In this Beaver Themer review I look at Beaver Themer, a powerful new theme builder add-on for Beaver Builder. Does it take the popular WordPress page builder to the next level? This review has the answer to that – and other vital questions.
What is a theme builder?
WordPress page builder plugins like Beaver Builder and Elementor use the term theme builder to describe their ability to create and control global website elements like headers and footers, blog + archive templates, and other website elements traditionally handled by the theme. A theme builder is a powerful supplement to your theme and lets you do more than you can with most WordPress themes.
See all WordPress theme builder reviews »
If you’ve read my Beaver Builder review and Divi vs Beaver Builder speed comparison, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Beaver Builder (and less so of Elegant Themes’ Divi – even with the improvements in Divi 3). Beaver Builder is a flexible and powerful WordPress page builder – without the complexity seen in other WordPress themes and plugins. Overall, Beaver Builder is the best page builder plugin I’ve used, so far.
The Beaver Builder Pro plugin + the bundled (in the Pro package) Beaver Builder theme is my current favorite combo for effortless design of beautiful WordPress websites, and it has been so for a few years now. With Beaver Builder it is quite simple and effortless to design a foxy WordPress website. The Beaver Builder plugin + Beaver Builder theme is a killer combo. Great balance between simplicity and flexibility.
However, while the Beaver Builder plugin lets anyone with a WordPress site design custom page layouts, it can only work its magic inside the content area of WordPress’ pages and posts.
What about your website’s header and footer? And what about your WordPress archive pages?
That part was left for your chosen WordPress theme to take care of. Most WordPress themes (even the Beaver Builder theme) don’t offer much flexibility when it comes to layout and overall design of your header and footer regions, nor 404 pages, archive pages, and other stuff that aren’t standard WP posts and pages.
This is where Beaver Themer enters the picture.
What is Beaver Themer?
“So… What is Beaver Themer?” I asked myself, when it was announced by the Beaver Builder team. Despite its name, Beaver Themer isn’t a WordPress theme – it’s a plugin. That part confused me a bit at first.
What is it then?
Tried the new Beaver Burger?
Beaver Themer is a WordPress plugin that sits on top of the Beaver Builder plugin, letting you layout and customize the global elements of your website. By global, I refer to the elements that are static (the same) across your whole website: the header and footer.
Beaver Themer is the “burger bun” of your website, so to speak:)
The bun is the wrapper of what makes your burger unique.
Yet, without a bun to wrap the content: there’d be no burger. Likewise, without a header and footer: there’d be no website.
Every burger needs a bun.
Every website needs a header and a footer.
That’s where Beaver Themer helps you – among many other things.
Here’s the deal: Beaver Themer is the new
kid beaver on the block. This lil’ beaver is different from his peers. He’s cool, but he wears glasses. He’s bad-ass, but enjoys editing Wikipedia’s Star Wars entry (and he even speaks some Klingon too)… Yes, he is indeed slightly geeky, maybe even a bit of a nerd – but not a dork by any means! As I said: he’s cool! He’s a beaver, after all. And he’s a WordPress developer’s best friend. In fact: he’s made himself many new web developer friends already!
Getting Beaver Themer to show its teeth (installation)
Upon installation, I had trouble getting the dear Beaver Themer plugin to show its teethy-toothy Colgate-smile within my WordPress admin. Installing and activating it didn’t do the job: there were no signs of rodent activity in my WordPress admin. I looked for teeth marks, holes, missing pieces, fallen (file-)trees… Nope… No Beaver Themer in sight.
This left me (and Robby from the Beaver Builder team) bewildered… What could be the cause?
Not a quitter, I beavered away on a frantic troubleshooting quest: I installed Beaver Themer on two alternative sites. On one of them, Beaver Themer magically appeared. On the other, it didn’t.
Case still not solved.
I created a 100% clean, local WordPress install, to make sure nothing on my end (or my server) was to blame.
Still no Beaver Themer. Dammit. Dammmmmit.
(did you see the beaver-reference there?)
Rejoice! Finally I found the solution in the Beaver Themer documentation:
“Note: If you activate the Beaver Themer plugin without having the Beaver Builder plugin installed, you’ll see a warning. Also, you won’t be able to see the license activation without having the Beaver Builder Plugin installed.”
– from: Install Beaver Themer in the Beaver Builder knowledge base
I don’t know whether I overlooked that helpful snippet on my first installation-attempt, or it was added after my initial, futile attempts.
Case in point: activate the Beaver Builder plugin, before you activate the Beaver Themer plugin, to avoid a potential no-show of Beaver Themer. If you’re already guilty, don’t panic – just deactivate and reactivate the Beaver Themer plugin. Reactivating will make it show its big, shiny Colgate-smile:)
With Beaver Themer joyfully ready for action, I feverishly started gnawing my way through the UI.
I soon realized just how badass that Beaver really is.
How about we go through some of the features that make it so such a crazy-cool, rogue rodent?
