When it comes to tools that allow non-developers to customize the appearance of their website, WordPress users are spoilt for choice. There are countless plugins and themes available that allow you to modify almost every aspect of your website. Layers is the latest WordPress site builder on the block and it’s 100% free!
From simply changing the colors, fonts, logos, and borders, right through to creating custom templates for your posts and pages, and even overhauling the entire layout and design of your website, there is a tool out there that can help you.
However, with so many different website and page builder tools available for WordPress, it can be hard to know which one to choose. One popular option, which does a great job of enabling non-coders to really make their WordPress website their own, is Layers, the free builder theme from Obox Themes.
So if you are looking or a way to make changes – whether small or large – to your WordPress website, without touching a line of code, then this guide to the Layers website builder will show you just what’s possible.
- 1 How Layers Can Help You Build the Website You’ve Always Wanted
- 2 Intuitive Website Customizer Interface
- 3 Custom Widgets and Content Blocks
- 4 Customize Everything
- 5 Great for New WordPress Users
- 6 High Quality Pre-Built Templates
- 7 Style Kits, Extensions, and Child Themes
- 8 Mobile-First Responsive Design
- 9 WordPress Layers: Final Thoughts
How Layers Can Help You Build the Website You’ve Always Wanted
Layers is available as an open source WordPress theme that can be downloaded for free. If you have any doubts about how useful a free website builder tool could be, please check out some of the demo sites that have been built with Layers to put your reservations to rest.
Intuitive Website Customizer Interface
One of the key attractions of Layers, is that it has been built the WordPress way. The result of this is that its features and controls integrate seamlessly with the rest of your website. This makes it feel like a part of WordPress, rather than a third-party add-on.
When carrying out your customization and creative work, all the action takes place through the built-in WordPress theme customizer interface. Except unlike a regular WordPress theme, where you might be able to change the fonts, background colours, and a few other elements of your site, Layers really lets you go to town on the whole design of your website.
While you are working, you get a live preview of your website. This is great as it make the whole process of customizing the design and layout much quicker and more intuitive.
Custom Widgets and Content Blocks
Layers sticks to a fairly conventional structure for its layouts: rows, which can be populated with widgets and content blocks.
However, as well as being able to insert any widget that is active on your website into your custom layouts, Layers also include a good selection of its own widgets and content blocks.
This includes: contact details and maps, a slider, and lists of posts. There is also a custom content widget which lets you insert text, images, columns, buttons, and more, right into your layouts.
Each module or widget then has its own set of options and customization settings. These controls make it easy to get each content block to look exactly as you want. More advanced users can also click on the appropriate button to display the underlying CSS. This CSS can then be edited directly for even greater control.
Through the theme customizer interface, you can easily customize almost every aspect of your website. This includes site-wide settings, such as the logo and site title, the navigation menus, where to display the sidebars, and which fonts to use. Layers also includes Google Fonts integration, giving access to hundreds of fonts.
Changing the header layout and deciding whether to make it sticky or not is as easy as clicking on a button. The footer area can also be easily customized to include as many widget areas as you need.
Great for New WordPress Users
After you’ve activated the Layers theme on your website, you get presented with a quick walkthrough of the main features of the builder, showing how you can get started as quickly as possible. This helps make Layers a great choice for those that are new to website customization or WordPress in general.
The short and to the point videos and instructions help you quickly get acquainted with the key aspects of Layers.
High Quality Pre-Built Templates
While you are free to start from scratch and build your website and page designs from the ground up, Layers includes a selection of high quality pre-built templates. These templates are good to go, however they are also perfect for customizing and using as the foundation for your website design.
Currently there are seven templates to choose from. This includes a contact page, a landing page, a portfolio page, and a few different home page designs. Each one is ready for you to customize and add your own content to.
Style Kits, Extensions, and Child Themes
The child themes are pre-built templates or themes that make it easy to quickly apply a new design to your Layers-powered website. You are then free to customize the child theme, using the functionality of Layers.
Style kits on the other hand, are a collection of styling and layout settings, complete with demo content. These style kits can be downloaded and then applied to your site.
Layers users can create their own style skits, or skins, and then distribute them for use on other websites running Layers. This not only means you can use style kits created by other designers, but you can also use this feature to easily reuse your own creations on other websites you are working on.
The extensions for Layers allow you to insert more content into your layouts. Some examples of the type of extensions that are available include: pricing tables, charts and graphs, ecommerce content, sliders, and more.
While these add-ons are premium upgrades, Layers is still perfectly functional without them. However, if you do want to save time or add a new feature to your website, you have the option of doing so on your own terms.
Mobile-First Responsive Design
The website you build with Layers will be fully mobile-friendly. No matter what device your visitors are accessing your site on, they shouldn’t have any problem viewing your content. Layers was created mobile first, before being expanded to cover larger tablet, laptop, and desktop screens.
With Google now rating sites according to how mobile-friendly they are, when deciding where to rank them in their search engine results pages, it’s never been more important to ensure your website is fully responsive.
WordPress Layers: Final Thoughts
It’s true that Layers might not have as many features or settings as the most advanced premium page builder tools for WordPress. However, it’s better than a lot of the competition – even the paid options – and makes it very easy for anyone to either customize the included templates, or create their own website design from scratch.
The user friendly interface, combined with the impressive amount of control you get over many of the visual aspects of your website, work together to make Layers a highly recommended WordPress website builder tool, which just also happens to be free.