In this BoldGrid review, I’ll have a look at this WordPress-centered website builder, its pricing, templates, and features, and help you find out, whether you should trust this product.
“It’s a website builder! It’s a WordPress system! It’s…BoldGrid.”
BoldGrid aims to be the best of both worlds. It features the virtually unlimited customizability of WordPress, allowing you to make any kind of website you can think of. Then, it mixes in features of a website builder, allowing to make all of this seem completely effortless.
So then, is this the tool that can help you build all great professional websites without the hassle of actually being a pro? Can you both have your cake and eat it?
Well – it’s a little more complicated than that. To answer this question, it’s important to first understand what BoldGrid really is.
BoldGrid is a suite of themes and plugins for WordPress that enables you to use WordPress, a popular content management system, as a website builder.
BoldGrid includes a simple page editor that allows you to design your website without diving into complex coding.
It comes with over 200 themes and plugins pre-configured, saving a lot of precious setup time, especially for beginner users. The platform takes care of SEO, web security, and data backups straight out from the box.
Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice a fair share of features, and setting everything up isn’t as simple as, for example, making a Wix account.
And most importantly – BoldGrid doesn’t include site hosting. While many conventional website builders offer you an all-in-one website building experience “pick a domain, make a website, publish it, and go live”, BoldGrid simply allows you to make a website and then transfer it to a hosting provider. This means an extra step in building your website, extra options to consider – and extra costs, on top of that.
However, if you wish to use WordPress for its great array of themes, features, and plugins – but don’t feel ready for the real thing – BoldGrid is a great gateway pick, that’s going to make the complicated process of using WordPress just a little less complicated.
Is it the right pick for you though? Let’s dive deeper into this BoldGrid review and see whether it’s ready to be your next website builder.
You can start using BoldGrid for free – which is impressive in its own right. However, if you want premium features, BoldGrid will cost from $2.50 to $8.25 a month.
A $2.50/month subscription will get you classic premium features, such as the removed BoldGrid branding from your site, premium customer support, and all of the main functionality of BoldGrid.
A $5/month Premium Bundle will allow you to make up to 15 websites, and additional tools for site editing, backups, and speed.
Finally, the $8.25/month Premium Creator Bundle includes all of the above – and also adds a highly-customizable Crio “supertheme”.
But if right now, you’re sitting by your computer with a calculator, thinking just how much publishing a BoldGrid website will cost – there’s another thing to include.
In order to publish your website, you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan. BoldGrid recommends DreamHost, InMotion Hosting (their parent company), and Web Hosting Hub, that cost from $2.59, $6.39, and $4.99 a month respectively.
However, BoldGrid is compatible with any WordPress host, so you can choose from a wide range of options depending on your bandwidth and content storage needs – you don’t have to choose the hosts offered by BoldGrid here.
BoldGrid is not that expensive - but it's important to remember that none of the premium bundles will include website hosting. The price you'll have to pay will strongly depend on the themes, and premium features you'll want. So, it can be as cheap and as expensive as you choose it to be.
BoldGrid aims to be an easier way of building a WordPress website – and it succeeds in that. The process of getting a good-looking website takes just a few minutes, and site customization is also made easier by a few aces BoldGrid has up its sleeve.
Let’s have a look.
BoldGrid is simple to get started with. There’s no credit card or host required for a free account, so all you have to do to open a BoldGrid account is enter your email – and you hop on the fun.
Right there, the ‘Easy Website Builder’ section installs WordPress and BoldGrid all at once. A wizard then walks you through selecting a theme, choosing initial customizations, and launching your site. The entire process took me under 30 seconds.
Here’s what it consisted of:
The starting page – giving you a brief explanation of a rapid-fire building process, that’s about to happen.
Then – I had to choose a template from a fairly solid library.
All templates could be edited to be just a little bit different. The “pageset” allowed for all the information to be displayed in a specific way. For example, the “Kitchen Sink” was essentially a one-page design, including all the main information on the homepage.
You can also enable additional functionality, like blogging.
Then, you just enter the basic information of your business, and voila – the website is created. Complete with a set up blog, and a contact page, filled with the information you’ve just given it.
Once your site is set up, you’ll find two items in your WordPress dashboard menu – ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Customization’ – that control BoldGrid. The ‘Inspiration’ tab allows you to walk through the setup process again and manage BoldGrid settings. The ‘Customization’ tab contains pages for editing the site-wide style of your website, changing your theme, editing menus, and adding custom CSS to your theme.
Setting up a website for this BoldGrid review was very, very simple. I would’ve enjoyed more customization than I was given. But it was also a surefire way to have a decent website completed quickly.