Beaver Themer tutorial videos
Got yo’ popcorn ready? It’s video-time! Come, join me in the cinema-room downstairs:)
To best describe it in detail, I’ve found some great Beaver Themer tutorial videos for you to enjoy throughout the rest of my Beaver Themer review. They’ll give you a quick overview of its most useful features.
First, a Beaver Themer overview video:
As you can see, it’s deceptively simple. Lots of powerful features in there!
Beaver Themer – Transparent Header
Here’s a video showing you how to create a beautiful, transparent header, using Beaver Themer:
I bite my tongue not to say this but… Wanna do something cool on your website… ? Just Leave it to Beaver 😃
Want a sticky menu or header? No problem.
Want it to shrink when scrolling the page? No problem.
Wanna limit display of a layout to certain WordPress user roles? Equally no problem. Neither would it be difficult to show it only on certain WordPress templates, like f.e. only having it displayed on blog posts, but not on pages, or vice versa.
A custom 404 page? Easy with Beaver Themer
Here’s a another quick video showing you how easy it is to create a custom 404 page layout with Beaver Themer:
Yes: Beaver Themer does a lot – and is quite easy to use once you get the hang of it (which won’t take you long).
Beaver Themer may be a game-changer
The sad and mysterious demise and fall of the outstanding Headway theme – which was my absolute favorite WordPress theme for years (so much so that I created an EPIC online course for it) – left a big hole in the WordPress theme market. There simply was no other theme with as powerful a design options panel as Headway, letting you design your dream website: zero coding required. The only theme that comes close at this point, customization-wise; is Dynamik Website Builder. But despite the word “builder” in its name – it ironically lacks a page builder. For that reason, many of its users combine it with the Beaver Builder plugin.
Yes, there’s the Divi theme – but it is handicapped by its shortcodes. And there’s the Blox theme – the Headway-fork. Blox is still new within the WordPress theme market, but may become a viable, stable Headway Themes replacement. They’re working on it!
Right here, right now, Beaver Themer = gold for former Headway users who’s been missing some of Headway’s power, after switching to Beaver Builder.
Headway Themer the Beaver-killer.
Ehm… sorry… got that mixed up there. Ahem… I’ll try again:
Beaver Themer is a Headway-killer.
Hmm… Come to think of it: Beaver Themer is NOT a Headway-killer. Headway killed itself. In a way, Beaver Themer is the reincarnation of Headway – only better. Like Gandalf the Grey (Headway) returning as Gandalf the White, in a new and better form (Beaver Themer) … Ha! that’s kinda funny:)
Check out how Beaver Themer lets you customize your single post layouts:
Single Post Layouts with Beaver Themer
… And create custom archive layouts:
Archive Layouts with Beaver Themer
This is like that movie PS: I Love You where she almost falls in love with her late husband’s best childhood friend, because they have so much in common. Beaver Themer almost makes me feel as if Headway was still alive & kicking:) Beaver Themer has 95% of Headway’s power – and is a lot easier to use. What’s not to love?
PS: Beaver Themer… I love you ;0)
Compatible Beaver Themer… themes
Not all themes are ready for Beaver Themer, however.
Which themes are compatible with Beaver Themer?
The ultimate Beaver Builder theme is the official Beaver Builder theme. It’s quite customizable, through the standard WordPress theme Customizer. I’ll get back to the Beaver theme below.
Genesis & StudioPress child themes
Genesis fully supports Beaver Themer. Now, Genesis being a WordPress theme framework, you’re probably using a Genesis child theme if you’re Genesis. Rest assured: Beaver Themer works with Genesis child themes too! (like f.e. the fine ones from StudioPress)
How about Beaver Themer WooCommerce support?
Yes, Beaver Themer and WooCommerce goes hand-in-hand: the official WooCommerce Storefront theme from WooCommerce supports Beaver Themer.
Here’s a short, concise video showing you how to create fully customized WooCommerce product pages, courtesy of a badass-Beaver known on the street as Beaver “the badass” Themer™ 😎
The official Beaver Builder theme
There’s also the Beaver Builder Pro package, which includes the Beaver Builder Theme – a simple-to-use theme, tailor-made for Beaver Builder.
A handful other themes, like f.e. GeneratePress, Astra, Page Builder Framework, Monument Valley, Icelander, Hestia, and OceanWP also supports Beaver Themer.
What if you’re using some other theme?
If you’re code-savvy, it may be possible to add custom Beaver Themer support to your theme. I use the word “may” because it depends on whether or not your theme has hooks that will allow you to remove the theme’s own headers and footers.
If you’re a pro web designer or web developer, it’ll be quite straightforward. If, on the other hand, you don’t know what a “hook” is: don’t bother with it yourself – consider hiring a WordPress developer for the task. My rough estimate is it’ll take around 2 hours total to complete the task.
Read more here: add custom Beaver Themer theme support.
Beaver Themer vs The Competition (what competition?)
