (like the pictures above), hover over the one you want and click IMPORT. You have the option to import the entire demo or just certain pages. This is a nice feature – especially if you have less content than the demo is presenting.

Demo sites are a great way to help you start thinking about the look and feel for your site. Use the structure but swap out the images and move the sections around. You want your site to be you – not a cookie cutter that looks the same as someone else’s site.

Site Performance

Avada was specifically designed with speed in mind. All the stuff you don’t see, sitting in those php files is robust code that boosts Avada’s performance. Despite all the bells and whistles it has built in, it loads quickly and efficiently.

Having said that – Avada does require a significant amount of memory from your host provider.  You may need to change some memory allocations. Avada has a tab for System Status on its dashboard that will let you know if there is a problem.

Mobility

Like the majority of big-name themes, Avada is responsive. Responsive websites not only work in all modern browsers, they adapt to the size of the screen where they are being displayed.  Avada works great on various size computer screens and smartphones.

One of our complaints about the theme is how it displays on a tablet. For some reason, the column widths become really narrow and the buttons are almost unusable.  This is a glitch of some kind and we assume the developers will fix it, but until they do – it’s a problem.

Support

One of the biggest advantages of being a popular theme is that questions, answers, tips and tricks for Avada are all over the internet.  They have really strong knowledge base that’s well structured – no you won’t have to struggle so much with phrasing your question.

Avada offers a ticket system for support as well.  If you can’t find the answer in the documentation, you can submit your question to their team.

You can get Avada here.

Enfold

Enfold is also a builder theme and though it may not be as well-known as Avada – it can stand up to the competition. Enfold is also a mega theme with numerous features and options. You can build in the backend or right in the browser.

Whether you are brand new at building websites or a professional designer – you will love all the features.  Plus, it works for smaller sites too – portfolios, bloggers – where Avada may just have more options than needed.

Enfold is focused on a broader audience without sacrificing the key features of a mega theme. It’s light-weight and extremely customizable – right from the builder.  You

Enfold Features

Though Enfold does offer templates and demos, one of the nice features – it lets you build your own and save them.   The template maker is built in and because there are so many sliders and header options – you can take total control of your pages, no matter what your skill set.

Enfold Template Builder

Another feature worth mentioning is a really cool 3D slider. You can create layers that use different images to create depth and dimension.  No expensive graphic software, just start with a background image and place secondary images on top. ( The top layers need to have a transparent background – that would be a png image file.)

Enfold 3D Slider Set Up

They have a regular slider too, but this is a pretty neat little effect. You can animations and it looks like you spent a fortune on an agency-level design.

Features On Trend

Enfold is flexible for the user, but also on the developer’s side. They seem to be able to quickly add-on modules that aren’t yet in other themes. Their mega menu builder is one of the those options.

Mega Menu Builder

If you have a site with a lot of sub-pages, this is a clean, modern and minimalist way to manage your navigation.  And it couldn’t be simpler to build.

Customization

There is no question that Enfold is one the easiest themes to customize. In fact, they have a Style Generator built right into their builder.

The Style Generator gives you tons of options. You can choose a present color scheme or build you own if that’s what you want to do.  Change font families, font sizes, style background colors and borders.

Change the way your links look, including how they might change when you hover over them.  (A nice touch that gives you more control and isn’t always offered in other themes.) You can customize individual modules right here too. Everything you need is all in one place.

Love that!

Style Generator

Avada (and Divi) have multiple locations for making style changes – sometimes it’s hard to know where to look for what.  With Enfold? Not so much.

Demo Sites

Like it’s mega theme counterparts, Enfold offers demo sites based on various industries.  They have about a dozen different mini-themes that are included in your installation.

It’s a pretty simple setup too – one click and you’re good to go. Just chose the demo you want, click the import button and you’re off and running.

There are two main demos – they are not niche sites, but a more general site layout for you to customize. There are also a bunch specific demos – for restaurants, bloggers, photographers and more.  You can see all the Enfold demos here.

Shortcodes

We have to talk a bit about the Enfold shortcodes.  It’s another place where they put more technical features into a user-friendly format.

Shortcodes are little snippets of (spoiler alert!) code that you can add to different modules on your website.  You can use short codes to animate images or run number counters. You use short codes to create contact forms or make a cool list using icons.

The shortcode I like the best is the image hotspot.  It’s a neat way to add small pop-ups on mouseovers for tooltips, suggestions or just because it’s fun.

Support

Enfold uses an online forum model for support. Once you’ve bought the theme you can login and search the existing threads.  We like that you can look for answers on your own. Pretty hard to imagine that my issue is unique and this can save a lot of time.

But in the rare event you can’t find a solution, you can start a thread and get answers pretty quickly. Their support team is extremely knowledgeable, not only about their theme but how it interacts with certain plugins, server requirements and style issues.

You can even give a support person access to your site, so they can take a close look at the problem. Support is strong point for this theme.

Ramp Up

That said, the learning curve for Enfold might be a little higher than Avada in some ways. Avada kind of takes over your dashboard so it may be easier to navigate. But that doesn’t you’ll struggle to use Enfold – it just may not be as intuitive.

Performance

For a while, Enfold had some issues with load speed. It was a major issue. But the development team went to work on solutions and found one right under their noses.

The theme was consistently loading all of its functionality – all of the JavaScript, all of the CSS – for everything. Whether it was being used or not.   When you add in the demos, and all the customization capabilities, the browser was trying to drag everything along.

They’ve since redesigned the theme to use only what it needs for a particular site. Also enable merging and minifying CSS and JavaScript files in your theme options.

And remember to use a good caching plugin and image optimizer.  If you’d like some suggestions, we have a few here.

Mobility

Enfold breaks beautifully on all screen sizes and functions well in all modern browsers. Your site will look as good on mobile devices as it does on a computer.  Columns resize nicely – two per row on a tablet, single file on a phone screen.

One general tip when checking your site on mobile – remember people will be using their fingers to navigate.  (This is related to any theme you’re using.) Buttons and links need to be clickable with an index finger, not a cursor.

Enfold is a flexible, accessible theme with lots of options and great support.

You can get Enfold here. (Note the 3D slider…)

Quick Summary

Avada and Enfold are both exciting themes with lots of features and options.  Avada may be a bit easier to learn and Enfold may offer better support.  Enfold breaks more consistently on mobile devices and Avada was definitely designed with load speed in mind.

Basically, what we’re saying is you can’t go wrong with either one. They are both priced about the same, so  it’s just a question of what you think you need.

Avada and Enfold – take a look. Let us know what you think. And if you buy one or the other, we’d love to know why.

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