Is Dynamik Website Builder The Right Theme For You?

dynamik-right-for-youYou’d like to think that a particular WordPress theme could be ideal for all users, but that’s simply not a practical reality. Every theme has some kind of user in mind, even if one is more tailored toward a select few while another encompasses the features sought by many. Dynamik is not unique in this regard and in this post I hope to paint an accurate picture of what kind of Genesis Child Theme Dynamik is and what kind of users will get the most out of it. I also hope to provide a clear understanding of who should NOT use Dynamik as their go-to WordPress Theme, as this is important information for those pondering this purchase.

WordPress Theme Framework vs. Stand-Alone/Starter Theme

Before we can get into the specifics of Dynamik we need to cover a few important concepts. In case you’re not familiar with the different types of WordPress Themes let me mention them now. First, we have the Stand-Alone/Starter Theme which is a theme that houses all of its files inside one single theme file. This is in contrast to the Theme Framework type which uses two theme folders, one for core files (the “Parent” theme, which is the framework itself) and one for custom files (the “Child” theme).

So with this starter theme you have a more “traditional” theme folder which houses all theme files, including any that you would customize. So, for example, if you wanted to tweak the code for the header you’d simply open the main theme folder, locate the header code in one of its files, and then edit that code directly. This, at first, appears to be the easier way to customize a theme as you interact directly with the code, but as you’ll find out in a minute, it’s actually less ideal than you would think.

But before we get into that point, let’s cover theme frameworks. A Theme Framework is one which houses all of its core files inside the main theme folder, but is set up in such a way as to accommodate something called a “Child Theme”. This secondary theme houses all of your custom files, including custom styles, functions, and scripts (as well as images and templates, and so on). This is all done by way of “hooks” which are contextual code snippets strategically placed in various locations of the theme’s HTML structure, where the various elements of the theme structure are “hooked into”. That may sound a bit confusing to those new to this concept, but just know this: this kind of setup allows you to then “unhook” those elements and then hook your own custom version in place of them. So what a theme framework allows you to do is customize it’s structure and design without ever touching the core files. And the reason this is so beneficial is two-fold. For one thing, your customizations are usually more compartmentalized and better organized because they’re not mixed in with the core code. And two, this one being even more critical, your customizations are safe from theme updates. So when the framework developer pushes out an update for their theme you can update your copy with confidence, knowing that your customizations will remain in tact.

So why is this relevant to Dynamik? Well, because Dynamik is a Child Theme for the Genesis Framework. So this is either a plus or a minus for you, depending on your WP theme preference. If you’re looking for a stand-alone/start theme, then Dynamik Website Builder is not for you. But on the other hand, if you’re looking for a Theme Framework solution, then Dynamik will tick that box. And to take it a step further, if you’re looking to use the Genesis Framework specifically, then Dynamik should still be in the running.

What Is Genesis?

The Genesis Framework is a not only a WordPress Theme Framework, but it’s one of the best available today. It’s the foundational framework of all the Child Theme’s found on, and it has a rock solid professional team of developers keeping it up-to-date. So if you’re in the market for a WP Framework as the foundation to your next web project, look no further than Genesis. And as I said before, Dynamik is a Child Theme specifically developed to utilize this powerful framework offering.

What Is A Genesis Child Theme?

One final point before getting into Dynamik specifics, let’s talk about the “traditional” Genesis Child Theme. These themes, in their most basic form, are simply “sub-themes” of Genesis Core, that house a few custom files and folders. Using the Genesis Sample Child Theme as an example, you have a style.css file, a functions.php file, an images folder, and a few other bits and pieces. These kinds of child themes are ideal for those who either want to pull out their favorite code editor and crank out a hard-coded custom design, or for those who simply want to purchase their favorite pre-customized child theme design and not get into the design aspect at all. In other words, with these themes you either have developers who manipulate their code or non-developers who need a pre-customized design ready for some plug-n-play action.

Yet there’s a user, which we’ll talk about further below, that’s kind of in the middle of these two groups, not necessarily a “developer”, but not a noob either. A kind of do-it-yourselfer who knows their way around some CSS and PHP, even if just a little, but is willing to learn and wants full control over their design. And this is where Dynamik comes into the picture.

What Makes Dynamik Different?

So we’ve established the fact that Dynamik is not only a Framework Child Theme, but more specifically, a Genesis Framework Child Theme. So what makes Dynamik different from other Genesis Framework Child Themes? Well that’s a bit of a loaded question since there is quite a bit that differentiates Dynamik from other Genesis Child Themes, but here are some notable differences:

