BestBuild is a new WordPress theme by Stylemix, ideal for creating slick, modern websites for any construction, architecture or builder company that wants to stand out from the plain, run-of-the-mill sites that most construction companies publish.
In this review, we will not only review the theme, but we will show you how to get your new construction site up and running quickly from installation to finish.
Due to integrated Visual Composer, this construction theme is fully as flexible as most of the top multipurpose themes, but BestBuild is designed out of the box with the contractor or builder in mind. If you have not used Visual Composer before, there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the speed and flexibility will blow you away.
To get the most out of this theme, you will need to install some premium plugins that are included in the price of the theme.
Installing BestBuild for WordPress
Of course, your first step after purchasing the theme is to navigate to Themeforest and download your theme folders, which will include your theme, all included plugins and demo content. I have noticed that it is better to first install all of the files, next activate the plugins, and then, when BestBuild is set as your active theme, navigate to Appearance>> Demo Import, click to import, and wait until all files are imported to your website. If you do these out of order, you may find that the demo content did not get loaded to your sliders.
BestBuild Theme Customization
Since WordPress 3.4, WP has added the Theme Customization API to the Admin screen. Navigating to Appearance >> Customize allows anyone with admin permissions to make changes to theme settings while viewing the results in real time, without having to “Save and Preview” your work.
The Theme Customization API for BestBuild theme is extremely robust, allowing for sitewide changes on everything from layout, to sidebars, to color scheme.
The first segment allows you to update or change the sitewide Title and Tagline. Click to open this section and you can experiment with different versions of your title and tagline and immediately view how they appear on the page. Note that these are only visible if you choose not to use a custom header logo.
The second section, Navigation, allows you to choose from different main navigation menu options. Spend a little time experimenting with this to decide which option works best for you.
The Widgets block allows you to add selected widgets to the footer of each page. Note: You will need to first navigate to Appearance >> Widgets and personalize your custom widgets before they will appear in the footer.
Next, you will want to choose your layout. Most business sites will choose a Static Front Page layout, and then you can select the Blog Layout that works best for you. Decide if you want to display a sidebar, and on which side you want it, as well as what you want it to contain. As all of this can be done in Theme Customization, you are able to play around with different setups and designs quickly to select the one that works for you.
Remember that BestBuilder by Stylemix gives you a wide range of fonts to choose from in the Typography section, and you can also choose custom font sizes for all of your heading tags and body text. Replace your Site Title with a custom header and adjust the header style in the Header section. In this section, you can also quickly add contact info that appears on the top right of the header, and enter social media links.
The Footer section gives you flexible options on what appears in your footer and where, as well as the ability to completely disable all footer widgets. Set your global color scheme for the theme in Colors.
Remember, as you are making these changes, they all appear instantly on your screen as you make them. No more saving and previewing over and over just to check your results.
Using Visual Composer with BestBuild
BestBuild comes with a template designer and editor called Visual Composer. The theme is flawlessly integrated with the VC plugin, drastically cutting the time it takes to design and publish any template layout you could imagine. Before using Visual Composer, you first need to navigate to Visual Composer >> General Settings from your WP dashboard and set up your basic preferences.
Choose which permission levels can access VC to create templates, select which content types have access to VC, and other global settings. Once you save your settings, the next time you choose an authorized content type, you will see the VC editor buttons on your screen.
Just like it says, choosing the Frontend Editor button allows you to design your template from the Preview screen as a drag-and-drop, and Backend Editor allows you to design your template from the post editor. I have found that even though it is easier for beginners to design using the Frontend Editor, designing from the Backend Editor is more efficient and the learning curve is very short.
As you can see from above, choosing Frontend Editor involves choosing a basic layout, then adding VC shortcode elements or text blocks to different areas of the page. There are additional button clicks that you have to take to design from this editor, which takes additional time, but it is so intuitive that anyone with a good idea can produce a quality template layout.
Once you click the “add elements” button, you have an amazing choice of elements to place almost anywhere on the page. It is worth taking some time and experimenting with the different elements, to find out exactly what they can do for your page. Remember, there are about 35-40 prebuilt templates to work from if you do not want to start completely from scratch.
For most of the elements, once you select one, there will be a pop-up modal to allow you to set the element up for your page. Just fill in any custom blocks in the pop-up and click Save Changes.
Adding a New Slider with LayerSlider and Slider Revolution
I have had many of my clients ask me the real difference between LayerSlider and Slider Revolution. Here is the truth. Other than the completely different control panels and build methods, they work basically the same. What I mean to say is this; unless you build sliders professionally, most people tend to choose the one that works best and easiest for them and stick with it.
You can get generally the same effects and transitions from either slider. Just play with them both and find the one that you like the best. This way, the more you use it, the more efficient you become and the less time it takes to produce a new slide show. Here are the basics on both.
First, from your dashboard, click “LayerSlider” from your admin menu. This will open your control panel. Once it opens, click “Add New” from the top, and it will open the design screen where you will build your new slider with LayerSlider.
The slider settings display on this page, and they can be confusing at first. I recommend checking out the settings on one of the prebuilt sliders from your demo content, and playing with those to see what effect your changes have on the slider. This will give you an idea of what your new slider will appear like as you build it.
Click the green cross to add slide images, and they will be displayed in tabs in a horizontal row. Here, you can set your images, transition type, slide duration and other basic settings. Once you are finished, click Save Changes and LayerSlider will produce a shortcode for your new slider.
You can enter this shortcode anywhere on the page through the text editor, or by simply clicking the icon in the post editor which has a dropdown field of available sliders.
If, after checking out both sliders, you find Slider Revolution is more your style, the process is basically the same, while the appearance of the control panel and settings is totally different. Select the Slider Revolution link from your WP dashboard, then click “Create New Slider” from the bottom left. Name your new slider, and choose display options.
Now you are able to customize all of your transition settings, sources, width settings and more. Again, keep playing with the settings by opening up an existing slider and changing the settings there. Soon, you will see exactly what each change does, and how to make your new slider display exactly as intended.
When done, you can insert your new slider anywhere on your page by simply using a drop-down menu on the top of your post editor, which allows you to select from any of your published sliders.
There are still many more features to this theme which makes it a superb theme for any construction, architecture or building company that wants a modern online presence. There is a built-in store powered by WooCommerce, responsive client support, and multilanguage ready.
The main selling feature of this theme is that it was designed for this purpose. There appears to have been a lot of thought and planning as to exactly what would be needed, and this theme delivers it. This is my first test-drive of a Stylemix theme, but I will certainly use them for future clients. You can check out the Stylemix themes portfolio here, or you can demo and download the BestBuild theme here for $58 including all plugins.