Note! This is just one of my Rainmaker posts – Be sure you check out everything I’ve written on the New Rainmaker Platform!
As you could read in my previous blog post, I recently switched this, my whole website – from being a self-hosted WordPress installation on Media Temple hosting – to Copyblogger’s relatively new Rainmaker Platform. Rainmaker is a remixed WordPress-version, tailor-made for small businesses, who’d like to sell their memberships, products and services, online.
Was my switch an easy one? Yes and no… Read on!
For a start, my switch of membership website platform also required me to redesign my whole website. You see, Rainmaker is a fully hosted platform, so neither you nor I get to decide what goes on their servers, technically speaking. Content: yes. Executable code: no.
So I couldn’t just transfer my Headway theme based website design, over to Rainmaker.
From a security standpoint, Copyblogger’s approach makes good sense. They need some level of control over the code that gets executed on their servers. That attention to security, benefits their customers like you and me, who will enjoy better website security. Something we all need more of, in a WordPress-world all patched up in one security update after another.
And from a design standpoint, I think it’s rather unique that a hosted membership website platform even lets their users submit fully customized WordPress themes (as long as they’re based on the Genesis framework of course). Most other platforms, like Fedora and Pathwright , do NOT allow this level of design control. We’re talking total design freedom here. That’s something we can all benefit from, in a world where our customer’s attention is scarce. Most of us can use the branding advantage of a fully unique web presence, right?
So, essentially, my website is still MY website, despite being hosted on the Rainmaker Platform. I don’t think I’d ever be happy on a platform like Fedora or Simplero – simply because I want it to FEEL 100% like I want it to feel. I’m a design- and usability-nerd, mind you. I’m not saying those platforms aren’t good. I’m SUPER impressed by both of them. They’re just not for me. Rainmaker is.
How are themes submitted to Rainmaker?
For the aforementioned security reasons, you can’t upload your Genesis child theme directly to Rainmaker. It happens via submission and a subsequent security review by Rainmaker’s support team. It’s a process much like Apple’s App Store review-process, and while I’d rather be without it, no question about that, I just HAVE to use this space to give a huge shout out to Daisy Olsson – Copyblogger’s Director of Product Solutions. She isn’t amazing. Daisy is more than amazing! Her attentive, reliable support has made a huge difference, in migrating my site. Thank you, Daisy!
But what if you don’t wan’t – or can’t – design a custom Genesis child theme?
Some of you may be thinking: “but I’m not a pro web designer” or “I’m a web designer but can’t make a custom Genesis child theme from scratch” or “I’m too busy running my business! I have zero time to do a custom theme design Oliver!” or just plain “Mano! Are you loco, mano?!”
I hear ya! So chiiiiill the f… down my dear friend;)
Do you HAVE to do a custom design?
You don’t have to customise your website design at all, when using Rainmaker. The “stock” themes (of which there are 30+ at the time of writing this – and more a coming on a regular basis) are all made to be working well, specifically on the Rainmaker platform.
That these designs do not require customization = theoretically true. And, provided you use the theme exactly as intended, it’s also true, practically speaking.
Say what?? Si señor, si, please let me clarify:
These themes are GREAT themes. They’re the fine ones sold on StudioPress and they’re as adaptable, or even more so, as any other premium WordPress theme out there.
Where you may run into challenges, is when you start deviating from its intended use, that your chosen theme was made for.
Said simply: if you like what you see, when demoing the theme: you’ll be fine. But if on the other hand, you’re the kind of person who always want your steak “slightly more than medium-rare, yet less than well-done” – i.e. you’re an afficionado (or just a PITA, ahem…) or very visually discerning person (as I am): you will wanna customize some stuff. And there’s no shame in that! But you won’t be satisfied with a stock theme, no matter how “perfectly generic” it is:) Go to WooThemes for that, by the way ;p
If your changes are minor, and can be done with CSS alone (no PHP involved) you don’t necessarily have to write this custom CSS yourself. The brilliant Copyblogger support team tends to be quite friendly and helpful, and may help you cook up the needed CSS. Heck, I suspect they have their own little library of CSS snippets they can adapt for your purposes.
Just please note and respect that Copyblogger and their Rainmaker-team are *not* your custom slave coders. If you need more than a few snippets: either “google it” and adapt what you find to your needs, or hire someone (f.e. WP Curve).
But what if you wanna go custom from the start? Maybe you have specific wishes for the design of your flashy new membership website? That’s what I’ll cover in the next blog post of my Rainmaker-series: How to Create a Genesis Child Theme From Scratch. Until that one “hits the streets”, be sure to hit me up with any questions you might have, regarding Rainmaker’s themes and design features. Ask and comment below!
Note! This was just one of my Rainmaker posts – Be sure you check out everything I’ve written on the New Rainmaker Platform!