The site-wide style editor is where you can edit your site’s header, footer, fonts, theme colors, and more. You can mouse around your header to see where additional menus and widgets are available to be added. A menu on the left-hand side of the editor allows you to customize everything, from the color palette to menu items to your site’s branding and logos.
If you’ve ever used WordPress, you may find this editor very similar. Because it is exactly the classic WordPress customization menu – as limited and simple as any of its users remember. You cannot edit the styles of BoldGrid’s built-in content blocks here.
Editing individual page content works in much the same way as for a basic WordPress site, except that you’ll find additional BoldGrid-specific options when you go to the WordPress Page Editor. I got to choose the editor of your preference – and BoldGrid’s own editor really holds its own. The editing process is similar to a drag-and-drop website builder’s, meaning the elements could’ve been moved wherever I wanted.
With all the main information already put in, there might not be that much to do as well.
The real advantage of BoldGrid is in the ‘Add Block Component’ module. Here, you can divide your page into sections and give each section a different grid layout. You can choose from basic section blocks as well as more advanced blocks with stylish formatting.
Keep in mind that many blocks are limited to Premium users, though. The ‘Add Block Component’ module is also where you’ll find the option to add widgets like maps, media players, link buttons, RSS feeds, and many more items to your site.
Ultimately, BoldGrid’s design makes setting up a high-functioning website pretty simple. The main downside to BoldGrid is that the number and diversity of content block components is limited, as is your ability to customize aspects like the padding and formatting of these blocks.
Advanced WordPress users can accomplish fine-tuning by adding custom CSS to their BoldGrid site. However, if you wanted to do your own coding, why would you even choose a WordPress website builder in the first place?
BoldGrid users won't have any issues setting up a website. And while it's not as easy to use as most major website builders, everything can be learned fairly quickly. More advanced designers, though, may run into the constraints of BoldGrid’s built-in content blocks and might enjoy a vanilla version of WordPress instead.
BoldGrid comes with more than 200 templates, all of which are available to free users. These themes are pre-configured for popular industries with content blocks and stock images.
You’ll find themes for:
In restaurant themes, for example, you get plenty of space to show off images of your dishes as well as simple pages for your menus. Fashion and design themes offer a wide variety of gallery styles, while music themes have a built-in media player.
And yes, the themes are actually suited for these specific industries. It’s not just a bunch of similar templates with custom images.
Also, these themes look pretty good and suitable for a modern website.
But there are still some certain similarities, true for all BoldGrid themes.
A common thread among all themes is that they promote scrolling down the page and feature elegant, easy-to-navigate menu sections. In addition, all of BoldGrid’s themes are compatible with major web browsers and are automatically responsive to mobile browsing.
Thousands of third-party WordPress themes are also compatible with BoldGrid. So, users should have no issues finding a theme that suits their web content or industry.
Overall, BoldGrid has a very solid library of templates. They are not filled with advanced animations or parallax scrolling effects like on some other products, but they're solid templates, suited for various industries and businesses.
BoldGrid doesn’t position itself as an eCommerce platform, but that doesn’t mean it lacks features for business. BoldGrid comes with the WooCommerce plugin so you can start selling products easily and scale your business as needed. Plus, semi-automatic SEO makes it simple to boost your website’s visibility.
There are no eCommerce content blocks within the BoldGrid drag-and-drop designer. However, all of BoldGrid’s themes are designed to integrate seamlessly with the WooCommerce plugin. The only thing you need to do to transform your website into an eCommerce store is to install and activate it.
Now, here’s the catch. WooCommerce is not as straightforward to use as BoldGrid itself, which can lead to some frustration when developing product-related content blocks.
I’ve been in this situation myself, when building my first eCommerce store. The first couple of weeks of using WooCommerce can be hell. A YouTube-guide filled, how-to article saturated hell.
In particular, WooCommerce lacks the drag-and-drop ease of BoldGrid or other website builders.
However, once you get the hang of WooCommerce, you can create purchasable items within the framework of BoldGrid content blocks and start selling your products.
The possibilities are all there – and you don’t have to pay extra! It’s only a matter of skill and/or willingness to learn.
If you’re heavily interested in SEO, you’ll be happy to hear that BoldGrid took all the best SEO practices from WordPress and took them for themselves.
In other words, SEO on BoldGrid is pretty darn strong.
BoldGrid’s Easy SEO plugin foregoes the complex menu items offered by many other WordPress content SEO options. Instead, you get on-screen recommendations that monitor your SEO practices as you add content.
As you write, Easy SEO will automatically help you add header tags and page titles and descriptions, as well as monitor your keyword density.
