WordPress Site Building Made Easy
Best known for their premium WordPress themes, StudioPress recently launched an all-in-one website builder with the power and flexibility of WordPress. This is my review of StudioPress Sites.
What is StudioPress Sites?
Based on the “Genesis Framework” which is behind over half a million existing websites, StudioPress Sites is aimed at podcasters, bloggers and affiliate marketers who need a simple and affordable website builder that’s easy to use. It’s also suitable for small business owners and people selling physical products, digital downloads, membership and other e-com sites.
Sites is essentially all about creating and selling online without having to mess with technology.
What is Included?
You get 20 mobile-optimized HTML5 designs which you can personalize or use a custom Genesis child theme. The platform is optimized for peak WordPress performance and fast page load times, unlike generic WordPress hosting where you face the possibility of your site crashing just because you succeeded in getting big traffic!
Hosting (fast) is included, so you can avoid the hassle of self-hosted WordPress sites where your hosting provider can hit you with additional charges for exceeding bandwidth, storage, CPUs and RAM etc…on very secure servers that feature protection against intrusion, malware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
What About SEO?
Advanced SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is included such as…
- robots.txt and XML sitemap creation
- schema setup
- breadcrumb title management
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support
- enhanced Open Graph output etc.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with these terms…setting up basic SEO is pretty straight forward. You may not fully understand those advanced SEO features but it’s good to know they are available should you want to jump in and tweak for the best possible search results. It will also make life much easier for an SEO consultant should you choose to use one. There is also a content and site analyzer which gives you instant feedback on your optimization efforts.
For each page you create you can set up important page-level SEO settings quite easily, such as titles, keywords, descriptions, redirections etc.
One critical consideration when optimizing your site is keyword research. You need to make sure you are targeting the right keywords as you create your content, rather than as an afterthought. StudioPress includes a keyword research tool which offers suggestions based on your content, the popularity of those keywords, and most importantly the level of competition. This will give you an indication of how hard it will be to rank for those keywords.
Equally as important to your SEO is obtaining backlinks from authoritative websites. An “outreach” tool is included which evaluates possible outreach partners and provides contact details…a great time-saver.
What About Plugins?
All sites include a repository of one-click solutions for premium functionality. Popular plugins such as…
- Ninja Forms
- WPForms Lite
- Beaver Builder Lite
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Design Palette Pro
- Soliloquy Lite
- OptinMonster etc.
…can all be easily installed. Automatic updating of plugins and themes is included and this helps prevent your site from getting hacked via themes, plugins, and old versions of WordPress. You can opt out of this feature…although I don’t know why you’d want to.
What I Like
When I heard StudioPress were launching a site builder I was quite excited because no-one understands WordPress website building better than these guys. Their premium themes showcase some of the best and most widely used themes on the market and the Genesis Framework they are based on is a proven platform that allows you to customize themes and makes WordPress site building easier, without sacrificing power or flexibility.
The thing I like the most is it gives you the power of my favorite CMS (Content Management System)…WordPress…since before most people had heard of it…but without the fear and anxiety that often goes with doing everything yourself. With a website building platform like this you have a solid support system in place to guide you through the whole process.
What I Don’t Like
About the only thing that isn’t included is domain name registration. There are pros and cons to this. If its included in the package its one less thing for you to worry about, but on the downside your domain is linked to that hosting platform and if you decide to host somewhere else it can be a hassle to transfer. StudioPress don’t offer domain registration so you’ll need to organize this with a domain registrar. However once completed its a simple matter to hook up your domain and if you do decide to switch hosting in the future you can transfer your domain easily. Domain registration is a relatively low cost expense.
What is StudioPress Genesis?
What Does it Cost?
There are currently two plans on offer…one aimed at content websites (bloggers, affiliate marketers etc) and the other aimed at small business and eCommerce sites. Both have monthly or yearly subscriptions. Check current pricing here.
StudioPress Sites vs Rainmaker Platform
If you’re familiar with StudioPress and Copyblogger (now known as Rainmaker Digital) you may also be familiar with Rainmaker Platform and wondering how it compares. Unlike Sites, Rainmaker Platform has a totally different look and feel to WordPress and a higher level of functionality. However it is also much more expensive.
Essentially, StudioPress Sites is a step up from basic WordPress hosting. It gives users a support system and adds features you don’t get with a typical WP hosted plan. The two products are really aimed at different users; small business owners and newbie affiliate marketers who understand the benefits of WP but are a little reluctant to undertake the whole process themselves, are a perfect match for Sites. Those with more technical know-how, need greater functionality and are willing to spend the extra may find Rainmaker more appealing.
StudioPress Sites is a new product in a crowded website builder market, but with an extensive feature set, solid support and the experience of a company who know WordPress inside out, looks set to establish itself in the market.
I hope you found this review useful. Pleas share if you did.