02 Feb February 02, 2012

SmallBiz Theme vs. Woo Simplicity Theme

SmallBiz Theme vs. Woo Simplicity Theme | Choosing WordPress Themes | WordPress Web DesignerOne of my most popular posts of all time is Thesis vs. Small Business (SmallBiz) WordPress Theme, and I have had people ask for comparisons between SmallBiz and other themes, so here is my head to head, SmallBiz vs. Woo.

Please note, I have used the SmallBiz theme a ton and only built a few sites with Woo, so feel free to use the comment section to share your knowledge.

Woo Themes is a Framework, which means there are a core set of files and lots of different themes, layouts and designs (I have used the Simplicity Theme), but there are e-commerce themes, Magazine, Blogs, pretty much whatever you need.  The SmallBiz is one theme with eleven different layouts and design capabilities, it may not be your theme of choice for e-commerce or a blog.

I would choose SmallBiz if:

  • You are a Small Business to mid size business,
  • Want something that is super user friendly,
  • Looking for a theme that allows you to build all three: Website, Facebook mini site and mobile pages.

I would choose Woo:

  • If you want a theme to showcase your portfolio, a blog, or magazine layout.
  • A theme with lots of highly stylized designs
  • If you have a few sites under your belt and have a good idea of what you are doing.

Why I like Woo:

  • My favorite thing is that there are two style sheets: the main one for the website (style.css), and the custom CSS (custom.css).  You can easily copy a piece of code from the style sheet, paste it into the custom CSS, and revise.  If you don’t like your changes or made a mistake, just delete the info out of the Custom CSS and your files are still perfectly in tact.
  • The Theme Options panel is very easy to follow: you can easily add a logo, favicon, Google Tracking code, breadcrumbs, link color, background color (or image), font color and size, layout and navigation, footer links, etc.
  • Subscribe and connect options allows you to enter your Feedburner ID or Mail Chimp Subscribe URL.  You can also easily add the urls of social media accounts to display icons with links to those sites.
  • Framework Settings allows you to brand the theme with your company logo
  • Sidebar Manager allows you to create different sidebars for different pages and customize the widgets for each page.
  • Update Framework is handy because with one click you can update your website, yet due to the custom.css, you won’t loose any of the customization that you have done, or harm the infrastructure of your site.
  • The backup settings allow you to setup another website with the same settings, which can cut down on set up time for websites.
  • The seo capabilities are built in and easy to use.
  • In relation to the the Simplicity theme:
    • The homepage slider was easy enough to use.  You can have an image with text (and links).  You can control the speed of the sides via the Options Panel
    • The portfolio features I found a bit of a challenge to set up.  I have used the theme twice and I am pretty sure I will be scratching my head when I need to update either sites portfolio.  The good side, it looks great, with thumbnails, lightbox, and resized images.
    • The testimonials were super easy to add and update.  Just like the rotating slideshow you can update the speed of the rotation in the Options Panel.
  • I did visit the forum a few times, and while the navigation was a bit awkward, I did receive an email within 24 hours of sending it to the help desk.  There is an extensive video library and theme documentation.

Why I like the Small Business Theme:

  • The first thing you will find in the Options Panel is a Video Tour of the theme, a Users Guide PDF, and a color scheme assistant for those who may feel a little design challenged.  The color scheme assistant allows you to upload an image for a digital analysis, which will return the hex values of the colors.
  • The Options Panel is an actual To-Do list of everything I need to do for a client.  The features are heavy on SEO, which is fantastic for all sites!   This includes homepage title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, Google Analytics and webmaster tools.  This list serves not only as a reminder of best practices while I am building, but there are actually links to the specific pages where you create your Google map, analytics and webmaster tools.  With one click I am able to generate the needed code and pop back into the theme to continue work.
  • There are eleven options for design layouts,  some of which allow for the use of video or slideshows on your homepage, along with feature boxes that you customize with content that best represent your business.
  • The Theme comes enabled for a mobile. This means you can customize a specific pages for people who come to your site via a smart phone, iPad or iPod. See my mobile websites page for further details and samples.
  • The SmallBiz theme comes with a Facebook Application which allows you to create custom Facebook Pages.  See my Customized Facebook Pages portfolio for samples.
  • Font choices & size and color choice for Headers, Menu’s, paragraphs & footers.
  • The connection with social media.  The Expand2Web Small Business theme already has the icons built into the sidebar of the  page, all you need to do is input your link urls.
  • Support.   Don Campbell, President of Expand2Web or one of his dedicated team members will help you through any and all questions.  Don has a YouTube channel devoted to instructional videos, his blog is loaded with tips and tutorials, and there is even a FAQ page with step by step instructions.  If you are looking for more coaching you can register for one of his online classes or join his Member Forum.
  • Customization.  You can easily upload a background image, or change the color, change the font, size and color, add a custom header.
  • There are six different options for pages with sidebars
  • The theme comes with a Home page, Find Us page, Contact form, Business Hours and built in blog.

Price:

Woo:

The pricing is a little confusing to me, but here is the gist -

  • $70 gets you one theme to use on one domain (+2 bonus themes).
  • $150 gets you one theme to use on unlimited domains (+3 bonus themes).
  • $100-$200 for their App Themes
  • For the true Woo enthusiast you may join the Woo Club, which has two levels of membership, one for $125 + $20 per month, and another for $200 +$25 per month.  The difference between the two is that with the higher price you have access to Photoshop files.

SmallBiz:

  • Single site $97
  • Developer (multi site) $247
  • Expand2Web Training and Membership Site Subscription (includes the developer package + classes on everything from design to running your own business) $247 +$47 per month.

There are plenty of great things to say about both WordPress themes.  A few samples of sites I built with SmallBiz: Freitas Package Store, Top Candidate Recruting, and Discover Specific Chiropractic.  I used Woo for: Sweet Gum Horticulture and InSideDesign.

Disclosure: I have registered with both Woo and SmallBiz as an Affiliate, the links you follow could result in my getting a financial reward (thank you).

 

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5 thoughts on “SmallBiz Theme vs. Woo Simplicity Theme

  1. Great, well-thought-out article, Eileen. The one time I used a Woo theme I had to call a fellow web designer for help. Couldn’t get the header and logo positioned properly. A lot of their themes DO look really cool, but the Smallbiz theme is my primary “go to” theme for most websites because of the reasons you mentioned.

  2. eileen says:

    Thank you Diana.

  3. Don Campbell says:

    Great review Eileen. Thanks for including SmallBiz in it!

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you for this great info on Woo. The Simplicity theme looks nice but I often wonder if it is worth learning a new system. I love being able to get answers immediately with the Smallbiz.

  5. eileen says:

    You are welcome Laura. I agree, sometimes the learning curve is 90 degrees up with a new theme. I liked most elements of Woo, but the portfolio piece was confusing to me.

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