Also, there are options to allow and disallow page indexing, add image alt tags, insert dofollow/nofollow links, and so much more.
Overall, BoldGrid does pretty well on eCommerce and SEO, making it a solid option for businesses. That being said, it doesn't have many original or groundbreaking ideas of its own - instead, it takes what WordPress gives it. And that's your result - BoldGrid business features are broad and interesting, but may also be a bit difficult to master, especially for beginners.
Now – let’s talk deeper about how exactly BoldGrid maintains its relationship with WordPress. It’s a very unique website builder, that’s not a standalone platform, but more of a new play on WordPress.
And of course, this brings certain advantages and disadvantages.
One of the best things about BoldGrid, enabled by the fact that it’s not a proprietary platform, is that you can use it with any website host. If you build a BoldGrid website hosted on Bluehost, for example, you can migrate it to Hostinger or any other host at any time. The BoldGrid Backup plugin makes this process especially simple, since all you need to do is install BoldGrid on the new website and restore your latest backup.
Importantly, this also means that you own your website content when you use BoldGrid. That’s not the case with many proprietary website builders, which can cause problems if you ever want to leave your host.
On many other website builders, let’s say, Wix – there’s no first-party way to migrate your website elsewhere. Meaning that you either have to play by its rules – or get out.
The downside to having to find your own host, though, is that BoldGrid isn’t an all-in-one solution like many other website builders. You’ll need to understand how to install WordPress and BoldGrid via your website host, which can require some technical savvy. In addition, you will need to purchase a domain name from your host or a third-party domain retailer.
Another benefit to BoldGrid is that you’re not limited to the more than 200 themes that are included with the platform (although many users choose to stick with them – they’re not bad after all!).
There are thousands of themes from the WordPress theme library that are compatible with BoldGrid. Plus, just as for a basic WordPress website, BoldGrid makes it easy to change out your theme with the click of a button.
Similarly, you’re free to use a wide variety of WordPress plugins with your BoldGrid site beyond those included in the BoldGrid suite. This means that if you can’t create a particular content block using BoldGrid’s built-in creation tools, you can do it manually by installing the appropriate plugin.
However, with that added power comes the potential for trouble.
While many plugins and themes are compatible with BoldGrid, it does not have an official list of third-party software that can be added to your site. That means that adding advanced code to your website can create code conflicts that can be difficult to resolve. Furthermore, while themes and plugins added to your site may work initially, they can cause your site to fail after an update.
Overall, the connection of BoldGrid and WordPress is undisputed – but not everything is entirely seamless either. However, BoldGrid manages to maintain very close ties with the platform, while still managing to offer some good features of its own.
During this BoldGrid review, I got to find out that this is less of a website builder, and more on an advanced WordPress system.
Offering no hosting, and a “website builder” being only a few extra specks on the classic WordPress editor, it’s not a perfect option for complete beginners.
While there are 200 custom themes to choose from, and the process of setting up your website is incredibly simple, advanced editing and publishing is still more suited for professionals or freelance web designers. The customization is limited though – so coding skill is also a big plus.
That being said – BoldGrid being a part of the WordPress Universe also has a lot of benefits. Solid SEO tools, and full WooCommerce integration makes it a great option for businesses. And access to virtually unlimited libraries of WordPress plugins and themes puts some more frosting on the cake.
out of 10
BoldGrid's simplicity won't match that of a dedicated website builder - and customizability, while pretty darn close, won't match a stock WordPress installation. That being said, BoldGrid is a good option for those, trying to make their WordPress experiences just a little bit easier. If you're one of those people - give BoldGrid a shot.
BoldGrid will not be suitable for those looking for a simple all-in-one website builder solution, complete with hosting and an intuitive editing interface. If you’re those people – then you’ll absolutely love the alternatives.
WordPress.com is a platform, created to make using WordPress easier for regular users.
Does that sound familiar?
Yes, this platform is quite similar to the BoldGrid, especially when considering that they’re both using WordPress as their editor. However, WordPress.com differs from BoldGrid by also hosting your website, and you can’t migrate your WordPress site from one host to another like you can with BoldGrid. Also, it’s more expensive – but the process of editing your site is more simple, and better suited to beginners. And that’s always a good thing.
Wix can compete with BoldGrid for ease of use and offers a significantly greater number of themes. Hosting is fully included – and the website editor allows you to make your website whatever you want it to be, with no coding experience required. It’s a solid option for beginners – however, it’s also fairly expensive if you wish to get more resources or extra features, so budget responsively.
Weebly is suited for people looking for the easiest way to build an online shop. The website editor is quite limited, but very easy to master, and the plans are fairly inexpensive, especially, if you’re just starting out.