- Editor Rating
- Rated 4.5 stars
- Dynamik Website Builder
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
- Last modified:
- Ease of UseEditor: 80%
- FunctionalityEditor: 90%
- Value for MoneyEditor: 90%
- Documentation and SupportEditor: 80%
Dynamik Website Builder is a tool that has been built for users of the Genesis Framework. The product is described by the developers as a do-it-yourself Genesis child theme which gives you the ability to customise your website without directly editing any code.
The target audience are those who want to create their own custom designed themes based on the Genesis Framework, who either don’t have the necessary coding skills, or do have those skills but want a faster, more efficient way of creating their own designs.
If the idea of harnessing the power of the Genesis Framework to build your own child themes or customise an existing design, all without editing any code appeals to you, then the Dynamik Website Builder from Cobalt Apps could be just what you are looking for.
To find out if this is the tool for you, read on for our in-depth Dynamik Website Builder for Genesis review.
What Can Dynamik Website Builder Do?
You might have heard that Genesis is the framework of choice for those who want to create their own themes, whether for their own use or for commercial purposes. This might have influenced your decision to choose this framework and its child themes over the other options out there for WordPress users.
However, while the clean code makes Genesis a favourite with theme developers, for those without the necessary coding skills, creating your own custom themes, or even tweaking the appearance and layout of an existing Genesis child theme isn’t often a realistic option.
This is where the Dynamik Website Builder from Cobalt Apps comes into play. By installing this tool alongside the Genesis Framework, you get access to a large set of design options which give you far reaching control over how your website will look, all without directly editing any code.
While the tool doesn’t allow you to edit any other Genesis child themes, as it is a child theme itself, it does include a selection of skins that we will cover shortly, which work in a similar way to child themes and give you a great base to work from.
If are still unsure about what can be achieved with WordPress, the Genesis Framework, and Dynamik, then the Cobalt Apps showcase will give you a better understanding.
Features of the Dynamik Web Builder for Genesis
Here is a quick rundown of the main features of Dynamik, before we go into some of the highlights in more detail:
- Over 800 no-coding design options
- Front end live preview CSS editor and builder
- No-coding necessary custom CSS generator
- Optional responsive layout for multi-device compatibility
- 49 one-click homepage configurations
- Export settings and create snapshots for future reference and backup purposes
- Import and export skins for sharing designs and using quick-start templates
- Export your custom design as a Genesis child theme for use on other WordPress sites
- Create conditions to show certain elements, such as sidebars or menus, on certain pages
This really is a feature-packed tool that allows you to customise almost every element of our WordPress site without needing to possess any coding knowledge.
No-code Design Options
The main purpose of the Dynamik Website Builder is to allow you to create your own custom designs without viewing or editing any code. This done by accessing the Dynamik Design Options section of the tool which allows you to select fonts, colours, widths, and a whole lot more, simply by using dropdown menus, colours pickers, and other visual aids.
We will get to the available design options in more depth shortly, but they essentially allow you to make changes to the appearance of your theme that would otherwise require development skills. This also allows those with coding abilities to make their changes a lot faster, simply by using the design controls.
Dynamik comes with 49 homepage configurations that can be selected simply by choosing them from the dropdown menu.
Instead of just the default WordPress settings of either showing a static page or a list of the most recent blog posts on your site’s homepage, this option allows you to apply a more advanced widgetized layout to the homepage.
In addition to the widgetized homepage layouts, you can also customise the header and footer widget areas for even more flexibility.
When you purchase the builder you also get access to a number of Dynamik skins. Skins are described by the developers as a starting point, rather than the final destination for your creations. Out of the box, the Dynamik theme doesn’t really feature much formatting and decoration, which means without a skin you will be essentially starting from a blank canvas.
While starting with a blank canvas is ideal for some, it’s not the best scenario for others, and thankfully the builder package includes access to a selection of skins, which like a regular theme, apply a design and layout to your WordPress site.
