A Dynamik New Site: Why I’m Loving
My Brand-New Theme

Big Brand System looks a little different today. I spent the last week redesigning the site using a brand-new theme: Dynamik Website Builder by Cobalt Apps.

You may recall that this site has used the Prose theme for the past couple of years.

I loved using Prose: it gave me the ability to tweak and modify most areas of my site, and the end result was just what I wanted for a long time.

But designers are, by nature, antsy. We think, therefore we tweak.

Designers are, by nature, antsy. We think, therefore we tweak.

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I first found Dynamik Website Builder when Wendy Cholbi and I set out on a quest to find a second WordPress theme with design controls to add to our flagship product, Site Setup Kit.

Prose has been a perfect theme for our owners to learn and use: it’s relatively simple to learn, and gives good, solid control over most of the elements of your website.

And it’s built on the rock-solid Genesis Framework from StudioPress. That means streamlined, bug-free code that loads fast and helps your site to rank higher because of its built-in SEO tools.

But many of our owners were at a point that they wanted more.

I wanted more, too.

I grew picky. I wanted things like:

Easy-to-implement mobile responsiveness

Making your Dynamik website mobile responsive takes about one second. You simply click a check box, and voila: a mobile-responsive site that looks great on phones, tablets, and everything in between.

Total and complete control over almost every pixel

Dynamik’s design controls go way above and beyond anything I’ve seen before. You have one-click control over everything from the padding of your navigation menu, to the color, size and font of your footer typeface. No coding required.

Built in Custom CSS Builder

Ready to have your mind blown? Built right into Dynamik is a tool that will generate CSS code for your website.

Here’s an example of this:

I wanted to add a little extra space between the letters in my sidebar headlines.

I opened the Custom CSS Builder and selected a number I thought would work, then clicked the Insert Letter Spacing button. The CSS I needed appeared in the window, and I copy/pasted it into the design controls for my sidebar header.

Dynamik Website Builder review: CSS Creator tool

The final result? My sidebar headlines went from this:

Custom CSS Builder
To this:

Custom CSS Builder

A small tweak, but one I would have had to hire someone to write for me before I got my hands on Dynamik Website Builder.

Widgetized home page

Another powerful tool that’s built right into Dynamik Website Builder is the ability to create a fully mobile responsive widgetized home page.

What does this mean exactly?

You may use the same basic layout for most of your website. On this site, for example, many of the pages are set up with a main content area, a sidebar and a footer.

But oftentimes you want your home page to look different. Your home page has different goals, after all (watch this free webinar on creating successful home pages to learn more).

Creating a different look for your home page almost always meant bringing in someone to code it up for you. Something as simple as adding a featured area across the top or creating two or three columns was impossible unless you added code.

Not anymore. Dynamik Website Builder makes creating your home page about as easy as snapping together a structure using Legos.

You choose your blocks, arrange them on the page, add content, and you have a fully responsive home page with almost endless possible layout combinations.

Here’s my new home page:

New Big Brand System home page

Options, options, options

The most exceptional quality of Dynamik Website Builder is that it’s almost impossible to perceive its genetic code. One Dynamik site looks very different from the other because almost everything is editable.

From the layout options on, your design choices give your site a unique look. You can build an online brand and not worry that your site will look like every other site created with that theme. And since it’s also built on the Genesis Framework, you can count on a rock-solid foundation beneath your gorgeous theme.

Site Setup Kit now teaches you how to use Dynamik Website Builder

Until last month, Site Setup Kit taught the Prose theme exclusively. Now, you can learn either the Prose theme or Dynamik Website Builder using Site Setup Kit.

Included with the lessons are the theme files themselves, so your purchase gives you all the tools you need to build a stunning website and maintain it all by yourself.

Because Wendy and I have basically doubled the amount of material in our product, we plan to raise the price of Site Setup Kit early next year. For now though, you can still get it at our original price of $297.

Over to you

Don’t be surprised if small things continue to change in the coming weeks.

