This article was written by me Leelou. As a wedding photographer turned graphic designer, I use my knowledge of both worlds to create high converting and beautifully designed products specifically for photographer and videographer.
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September 23, 2023
In a surprising turn of events, Flothemes has announced its decision to close its shop and discontinue theme updates starting September 30, 2024. This announcement has left many in the community feeling taken aback, especially considering the company’s acquisition by Pixieset in 2021. Up until this point, Pixieset had assured users that the acquisition wouldn’t impact their experience.
In this blog post, I answer common questions from Flothemes users during this unique time. I’ll cover what’s happening with Flothemes, suggest top platforms for migration, discuss SEO, and provide insights into the process of changing platforms.
My intention is to provide info that’s caring and free from any personal bias towards certain platforms.
This is a unique time for Flo users. Rather than moving platforms due to dissatisfaction, Flothemes users are being pushed out of the platform. Usually, when people reach out about web platforms, I tell them all about Showit. This is because it’s the platform I’m most knowledgeable in, my templates are built on Showit, and they’ve reached out to learn more about this platform. Above all else, Showit is honestly a platform I love using for my own site.
I do believe depending on your business goals and your abilities, different platforms are better for different ppl and businesses.
As an example, before moving to Showit, I used other platforms that I found hard to navigate, and that didn’t allow the custom abilities I was after. Because of this, I continuously delayed launching my site. Showit ended up being a good fit for me because I am a designer and also very stubborn, so I wanted to build my own site without using code, and I wanted to have complete control of what it looked like down to every minuscule detail. This was the top of my priorities, but chances are my priorities are different from yours.
Not everyone needs a platform with these custom abilities. You may be looking for a platform with the best SEO, one that allows you to stay on WordPress, one that is super intuitive and easy to use or has a very particular function, and Showit may not be the perfect fit.
It’s easy to be black and white in these situations. Right now though, to the best of my abilities, I want to provide a space that looks at all the grey areas, doesn’t push a certain agenda and doesn’t favour a certain web platform because of a subjective opinion.
If you are opting to switch to another platform due to Flothemes shutting down, but have never switched platforms before, this can be a little daunting. Generally, switching platforms looks like…
Step 1. Purchase a template or use a free template from your preferred web platform.
Step 2. Sign up for the new web platform and start customising your template. You customise your template while your current site is still live with Flothemes. This way, your site will never be down.
Step 3. For your blog content, Showit, Wix, and Squarespace have options to migrate your blog content over for you.
Step 4. Be sure to set up your SEO settings. If you have good SEO on your current site, I recommend having an SEO specialist jump on board for the move. Pepperstorm Media is a biz you could reach out to.
Step 5. Once ready to go live with your new website, connect your DINS setting through your domain registrar (aka the company with your URL..like GoDaddy, Google Domains, Crazy Domains, etc.). The web platform you choose will usually guide you through this in detail.
Step 6. Once your new site is live, you can cancel your subscription to Flothemes.
*if you opt to switch to Pixieset, be sure to contact them about the move before Nov 30 2023, as they are offering “assistance from our team with creating your site”, which could take a lot of the stress and time out of the move. But enquire what that looks like exactly. Will they rebuild your site exactly how it looks in Flothemes? Will they move over your client galleries from Pic-time or other platforms + will they set up your CRM? What is the extent of the assistance? Etc.
Your SEO can take a dip when you move platforms.
Setting up great SEO in your new site, redirecting pages, keeping your webpages load time down and ensuring your website content is similar to your old site are all things you can do to help combat the dip in your SEO + help it bounce back quicker.
If you want help maintaining your SEO in the move, I recommend reaching out to an SEO specialist to help with the move. One you could try Pepperstorm Media
Be sure to check your organic traffic on your Flothemes site before overthinking this! If you aren’t getting much organic traffic, then this isn’t an issue for your move. Just ensure you take steps to set up good SEO in your new site.
WordPress is known to be the best for SEO. If you were to do an intense dive into SEO, maybe have an SEO specialist jump in and optimise your site, doing absolutely everything to have the best possible SEO, then WordPress would be a good fit.
But at the end of the day, it’s really not the platform you use that creates great SEO. It’s the efforts and the optimisations you do that will help you rank on search engines.
Lots of people rank first page on Google using Showit, Squarespace and even Wix.
Since Flothemes is shutting down (which is now owned by Pixieset), they are strongly encouraging everyone to transition to Pixieset and offer incentives to do so.
