This is a 2020 review of Avada vs X theme for WordPress, in which I’m going to compare the functionality of these two very popular themes. This review is from my experience, having used them to build all kinds of sites, big and small, from landing pages to e-commerce websites.
Avada vs X Theme – a clash of titans
On the left corner, released in 2012, with over 600K sales to date, from Theme Fusion, we have Avada, which claims to be the #1 selling WordPress theme of all time. The honourable contender on the right corner, brought by Theme.Co in 2013, with over 200K sales, is named the fastest-selling theme of all time. I`m going to compare the features not only within the theme but also the impact that a theme has on the overall website performance. This should be a good one. Let the fight for glory begin!
Round 1. Included Features
X theme is the first theme with an integrated page builder that I’d ever tried, this was around 2016. X theme was the most recommended WordPress theme in one of the courses I was taking at the time, so I got it from Codecanyon. Back then, one of the most attractive features apart from all of the plugins bundled with the theme was the marketing training. Nowadays this is no longer part of their offer, but you can find similar training on other themes, like WP Astra.
That being said, when I first tried the X theme I was very pleased with the amount of features and plugins available. I thought back then that I was making the right choice by saving money instead of buying each of the bundled plugins individually, but you’ll find that, if you want to get updates and go beyond the basic features, you’ll still have to pay for individual licenses for plugins such as Revolution Slider, Layer Slider and WP Bakery Page Builder and others. In my opinion, one of the most valuable and unique plugins included is the Estimation & Payment Forms. It allows you to create powerful interactive forms, even allowing you to accept payments, with PayPal and others, and bookings by using its integrated calendar. Apart from this, most of the other plugins have free alternatives that you can find right from the WordPress plugin area.
Overall, I would say it was a good deal because the bundled plugins that come with the theme are optional to activate. Right out of the box, the X theme, is already packed with many futures in terms of what you can do with it for the layout and the design of your website.
I tried Avada for the first time around January 2020. One of our websites using X Theme reported very slow loading speeds due to the website elements, so we needed a theme that would be lighter while including just as many features, if possible. After a quick browse, Avada was the clear alternative.
In terms of what is already included, I would say that the Fusion Page Builder is the best experience I have had so far, not only because of the ease of editing the pages live, but also the smoothness and lack of markup errors that I sometimes find using WP Page Builder or Cornerstone. The Fusion Page Builder is not perfect, not one of them is, but it is the closest I’ve found to match what is advertised and the actual result.
One of the things I like about Avada is the ability to use the Fusion Builder not only to edit pages but also posts. This is very handy when you care about the final appearance of a post.
Many of its design elements are flexible and powerful enough to achieve a good portion of what you may need when building a basic website. The Fusion Builder, for instance, was able to replace the Revolution Slider and Layer Slider plugins from one of my websites where about half of the people browse and buy online from their phones, making speed crucial.
X theme wins in terms of the bundled plugins. Avada wins in terms of speed and the integrated features. It’s a tie!
Round 2. Building and designing
When you start using X theme’s Cornerstone page builder for the first time, you’ll see that there is a left sidebar that contains all of the tools to edit that page. Some time in 2019, the major update to version 7 brought many changes, some of which affected the siderbar. For instance, it can now be moved or even detached to make it float. This is sometimes useful if you’re working on a single small screen, like a laptop.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, on a blank page, you can import one of the many built-in templates from the X theme gallery. But it’s actually a good exercise to build a couple pages from scratch before you start with a pre-built template, merely because in order to achieve the pleasing final result you see, it often takes quite a bit of tweaking. It may take you a good time to figure out exactly how they did it and you may get frustrated. However, if you still want to make your design to look like one of their templates, one thing you can do is to have the imported template visible on another window while you’re trying replicate it.
An advantage that Cornerstone has over Fusion Builder is the Layout view, which is an outline that you can use to quickly find the elements on a page and easily select them for editing. Fusion Builder doesn’t exactly lack this feature, because it has a Wireframe mode which allows sections to be collapsed, but it is not as easy and clear to use as Cornerstone’s outline view. This difference becomes especially important on long pages with dozens of sections and elements.
