By Amy Chick

Blog

Why I Dropped Wordpress and Switched to Freedom

Friday, November 7, 2014

Earlier this week, we talked about why WordPress plugins aren’t nearly as convenient as they seem. If you’re building websites on WordPress, you might be familiar with these headaches. But the thought of using a different CMS platform probably causes you mild anxiety — it definitely did for me.

Since I started working with Accrisoft, Mark and I have discussed the possibility of moving my freelance website to Freedom. I was never completely opposed to the idea, but it definitely took some convincing because of my familiarity and comfort level with WordPress. I was worried that my website would change once we moved it over — but each time I raised a concern about the functionality of my site on Freedom, the team at Accrisoft showed me a solution. In most cases, it was simpler and more user-friendly than the WordPress version.

Using the Forms and Email Marketing modules in Freedom, I’ve been able to recreate a few of my favorite WordPress plugins (which are also some of the most popular):

Gravity Forms

Every website needs forms. Contact forms, opt-in forms, registration forms. Without them, your site isn’t very valuable in terms of lead generation and marketing.

I’ve tested several forms plugins in the past, and Gravity Forms seems to have the most impressive functionality. I was skeptical that Freedom would be able to support all the same actions, but I was wrong. The Forms module allows you to:

  • Create order forms (and integrate them with our Commerce module)
  • Use radio buttons, check boxes, and other special fields
  • Integrate with email marketing (more on that below)
  • Build single- or multi-page forms
  • Enable CAPTCHA functionality to prevent spam submissions
  • Automate confirmation emails

And much more — in fact, I’m uncovering new secrets about this module every time I use it. And because the modules in Freedom interact with each other, I can view all the analytics from my forms in one simple dashboard.

In the past, it always felt tedious to deal with tasks like embedding forms, creating iframes, and updating plugins. Now it’s as simple as building my form, configuring the functionality, and specifying where I want to use it. Then, I can go back running my business and allow Freedom to handle the rest. Whether you currently use Gravity Forms, Wufoo, or another plugin, the simplicity and intuitiveness of the Forms module will win you over.

MailChimp

I’ve always been a huge MailChimp fan. I love the personality, the functionality, and the usability of the program. So when I learned that Freedom’s Email Marketing module integrates with Mandrill — the SMTP service that powers MailChimp — I was more than a little bit excited. There’s a step-by-step guide inside the module that will you get started:

Mandrill set-up takes just a few minutes — a few fields and an API key later, you’ll be ready to use Freedom’s Email Marketing module to send campaigns.

The module itself is easy to use and allows for the same capabilities as MailChimp. You can design campaigns and templates, manage subscribers, and track analytics inside the dashboard.

Magic Action Box

This is my all-time favorite WordPress plugin. I love being able to drop a custom email opt-in box at the bottom of each blog post (by the way, if you’re not doing this already, you should start). The Magic Action Box plugin requires you to design forms and graphics before configuring the layout of the box. If you’re already comfortable with this process, the switch to Freedom will be a breeze.

To replicate the Magic Action Box plugin in Freedom, design a graphic that will function as the background of the box. Then, create an opt-in form in the Forms module; you have full control over the HTML output of the form, so you can customize it to look like your graphic.

Finally, to embed the form into a blog post, visit the Green Interface and build a forms widget. This is a very simple process:

1. Go to Layouts > Widgets and add a new embedded form widget that uses your opt-in form


2. Insert the widget into your blog post using a widget include — for example, widget.blog_form_widget



Making the Switch


I just started learning how to use Freedom to manage my website, and I’m already impressed. Rather than managing a handful of apps that don’t integrate with one another, I can now find everything in one place. If you want to give Freedom a try, you can get started by downloading a license for free.

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