SeedProd review: What’s it like for beginners?

SeedProd adds drag-and-drop web page building to WordPress. The Pro version is very powerful, but trickier for novices than it may look.

SeedProd review: What’s it like for beginners?

SeedProd is software that plugs into WordPress and allows you to build websites with drag-and-drop editing. In theory it makes WordPress as easy to use as Squarespace and other simpler site builders, while retaining the sophistication of WordPress.

In practice it makes WordPress easy when you’ve set it up properly, but to get there you have to understand SeedProd and WordPress and how the two interact. Don’t assume this is simple: I spent a long time confused and frustrated.

I wanted a web site to promote Bongs For Steve, my memoir-like novel about friendship and smoking, and a regular blog that I planned to initiate. I looked into the simpler options and concluded that I needed more control and sophistication.

More than a year later I am delighted with SeedProd, but there have been moments when I felt I’d bitten off way too much.

Knowledge of WordPress

And I didn’t come completely raw to the process. I had recently invested a lot of time in extending a website, with simple drag-and-drop software that my workplace was using.

That didn’t prepare me for the intricacies of choosing a host, purchasing and connecting up a domain, selecting a WordPress theme, and then getting a handle on how SeedProd connected with WordPress.

WordPress page interface with SeedProd installed.

A part of the handle is distinguishing the SeedProd Theme Builder’s treatment of WordPress pages from its treatment of posts. SeedProd allows you to build and style WordPress pages, and enhance them with headers, footers, sidebars, and a big library of blocks that do all sorts of things.

SeedProd page interface.

It also allows you to create templates that will automatically style new posts, which you load and publish directly on WordPress. Such as the post you are reading. And this one.

Anyone familiar with site-building directly on WordPress would get the whole thing much faster.

Downside One: Cost and complexity

I found I needed more than I got with the Basic SeedProd package and so invested US$400 a year in the Pro version. That brings you the Theme Builder, which allows you to create your own look.

It also brings you an extensive image library, and claims – justifiably in my experience – to prioritise your requests for support. Plus you can run up to five websites.

SeedProd options and pricing.

Combined though, the cost and the steep learning curve add up to the first of my two caveats for non-techie writers and others considering SeedProd.

It’s harder to use and more expensive than I had expected. And while SeedProd offers a library of video tutorials, I found them less helpful for a beginner than I had hoped.

Downside Two: The comment box

Is reader comment on blogs now a thing of the past, with discussion having moved to social media posts? Not quite. I’ve had no comments to date, but some blogs still get lots of comment.

So I wanted to offer my readers the opportunity to engage. And SeedProd gives you no easy way to customise the text on your comment box.

SeedProd interface for WordPress comment box.

You can’t even adjust the heading – and the default field-labels include a non-correctable typo (You real email). There is a text box in the comment block, but it merely adds to the hard-coded text.

Worse: nothing indicates to you that this will be the case. A related tutorial page assumes that it works. I spent hours looking for what I was missing.

Published appearance of SeedProd-themed WordPress comment box.

I discussed this deficiency with SeedProd support, and they acknowledged it and supplied code that let me make a few changes. For more, I would need to edit more code on the WordPress comments template.

Support told me the issue had been raised with SeedProd developers. If an improvement arrives, a notification will appear on SeedProd’s changelog page.

I wondered whether a dedicated Comments plugin might do the trick, and installed WPDiscuz, but it encountered a conflict with SeedProd.

If your experience with the SeedProd Comment block has been better than mine, you could help readers by sharing it below in a comment.

Upside One: Tech support

Now for two major upsides of using SeedProd. First, the tech support for my Pro account has been very good.

I’ve had a response to each query within 24 hours, and usually well within. My responses to responses have been answered just as promptly and by the same person. And responses have been tailored to my non-techie status.

The support extends to supplying custom coding and explaining how I could add it to my site via a free plug-in called WP Code Lite, from the same company that operates SeedProd (Awesome Motive). That’s how I tweaked my comment invitation text.

Of course, SeedProd claims that you won’t need to do your own coding. Well, that’s almost the case.

Upside Two: Styling power

Which brings me to the second and most satisfying upside of building a website with SeedProd: comment boxes aside, its styling options are very powerful. You can build a site that looks just like you want it to look, and adjust it whenever you like.

SeedProd page builder interface.

Styling is also easy to apply, once you get familiar with Seedprod’s menu architecture and some basic technical terms, such as distinguishing Margins from Padding.

Just like it says on the tin, you are offered a range of section layouts, column layouts and blocks, and it is just a matter of choosing the layout you want, pulling the blocks into place, and styling each block.

It helps to remember that your design is intended to be responsive to screen size. Therefore if you’re planning it on a desktop, you need to understand how the page elements will be organised when the page is shrunk to fit on a phone.

SeedProd makes this easy too. You can preview your design instantly as you go, for desktop and mobile devices.

A final note

It appears that SeedProd parent Awesome Motive began as an advice blog called WPBeginner. WPBeginner is still going strong, and it’s not shy about reviewing Awesome Motive products and comparing them favourably with key competitors.

Among other Awesome Motive brands are WPCode, WPForms, MonsterInsights (a site traffic analytics plugin), and OptinMonster. You’ll find the rest of them here.

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