  1. While a traditional child theme expects the user to directly manipulate custom code via FTP and a code editor, Dynamik provides a complete user interface, built right into your WP Dashboard, that allows you to add, edit, and remove custom code. The benefit here is all of your customizations can be done without ever leaving your Dashboard. Also, in most cases, these customizations are stored in your server’s database (as well as hard coded to files for greater efficiency on the front-end of your site) so you can more easily backup, restore, and transfer your custom design using the powerful Dynamik Import/Export features.
  2. With a traditional child theme, assuming you’re intending on doing the customizations yourself, all the design tweaks are done by way of hard coding. With Dynamik, much of the design changes can be done using the hundreds of no-coding, point-n-click, design options built right into the Dynamik user interface. So for those who either don’t have extensive coding knowledge, or just don’t want to always have to mess with custom code for every single design change they make, Dynamik is a real benefit.
  3. Dynamik does a lot of the thinking for you. What I mean by this is that many of the design options take into account many other settings that are currently in play, appropriately adjusting to those parameters. For example, Dynamik provides extensive Content and Sidebar Width options. When you tweak this settings Dynamik makes other necessary style adjustments to accommodate these proportional changes. With a traditional child theme you may find that tweaking a major aspect of the design, such as the width of a certain element, could leave your design deformed.
  4. While traditional child themes do usually provide a pre-customized design, Dynamik offers “Skins” which not only give you this first benefit, but provide you with the ability to manipulate these designs with little or no coding required. So instead of the non-developer being a bit locked down in their design, they are provided with the tools necessary to make it their own.
  5. Custom Hook Boxes! Enough said. 🙂 Seriously, though, Dynamik’s Custom Hook Box feature, especially when combined with the Conditionals, Labels, and Widget Areas also built into Dynamik’s user interface, offers one of the most flexible solutions for adding any kind of custom content or code to practically any part of your website. This is simply not a part of a traditional child theme and certainly something that makes Dynamik stand out from the crowd.
  6. You want a hard-coded child theme? Dynamik can do that too! At any point in your design, if you have a need to turn your current design into a hard-coded, completely independent (of Dynamik) Genesis Child Theme, you can do this by using the Dynamik Child Theme Export feature.
  7. While you’ll find all kinds of helpful users in most any WordPress community, the Cobalt Apps/Dynamik community offers a unique breed of Bloggers, Internet Marketers, Web Designers, Entrepreneurs, and many other WordPress users who prefer to take control of their web design needs instead of paying someone else to do it for them (or being locked into a pre-customized design of the more traditional type).

This is just a snapshot of the unique benefits, to certain kinds of users, that Dynamik has to offer, but it should give you a basic idea of what makes Dynamik unique. So now let’s try to define who Dynamik was developed for, as well as who should probably steer clear.

The Dynamik-Minded User

As I mentioned above, those who truly embrace the Dynamik way of web design are a bit of a unique breed, but a growing one at that. These are the WordPress users who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves “developers” or in many cases “coders”, but are not new to the game either and probably feel fairly comfortable with a little custom code here and there, if not at least some copy and pasting of snippets. These users are definitely do-it-yourselfers and prefer greater freedom over convenience, though that’s not to say Dynamik isn’t convenient, just that these users would prefer to be able to do it themselves instead of having to pay someone else and being at the mercy of their responsiveness.

The Dynamik-Minded user is one who is willing to learn new things and appreciates a theme that grows with them instead of spoon-feeding them up front and then leaving them stuck when their skills improve. They don’t mind a little custom coding for those unique design additions, but prefer not to have to re-invent the wheel with each new website. So the 80/20 (or so) balance of no-coding design with UI development control feels just about right for these kinds of users.

So let’s sum up the traits of those best suited for Dynamik:

  • Do-It-Yourself mindset.
  • Not completely new to WordPress and not afraid of a little code, but not a hard-core developer either.
  • Expects their theme to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to common design manipulation, but appreciates the freedom to work more directly with those final touches that really make their site’s stand out.
  • Are OK with a bit of a learning curve up-front, as long as the things they’re learning result in greater efficiency and freedom down the road.
  • Appreciates a theme that puts more emphasis on consistency and reliability over “cutting edge” and the “next big thing”.
  • Enjoys helping others and participating in online communities, knowing that the more they put in the more they get out.
  • Likes to be a bit different. I don’t know if this is true of all Dynamik-Minders, but it just seems like those who best embrace Dynamik prefer going at it on their own terms and in their own way. I know that’s how I am, at least. 🙂

I could probably make this list quite long, but that should paint a clear enough picture. And I’m not trying to pigeon-hole our members here, I just want give a good idea of who might most benefit from our flagship theme.

Dynamik’s Not For Everyone

Finally, let’s look at the type of user that will probably find Dynamik to be more of a burden than a benefit. Two groups come to mind, each one at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to skill level and WordPress knowledge.

Group one would be the hands-off user who prefers to either purchase a pre-customized design or to pay a web developer to design their site for them. This user does not want to mess with any code what-so-ever and would rather focus their attention on anything other than web design or learning to master WordPress, Genesis, and Dynamik.

Group number two would be the web design “purists”. The hard-core hard-coder. The professional web developer who prefers the traditional approach. These are the users who scoff at the idea of using a color picker to determine the hex code of their fonts and would rather die than manipulate PHP from their WP Dashboard. To them, Dynamik is unnecessary, and for them this is very true.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully by now you have a pretty solid understanding of who Dynamik is best suited for and what type of user should probably look elsewhere for their next WordPress theme. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, ideally Dynamik could be a “one size fits all” kind of solution, but we know that’s not really plausible and so we work hard to meet those needs of Dynamik-Minded users. So if you connected with this concept of the independent, do-it-yourselfer, who’s willing to learn some new things and become increasingly better at building websites with WordPress, then I’d strongly suggest you consider purchasing Dynamik. Or if you’re on the fence and need some further input be sure to check out our FAQ’s, the Dynamik Knowledge Base, our latest screencast tutorials, and email us directly if your questions persist.

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