7 Highly Customizable WordPress Theme Frameworks and Website Builders
Finding a WordPress theme with the exact design and all the features you want can be difficult. Although there are thousands of great premium and free WordPress themes available it’s not often you will find one that perfectly meets your needs out-of-the-box. When you do find a suitable theme to use, you will no doubt need to modify elements and customise things so it looks and functions the way you want. If you’re not that savvy with HTML, CSS and PHP, or don’t even know what those things are, getting into the code to customize your theme can be daunting. It can also take a heap of your valuable time that would be better spent writing and creating great content for website.
One option is to hire a designer to create a custom WordPress theme or hire a developer to modify your free or premium theme, however that can be expensive and finding the right developer can be a challenge.
Thankfully there is an easy way to get a unique WordPress theme design if your budget is limited and you’re not a skilled designer and developer. Powerful and highly customisable WordPress themes frameworks and WordPress theme builders are available that give you full control to create your own unique WordPress theme without needing to touch a line of code. The seven top WordPress themes and theme frameworks below are packed with features and options such as drag and drop layout builders, styling options, colour pickers, font selectors, and heaps of other in-built options so you can easily and cheaply build your own unique WordPress themes without needing any coding knowledge.
PageLines Framework is a responsive, drag and drop framework for WordPress with Bootstrap, CSS3, and HTML5. The cutting edge theme framework is designed for both new and pro users, and allows you to easily build virtually any type of website you can imagine. It integrates all of today’s popular web standards, stacks of features and gives your website relevance & room for growth. Features include a responsive / mobile design, drag and drop layout control, section cloning, detailed colour and background controls, page-by-page settings, custom typography with over 50 fonts, special page handling with controls for every type of page, a PageLines marketplace to buy and sell drag-and-drop apps and much more.
All the Features
- Drag and Drop Design – code free, easy and professional
- Layout Builder – control the layout of your website on a page-to-page basis using a drag and drop layout editor and layout mode options
- Responsive Design – designed from the ground up to be fully responsive. It looks great in mobile browsers including iPhones and iPads
- Page by Page Control – On every page and post in your site you can control everything! Add and control page-layout, text, colours and choose from multiple drag & drop sections
- LESS and Bootstrap – includes the Twitter Bootstrap framework and the first-ever LESS CSS engine in a framework
- SEO Tuned and Social – the framework code is engineered specifically for SEO performance with tons of options for social/viral marketing
- Colour Control – control the entire colour theme and background of your site with point-and-click
- Tons of Addons – Use the PageLines Store to add sections, plugins, themes and more. Instant support for eCommerce, landing pages, etc
- Shortcodes – extensive shortcode library for easily adding buttons, carousels, alerts, modals, and much more
- Typographical – supports over 100 fonts using Google Fonts api. Use the live font picker to preview and control your type
- Special Page Handling – tons of control over every type of page. Easily control pages like categories, and archives etc
- Social Media – you can Facebook it, Tweet it, and Google Plus it
- Themeing Center – design and deploy child themes, with a powerful LESS CSS engine, and extensive docs
- Hooks – PageLines Framework has, quite literally, hundreds of hooks, filters, and actions to tweak out on
- Support – all the help you need is provided
- Developer Community – A friendly community, and unlimited access to the fundamentals you’ll need
Thesis is a powerful, high quality WordPress master framework that makes it easy for anyone to run a professional, customized blog or website. In addition to excelling at critical tasks like SEO, site speed, and layout flexibility, Thesis comes with a comprehensive Option Panels that allows you to easily control and customize almost every aspect of the framework with ease. You can select the font style and sizes, colours for most elements, the number of columns (1, 2 or 3 columns), the order of those columns and the exact width of each individual column – all without having to dig into the pages of code. Thesis also boats the strongest SEO of any WordPress theme.
- Thesis Options Panel – one of the most comprehensive theme options panel in a premium WordPress theme. Allows you to easily control and customise almost any aspect of the framework with ease. You can customise everything including, font styles, colours what you want to appear in the navigation menu, page titles, your RSS feed, what meta data shows on your post / page, how your archive page shows up etc.
- Layout Options – Thesis gives you a multitude of column and width options to choose from. You can select the number of columns (1, 2 or 3 columns), the order of those columns and the exact width of each individual column – all without having to dig into the pages of code.
- Features and Teasers – Thesis gives you an option called ‘features and teasers’ that allows you to have a front page that is more of a magazine style showing featured posts and short excerpts of other posts with thumbnails.
- Colour Control – Thesis allows you change the colour of virtually every element of theme. Easy change text, border, link, background colours etc.
- Automatic Thumbnail Generation – Thesis will automatically resize pictures and generate thumbnails for your posts.
- No coding experience required – The Thesis option panels allow you to command your site with ease without requiring detailed knowledge of HTML, PHP or CSS.
- Future Proof Customization System – Allows modifications with a custom style sheet meaning you can modify your theme and protect it against any future upgrades.
