In this post, I share with you my honest, unbiased review of Genesis Theme Framework. As a user of Genesis for more than 6 years, this review will (hopefully) help you make a better decision whether to use the software to build your website, or not.
Before I discovered Thrive Themes back at the end of 2014, Genesis Theme Framework powered all of my web properties.
In fact, I started my blogging venture in 2010 with a Genesis-built WordPress blog.
Back then, Genesis was the talk of town as far as premium WordPress themes was concerned. The company, StudioPress was setting new standards by crafting extremely well coded, bespoke and very stylish child themes at a very competitive price.
Well it’s now 2017, and so many new premium theme companies have come along, and I’ll be honest, I’ve tried many of them myself.
But, at the end of the day, I found myself going back to Genesis and I’ll explain why later on in the post.
OK so before we start, let’s begin with what makes Genesis unique, and still the best in the business.
What is Genesis anyway?
So for those of you still learning about WordPress, themes and plugins, let me explain briefly what Genesis is.
Genesis is a premium quality theme framework that works with WordPress (Open source WordPress and not WordPress.com websites).
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 is when used with a child theme that users get the most from Genesis.
Currently there are over 40 professionally built child themes available to choose from StudioPress, and that’s not including all of the third-party child themes.
Why do I need a parent theme and a child theme?
One of the most asked questions by clients I’ve worked with using Genesis, is the above. Why do you need two themes?
As I mentioned earlier, the parent theme can work perfectly as a stand-alone theme, however, the styling is very clean looking and generic.
What you do get with the parent theme is a robust framework with –
- Theme options
- Theme customizer
- Customizable header
- Custom page templates
- featured content widgets
- Multiple layout options
- Custom menu
- Mobile responsive design
Using a child theme with Genesis will give your WordPress website a more unique look and feel.
A child theme is all about the visual design and appearance, moreover, you can customize a child theme to give your website a unique identity, maybe use your own branding colors and logo (with some limitations).
You can do this manually inside of the style.css file (if you’re savvy enough with CSS), or by using another plugin called Genesis Design Palette Pro.
Check out the screen capture of one of the child theme’s available from StudioPress. This theme is called the Digital Pro theme.
Magnet4Blogging uses a heavily customized and modified version of the Digital Pro theme (With a custom built homepage using Thrive Content Builder).
Dedicated plugins available for Genesis
In addition to the child themes, there’s also a host of cool plugins available from both the WordPress repository, and the StudioPress Marketplace, 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.
Genesis Extender Plugin – A third-party plugin created by CobaltApps which will give you incredible control and power over customization for your entire child theme.
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 business website or blog.
8 Reasons why you should choose Genesis
Layout options (Complete ease-of-use) – Genesis is incredibly easy to use.
In fact, anyone starting out online for the first time can have this thing running on their WordPress website and look like a pro instantly.
Who needs to hire a web designer, right?
Over the years I’ve played around with a lot of themes and frameworks, including Thesis and Headway.
I keep coming back to Genesis because editing even simple preferences is much easier with Genesis.
Each Genesis child theme comes with its own unique set of settings, and making changes to those settings is just a case of ticking a few boxes, entering some basic information in the fields provided, switching a few slider settings over, placing ready-widgets inside the columns and footer section and you’re done.
There’s really no need to mess around with theme files, bits of code or anything else, however, I will talk about advanced customization later on in this post.
The layout options is already there for you to make changes to, such as color 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 quality and reliability for your WordPress theme, I can only think of a few names, and Genesis ranks at the top for me.
The folks over at StudioPress have no doubt spent a lot time researching, designing and coding their child themes carefully.
Having used many of the child Genesis themes over the years, I can safely say without bragging too much, that never once have I experienced any glitches or annoying errors with Genesis themes.
Most of the Genesis themes are lightweight too, they load pretty darn fast as well and that’s something very important to bare in mind when thinking about creating a user-friendly website.
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, however, you can’t really go wrong with paying top dollar for a reliable premium quality theme.
It’s certainly a cheaper alternative than seeking out a professional web designer, which can cost a small fortune, right?
Genesis Framework will set you back $59.95. It has been that price for years, in fact, when I originally purchased my copy of Genesis in 2010 it was that price.
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 around $99.95, there’s plenty to choose from in the StudioPress shop.
Expandable – Yes, Genesis is expandable, and as I mentioned at the start of this review you can expand the functionality of your Genesis powered WordPress site using plugins.
However, if you’re savvy with HTML and a little CSS, you can take full advantage of your theme customization.
This is not to say that you need to be a coding expert to use Genesis, I’m simply saying that if you have some knowledge of HTML and CSS you can really make your Genesis site more unique to you and your personal 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 all your purchased 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, like Thrive Themes.
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 for your website, you can’t afford to be cheap, especially if you’re trying to build a 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 very secured one too.
I realise that no matter how many precautions you take, your website will always be at risk, but keeping those nasty bots and hackers at bay, and of course complete peace of mind as well is important, yes?
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 when viewed on Smartphones and tablet computers.
Is this really important?
Yes, it is very important.
And with the way things are going, and how Google is giving content that is mobile friendly top priority in search, it is important that your website is mobile responsive.
So those are just some of the major factors to consider when purchasing the industry standard for WordPress that is, Genesis theme framework.Genesis Framework is considered to be the industry standard for WordPress.Click To Tweet
Now I want to talk a little bit about customizing a Genesis child theme in a bit more detail.
If you have the money, you can go beyond the ready-made child themes and pay for a developer, like myself, to either customize, or create a unique child theme to work with 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, or the Genesis Extender plugin, which will both make it very easy to add some personalization 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 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.
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 it’s 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 add advanced customization without using additional plugins.
- Requires additional free plugins to increase some functionality, or, hacking into the theme itself.
- 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 using 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.