*Editors note: This review has been updated as of February 10, 2018*
Weebly is, and has been for quite some time, one of the best website builders on the market. Its ease of use and affordability simply can’t be beat.
However, it is not without its own shortcomings. One of the biggest problems with Weebly is their lack of high quality, modern, and attractive themes and templates. They have many to choose from, but they lack that creative spark.
Fortunately, there are a few awesome 3rd party developers making some truly inspiring Weebly themes. They may not all be free but, if you’re going to make a serious go at building your own website, you should be willing to put a small investment into really making your website stand out from the competition.
Let’s take a look at one of the more popular options for premium Weebly themes, Webfire Themes.
Upon arrival to Webfire Themes’ website, it’s immediately clear that these people design websites for a living. Everything is beautifully organized, and it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The main page lays out their most popular themes, customer testimonials, and what makes them different from the competition. We’ll dive a bit deeper into that last topic in a minute, because Webfire truly does have some unique features that help them stand out from the rest.
As with any website theme developer, what it really comes down to is the themes themselves.
Fortunately, Webfire’s themes stack up very nicely with the competition, as they provide some of the best Weebly themes you’ll find anywhere. Beautiful, functional, and trendy. And, as you’ll find with any self-respecting web designer, all of the themes are completely responsive, meaning they will look great on any device.
All of the “standard” features are here. Video headers, portfolios, slideshows, animated backgrounds, and more.
Something I love in particular about Webfire’s themes is the way they pop, for lack of a better term. Each of these themes has a wide variety of options and features to give your website a truly unique look. From simple things like boxed text to more complex options like custom icons, none of your Webfire-designed websites will look alike.
When you purchase a theme from Webfire, you’ll have two licenses to choose from: Standard or Designer. Standard allows you to build one website with the theme you bought, whereas the Designer license lets you build as many websites as you like with it.
If you’re a web designer, it’s a no brainer.
If you’re finding it difficult to choose a theme based on the screenshots alone, you can view a live demo of every theme.
Now that we’ve established that Webfire’s themes are among the best on the market, let’s look at their major standout feature.
Here it is. Webfire Themes’ killer feature.
When I first wrote my post summarizing the best places to find amazing Weebly themes, (in which I included Webfire) I was contacted by Webfire Themes themselves. In addition to thanking me for the write-up, and providing some clarifications to no longer relevant features I listed, they really emphasized how much they loved this new widget generator they built.
They called it The WIDG.
I had built a couple websites with Webfire previously, but never had access to this feature. I was intrigued.
After trying it out, I can honestly say it’s worth the hype.
While most Weebly theme developers offer some form of basic custom widgets, Webfire’s WIDG takes it to the next level, enabling you to easily design advanced custom widgets from scratch.
Here’s how it works:
The WIDG generator lets you create 19 different custom widgets. For this demonstration, I’m going to design a colored text box widget. Here’s what it looks like when you start out:
For any of the widgets, all you have to do is follow the instructions, fill in each container, choose the colors you’d like to use, and you’ll get a live preview of your widget on the right-hand side.
Once you’re happy with the look, click the “Generate Widget” button. You’ll then receive an HTML code that you can copy and paste into your Weebly site:
Then, it’s as simple as copying and pasting the code into an “Embed Code” box on Weebly:
Budda-bing budda-boom. You’re all set.
Obviously, you can make some much more detailed widgets as well. I personally love the tab, pricing table and team widgets.
From what I’ve tested so far, I also haven’t seen any issues regarding responsiveness. All of the widgets I’ve used work well on mobile devices as well.
This is definitely the coolest feature of any of the Weebly theme developers. I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t already.
Ease of use
Now, obviously, the next most important feature of any custom Weebly theme is how easy it is to customize to your specific needs. After all, what’s the point in using a simple website builder like Weebly if you’re just going to have to do a lot of custom coding anyway?
Fortunately, Webfire Themes passes the test. Mostly.
While other Weebly theme developers have simplified tasks like changing background images, (by simply clicking a button on the main editor and choosing a picture to upload) Webfire requires a bit more tinkering behind the scenes.
That said, Webfire does provide crystal clear instructions right in the code itself, as you can see below:
You’ll find these kinds of labelled instructions throughout the HTML and CSS code.
The reality is, if you’re going to start messing around with custom web design themes, you should be prepared to do some basic coding modifications. Webfire makes it fairly straightforward.
In addition, each theme comes with it’s own detailed manual, via a custom website for that theme.
These websites have incredibly specific instructions and FAQ’s. Any time I got stuck on something, I was able to find the solution to my problem on these sites.
It’s also where you’ll find the WIDG generator for your particular theme.
To summarize, you certainly don’t need to know any advanced coding to make websites with Webfire themes. While it does require a bit more behind the scenes work than other Weebly theme developers, the instructions and guides are second to none. This makes the overall designing process quite simple.
Speaking of which…
Even with the best possible guides at your disposal, you’re going to run into some issues. And because 3rd party Weebly theme development is a very niche industry, Google isn’t going to help much.
That’s where stellar customer support is so crucial, and Webfire delivers.
Webfire has another feature that I haven’t been able to find with any other Weebly theme developers: a full knowledgebase of support articles.
While the guides and instructions I have detailed so far help you with problems specifically associated with Webfire Themes, the knowledgebase provides support to common Weebly issues.
If you’re fairly new to Weebly, this can be another great resource to help you on your path to becoming a Weebly web designer expert.
Webfire also had a helpful Resolution Center, designed to help customers resolve common issues with Webfire Themes’ products.
In addition, the few times I had a problem that couldn’t be solved via the guides, instructions, or knowledgebase, Webfire provided a quick response via their ticket system.
I always received a response within 24 hours, which is fairly standard in the industry.
So, between the coded instructions, custom website-based guides, knowledgebase, resolution center, and ticket submission system, it’s fair to say Webfire Themes has nailed customer support.
If you still somehow manage to find a problem with custom support found here then, I hate to break it to you, but you are simply a problem customer.
It’s a shame that there aren’t more Weebly theme developers out there. With the lack of competition, companies like Webfire could simply take the easy way out, offering “good enough” products with basic customer support.
I’m happy to report that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Webfire Themes is one of my favorite resources for premium Weebly themes. I’d easily put them up there with my other favorite, Baamboo Studio.
Give them a try, and I dare you to prove me wrong.