BoldGrid In 2018: What Do BoldGrid Client Reviews Say?
What is the easiest way to build a website using the WordPress ecosystem?
If you want to use WordPress to build your site, you have a lot of choices from which you can choose. One of these options is a tool called BoldGrid.
Below, we take a look at the features of this website builder, so you can decide if it is the right tool for your needs.
What Is BoldGrid?
BoldGrid homepage, showcasing their services.
Essentially, BoldGrid is a suite of WordPress plugins that have been designed to seamlessly integrate with the existing CMS.
These plugins work to make it incredibly easy to build a beautiful and functional WordPress site.
BoldGrid is a website builder that is built on the top of WordPress. It is a drag-and-drop tool that lets you get started with as little hassle as possible. Rather than having you start your website from scratch, BoldGrid offers you themes and prebuilt pages and content.
Most existing site builders utilize a proprietary framework, so BoldGrid is unique in its use of the open-source WordPress ecosystem. It combines easy website creation with the power of the WordPress content management system (CMS).
In short, BoldGrid offers a unique array of features that cater to beginners who really want their site to run on WordPress.
Not only is BoldGrid a brilliant starting point for newbies, but for existing developers or business owners looking to increase efficiency.
How to Get BoldGrid
There are three main ways to get BoldGrid.
Manual Installation of BoldGrid
Finally, you can manually install BoldGrid. You can download the tool and install it on any existing web host.
The biggest downside to this option is that you are not be guaranteed the same level of support as those who have received BoldGrid as part of their web hosting packages.
There are two versions of BoldGrid available: a free option and a paid option.
As you can expect, the free version is limited in its functionality (though you do get pretty much everything you need to build your site). The most noteworthy of these are that:
- You can only build one site
- You get access to the staging server for only one year
- Your website backups are not as comprehensive
- Your website will feature some BoldGrid branding
Paid Version Access Benefits
Additionally, you do not get access to features like cloud-based trial sites and the premium theme and block libraries.
By upgrading to the paid version, which is a flat rate billed annually, you will:
- Be able to support an unlimited number of websites
- Get staging server access for as long as your subscription is active
- Get premium backups
- Have the ability to brand your site
- Be able to launch cloud-based trial sites
- Gain access to the premium asset libraries
These add-ons can be advantegous, although aren’t considered a necessity.
This builder offers you a quick and easy way to build and customize your WordPress site.
BoldGrid is packed with a lot of features, but it is built in a way that it will not overwhelm beginners. BoldGrid’s features are broken down into various plugins, which we highlight below.
If you want to explore their entire plugin selection, you can do so on their website.
Drag and Drop Customization
The Page and Post Editor Plugin provides you with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) drag-and-drop style editor.
This allows you to easily accomplish design tasks and gives you much more control than the typical WordPress editor. Here is a list of 6 things you can do as an example:
- Use pre-built layouts to quickly create pages
- Drag and drop text, columns, and more
- View your mobile site as you build it
- Insert forms and galleries into your pages without a shortcode
- Easily and quickly re-rise images and media
- Use custom feature blocks to quickly implement website functionality
Drag-and-drop editors are becoming increasingly popular as you require little to no development knowledge for proficient use.
Free Responsive Themes
There are multiple theme categories to suit individual business needs.
To build your site you are going to be using the Inspirations Plugin. Essentially, Inspirations gets you the WordPress website building experience. Furthermore, you gain access to BoldGrid templates, themes, and plugins (all within your WordPress dashboard).
When you are first getting started, you will probably go here to choose from one of many themes to get started building your site.
The themes are broken down into various niches, along with some more general themes if your site does not fit into any of the existing categories.
Functionalities of Themes
But, far from being bare bones themes, these are already fully functional websites. The theme you choose will come with the following features:
- Responsive, mobile-optimized design
- Ready-made content and images custom-tailored to your industry
- Automatic install of any necessary plugins
- Built-in pages and menu sets to choose from
- And more.
While this is a great structure to start with, your site could still do with standing out. Don’t be afraid of customizing and playing around with the settings!
Pre-Built Color Palettes
There are also pre-built color palettes you can choose from, to ensure you don’t have any confusing color conflicts. Or, you can have the tool suggest palettes based upon a color that you have already chosen.
In the end, you will end up with a good looking site that will look like you paid a professional designer.
The Staging Plugin is really cool. Essentially, it allows you to run two different versions of your site. One is available to the world and another that allows you to work on behind the scenes.
This lets you make and test changes to your site in a live setting without having to actually update your website. This lets you do things like:
- Test plugins without affecting your live site
- Ensure there are no plugin or theme conflicts
- Be able to try out customization before hitting publish
- And much more.
Is It Worth Having a Staging Environment?
Yes and no. This question is entirely dependant on your way of running your website, alternatively your developer’s ways of working.
Ultimately, if you’re going to be attractive relevant monetizing traffic, you’re going to be at a loss, should anything go wrong – so it’s worth having a solid testing ground. Let’s take a look at what factors to look at when making a decision on having a staging server.
|With Staging Server||Without Staging Server|
|Plugin Updates||Luxury of being able to test and run plugins before going live.||Should any plugins overlap, break or clash, you have a live problem to resolve.|
|Content Amendment||If you can afford a proofreader, you can have the peace of mind of covering all legal angles with sensitive content.||Any sensitive content published without a proofreader can land you in a legal hole.|
|Structural Amendment||Test different structures and designs on your staging server||Inability to take larger risks with design and structure without a staging environment.|
|Theme Changes||Test new themes without risking visitors see something you don’t want them to.||New themes are often un-compatible with existing features or content, so visitors can be put off.|
|Branding Changes||Minor branding changes can be tested and played around with on staging.||Even the slightest change in color could scare off a monetizing customer or loyal reader – people are sensitive.|
If the above features are not enough, there are additional plugins that let you do things like creating forms, galleries, and even work on your SEO.