However, it’s worth pointing out these are not child themes, and are instead a saved set of design options for Dynamik which are imported into your site and can then be easily customised via the builder. The skins can include custom images as well as hard-coded CSS, PHP and JS files
So while Dynamik gives you access to a wide selection of design options for creating your own designs without editing any code, the skins can be used as a head start to arrive at the ideal design for your website.
The skins can be downloaded from your account on the Cobalt Apps website and then imported through the Dynamik Settings page Import / Export section. You can also export your designs as skins at any point for use on other sites using this tool.
Using Dynamik Genesis Website Builder
This is certainly a tool that has lots of impressive features that will appeal to WordPress users who want to alter a wide range of elements of their website. So let’s take a look and see how user friendly Dynamik is and whether it really is a good option for non-coders who want to customise the appearance of their WordPress site.
As this is a builder for the Genesis Framework, you must install that theme framework first, in the same way you would a regular theme, and then upload Dynamik. As Dynamik is essentially a WordPress theme, it should be uploaded as a new theme into your WordPress site and then activated.
Once the necessary files have been uploaded and Dynamik is active on your site, a new set of items are added to the Genesis sub-menu on the admin sidebar.
The tool is divided into three main sections:
- Dynamik Settings: set site wide options
- Dynamik Design: customise the design using the no-code controls
- Dynamik Custom: enter custom code (CSS, JS, functions, conditionals, hook boxes)
Through the settings you can enter your license key to enable updates and support for the builder. From this section you can also set site wide settings including:
- Set custom thumbnail image sizes
- Enable responsive design
- Enable post formats
- Determine which Design Options to display (structure, design, or kitchen sink)
Once you’ve worked through these options, you can then move on to the main attraction of Dynamik: the design options.
Dynamik Design Options
Dynamik includes over 800 no-code design options which allow you to customise the appearance of your site in many ways, ranging from simple font changes, through to creating custom widgetized homepage layouts, and much more.
The design options are organized using a tabbed interface which breaks down the main elements of a theme into manageable groups, such as body, header, content, sidebar, comments, and more.
Inside each tabbed area, you then get access to the individual elements such as the fonts, colours, link styles, padding and margins, list styles, and anything else you can think of related to the appearance of your website and its content. The options you can choose are displayed using dropdown menus, colour pickers, or text fields for entering simple values, saving you the need to ever enter any code.
If at any point you do want to add some additional custom CSS that isn’t covered by the available visual options, you can simply click on the custom button to open a custom CSS window for that element, and then enter your own code. If you don’t know any or enough CSS, then the Custom CSS Builder makes it very easy to generate the CSS you need.
The Custom CSS Builder feature allows you to select CSS style elements from a visual interface and then insert the code into a text field which can then be copied and pasted elsewhere should the need arise. This could include the custom CSS box on the individual elements from the design option above.
The Custom CSS Builder is a very handy feature to have access to as you are no longer limited by the visual design selectors on offer (even though they aren’t very limiting in the first place), and can now generate your own CSS for further fine tuning the appearance of your website.
While these design option screens can be very long thanks to all the options on offer, one nice feature is that the save changes button floats, allowing you to save your current changes without having to scroll back to the top of the page. Clicking the save button doesn’t refresh the page either, so you can carry on where you left off after committing your changes.
You can also use the undo button to revert to your last save, or reset all the design options you’ve changed by hitting the design option reset button.
If you’ve installed any skins then you can activate them from the relevant tab on the design options page, and use them as is, or start customising them.
One particularly exciting feature of Dynamik is that you can export your creation as a standalone Genesis child theme that anyone with the Genesis Framework instated on their WordPress site can use, regardless of whether they are using Dynamik or not. This will really appeal to those designing custom themes for their clients, or anyone who wants to distribute their work as a free or commercial product.
Dynamik Custom Options
Dynamik contains a feature-rich custom CSS builder that allows you to generate CSS. That CSS can then either be applied to the individual elements on your site, such as text formatting, or added to a site wide custom CSS panel.
