What is BoldGrid?
BoldGrid is a special set of plugins that were developed by InMotion Hosting that allow you to easily create professional looking WordPress websites. BoldGrid streamlines the website creation process via its drag and drop design interface—which allows beginners to create their WordPress sites more quickly and easily. And for advanced WordPress users and developers, BoldGrid allows more website customization—plus, you can set up a separate staging site for development and testing changes before implementing them into your live site.
What are the Advantages of BoldGrid?
- BoldGrid simplifies and speeds up the process of creating a more professional looking WordPress website, while still allowing you the benefits of a traditional web hosting plan.
- BoldGrid provides a way to quickly customize many areas of your website—similar to the existing WordPress Theme Customizer, but with many more options.
- BoldGrid allows you to create a staging site that you can use for migrating an existing website, or for testing out changes before moving them to your live site.
- You have full ownership and control of your BoldGrid website. You can keep you site even if you move from InMotion Hosting or another official BoldGrid host.
BoldGrid Free or Premium Version?
Like most WordPress products, BoldGrid is available in both a free and premium version. The good news is that the free version of BoldGrid is very robust and for many website owners is all you need (plus your hosting). However, the premium version of BoldGrid does provide a lot of value and advantages.
With BoldGrid’s premium version, you get premium design features plus sliders and blog widgets. You can also use remote backup storage to Amazon S3 and Google. And, with BoldGrid Premium you get 15 Cloud WordPress installs (see below).
How Does BoldGrid Work?
The free version of BoldGrid is available in the WordPress.org plugin repository. However, I strongly recommend you use one of the official BoldGrid hosts with the website builder. Personally, I would opt for InMotion Hosting as they originally developed the product and have the most experience with supporting it. After signing up with InMotion Hosting for BoldGrid, you install it from your Account Management Panel.
While BoldGrid has some very impressive features, unfortunately installation isn’t always one of them. I would highly recommend that you contact customer support to have BoldGrid installed on your domain for you. At times there still seem to be some issues with the BoldGrid installation process from the account management panel. Just have support perform the installation and it will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Creating Your BoldGrid Website
For beginners, one of the great things about BoldGrid is that you’re guided through the process of creating your WordPress website. The BoldGrid website creation process consists of two parts:
When you login to your BoldGrid WordPress site, you’ll see on the dashboard options to view two videos on getting started (one for beginners and one for more advanced users that may also be moving an existing site). I highly recommend that you view one of these before you get started.
The rest of the dashboard area is similar to a regular WordPress installation.
The first step of the Inspiration process is to select your website theme or design. You can choose from a number of categories.
The themes come with their own copyrighted images with watermarks. If you want to use them without the watermarks you must purchase the images via copyright coins. However, you don’t have to use these images. And in most cases, I would strongly recommend you use your own photos for your website.
You select your Page Set next. Page Set determines the type of pages your website will have. For example, you can create a base site or what is called a kitchen sink site containing many more bells and whistles. Keep in mind that you can always customize your site no matter what Page Set you start out with. You can also specify whether to include a blog with your site.
What’s great about the site previewer is that you can also see how your website will appear on smartphones and tablet computers.
The next step is to enter your contact information. In addition to your company or website title, you can also include your email, phone number, business address, and social media links.
To complete the Inspiration process, click the Install this Website button to install your inspirations.
When the process is completed, you’ll see a confirmation that your BoldGrid website has been installed.
Customization is the next phase in creating your BoldGrid site. You click on the Customize menu option on the left side of the dashboard to perform tasks such as setting your site’s title, adding and removing pages, and other customization.
As you make changes via the options on the left menu of the Customizer, you can preview your changes on the right side. The Customizer allows you to change background images, colors, menus, widgets, and more. It works similar to the Themes Customizer in a regular WordPress installation—only here in BoldGrid, you’re able to customize to a greater extent.
The Page Editor allows you to create, edit, and delete your site’s pages. I really like the drag and drop features that allow you to set up your content just the way you want. And again, you can preview your page to see how it will appear on various types of devices.
BoldGrid comes with a set of six WordPress plugins. The three marked with an asterisk below should be installed and activated by customer support when they install BoldGrid for you.
BoldGrid Inspirations provides the step by step assistance in creating your WordPress site.
The BoldGrid Editor plugin provides the drag and drop functionality that you can use when creating and editing your website pages.
The BoldGrid SEO plugin optimizes your website for the search engines–somewhat like the Yoast SEO plugin.