Even though Fusion Builder and Cornerstone work similarly – for instance, you can right-click to edit the elements on the page on both – Fusion Builder has a few unique features not present in Cornerstone (and vice versa). One advantage is the backend page editing mode, which is lighter to work on. The difference can be noticed especially on computers with little RAM and CPU.
The global elements in Avada are also more comfortable to work with, since you can save most page elements as assets on the library, which you can access from any page, as well as make them global – meaning that by editing once you edit all instances of it. You can also toggle the global property with just one click.
One of the popular features that was first available on Avada and became available later in Cornerstone, is the live editing text elements, such as in text blocks, headlines and buttons. It is not a crucial feature, but it feels nevertheless like a more natural way to edit text.
Round 3. SEO and Speed
I’m not going to go in-depth into the technicalities here, but it suffices to say that the main limitation for Cornerstone is the lack of the backend editing mode. This is a shame because it makes it impossible for plugins like YOAST SEO to analyse the content on the page while you’re editing it. You’re only able to see the score on the output, which is not the best way to work if you have a page with lots of text and images.
Granted, X theme’s markup may be optimised for SEO, but so is Avada’s. For that reason, it doesn’t stand out, because it’s not enough to have a clean markup in order to have Search-Engine-Optimized content.
In terms of speed, it really comes down to the amount of plugins you are using alongside X, but if you didn’t need them, then it would not be a strong reason for you to choose this theme.
Round 4. Woocommerce
Yes, I know. If this was a video game, this post would have ended a couple rounds back, but let’s say this is more of a boxing match. One of the main things that can make or break the deal when choosing a theme is Woocommerce support.
These days, undoubtedly, the need for e-commerce has increased massively and we can attribute part of this to the recent global Covid-19 event. It is for many businesses a more pressuring time than ever to get at least part of their commerce online, to avoid losing sales from digitally-apt competitors.
Fortunately, this has also opened many opportunities for small entrepreneurs. It is now a great time to get started and future-proof yourself or your clients against digital disruption. From my own experience, I would say that one of the best things you can do is to learn quickly is to learn from others who have been there and done that. If you want to get up to speed, one course I recommend is Tai Lopez’ E-Commerce training. Now, let’s go back to the last round!
The X Theme comes with a couple of nice plugins that you might like for Woocommerce: Woo Checkout Editor, which lets you slightly tweak the Woocommerce fields on the checkout page, and the previously-mentioned Estimation and Payments form, which can create quotes as well as add them to the Woocommerce checkout to complete the payment.
Although none of the plugins provided in Avada is meant to extend Woocommerce per se, the shortcodes included are good enough for many standard uses. However, both themes are a bit disappointing in terms of the configuration options for the Woocommerce endpoints – the shop page, category pages, checkout, etc. For instance, you can’t display a sort field on some pages and if you only rely on the built-in filters, you can’t use things like colour swatches because they’re not available.
On a mobile, browsing an online shop built with these themes is also not ideal because you can’t easily display a collapsible sidebar that contains things like filters, nor can you choose the amount of columns visible on each responsive breakpoint. For this you would most likely have to rely on CSS, editing the theme files and getting at least one extra plugin.
That being said, if you only have a few items in your shop and can get by with the default filters, both Avada and X Theme will do a similarly good job.
Avada takes it home again simply because of the Woocommerce shortcodes, which give you more flexibility on how to display your products. At the time of this writing, X does no longer recommend using their shortcodes, which they have replaced with Cornerstone elements.
Avada vs X Theme – side by side comparison
Here is a table comparing many of the features discussed above, as well as a few others.
|Editing history (undo / redo)|
|Navigator (page structure outline)|
|Nested containers (columns, rows)|
|Advanced column options (hover states, linking, filters)|
|Backend editing mode|
|Dark UI mode|
|Container publishing modes|
|Integrated MegaMenu feature|
|On-page CSS editor|
To sum up
A fully-featured theme is a good option for people without coding skills. Many of these themes are designed for people who have the intention of monetizing their site, either via e-commerce or through advertising, so they include many features to make these tasks possible on a standard level. As you can the Avada vs X Theme comparison table showed a very close score, even though my personal opinion still favours the former. But who knows? I might find a new theme soon that’s even better for my purposes! I hope this overview saved you some time and helped you in your decision-making. Let me know your thoughts!
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