Remember: I think, therefore I tweak. A good website redesign should improve readability and usability, and that’s what I’m aiming for with this change.

Now I want to hear from you. What do you think? What’s working, and what’s not? Head on down to the newly redesigned comments section and let me know your thoughts.

Comments

    • says

      Thanks, Henneke! We’re still tweaking the responsive settings, but they’re pretty close.

      (Leave it to me to do something crazy on the home page that needs extra code to look good on mobile devices). :-)

  1. says

    Thanks for your input Wendy. I like the examples that you give. The ease of changing fonts makes this theme very tempting.
    I may very well buy Site Setup Kit before the end of the year. I have been working on my website with help from Susanna Perkins (wpbuildingblocks.com) and learning form your webinars and others. I know that there are gaps and most things take forever for me to learn and do. So I am tempted.
    You will probably hear more from me soon. I’ll also let you know once I actually launch calmmindbody.com.

  2. says

    Awesome re-design. Dynamik is fantastic and I’m falling in love with all the tweaking too (might need Tweaking Anonymous!). Thanks for sharing Dynamik. I highly recommend Site Setup Kit.

    Beautiful change for BBS, Pamela! (Gotta ask…do you sleep? You get sooooo much accomplished!) :-)

  3. David Doost says

    Love the new look Pamela. I had looked at Dynamik about 2 weeks ago and was tempted to purchase it as it looks great and very flexible as you described. I’m glad I didn’t so I can get it through your course I am already in. So you gave me an early Christmas present and saved me the dough. Thanks for looking out for us!

    • says

      You’ll get it in Site Setup Kit, but you might consider purchasing it, too, even if you don’t do that right away, David. Their support is amazing, and worth paying to get access to.

  4. says

    Great! Now I have to rebuild mine to make it better too. :-) I am already reading and working my way through Site Setup for Dynamik. We’ll see how it works out. List Setup made me aware that my outdated website would not support my business plan. My work through the end of this year is to build a new website, convert my list, and start a new business early in 2014. Thanks for showing me how to get it done.

  5. says

    Hey Pamela,

    Love it! :) And your site is a perfect example of what you said regarding each Dynamik site having it’s own unique style that reflects that of the designer/owner and not just a cookie cutter template.

    Regarding your Responsive refinements, one thing I noticed was that your newsletter signup form just under your navbar has a set width of 550px (probably added by the Plugin stylesheet) that causes mobile devices on pages like this to have a large space to the right.

    So for that you may be able to override this by adding something like this to your Dynamik Design > Responsive > 4th @media query box (or whichever @media query trigger point makes the most sense):

    #af-form-983189452, #af-form-983189452 .quirksMode {
    width: auto !important;
    }

    And actually there are several ways you can tackle this via CSS, but that’s the simplest solution.

    Either way, just a suggestion, but I know you’re still working out those minor details. Great job with the design! Well executed. :)

    Eric

  6. says

    You know while I love Prose and Site Setup Kit (even though I migrated from Thesis and am intermediate website designer) I’ve been waiting soooo impatiently for you and Wendy to finally release access Dynamik to SSK members. It’s interesting to see what changes you made to your site. Love it, even though I miss (just a little) the red background.

    Have schedule time to work on changing my main site from Prose to Dynamik, especially to take advantage of the home page layout options and easier design and CSS tweaking.

    Thanks for continuing to be the most awesome and valuable design mentor in my virtual team! :)

    • says

      I was feeling a little boxed in by that red background, I have to say.

      What I like about this very light background is that it helps the words come to the forefront, and doesn’t draw as much attention to itself as the red did.

      And now, when I use red anywhere it really stands out!

      • says

        Just a transition for me, I’m sure to embrace your marbled grey. :)
        Anything extra to keep in mind from changing from Prose to Dynamik beyond the 5 Basics to consider?

  7. says

    Hello Pamela,

    Incredible Website platform–thanks for being an early adopter and sharing with us.

    I especially love the hover feature on your Home Page–from Black & White to Color = Sharp! Bringing the Wizard of Oz to 2013, Nice!

