Another one of these articles, please not again …
With Black Friday deals abounding, the question of whether to continue with Avada or look elsewhere has been raised again. I really like Avada, but new builders and Gutenberg capabilities make me question my future use of this builder. As I have pondered this the past week or so, I realize that Avada is a great tool for my arsenal, especially for sites managed by one person. I have been working on a project with several people, and it can be challenging, especially when it comes to saving and, more importantly, overwriting global changes (CSS, typography, etc.).
The Power of Avada
As stated in previous articles, Avada is powerful and has almost everything every other builder is attempting to bring to the market. Add to that my familiarity, and I can put together a site for a customer in a day or two. Using Avada means you don’t need many other plugins — Pop Up and off-canvas, forms (simple forms), image comparison, and social media are just a few examples. Additionally, the focus on accessibility, the speed of customer service, and the Facebook community make it a pleasure to use.
I am also a fan of the minimal animation features that come with Avada, as they tend to be a real distraction in most cases. If you need real animation, you can always use products like motion.page or CSS Hero Animation. Those with development experience could even code their own using the GSAP library.
The power features
Avada has some great features that other builders and blocks still struggle with (IMO) or simply don’t have.
- Easy to manage custom layouts and layout management
- Conditional rendering
- The ability to use any accepted measurement unit almost anywhere
- Support for CSS variables almost anywhere
- Load more and infinite scroll (I didn’t realize most builders don’t have this functionality)
- CSS Column layout
- Navigator – while not a unique feature, it is so much easier to use than many others
The Weakness of Avada
Most of the weaknesses of Avada stem from the fact that it was primarily a theme before it was a builder and having to maintain backward compatibility and ease of use for novice website owners. The blog, recent posts, person, and several other elements are obsolete with all of the builder’s capabilities. I believe this, more than anything, slows the release of new features and opportunities for code optimization — adding unnecessary bloat to each page. In evaluating other builders, there are several seemingly basic things missing from the builder.
Like the power features, this is not an exhaustive list, but here are things that I find annoying:
- The need to add margin and padding values individually with no ability to link them so that setting one value is applied to all
- Background image settings missing key features (contain, custom, breakpoint adjustments)
- No object fit capability for the image element
- Multi-stop gradients
- Inability to rearrange colors in the global settings
- Inability to create your own variable names for colors and typography
- No native support for Font Awesome 6
- Table of contents (added in 7.9)
- Mega menu builder (added in 7.9)
- Flexbox controls are missing key features (reverse, gap)
- The title element should have <p> and <span> as options in addition to div (p added in 7.9)
- No controls from the nested column wrapper
- No global styling of an element, column, or container
- No ability to copy and paste styles
- No true Gutenberg support
- No CSS Grid
- Limited post loop query features (tags and categories together, most views, query id)
In addition to these missing features, license management through ThemeForest is terrible. Lastly, no separation between settings and live editor, which means if two or more windows are open, any global changes made in one can overwrite the others — the last save wins.
The Bottom Line
If you want to get into WordPress for a simple blog and have never used a theme or a builder, Avada is a very powerful option, but probably not the one I would choose today. The WordPress ecosystem has numerous choices, including the new 2023 theme for the full-site editor. If you want to do a more full-featured, accessible website and even Woo Commerce, Avada might be a great fit for you. If you want drag-and-drop and additional design controls, then Bricks Builder would be the winner (Breakdance would be a worthy alternative). For Gutenberg support, I would choose Generate Press (Kadence and Blocksy are great alternatives). If you want the latest in CSS, use native Gutenberg, and have full control over everything, then Cwicly is probably your best bet (Zion Builder is an alternative but not as full-featured). If you are more of a developer than a drag-and-drop person, the new Pinegrow plugin
(coming Dec 2022) might be your solution.
If I could only pick one option other than Avada, my choice today would be the “pro” versions GeneratePress + Generate Blocks + the free version Kadence Blocks for some missing blocks. The missing “Load more” capability in GeneratePress is the only reason some of my basic sites have not migrated.
In case you’re wondering, as part of my quest for the perfect solution — simply not possible — here are the builders I own:
- Avada (30 licenses)
- Cwicley (unlimited)
- Bricks Builder (unlimited)
- Zion Builder (unlimited)
- Breakdance (as an Oxygen customer)
- Oxygen (unlimited)
- Live Canvas (unlimited)
- Gutenberg Block Themes and Block Packages
- GenerateBlocks Pro + GeneratePress Pro (unlimited)
- Kadence Pro + Kadence Blocks (unlimited)
- Blocksy Pro (unlimited)
- Stackable Blocks (unlimited)
- Greenshift (unlimited)
Originally published on Nov. 25, 2022
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