There are two possibilities when it comes to choosing a WordPress Theme for your business or blog.
The first is that you stick with a theme specialized to your niche. If you’re in the restaurant business, buy a theme made specifically for restaurants. If you’re running a blog, you should stick with a theme that’s designed for bloggers.
The second is to select from one of the increasing numbers of multi-purpose themes designed to adapt the needs of a wide variety of users. X, from Themeco is one such theme. Offering multiple unique designs, plenty of extensions, expanded demos and as close to unlimited customizations as is probably possible, you might be wondering of X is the right theme for your business?
This post will actually be our second and an updated review of the X Theme. Our first was written back in April of 2015. Since then, the team at Themeco have been hard at work — releasing multiple updates and new features.
Let’s jump right into taking a closer look at X and uncover some of what makes this theme so powerful.
Installation & setup
We’re going to spend a minimal amount of time in installation and setup for two reasons. First, installation is simple — not unlike many of the other themes we’ve reviewed here on WP SuperStars. Second, and most importantly, X has a ton of features. We’re better off discussing as many as possible in order to give you a clear idea of what this theme is capable of.
X installs without a hitch. Once you’ve entered your License key, you’ll have access to updates, support and a whole list of valuable extensions which we’ll cover a little later.
You’ll be able to access different aspects of X from a variety of different locations in the WordPress admin menu:
- There is a primary X Addons Menu that becomes available just below the Dashboard option. Here you find access to add-ons like Mailchimp, Smooth Scroll and White Label).
- There are plenty of theme customization options available in the default WordPress customizer.
- Some plugins (such as Cornerstone & Essential Grid) have their own admin menus.
Of course, you’ll find many page and post layout options from within the default post editor depending on which plugins or extension you choose to install.
Primary X features
There are plenty of features included with this theme and we’re going to focus on covering as many of them as possible. If there’s one downside to themes like X, it’s that it can be incredibly easy to get lost in the process of building your website.
There are enough options available that unless you know what you want to achieve ahead of time, you might never finish the building process. My advice is to make sure you have a well-defined plan ahead of time. Get your site built and launched as quickly as possible. You can always tweak the small details later.
To get things started, when working with X, there are 4 primary design styles called “Stacks”. Really, these are just a series of templates that function as a kick-off point for designing your website.
Choosing a Stack is done via the WordPress customizer. It’s the first option available and choosing your initial layout is as simple as selecting a radio button. Your template will load within a few seconds. The four Stacks included are:
- Integrity – Built as an all-purpose design for creatives, agencies and professionals, Integrity is designed to be modern and functional yet not too flashy.
- Renew – A flat design and simple layout means Renew is all business. It has an integrated portfolio with unique hover effects.
- Icon – If your website is all about written content, the Icon Stack is built for you. It offers a minimalist design with plenty of unique layout options.
- Ethos – Designed as an option for online publishers, the Ethos Stack is a magazine based layout designed to keep readers engaged. It offers a carousel, category filtering and custom text titles.
The first three stacks listed above include 10 individual templates (demos) and the Ethos Stack currently offers 3 templates (currently).
To make the process of getting started even easier, X comes packaged with a variety of niche specific demos. If you happen to be in a niche for which there is a demo, it’s a great way to reduce your overall site-build time. At the very least it’ll give you some great layout ideas to get you started.
There are currently 7 expanded demos available including:
X Theme extensions
A key aspect of X Theme are the over 20 extensions that are included for free. Some of the extensions are developed in-house by Themeco and others are built by 3rd party developers. Not all of the included extensions will benefit every type of website but many will. You can find a complete list of the currently available extensions here but a summary of the more popular ones are:
- Cornerstone – As a frontend page builder developed by Themeco, Cornerstone is probably the most important extension included with this theme. This extension essentially allows you to create highly customized page and post layouts. Cornerstone isn’t quite as flexible as some other page builders on the market (yet) but it’s extremely easy to use and gets the job done for most people.
- MailChimp – This extension allows you to easily create custom MailChimp option forms
- Slider Revolution, LayerSlider and Sililoquy – Many of the templates and demos rely on sliders and X comes packaged with three of the most popular options.
- Essential Grid is a popular grid building plugin that allows you to create a wide variety of great looking and customizable grid layouts.