However, Dynamik has a further, more impressive custom CSS editor feature that allows you to actually edit CSS on the front end of your site, and get a live preview of any changes you make.
This is a really powerful tool and depending on how you use it, allows you to click on an element on the front end, or select one from the available elements using a dropdown menu, and then add your own CSS to customise it. Again you don’t need to know any CSS as it can all be generated through a visual builder, which then adds it to the relevant element on the page.
Any changes you make are displayed in real time and if happy with them, you can save them from the front end, making them visible to your visitors.
This is a really valuable feature that takes an already impressive tool to the next level in terms of functionality and usefulness.
Alternatives to Dynamik
While there are plenty of page builder tools for WordPress, Dynamik is a slightly different option compared to the majority of them. Many of the current page builder plugins such as the Zoom Builder, offer a drag and drop interface for creating your layouts, which can then be filled with a range of pre-built page elements.
However, while Dynamik doesn’t take this approach, the other options don’t give half as many customisation options as is available with this tool. When it comes to tools with a similar target audience and approach to theme customisation, that also have been built with the Genesis Framework in mind, the Genesis Design Palette Pro plugin offers some similar customisation options in terms of fonts and colours.
However, it stops well short of the design options on offer from Dynamik. But if you want to customise an existing Genesis child theme, rather than build your own, then the Genesis Design Palette Pro could be a suitable option, despite not having as many customisation options.
Another option to consider for those that want to customise a Genesis powered website is the Genesis Extender plugin, also from Cobalt Apps. This plugin can be installed alongside your Genesis child theme of choice, allowing you to customise that theme, rather than developing your own as is the case with Dynamik. Although Extender does includes less features than Dynamik. You can read about the main differences between Dynamik and Extender here.
Support and Documentation
There is a good selection of online documentation available which includes walkthrough videos to help you get started with Dynamik. They are well worth watching in order to help you get a better understanding what is possible with this theme builder.
The FAQ also does a good job of answering the common questions potential customers may have before making a purchase. There is also a discussion forum for users to discuss the products from Cobalt Apps and learn from each other.
The Dynamik Website Builder child theme for the Genesis Framework is available on three pricing plans, with the cheapest costing the same as a regular Genesis child theme from StudioPress. The three pricing options are:
- Single site: $79
- Up to 3 sites: $129
- Unlimited sites: $199
Each option includes one year of support and updates, which can be renewed for a further year for 50% of the original price paid. You can still go on using the builder unsupported once the year is over if you choose not to renew your purchase.
Just in case it’s not clear, you will need to have the Genesis Framework installed on your website which is available from $59.95 as this is a tool that allows you to build your own child themes for that framework.
I was really impressed with the Dynamik Website Builder from Cobalt Apps. Despite it being the most feature rich theme customiser tool I’ve come across, it was still easy to get to grips with and start using, with the only real drawback being that it only works on the Genesis Framework.
While it doesn’t work on top of any of the Genesis child themes, the selection of skins that are available for it prevent you from having to start from scratch each time you start work on a new project. However, for those that do want to use some of this tool’s customisation features, to personalise an existing child theme, the Genesis Extender plugin from the same developers would be a better option.
Although the amount of freedom you get with this tool for customising your theme is vast, you can use as little or as much of Dynamik as you wish, preventing overwhelm in new users. Whether you just want to easily change the fonts and colours on your site, or you want a front end CSS editor with a live preview, then Dynamik is an excellent choice that coders and non-coders alike will find great value in.
If you want to build your own child themes for the Genesis Framework then Dynamik is a tool that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
- Create your own Genesis child theme
- Export designs as stand alone child themes
- Includes a front end CSS editor
- Comes with a selection of theme skins
- Very versatile
- Great time saving abilities
- Could be a steep learning curve for those new to theme design
- Doesn’t work with other Genesis child themes
Dynamik Website Builder
Summary: Dynamik Website Builder is a child theme for the Genesis Framework that includes all the design options you need to be able to create your own custom WordPress theme without editing any code.
Rated 4.5 stars