Before I discovered Thrive Themes back at the end of 2014, Genesis Theme Framework powered all of my websites. In fact, I started my blogging venture back in 2010 with a Genesis built WordPress blog.
Back then, Genesis was taking WordPress theme’s to the next level, they were the talk of town, offering well coded, bespoke and very stylish child themes at a very competitive price.
Well it’s now 2016, and I no longer use Genesis for this site, but I still continue to build both personal and client websites with Genesis theme framework.
As a user of Genesis Framework for more than 5 years, this is my honest, personal and detailed review of the platform.
Should you consider choosing Genesis for your WordPress website or blog today, when there’s so many other great options available out there, including Thrive Themes which is gaining a lot of momentum?
Let’s find out what makes Genesis unique, and still the best in the business.
What is Genesis anyway?
So for those of you still learning about WordPress and building a website using themes etc, and perhaps aren’t sure what Genesis is, let me explain.
Genesis is a premium quality theme framework that runs on WordPress. The software was created by StudioPress, a company created and run by CopyBlogger Media.
The Genesis theme can actually be used as a stand alone parent theme, however it’s the available child themes that makes Genesis truly unique.
Currently there are 38 pro child themes available to choose from inside StudioPress, and that’s not including all of the third-party child themes.
Why do I need a parent theme and a child theme?
That’s one of the many questions I’ve been asked on so many occasions over the years, especially by new clients.
As I mentioned earlier, the parent theme works perfectly well on it’s own, however you don’t get much in the way of styling. What you do get is a clean and simple design and layout, a robust framework if you like, with all the design elements, security and SEO foundations in place.
A child theme on the other hand will give your Genesis powered site a a more unique look and feel. A child theme is all about the visual design and appearance, moreover, you can customise this visual design further to make it more fitting for your online brand (with limitations).
You can do this manually inside of the style.css file (if you’re savvy enough), or by using another plugin called Genesis Design Palette Pro, here’s the link for more info on this.
Here’s a snap shot of one of the child theme’s available from StudioPress.
Dedicated Plugins Available For Genesis
In addition to the child themes, there’s also a host of plugins available from both the WordPress repository and StudioPress, that you can install to increase the functionality and ease of use of your Genesis powered WordPress site. Here’s a few of them:
Genesis Simple Hooks – Gives you easy access to over 50 action hooks inside the Genesis Theme, perfect for adding functionality to your WordPress site without having to install additional plugins.
Genesis Simple Edits – Lets you edit the three most commonly modified areas in any Genesis theme: the post-info, the post-meta, and the footer area.
Genesis Design Palette Pro – Allows you to easily style your Genesis child theme’s font style, size and colour, background colours, padding and margins.
Genesis eNews Extended – Allows you to easily add an email signup form to your site’s sidebar, footer or homepage, without pulling your hair out.
OK so I hope so far you’ve gotten a better understanding of what Genesis theme framework is, now let’s look at some of the reasons why YOU might want to invest your money in a Genesis theme, for your next website development project.
8 Reasons Why You Should Choose Genesis
Layout Options (Complete ease-of-use) – Genesis is easy to use, so easy in fact that anyone starting out online for the first time, can have a this thing running on their WordPress site and look like a pro doing it.
Over the years I’ve played around with a lot of theme frameworks, including Thesis and Headway. I keep coming back to Genesis because editing simple preferences is much easier with Genesis.
Each Genesis child theme will have it’s own unique set of settings, and making changes to those settings is just a case of ticking a few boxes, entering some information in provided fields, switching a few slider settings over, placing ready-widgets inside the columns and footer section and you’re done.
There’s no need to be messing around with theme files, or need to add any additional codes to make Genesis operate, unless you want to increase functionality in some way.
The layout options is already there for you to make changes to, such as colour style, default layout, navigation, breadcrumbs, blog page template etc.
Check out the screen shot below to view the theme setting option in Genesis.
Robust and Reliable – When it comes to having a solid, robust and reliable theme for your WordPress site, I can only think of a few themes, and Genesis ranks at the top for me. Yes above Thrive Themes, which I’m currently using now, although Thrive is pretty darn robust in any case.
The folks over at StudioPress have no doubt spent a lot time researching, designing and coding child themes that really functions flawlessly out of the box.
Having used many of their child themes over the years, I can safely say without bragging, that never once have I experienced any glitches or errors with Genesis.
Most Genesis themes are lightweight anyway, they load pretty darn fast as well and that’s something to bare in mind when thinking about purchasing one of their themes.
