BoldGrid is a powerful drag-and-drop tool for building professional WordPress-based websites, but the biggest downside of this service is that it doesn’t include any web hosting options. The idea is that you build and test your WordPress site on BoldGrid’s Cloud WordPress platform and then transfer it to your choice of web host (all the big-name hosts are compatible, and most of the smaller ones are, too.)
While this is less convenient than other similar services, it also has lots of benefits. The WordPress platform is as reliable and robust as you’ll get; it can easily be extended with a huge number of plugins; there are plenty of people and resources around to help you troubleshoot any problems, and your website can be freely migrated to another web host whenever you like (in contrast, most other website builders tie you forever to their own service.)
Plans and pricing
In order to use the free plan, you need to already have hosting for your website, but then you can use all the themes and plugins you want. There’s an entire list of web hosting partners that work well with BoldGrids website building plans.
The WordPress Page Builder plan is the main one BoldGrid provides. It comes with a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to easily build your site without using any coding. It also comes with design tools so that you’ll have an easier time putting the right colours and styles together. You can select from a list of widgets and add them directly into the editor interface as needed.
This plan also includes WordPress Image Sliders – a feature that allows you to add text or images to your website on WordPress in real time and preview it before it goes live. There’s two main sliders you can use: The Content Slider (where the background stays in place but you can edit anything on top) or the Section Slider (allows you to edit and change the background).
This plan costs $2.50 per month and is billed annually. Two other plans are available, each adding additional capabilities: WordPress Website Builder, for $5 a month, and WordPress Creator Bundle for $8.25 a month (the latter offers access to Crio, which BoldGrid refers to as an “advanced super theme”).
BoldGrid’s interface is very organised and sampling BoldGrid’s abilities is easier than we expected. You sign up for a free BoldGrid account by handing over your email address, click a button and the service creates your very own Cloud WordPress installation as a BoldGrid testbed. Confirm your email address and the Cloud WordPress setup is yours forever. You can use this to try out most BoldGrid features whenever you like, but you won’t be able to export your designs until you’ve purchased a subscription.
If you’d rather not be on BoldGrid’s mailing list, you can choose not to confirm your email address. You’ll still get a Cloud WordPress installation to try, but it will expire after a couple of days.
Once setup is complete, you’ll find the main section of any new page you’ll create has an orange ‘Add Block’ button. BoldGrid’s tools is blocks based, which makes for a very easy page creation system. Clicking on that button brings up its list of available blocks which you can narrow down by Category (such as About, Gallery or Testimonial), and further focus by subject matter (like Church, Fitness or Wedding).
BoldGrid will tell you if a block is free or Premium simply by hovering the mouse over it (we would prefer if we could tell simply through scrolling down the list of thumbnails, but it doesn’t take long to figure out at a glance which blocks are part of a paid subscription).
Once you’ve chosen your initial blocks (don’t worry, you can add, reorder or remove them later at any time), it’s time to explore what BoldGrid has to offer, and people who like to control every aspect of their site’s appearance will be won over pretty quickly. Click in a text box, for instance, and you don’t just get to edit the contents with the usual WordPress editor. Instead, you gain a mountain of powerful tools, such as being able to adjust the text padding and margins, background images or colours, the border size and type, box shadows and more. There’s a huge library of animations, you get the ability to add custom CSS classes, and an option to hide the current object when it’s displayed on a particular device type (perhaps preventing a low-priority image from appearing in a mobile view, for instance.)
The amount of control is very impressive, and you can turn a basic template into something truly unique that matches your personal style and unique brand.
You also have the ability to make site-wide options: title, logo, colours, background, fonts, menus and more. There’s a lot more depth than you might expect to many of these settings. Adding a site title isn’t just a matter of entering text into a box: you can customise low-level font details, set margins, line height, letter spacing, shadows, and more.
Out of all the website builders out there (Odoo, Dreamhost, and Voog) BoldGrid is pretty unique. First because plans separate website building from web hosting. Most website builders offer both services together. Keeping them separate can really be beneficial though because you’re able to choose your own web hosting plan from a variety of different options. (Plus, BoldGrid’s web builder Premium plan only costs $2.50 per month.)
BoldGrid is a smart way to create stylish and configurable websites, particularly for experienced users who are keep to fully customise their WordPress website. However, if this is your first time building one, then using BoldGrid could feel challenging. The level of customisation is pretty impressive and may well appeal to a lot of people.
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