- Less Plug-ins Required – some of the capabilities that you would normally use plug-ins for are built into the theme. For example SEO options, Google analytics or other header and footer code, navigation menu options etc can all be managed in the theme options panel.
- Pixel Perfect Typography – Thesis has polished typography with finely-tuned geometrics for maximum legibility. You can select what type, and size, of font you want in all the different sections of the theme.
- Hooks – Thesis has a custom hook architecture that allows you to add to, subtract from or modify the functionality of your Thesis installation. It allows you to isolate all of your custom changes to just two key files. This makes your Thesis installation easy to customize, and easy to upgrade.
- Rich Style Classes – Thesis features built in classes to help you make important content stand out, and add some pizzazz to your site. You can add a drop-cap, alert box, a note box, or even wrap text around adsense ads etc.
- Customisable Multimedia Box – Thesis includes an optional fully customizable multimedia box which can be used for rotating random images, video, advertising or your own custom code.
- Search Engine Optimization – Thesis boasts the strongest SEO of any theme on the market today thanks to its expertly-coded HTML + CSS + PHP framework.
- Support – Access to documentation and a great support forum managed by talented and helpful staff
- Continuous Improvement – Thesis is continually being upgraded and improved and new featured added. When you purchase thesis you get access to lifetime updates.
- Much More
Headway is a drag and drop theme builder for WordPress that gives you full control to create your website. The Headway Visual Editor lets you build any layout you can think of, customize any page, add colours, fonts and much more. Headway Themes believe building a website shouldn’t be hard nor should it painful so their feature packed theme makes creating a website easy and enjoyable. Headway gives you a true “what you see is what you get” designing experience, so you can create any layout and website imaginable from a standard blog, to landing pages, to membership sites, business or ecommerce websites or anything else. Headway uses the latest and greatest web technology including responsive media queries for mobile support, HTML5, and CSS3.
- Headway Grid
- Unlimited layout possibilities
- Edit any post type, page, category, taxonomy, or archive
- Customize pages independently from each other
- Build landing or squeeze pages
- Unlimited navigation blocks
- Unlimited widgetized areas/sidebars
- Design Editor
- Add background images and colours
- Customize fonts and text colour
- Add rounded corners
- Add box and text shadows
- Style elements on a per-layout basis
- Style blocks independently from each other
- Powerful Live CSS editor
- Search Engine Optimization
- Clean Code
- Live SEO Preview
- SEO Templates
- Works with popular SEO plugins
- Latest Standards
- Responsive Grid (Mobile View)
- Built for WordPress
- HTML5 Doctype
- Headway Extend
- Prebuilt Themes
- Modular Blocks
- Developer Friendly
- Child Theme Compatibility
- Live CSS Editor
- Hooks (Actions and Filters)
- Block API
- Panel API
- Sell on Headway Extend™
Catalyst Theme is a feature packed, extremely powerful WordPress theme framework. Even with no coding experience you can use Catalyst to build your own fully-functional website from the ground up from basic blogs to fully blown CMS websites. The Catalyst framework makes a solid website development tool that gives you amazing flexibility with unlimited custom layouts, custom widgets and hook boxes that you can mix and match to build any page structure you desire. The Catalyst theme package includes the Dynamik Child Theme that provides 800+ no-coding design options giving a crazy amount of design control. Other features include a custom CSS building tool that writes CSS code for you, 1 click child theme creator, comprehensive font control, a full set of SEO options plus lots more. With Catalyst you can create responsive websites. With extensive Responsive Design features built right in your site adjust to the browser width, allowing you to create ONE design that fits ALL devices, making your websites truly mobile friendly.
- Unlimited custom layouts, widgets & hook boxes provide amazing flexibility
- Included dynamik child theme provides 800+ no-coding design options
- Create your own custom child themes with a single mouse click
- Custom CSS building tool that writes custom code for you!
- Comprehensive font control – fully integrated with the Google Font Directory API, and third-party fonts services such as TypeKit
- Full set of SEO options – with in-post / in-page & homepage title, description, keyword & meta control along with clean code
- Fast, efficient, HTML5 & CSS3 validating code
- Auto-Update feature
- Image uploader built into the dynamic child theme
- Page templates from powerful to simply essential
- Full Import/Export of ALL your catalyst and dynamic options
- Built-In custom widgets: excerpt widget, author bio widget, ad widget and a PHP text widget
- Easily add your own custom Favicon & Avatar to your site
- Fully compatible with WordPress MU (multi-site)
- Comprehensive documentation that’s built right into the theme options
- A pure framework filled with hooks & filters galore
- Responsive Design
- And a heap of other things
Dynamik is a powerful WordPress website builder for the Genesis Framework. Dynamik is in fact a child theme for the excellent Genesis Framework by StudioPress, however it is so much more than just a child theme. It’s an amazing WordPress website builder and design tool with more than 800 no coding design options thats gives you full control of your website design (layout, appearance, colours, fonts etc) to create any type of website you like.