Affordable – Yep, Genesis is pretty affordable. The thing is there’s so many competition out there, and yes, you can find cheaper themes. In my opinion though, you can’t go wrong with paying anything up to $100 for a reliable premium quality theme. It’s certainly cheaper than hiring a professional web designer which can cost thousands of $$.
Genesis Framework will set you back $59.95. It’s been that rock bottom solid price for years. Then you have the cost of a child theme should you wish to invest in one as well, and these can vary in price. However, if you’re a first time user, you can buy Genesis and a child theme for just $99.95, there’s plenty to choose from in the StudioPress shop.
Expandable – Yes, Genesis is expandable, as I mentioned at the start of this review you can expand the functionality of your Genesis powered WordPress site using plugins. But if you’re savvy with HTML and a little CSS, you can take full advantage of the power of Genesis.
This is not to say that you need to be a code expert to use Genesis, I’m just stating that if you have some knowledge of HTML and CSS you can really make your Genesis powered site more unique to you and your online brand, in terms of both design and functionality.
First Class Support & Unlimited Updates – Support is pretty spot on with StudioPress. As a lifetime member, you get premium support as and when you need it, including lifetime updates on your themes.
Now this is something to really consider when thinking about investing in a premium theme. A lot of theme creators will have some kind of annual membership fee setup on their site, but with StudioPress, when you buy Genesis theme(s) you become a lifetime member, no need to keep paying an annual fee.
Built-in Security – When it comes to security online, you can’t afford to be cheap with your website, especially if it’s going to be your livelihood, your business.
Genesis Framework and each Child theme is coded with security in mind, and moreover, you can combine this with your own security measures resulting in not just a robust and reliable website, but a secured one too, keeping those nasty bots and hackers at bay, and of course complete peace of mind as well.
Built-in SEO – Now a lot of premium quality themes don’t offer Built-in SEO tools, Genesis on the other hand do. And whilst it’s not the most comprehensive SEO tools, it’s lightweight enough so that you don’t have to install additional SEO plugins to get your content SEO’d up.
That being said, I would still recommend using a third party SEO plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast, or SEOPressor Connect.
Mobile Responsive Ready with HTML5 Markup – Genesis Framework and all of the StudioPress child themes are now fully optimised for mobile browsing. If you have no idea what this means, it means that your WordPress site will look great even when viewed on Smartphones and tablet computers.
Is this really important?
Yes, and right now with the way things are going, and how Google is giving content that is mobile friendly top priority in search, this is critical to your online business development and success.
So those are just some of the critical factors to consider when purchasing a Genesis theme for your WordPress site. As you can see there’s a lot of value included here. You will no doubt also appreciate why Genesis Framework is considered to be the industry standard for WordPress.Genesis Framework is considered to be the industry standard for WordPress.Click To Tweet
Genesis Custom Design
Now I want to talk a little bit about customising a Genesis child theme in detail.
If you have the money, you can go beyond the ready-made child themes and pay for a developer to either customise, or create a unique child theme to work on Genesis Framework.
If you don’t have the money to do this, as I mentioned earlier, you can use a premium WordPress plugin called Genesis Design Palette Pro, which will make it very easy to add some personalisation to your Genesis site.
If you need help with customising your Genesis site design by the way, click this link.
Installing & Setting Up Genesis In Your WordPress Site
If you’ve recently purchased Genesis, I have a short but detailed tutorial video showing you how to install the software into your site.
In the video you’ll see I install the parent theme first, and then the child theme. Just to warn you though, the video is a good few years old now, but the installation process hasn’t changed one single bit.
[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’1′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wV2sVeWj7s[/responsive_video]
Pros and Cons
OK it’s time to look at some pros and cons of using Genesis Framework.
- High quality premium theme framework built on reputation.
- Lightweight and easy to install.
- Simple layout and settings.
- Wide range of StudioPress and third party child themes to choose from.
- Lifetime membership, no annual fee.
- Lifetime updates.
- Great support.
- Built-in SEO, mobile responsive and HTML5 markup.
- Not the most easiest to customise without using additional plugins.
- Requires additional free plugins to increase some functionality.
- No built-in social sharing buttons.
Final Conclusion On Genesis Framework
Hopefully you’ve found value in reading this little review. I hope that you don’t think that I’ve been completely biassed at all towards Genesis. Yes I do love Genesis and yes I recommend it to anyone serious about taking their WordPress site or blog to the next level. But I’ll leave you to decide for yourself now. If you need any assistance or would like to reach out to me for a chat about WordPress themes or customisation, click here.