- White Label – If you’re building a site for a client or simply want to customize your own site, White Label provides control over a variety elements such as the login image and the add-ons page.
- UberMenu – As of version 4.5 which was released this month, X includes UberMenu which will allow you to create great looking custom menus.
There are plenty more add-ons available that cover everything from layout options, improving conversions, analytics, navigation and more. The vast number and types of extensions provide plenty of additional flexibility for theme users.
Many of the changes you’ll want to make in the process of customizing your theme can be completed using the WordPress Customizer. If you’re familiar with using the customizer you can probably skip to the next section. If not, it’s worth looking around this part of the theme as there are a lot of options here that are easy to miss.
The first thing you’ll be able to do is to select your stack. Once that’s done you can continue on to the next section which allows you to make stack specific changes. For example, the Integrity Stack allows you to choose between a light or dark layout, Topbar, Navigation and Footer Transparencies as well as several blog and portfolio options.
The other major customization panel covers the site layout. You can select from a full width or boxed design, the maximum site width, default content layout and content width as well as several background options.
Beyond these changes there are also plenty of finite options including:
- Typography – Including Google Fonts and subsets, body and header fonts, letter spacing and site links
- Buttons – Control styling including 3D, flat or transparent, shape , size, colors and hover states
- Header – Header options include selecting the Navigation position (including left or right positioning), navigation placement, height, fonts, logo images, colors, hover states and more
- Footer – Here you’ll have complete control of your footer area including number of widget areas, footer menu, social icons, the ability to adjust credits and a scroll-to-top anchor
- Blog – Layouts can be standard or masonry, full width or global. The same settings can be selected for archive. Finishing out this section are the post meta options
- Portfolio – If your site includes a portfolio this is where you can easily customize the layout. Cropping feature images, post meta, titles and sharing settings are all located here
- Social – There are 18 options here for links to social profiles.
- Site Icons – Change your site favicon and mobile touch icon
- Custom – Here you find an area to enter custom CSS and JS
The X Theme includes plenty of other features that are worth mentioning. Although they might not be applicable to every website, the round out the usability of the theme quite nicely.
X comes packed with over 40 shortcodes (a separate plugin) that will allow you to customize and add unique features to the content on your website. Accordions, blockquote, buttons, callouts, counters, Google Maps, Light boxes and more are all available.
X is capable of creating a complete eCommerce site with the help of the WooCommerce plugin. Each stack contains a unique store layout and appearance.
BuddyPress and bbPress Ready
Complete integration with both bbPress and BuddyPress mean if you’re building a community-based website, the process will be relatively simple.
Many of these features are expected these days but it’s still nice to know they are present:
- 100% Fluid and Responsive
- Retina ready with PhotoShop files included
- SEO ready
- Translation ready
Support, updates and pricing
The team behind the X Theme (Themeco) are big on customer support and they make that very clear on their website. They answer pre-sales questions via Themeforest comments and if you’ve actually bought the X Theme, you’ll find they have an extensive knowledge base as well as a member forum.
I didn’t have a need to ask for support but I feel safe in assuming that the popularity of this theme is at least partly based on the ongoing and high level of support provided by Themeco.
A quick look at the changelog will reveal that Themeco are continuously pushing out new updates — both bug fixes and features.
Available from Themeforest for a single site license of $64, X represents pretty good value. Also included with each license is the ability to validate a development environment.
X Theme pro’s and con’s
- Very easy to use but powerful enough for more advanced users
- Lots of extensions are included
- Highly flexible & easily customized layouts
- Great templates and layouts to help you get started
- You might find yourself desiring more control over certain elements
- It’s not cheap — the same price as some theme shop annual subscriptions, so you may want to explore the likes of Elegant Themes and MyThemeShop.
- You may find a page builder plugin with theme building functionality, such as Elementor Pro easier to work with.
Overall, I was impressed with the X Theme. It’s easy to deploy, use and navigate. I never had to spend too much time looking for a specific feature which to me, is always a good sign.
Despite all the capabilities and features of this theme, X still feels remarkably lightweight. Not once did I find myself waiting for anything to load. If you are looking for a feature-packed theme that is easy to use, I think X deserves a closer look.