The Dynamik Website Builder is ideal for beginners and the average user because it provides a well organized, intuitive set of design and functionality controls that puts the power in your hands to create and customise your website without needing coding knowledge or hiring a designer. Dynamik has over 800 no coding design options for total control over your entire website.
Creating a unique homepage layout with the exact design you want is always a challenge if you don’t have the coding skills to make it yourself. Dynamik gives you complete homepage control with 49 one click page home configurations as well as unlimited options to create any layout you want.
Dynamik has remarkable flexibility for creating your own layouts with unlimited custom widget areas and content areas. You’re no longer subject to the limits of a default sidebar or two. The website builder gives you a black canvas to create as many new layouts and structural additions as you desire and place them where ever you wish.
One of the great things with Dynamik is the Custom CSS Building Tool which makes it really easy to add your own custom CSS code, controlling how every element appears on your site. The front end CSS Builder lets you pick and choose what customizations you want to apply and then writes the code for you! You don’t need to know anything about coding.
Mobile is important these days, and extensive responsive design features are built right into the Dynamik Website Builder so your website will have a ‘responsive design’. This means your website will automatically respond to the dimensions of the screen size and device used to view it, so it works beautifully on everything from desktops to tablets to mobiles. A single click Responsive Activation feature along with intuitive controls allows you to easily fine-tune the way your site responds for mobile visitors.
It has a plethora of features and functions, so briefly some of the other features include: comprehensive font and styling options, automatic updates, extensive backend options with robust feature set and design controls for every website element, lightweight and efficient front end, favicon and background uploader, MU support, and much more.
While the Dynamik Website Builder gives you full control to create your own website, the Dynamik Markeplace also offers a growing number of pre made premium and free skins you can use as your website starting or ending point. See them all here.
- Complete Control – more than 800 no coding design options
- Homepage Control – 49 one click home page configurations included
- Responsive Design – Extensive responsive design features are built right into the Dynamik Website Builder so your website look great on ALL devices from tablets to mobile phones (responsiveness is optional)
- Unlimited Widget Areas and Content Areas – allows you to create any layout structure you like
- CSS Builder – lets you pick and choose what customizations you want to apply and then WRITES THE CODE FOR YOU. Ideal for those of you who want total control but aren’t a ‘coder’
- Front End CSS Builder – lets you see your custom styles take effect in real time
- Custom Fonts and Styling Control – includes 165 websafe fonts, integration with Google Font Directory API, TypeKit support and point and click options to control how text appears on your site
- Fast, Efficient Code – Dynamik’s code has been professionally written, refined and maintained to provide a quality foundation for your next web design project. While the back end of Dynamik contains a robust feature set and design controls for every website element, you can rest assured that the front end of your site will be lightweight & efficient
- Automatic Updates – notifications and update from the WordPress dashboard with a couple of clicks to always run the latest version
- No Limits – Use Dynamik on an unlimited number of sites, domains, Client Sites, whatever!
- Custom Child Themes – allows you to create your own custom child themes with a single mouse click
- Background Image Uploader
- Import / Export Dynamik Options
- Easily Add Custom Favicon
- Fully Compatible with WordPress MU
- Comprehensive Documentation
- Free and Premium Skins Available in the Dynamik Marketplace
- Lifetime Support
Dynamik requires the Genesis Theme Framework from StudioPress, which is not included with Dynamic Website Builder and needs to be purchased separately. You can read more about the Genesis Framework and purchase it here.
Builder from iThemes lets you create WordPress sites quickly and easily by creating your own layouts. The Layout Editor lets you build your own layouts how you want them. Choose from the building blocks of a great web site by inserting modules: header, images, navigation, content area (with or without sidebars), widget bars, HTML areas, and a footer. It gives you complete flexibility without needing to know the code. iThemes provide 65+ child themes you can use as base for your website. Builder’s Style Manager plugin helps with styling so you can change the background, try a different font, or match the theme to the colours of your brand etc. Blocks are also available to add extra functionality add-ons for specific content types. For example Restaurant Block lets you make a menu of food items and add locations and directions to your site. Events Block lets you create events and calendars etc.
Backbone is a responsive WordPress theme framework from ColorLabs. The premium theme framework has a clean and simple design and includes a vast array of features, layout options, and customisation possibilities. Features include a comprehensive backend control panel, templates for blog, magazine, business, portfolio and photoblog layouts, 6 single post / page layout options, typography and custom styling options, a responsive design making it mobile ready, and much more.
Here are some other themes worth checking out also
Seed WordPress Theme Framework
The Seed Theme is a powerful, customisable and versatile responsive WordPress theme that makes an ideal framework for any WordPress website project. The carefully developed theme from Organic Themes has well organized and documented code, and contains all the functionality you need for creating a beautiful WordPress theme. It doesn’t however have any of the unnecessary features often found in premium themes now that can bloat, slow down and really just make it a pain to actually develop a website with. Seed can be used as a solid base foundation for any new WordPress theme project, or used as is out of the box for a clean and professional website.