Here are the additional plugins worth mentioning:
If you need to build rich web forms, such as mailing list signups/opt-ins, contact forms, donation requests, and so on, BoldGrid integrates with WP Forms. These forms can be customized to your liking.
They are easily added to your existing site without throwing off the design.
The Image Gallery Plugin lets you quickly create elegant galleries and slideshows. The process is to create a photo gallery is simple; just:
- Select the images from your media library
- Choose how you would like them to be displayed
- Customize their appearance
The gallery plugin can also source professional creative commons images, so you can insert media and create galleries without having your own photos.
The Backup Plugin does exactly what its name indicates. You can schedule automated backups and easily migrate/restore your WordPress is something goes wrong.
Note, however, that this is one area where BoldGrid differs between its paid and free versions. Users of the free version get fewer backup features than those who have paid.
The SEO Plugin will give you additional SEO options when creating specific pages of your site, so you will be able to quickly edit your titles and descriptions while you are building your site. This information is useful for providing information to search engine crawlers as they index your site.
For those who are interested in online selling/e-commerce, BoldGrid supports and integrates well with WooCommerce (which is one of the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugins).
Installing WooCommerce so that it works within your BoldGrid account takes just a couple of steps.
BoldGrid’s recently asked questions section is a bit of great community glue.
Considering the fact that many plugins and tools now have live support available, BoldGrid comes short in this category.
While their website is resource-rich, I really did struggle to find a way to get in touch with a live person, because it’s simply not an option. On the other hand, you have the following avenues of support on offer:
- DIY Troubleshooting
- Ticketing System
- Categorized Knowledgebase
- Recently Asked Questions
As much as it would’ve been great to speak to someone, I did find a vast variety of material in BoldGrid’s detailed online library of information. The recently asked questions are a great way of interacting with the BoldGrid community.
Should This Be A Deal Breaker?
Not necessarily. Similarly to the staging server dilemma we discussed, this depends on your team and project.
Do you have a trustworthy, knowledgeable and most importantly resourceful developer by your side? Or are you one yourself? Then BoldGrid’s support probably doesn’t matter as much to you.
Moreover, if you’re a total newbie and are worried about someone having to hold your hand throughout every step of the way, this rate of support might be a little slow. Having said that, BoldGrid’s simplicity will likely eliminate a need for constant support anyway.
At its core, WordPress is quite easy to use, but it still has a learning curve for those just getting started online. BoldGrid takes the learning curve out of building your site and makes it as easy as selecting a theme and dragging and dropping to completion.
If you are using one of their supported hosts, then the install process is quite simple. Customization is also very easy, especially since you start the process with an almost finished site.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Installation
If you want to use BoldGrid, but your site is not hosted with one of the company’s providers, you can manually install BoldGrid.
Like all WordPress plugins, manual installation and activation of the plugin is not very difficult.
The biggest downside to manual installation has nothing to do with the product itself, but with the limited customer support, you will get.
Support In Installation
The product itself is easy to use, but you will have limited recourse if you see any issues.
You will not have the support of your web hosting service provider, and the BoldGrid developers do not take support-related requests — your only source of assistance is the official docs, posting a question on a forum provided by BoldGrid, or crowdsourcing information on the internet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there details which are still bugging you? Take a look at some of the most commonly arising queries, there may already be an answer waiting for you.
Does My Site Belong To Me If I Use BoldGrid?
Yes, it does. BoldGrid is simply a tool you use to create something which is your own property. They do not claim ownership of your material or creations.
How Much Do I Have To Pay?
This one depends on who you are currently hosting with and what hosting plan you’re on. Some hosts do offer BoldGrid as a free add-on, but in other instances, you may be required to pay for the tool as a personal extra.
The premium plan is currently priced at $60 per year.
Pros and Cons
With BoldGrid being a great tool, I still need the need to highlight it’s generic strengths and weaknesses.
- Ease-of-use and intuitive user journey
- Convenience and time-saving qualities
- Perfect entry-tool with no coding knowledge
- Limited support in terms of live contact with representatives
- Expensive premium package
Who Should Use BoldGrid?
If you are a beginner website builder who wants to use WordPress as the backbone for your site, then BoldGrid is a great option. It makes building a WordPress site simple. If you are using one of their supported hosts, then this free builder is a no-brainer.
But, if you know your way around WordPress, then you might not like how this tool simplifies WordPress.
Nevertheless, BoldGrid remains a product that adds to WordPress. In addition to the themes and plugins that are provided with stock WordPress, you will get BoldGrid’s added functionality.
Overall, BoldGrid offers a very interesting take on the modern website builder. Most website builders truly lack the content management power that WordPress can provide, so it is nice to see the two combined.
If you are already a WordPress user or want to be, this can be a great way to get started in e-commerce, while simplifying the site building process. Plus, if you are hosting with InMotion or Hosting Hub, it is completely free, so it is definitely worth checking out.
Additional material by Katie Horne.
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