The Startup Framework by Designmodo is a WordPress theme unlike any other. Once the theme is installed on your site, it gives you one of the easiest ways seen so far of building your own custom website layouts with WordPress.
These layouts are built by dragging content blocks on to the canvas, with over 100 blocks to choose from. Using the tool you can create a custom homepage layout for your website, as well as all the inner pages you need, all through a very easy to use and intuitive interface.
If you want a code-free way to build highly professional, attractive and personalised websites using WordPress, then the Startup Framework could be just what you are looking for. To find out about the full set of features and how this website builder theme works, read on for our Startup Framework review.
Features of the Startup Framework
While there are many page builder tools for WordPress, the Startup Framework takes a different approach to building the pages that make up your website.
Once this theme is activated on your site, the regular components of WordPress such as the header, sidebars, and widget areas are exchanged for a blank canvas. Upon this blank canvas you can drag and drop any of the 100 full width blocks to build your page layouts.
The 100 blocks are divided into seven categories, such as header, contents, contacts, projects, footers, and more, and the pages you create are built by dragging those blocks into place. Once there, the default text and images can then be edited and customised.
All the editing takes places either using an inline editor for adding your own text and images, or by switching to the underlying HTML and CSS code view to make deeper changes to the blocks used in your layout.
In short the Startup Framework theme for WordPress includes 100 content blocks which can be added to your layout and arranged in any configuration, and then edited to include your custom content.
To give you a fuller idea of what this page builder tool can do, the full list of features of the Startup Framework from Designmodo include:
- Create full width homepage layouts
- Create unlimited full width inner page layouts
- Intuitive drag and drop interface
- 100 customisable design blocks
- Seven categories of design blocks (header, content, footer, etc.)
- Inline live preview content editor
- Built-in editor for customising block HTML and CSS
- Built-in content and image slider
- Mobile responsive layout
- Support for retina display devices
The highlight of this product is the design and appearance of the 100 content blocks that are included. However, the highly intuitive interface for building the layouts and editing them come a close second.
Using the Startup Framework
Once the Startup Framework has been installed on your WordPress site a new menu item is added to the admin sidebar titled SFW Pages.
From here you can view the existing layouts on your site, and also create new layouts. The layouts are called pages and once you’ve created a new page, you can then launch the visual editor to start creating your custom page layout.
Typically you would create the homepage layout first; or alternatively you could use the Startup Framework to create a one-page style horizontally scrolling website. As the layouts are pages, it’s easy to set one as the homepage of your website.
Once the editor has been launched you will be faced with a blank canvas, onto which you can add the available blocks. The blocks are divided into the following categories:
- Price Tables
Each category contains multiple blocks with 100 interchangeable blocks available in total. You can use as many blocks as necessary to build your ideal layout. Although in most cases you would only include one block from the header category, for example.
While the design of each block is unique, they are all of a similar style. This means you can safely use pretty much any combination of blocks on your layouts, without worrying about their appearance clashing.
Hovering over each category label displays a fly out list of the blocks in that category, which you can then scroll through to find the right one for your project.
Once you’ve found a block that you want to use, it’s simply a case of dragging and dropping it onto the main page area.
After the block has been added to your page you can then customise it to further meet your needs. Editing the content of the block is as simple as clicking on the text and then typing in your own content through the front end editor.
If you want to edit the underlying HTML and CSS of the block you are working on, just click on the appropriate icon and the HTML and CSS is revealed.
This allows you to personalise just about anything in the block, including changing the fonts, colours, and anything else you can think of. Once you are happy with your modifications you can click save to commit them. While the changes aren’t reversible, if you want to start again you can remove the block and re-add it to your layout.
You can preview your creation at any point by pressing the preview button. Once you are happy with the current block you are working on, you can add the next one to continue building your layout.
If at any point you need to change the order of your blocks, just click on the reorder blocks button and then drag the blocks into the desired order.
Once you have added enough blocks to your layout and customised the content you can save your page.
If you are creating a multipage website, your next step would be to build the inner pages of your site by creating a new SFW Page and then building the layout and adding the content using the visual editor.
Then to make that page accessible on your site, edit the menu in use on your pages to link to those new pages.
When it comes to publishing blog posts, rather than pages, the Setup Framework builder isn’t available. Instead you must create your blog posts as normal, through the regular WordPress post editor.
As the page layouts of this theme do not utilise sidebars or widget areas, your blog posts will be published in the same way. In one sense this is great as it allows your readers to consume your content in distraction-free mode, with no widgets to draw them away from what you’ve written. However, some WordPress users who rely on sidebar content and widgets might find this an issue. Although as this is WordPress there is sure to be a workaround available.
Support and Documentation
Those who purchase this product get access to one year of updates and email support. The developers have also created a few YouTube videos to give you an overview of the tool, and demonstrate how to create a website using the Startup Framework.
There isn’t much available in terms of online documentation; however the FAQ may answer some of the questions you might have about this product.
The Startup Framework for WordPress is available on three pricing plans:
- One website: $149
- Three websites: $249
- Five websites: $349
Each option includes one year of updates and email support. If you want to demo the Startup Framework for WordPress, you can request a login account on their development server. This gives you the opportunity of seeing how easy it is to use first hand, and also sample the great looking design blocks that are on offer.
While the price of the Startup Framework is more than you would usually pay for a regular premium WordPress theme or page builder tool, this product does give you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to creating your page layouts.
The drag and drop interface for adding the pre-built blocks to your layout is one of the easiest to use and allows you to build a highly professional looking website without the need to edit any code.
As there are a hundred blocks to choose from, divided across the seven categories, you can create thousands of different layouts without ever repeating the same selection of blocks in the same order.
The developers have done a great job of creating a consistently modern and stylish design for each of the blocks. This ensures they all work well together, no matter what blocks are selected for any particular layout.
The varied range of blocks also makes this tool great for building short pages comprising of just a few blocks for quickly delivering your message, or for building a long page that tells the story of your brand or product across many blocks.
The only area where the Setup Framework is slightly lacking is when it comes to displaying blog posts. However, if you don’t mind limited blogging functionality, such as no sidebars, then it’s not a big deal.
If you are looking for a tool that will allow you to quickly build professional looking layouts, simply by dragging and dropping each section of your pages into place, then the Startup Framework is definitely worth taking for a test drive.
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