    Best,

    Jane Dolan

    • says

      Thanks, Jane!

      I wanted an easy way to put all the good stuff here in front of people in one place. Making them all grey helped to keep the page from becoming too busy. I’m so glad you like it!

      And I thought of the Wizard of Oz when I was putting it together, too ;-)

  8. Aaron says

    I’m happy to see Eric at Cobalt Apps getting some acknowledgement by those close to Studiopress. I’ve been using this child theme for client sites since it was first released. Fantastic development by the team at Cobalt.

  9. Jeevan Jacob John says

    Love the new look, Pamela :)

    I haven’t decided on a theme for my upcoming blog, not yet. I have a few theme framework licenses (and some of them are absolutely stunning. Only problem is that most of the customization is through CSS, and I have no skills with CSS). So, I am still deciding.

    The Custom CSS Builder looks awesome..wish I had one of those within my themes. I suppose I could look it up online, perhaps I should just learn CSS; It could be useful for future.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the news, Pamela :) Appreciate it! Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

    • says

      The Custom CSS Builder is really handy, especially when you just want to tweak a few things — it’s nice to have it right there within the theme.

      Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes!

  10. says

    Wow. I have been feeling a little outdated myself and have been waiting for some time to come available to do some updating, especially on mobile responsiveness and my home page. Your “tweaking” is very inspiring and I love what you’ve done. I will check out Dynamik. I have had my eye on the new mobile responsive theme(s) from Genesis but I can see the appeal of Dynamik because you can create your look instead of starting with the look of the theme and having to undo it to create your own.

    Also — it’s great that your site is an example of what can be done with Dynamik. I think he should create a gallery and put BBS front and center. :)

    • says

      The funny thing about this redesign is that my plan was to do it during the quiet days in the last week of December, when I typically close my office.

      I set up a sandbox site a couple of weeks ago to prepare for the project, and installed the Genesis Framework and Dynamik Website Builder.

      Then I went ahead and put in the header art. And the background. And, little by little, started adding things here and there.

      Before I knew it, it was done. And I was able to release the redesign over a month before I had planned! It’s a little addictive once you get started. :-)

  11. says

    Hi Pamela, It wasn’t clear until one of the most recent comments. I have Prose and Genesis. So I keep the Genesis framework and Dynamik will work on it?

      • says

        Another quick question. What do you mean by a sandbox site and how do you set that up? If I make the switch as you did, I will need a place to do the work since my site is live already.

        • says

          A sandbox site is just what you said: a place to do the work of creating your new design because you don’t want to do it on a live site.

          I have a hosting account that allows me to add unlimited domains. So I purchased a domain name specifically for the sandbox, then installed the Genesis Framework and Dynamik Website Builder on the site and did the design work there.

          Once I had it the way I liked it, I exported the settings from Dynamik, then imported them to Big Brand System.

          Wendy and I are writing up a lesson for Site Setup Kit owners this week that will show you step-by-step how to create a sandbox site and migrate your site to Dynamik: not sure if that applies to you, but if it does, that will be something to look forward to. :-)

  12. says

    Pamela,

    I like the look and feel of the site although I do miss the red background. I checked it on my android phone and it looks great!

    I had not considered Site Set up Kit in the past because I’m pretty WordPress savvy and I’ve been happy with my current theme which is very customizable. I am looking for a change for 2014. I will probably be a Site Set Up Kit owner early in the new year.

    • says

      We’d be thrilled to help you put together your new site, Karen! We’ve been told that even experienced WordPress users have learned a thing or two from our WordPress lessons. ;-)

      Plus, we have our support forum, so you’ll have someone to help you along the way.

      Thanks for the comments on the site. The red’s still here, but it’s not as prominent as it was. That was definitely the most dramatic change from the last design, but I’ve gotten used to it, and I hope others have, too.

  13. says

    Hi Pamela,
    Love the new site – I purchased Dynamik myself and am loving it!
    How did you do the hover feature with the icons on the home page?
    Thanks!
    Norman