StartupPro is a feature rich WordPress theme that is available for only $19. Whilst not quite a fully functional framework, the theme packs lots of great features such as styling, page widths and Google fonts that are usually only available in WordPress frameworks.
The theme was designed in HTML5 and CSS3 and has a responsive design so looks great on all devices. All templates are cleanly coded so anyone with experience with HTML and CSS will be able to modify them easily. Unfortunately, the code doesn’t have comments to explain what each part does however I didn’t find this to be a problem myself as everything is spaced out well (Note: StartupWP confirmed to me after this review was published that ‘the code is semi-minified and absent of programmer comments on purpose to be as white label as possible allowing you to more freely build your own themes and client projects with’.)
It has support for WordPress menus, widgets and custom backgrounds. The WordPress theme customizer, introduced in WordPress 3.4, is also supported. I was also pleased to see that the theme stylesheet has styling for bbPress. Even though the bbPress WordPress plugin is more than a year old, very few WordPress themes have native support for it, so it’s encouraging to see a developer provide support for the popular plugin.
The Startup design is simplistic yet functional. It won’t win any awards for its looks however it’s packed full of useful page templates. In addition to the default page template, there is:
- Blank Template – A minimal template that can be modified the way you want.
- Creative Template – Used for landing pages.
- Grid Template – Allows a page of widgets to be added.
- Login Template
- Sidebar Left Template
- Sidebar Left And Right Template
- No Sidebars Template
- Sidebar Two Left Template
- Sidebar Two Right Template
Startup has been designed with individuals and small business owners in mind. The demo area highlights this on its home page with its corporate style. The drop down menu looks good and to the right hand side there are social media profile image links to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Underneath the social media profile images is an area to display your contact telephone number and email address.
I found the layout of the blog to be a bit frustrating. Everything is in the right position but there is very little spacing between headers, images and text; so everything feels squashed. This is something that’s easily fixed with a few small edits in the stylesheet however it would be better if that wasn’t necessary. It looks slightly better in Firefox at the moment. Some styling issues exist in Chrome but these will apparently be addressed in the next version.
Meta information such as the publication date, category, author and tags are displayed by default. Useful edit links are placed at the top and bottom of every page too.
Everything for StartupPro is controlled via one central options page. At the top and bottom of the page are ‘Undo’ and ‘Clear All Settings’ buttons. There’s no option to export and import settings. This is a common feature of WordPress frameworks and would have been a useful if you were copying the settings to lots of other websites. It’s not a major problem though as due to everything being controlled on one page, settings could be copied to another website in just a few minutes. (Update: This feature is scheduled for a future version).
At the top of the options page is a list of features that can be switched on and off (they’re disabled by default). Things like breadcrumbs, the custom contact form, menu search field, universal image slider, Twitter feed integration and social media sharing buttons can be controlled here.
Your site logo and favicon can easily be uploaded as well as the default image for Facebook sharing. A 114×114 pixel image can also be uploaded for Apple devices. This is labelled as the ‘Apple Touch Icon Image’ though is obviously used for all Apple IOS devices.
The social images at the top of the site are controlled via ‘Social Profile Settings’. If no URL is entered in a field, the corresponding social media icon will not be shown. StartupPro allows you to add the latest tweet from a specific feed to a box just above the main content area too. The number of tweets displayed can be defined.
Custom icons and contact details can be entered in this section too. The options area has an example of the code required to add this to your site so it’s just a matter of copying and pasting the code and changing the details accordingly.
Make sure the ‘Social Profile Icons / Custom Contact’ option at the top of the page is enabled or no social media images will be displayed on your site, regardless of whether the fields were completed or not.
Up to three Google fonts can be integrated into your website by simply entering the name of the fonts you want to add. Then all you need to do is add the font to your stylesheet. There’s currently 542 Google web fonts to choose from so you should be able to find a font you love.
The ‘Custom Styles’ section is an easy to use styling area that lets you control a wide number of styling properties such as your page width, background colours, font sizes and colours and more. All you need to do is enter the size in pixels or hexadecimal code for the respective property and it will be updated on your site. A colour wheel can be used so that colours can be chosen more easily. This feature is not currently working in Chrome though will hopefully be resolved in the next version of StartupPro.
At the bottom of the options area are additional boxes for custom css, header scripts, body scripts and footer scripts.
StartupPro includes shortcodes for adding buttons and placing content inside columned boxes. A custom contact form can also be added to content in this way.
Two WordPress plugins come packaged with the StartupPro zip file: Custom Post Template and Nivo Slider. I don’t like WordPress themes that rely on external plugins for features. Thankfully, StartupPro simply provides support these plugins so there is support for those who want to add a beautiful image slider or custom template to individual posts.
Price, Value & Support
StartupPro was created for individuals and small businesses. It’s not being marketed as a framework though in my opinion the theme stands shoulder to shoulder with some minimal WordPress frameworks that are out there as it has as many styling options and features that are usually only found on frameworks. It’s a great starting point for building your own theme due to how easy it is to modify the theme templates.
The theme retails for only $19 and comes with a ‘No Questions Asked’ 30 day money back guarantee. This gives you free updates and free support for life. There is a free version of the design available on WordPress.org for those of you that want to give it a test run before buying. Please bear in mind however that there are a lot of differences between the free and premium version of Startup.
Features which are only available in StartupPro:
- Custom Social Icons
- Custom Contact Area
- Custom Icons
- Custom Copyright
- Contact Form
- Additional Page Templates
- Header & Footer Widgets
- Advanced Editing Via the Options Panel
Features which are limited in the free version of Startup:
- Responsive Design
- Custom Slider
- Custom Twitter Feed
- Google Fonts
The free version is a fantastic way of seeing what StartupPro can do. The Startup support forum is free to pro and free members alike so you will get help from the theme developers whatever version you are using.
Despite the look of StartupPro looking slightly dated in my opinion, I was impressed with what the theme could do and how easy it was to switch features on and off. Customising the colour scheme of your design is also straight forward however the theme currently has some issues with Chrome, specifically the colour wheel feature and some styling issues in the main design (though I’ve been assured this will be resolved in the next version).
For me, where StartupPro excels is the speed in which the theme can be used to create blogs and small content websites. Important things can be enabled and customised via the options area and everything else can be quickly modified via the stylesheet. It’s got lots of features but they’ve kept options to a minimal so it doesn’t feel bloated.
When it comes to features, StartupPro can’t compare to some other premium WordPress frameworks which are on the market however those frameworks retail for between $60 and $200 and StartupPro retails at only $19 for life. If you are looking for a simple affordable solution for building websites with WordPress, it’s worth giving StartupPro a closer look by downloading the free version of the design via WordPress.org.
More information about the theme can be found at the links below.