The BoldGrid Backup plugin lets you configure automated backups of your website. You can also run manual backups and restore your data.
The BoldGrid Staging plugin provides staging functionality for your website. You can test out changes to your website pages before moving them to your live WordPress site.
The BoldGrid Gallery plugin gives you the ability to display photo galleries and slideshows on your website.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of BoldGrid is the ability to set up a staging site where you can develop and test out new changes before pushing them out to your live website. I should point out to those familiar with managed WordPress hosting plans, that the staging in BoldGrid differs somewhat.
First, BoldGrid allows you to copy page elements from your live site to your staging site. Then, after you make your changes and test things out, you can then make your staging site your live site. However, you can’t current copy your entire live site over and make that your staging site. So, if you’re going to use BoldGrid staging for more than just your initial migration, you need to make sure your staging site is the master copy of your website—making your changes here and then pushing your staging site out to your active live site.
Also, currently BoldGrid only allows you to copy your pages to your staging site—not blog posts. For many types of websites, this isn’t a problem. Just keep in mind that if you include a blog with your site, your posts can’t be copied over to staging. I’ve talked with the InMotion group and put in a request for blog post staging functionality, so hopefully it will be included in the future.
BoldGrid and Cloud WordPress
One of the most exciting and intriguing developments with BoldGrid is the combining of BoldGrid with Cloud WordPress. You can actually create a free WordPress test website in the cloud and test out not only BoldGrid’s features but also any new plugins or themes you want to try out. What’s also great about Cloud WordPress is not only can you develop and test out your BoldGrid site for yourself, but you also have the ability to share your website with others. So, if you’re developing websites for clients, they can easily see how things are going. Also, if you have a team of developers, they can also access and work on the website.
When you’re ready to deploy your Cloud WordPress site, you can use the BoldGrid Backup feature to transfer your test site to the web host of your choice for live implementation.
Because SEO is such an important part of a successful website, most website builders are now including some type of SEO component. And, I’m pleased to report that the BoldGrid SEO plugin is not only easy to use, but provides more extensive features than other website builders.
With the BoldGrid SEO plugin you can:
- Optimize Page Titles and Descriptions
- Optimize Header Tags and Content
- Analyze your Keyword Density
- Check your Image Alt Tags
- Set your Links to Follow/No Follow
- Analyze your Content Length
My BoldGrid Test Results
After extensively testing out InMotion Hosting’s BoldGrid, here are my conclusions.
The video tutorials, which you can access via the Tutorials menu on the dashboard, are extremely helpful in getting started creating your BoldGrid website.
You add and edit pages the same way you normally do in WordPress. However, BoldGrid provides you with a graphical interface to work with your content. I really like it and found it extremely easy to use for moving, modifying, and editing my page content.
The tablet and phone preview features are particularly cool and very useful as mobile computing becomes even more of the norm.
I performed my testing by creating and customizing a photography website. And I must say that I was very pleased with the results. BoldGrid offers some nice photography themes that do a great job in presenting photographic images along with the other necessary functionality you would expect (contact form, etc.)
Customizing images in BoldGrid is very easy. While you can use the stock images that are included with the BoldGrid sites, I would certainly recommend that you use your own photos. Adding your own images and replacing the existing ones in BoldGrid will make your site more unique and allow you to better customize your website for your audience. And, you won’t have to purchase those copyright coins in order to remove the watermarks.
Video Demo: Creating a Website with BoldGrid
To demonstrate how easy it really is to create your WordPress website with BoldGrid, I made the video below:
Best Hosting for BoldGrid
One of the big advantages of BoldGrid is that you can use it with any web host that offers WordPress hosting—which these days means pretty much any web host. However, for the best results I would recommend you choose an official BoldGrid host—one that’s recommended by BoldGrid.
Currently, there are about 10 web hosting companies listed on the BoldGrid website. But for the best experience, I would choose either InMotion Hosting or Web Hosting Hub. BoldGrid was originally developed by InMotion, and they continue to offer full support. You can have BoldGrid installed with either InMotion’s Business Hosting plans or their Managed WordPress Hosting.
BoldGrid is an ideal solution if you like WordPress but also desire the simplicity of a website creation package such as those from SquareSpace or Wix. BoldGrid is best suited for either beginners looking for a faster, simpler way to create a professional looking WordPress site; or advanced WordPress users and developers who need a more streamlined method of creating websites for their clients or themselves.
My own personal testing of BoldGrid resulted in very positive results as I was able to easily navigate and use the product to create quality websites.