If you haven’t settled on a WordPress theme yet, or perhaps don’t even have a WordPress website yet, and is making up your mind between Divi vs Beaver Builder, Divi vs Elementor, or Elementor vs Beaver Builder – realise that Beaver Builder now has Beaver Themer on its team, making it a formidable force to be reckoned with.
While the header and footer options got seriously beefed-up in Divi 3, the Divi theme just doesn’t give you the capabilities that Beaver Themer does. Beaver Themer’s conditional display options lets you control on which pages your various page elements (layouts) appear. Divi can’t do that.
Still, Divi does offer quite impressive styling options, for your headers and footers. The design controls in both Divi and the Beaver Builder theme are based on WordPress’ standard Customizer feature. Divi offers more control and granularity than the Beaver theme. However, that flexibility isn’t necessarily a good thing for casual users – small business owners, solopreneurs and the like – who just want a simple website design that meets their business needs swiftly and effortlessly.
More important than your website’s design: is its content. How your content is formatted and presented is where “content meets design”. It’s the presentation that makes it work. Well-formatted content: works well. It’s makes it easy for your website visitors to consume and digest your content.
That’s why page builders like Beaver Builder and the Divi Builder plugin (and Divi theme) are so popular. They’re an almost essential addition to any WordPress website (except if you’re “only” blogging: blog posts don’t need column-based layouts and such).
What I’m getting at is this:
The page builder experience of Divi vs Beaver Builder is more important than the “design control” experience. In other words: how easy it is for you to format and layout your page content, is more important than whether your menu links are red, green or blue – and whether the font is Helvetica, Open Sans or Roboto.
So the choice of Divi vs Beaver Builder is best judged by comparing their page builder experiences, rather than their design control experiences.
As written earlier, the Divi theme and Beaver Builder theme are based on WordPress’ standard Customizer feature, so they both work quite the same, apart from Divi giving you more design options to fiddle with (letter-spacing and such).
Their page builders aren’t the same in any way, though. The Divi page builder is still (in my opinion) a usability nightmare, whereas the Beaver page builder is a bliss and a joy to use.
For that reason, I think the Beaver combo of the Beaver Builder Pro plugin + the Beaver Builder theme (both are included in the Pro package) beats Divi, anytime, anywhere. The Beaver page builder is just as powerful as the one in Divi – but with 20% of Divi’s complexity and “slightly” (ahem… I’m being diplomatic here…) cluttered user interface.
I wish I could be more positive about Divi 3. Yes yes, it leaves shortcodes behind should you wish to switch away from Divi. I’ve covered that previously – and so have other bloggers. Still, I regularly revisit Divi, whenever I’m about to build a site where the content is only relevant short-term, i.e. has an expiration date – hence Divi’s “shortcodes-left-behind mess” wouldn’t be a problem. Such a use case could be f.e. creating a spiffy, sexy promo site for an upcoming music album release.
If such a site could be created faster in Divi than in Beaver Builder: I’d use Divi. Of course I’d want to save time if that was the case. I own licenses for both Divi and Beaver Builder, so there’s no barrier for me to use Divi as part of my web design arsenal.
Still, regrettably, I always come to the conclusion that, despite vast improvements in Divi 3: Divi is still Divi. Its page builder is still a cumbersome mess. At least compared to Beaver Builder.
Perhaps I’m just spoiled:)
And now, with the added goodness in Beaver Themer (and no Divi shortcodes “left behind”) – I’m a Beaver-fan:)
I wish the Beaver team had built the functionality of Beaver Themer into the Beaver Builder Pro plugin. Would be a great addition for Beaver Builder 2.0.
For a new user coming to the Beaver Builder website, being presented with multiple plugins may feel overwhelming. Which does what? And how does it all fit together?
“A confused mind doesn’t buy” as they say.
It’s more difficult to explain what each plugin does and doesn’t do.
The two plugins – Beaver Builder & Beaver Themer – belong together, and should (in my opinion) be one plugin. It would make Beaver Builder an even better product, with an even more impressive feature-set, and strengthen its already strong position in the WordPress theme & plugin market.
Beaver Builder is a must-have for anyone with a WordPress site. Perhaps the Beaver Themer plugin is targeting pro WordPress developers and freelance web designers? From that perspective, perhaps it makes more sense as a separate plugin? The jury’s still out on that one. Leave it to… Judge Judy?
Sidenote (a few days after publishing the review): whoa! Didn’t mean to scare you with a giant psycho-beaver like that! The original idea was to give Judy a cartoon-cute, beaver-smile. Two teeth. Not huge frickin’ beaver-head… Anyway, that was the original idea, right… but then my inner retoucher got carried away and took the idea to a whole new level. Donnie Darko style. Sheesh… when I have fun, I run with it :oD
Anyway… Sorry for the shock, my friend 😀
Regardless, as a separate plugin or not, Beaver Themer’s functionality is a welcome addition to the Beaver community – and WordPress community at large! It may prove more useful than you immediately anticipated… Who knows? A friendly recommendation? Indeed!
What do YOU think? And did you enjoy this Beaver Themer review? Your questions and comments are welcome!