Pixieset has a drag-and-drop system called Flex Editor, which looks similar to Flothemes’ Flex Blocks. It seems as though any design created in Flothemes with Flex Blocks would be feasible to recreate in Pixieset. It’s important to note though, that Pixieset does not support custom fonts. If you have a specific brand font in mind that you wish to use on your website, you’ll be limited to Google fonts or those available in Pixieset’s preloaded font library.
If you would like to maintain your current website’s appearance and use specific fonts, I recommend reaching out to Pixieset before making the switch. They should be able to assess your current website and provide insights on whether it can be successfully replicated in Pixieset.
If you’re seeking an all-in-one solution that combines CRM capabilities, client galleries, and a website, Pixieset offers this.
It’s important to note that Pixieset entered the website platform market in 2019, which classifies it as a relatively new player in this domain. Opting for a well-established website platform with a proven track record of reliability might be a more secure choice.
I use Showit and Shopify together for the Studio Leelou site. I enjoy using these platforms as I have the freedom to craft our shop and sales pages precisely to our liking. Then, I can embed buy buttons from Shopify wherever I like. It’s a super easy system.
Squarespace and Wix have their own shop abilities built into the platform. This is great as it’s all in one place, and the layout is already built for you.
If you want to create an extensive shop with many plugins and data tracking abilities, building your site directly in Shopify or WordPress would be the best.
It looks as though the shop function in Pixieset is the client galleries that enable people to purchase print products and digital downloads from the gallery. You could possibly look at embedding buy buttons from Shopify, though you will have to check with Pixieset about this.
Narrative seamlessly integrates with your blog in Showit (you will need the Advanced Blog subscription for this. Simply install the plugin in WordPress (Showit blogs run through WP, but this is the only part of your Showit site in WP), and you are good to go. We run through this in our course that comes with the web template.
You can also blog with Pic-time using Showit. After you create the blog post in Pictime, simply click “Share & SEO’. Then click Integrate and copy the code. In your Showit blog, simply add an
HTML block and paste the code in.
I can only really chat about Showit in regard to the specifics of what using these platforms in a website looks like.
Most web platforms allow integration of other platforms by embedding code though, and will likely look similar to the above process (minus the WP plugin).
I should say that mentioning code can sound scary. But when I say embedding a platform through code, this isn’t the same as ‘coding’ so don’t stress. It’s simply copy and paste system into an ’embed code’ block that you can add anywhere on your site.
Yes, you certinly can. The most recommended platform to use is Kadence.
This platform will allow you to rebuild your website in WordPress, which is a great option if you want to continue using WordPress.
It is worth noting that the customisation abilities in Kadence are pretty basic. If you were using a lot of Flex Blocks in your Flothemes website, you may find it hard to recreate your site in Kadence as it doesn’t seem to allow layering of elements and looks to have limited options for where content sits on the page.
This is indeed the most important info you need, and it seems as though Flothemes is still ironing out the details, so it’s all a little confusing.
Based on their most recent updates on the 23rd Sep 2023, here’s what they’ve confirmed:
Before September 30, 2024:
– There will be no changes or impact to your site.
After September 30, 2024:
– Flothemes will stop releasing updates for their themes.
– “You will not be able to add a predefined Flex Block or style kits [to your site].”
– “You will still be able to create and build your own Flex Block and edit any existing Flex Blocks”. This is quite a relief, as Pixieset initially indicated that some users will lose Flex Block editing abilities after a year.
– “Major [WordPress] version upgrades might have an impact [to your site]”. Flothemes is speculating that the next major update could be in 2026, but this is just speculation.
– “Minor updates [between WordPress’s major ones] have not known to break anything on our themes”, ‘not known’ seems to be the keyword here
Unfortunately, there is a risk in staying with Flothemes because they cannot guarantee that WordPress updates won’t affect your site. Whether you’re willing to take that chance is a decision that you’ll need to carefully consider.
The Flothemes Community FB page seems to be the best place to stay informed with the latest updates.
We understand the time, energy, and thought you’ve invested in your Flothemes site, and the idea of moving platforms might seem daunting. But guess what? We’re here to make it all easier! We have created a Website Migration Service that allows you to smoothly migrate your website to another platform (Showit) without the hassle. And we won’t just move your content; we’ll migrate your entire design.
Looking for a fresh start on a new platform? We also offer Showit website templates tailored specifically for Photographers and Videographers. As a special offer to Flothemes users, enjoy an exclusive 30% discount – just reach out to us for the code. If you’d like to take the hassle out of setting up and branding your website to resonate with your business and attract your ideal audience, we’ve got you covered.
For those who prefer a hands-on approach, our templates are DIY-friendly and come with a comprehensive course to guide you through the entire setup and customization process.
Let us handle the technical aspects so you can keep your thriving business right on track. ✨”