I have launched numerous WordPress websites, using free, pro, and completely custom themes. After many development trials and tribulations, I now almost exclusively use Genesis Framework by StudioPress for custom, branded websites.
Different WordPress templates are suitable for different kinds of websites and online marketing goals. Now, you don’t need something like the Genesis Framework if you are:
- building feeder websites to funnel traffic to a primary money site
- creating fast, sales funnel microsites
- or throwaway websites for SEO testing and gray / black hat SEO schemes
But if you intend to build a branded website that you intend to grow over the long run and turn into a lead / sales generation machine, Genesis Framework by StudioPress is a fantastic long term solution.
The Development Hassles of Customizing Premium WordPress Themes
Before I jump into why I endorse the Genesis Framework by StudioPress, I should go into the impact of your development choices when you build your business website. There are many premium WordPress theme developers that create beautiful, well thought out, search engine friendly themes. Some of the premium theme developers I love include Woo Themes and Elegant Themes.
But if you are serious about creating a web presence that attracts targeted traffic that converts, you will find yourself constantly reconfiguring the layout of your WordPress template as part of your conversion optimization efforts. If you customize a WordPress theme that is not framework based, you essentially have “forked” the theme, which is, you have taken the theme off its managed development path.
Why this matters to you, as a business owner, is as follows:
- WordPress does 3-4 core updates a year. When WordPress updates, premium plugin and theme developers release new versions in order to be compatible with core WordPress updates. You as the business owner, now need to update your core WordPress install and any WordPress plugins and themes, to minimize the risk of getting hacked, or encountering errors on your site.
- Your customized WordPress theme will not benefit from your theme developer’s new release. Why? Because you’ve forked the theme off its managed development path. This means you have to now find and hire a developer to fix any errors that might occur because of any incompatibility with your custom theme and the latest version of WordPress. Every time. The good news is, WordPress themes break less frequently than WordPress plugins with WordPress core updates. However, should a break occur, you are completely on your own.
- A WordPress framework with a child theme protects you from update breakage. A framework like Genesis Theme keeps your website design as a separate file – a child theme – apart from all the files that control the functionality of your website. This means that when you need to update your WordPress install and update to a new version of Genesis framework, your child theme remains unaffected.
Why I Recommend the Genesis Framework
Full disclosure here – if you buy Genesis via my website (by clicking here or on any of the banners), I do get an affiliate commission. But this is not why I am writing this review of Genesis Framework. I am far too busy to spend the time to write a review of any product I am less than passionate about, and folks, I am passionate about Genesis Framework. Why?
I spent A LOT of time researching different frameworks, and hours comparing Genesis Framework with Thesis Theme and with Headway. At the end of the day I decided to choose Genesis Framework, in spite of the fact that a horde of Internet Marketing peeps I follow used Thesis in the earlier days. On the flip side, the horde of Internet celebs I am following who are converting to Genesis is fast outnumbering the Thesis folks; web celeb users of Genesis include Matt Mullenweg, the Founder of WordPress himself, Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, to name a few, and many others are making the switch from Thesis to Genesis, such as long-time Thesis user and affiliate marketer Suggarae.
Genesis Framework Is Easier to Design, Develop and Customize
I am not a web developer, I’m a business owner who hires web developers. I want to be focused on my business and not be mired in endless web development projects that don’t drive revenue, or constantly trying to tweak or fix my website because something is not working right.
Of the many things I like about Genesis Framework is that once you are done building your site, you are done. From a web development perspective, Genesis framework makes the whole process of building, launching, and maintaining your site so much easier.
When it comes to customization, according to WordPress web developers I know, Thesis is a bit more complicated and has a bigger learning curve. Both Genesis and Thesis frameworks use hooks, filters, and CSS style sheets as well as offer options panels for site-wide changes. At the end of the day, you or your developer will need to master a learning curve to configure either framework.
A while back I bought and attempted to customize Thesis Theme 1.0 and gave up. Thesis Theme 1.0 was bare bones out of the box and I couldn’t figure out how to make it look remotely presentable. It was an exercise in frustration. Sure I could’ve hired a WordPress developer who specialized in Thesis theme customization, but then I’d have to create wireframes, launch a design contest, get the PSD sliced and integrated into a Thesis skin, and that’s a whole lot of time, energy, and money.
Sure there are 3rd party developers who have premium Thesis skins you can purchase – then that’s a whole lot of web surfing to find the one you really want.
Currently, Thesis 2.0 offers drag and drop functionality. I’ve not tested myself, but I googled some reviews of Thesis 2.0 to get a sense of what users were feeling about it. Now, the whole point of drag and drop is to make the process of configuring a web pages easy. Apparently, it’s not. According to software engineer Chris Lema, Thesis 2.0’s drag and drop features were difficult, unintuitive, and maddening.
By contrast, Genesis Framework comes with an entire suite of Child Themes that supports different kinds of businesses. You can install Genesis framework, one of their child themes, and be up and running in minutes. Check out the entire suite of StudioPress Themes.
Genesis Framework is SEO Friendly Out of the Box
I’ve had many in depth conversations about this with other WordPress developers, like WordPress SEO guru Joost de Valk. Many WordPress themes – even premium themes – will hurt your SEO, if coded poorly or simply coded without search engine optimization in mind. So if you have a premium theme that isn’t SEO friendly and you want it to be, you, my friend, will be hacking code. Or getting your developer to hack code. If you don’t know HOW to make the code search engine friendly you could be spending money to shoot arrows in the dark.
Genesis Framework is search engine friendly out of the box. In fact, StudioPress hired Greg Boser, one of the best SEOs in the industry, to make sure Genesis was SEO friendly. Frankly, when I know that someone like Greg has taken care of this key aspect of my website, I can relax and focus on the things I care about – namely clients, products, and content.
Genesis Framework is a Steal, I Mean, Deal
StudioPress’s developer package is excellent value for the price. I purchased their Pro-Plus package, which comes with all 47+ Genesis child themes, plus a lifetime membership, which guarantees access to any future child theme that they create along with superb support.
Since I run numerous websites, having access to a wide selection of themes that all work the same way is critical to my business sanity. Also it allows me to offer clients access to this suite of WordPress templates as a value added service.
Genesis Framework Has Excellent Support and a Large Developer Community
Genesis Framework has a massive community, which makes it easy to find and hire qualified Genesis Framework developers. The common language that Genesis Framework is built on also makes it easy for any developer to pick up where a previous developer left off. Studiopress also provides ample tutorials and guides to help you learn how to develop on the Genesis Framework. Customer support is excellent.
Great Resources that Helped me Pick Genesis Framework
As mentioned, I spent hours and days researching what WordPress theme to use so I could minimize the need to mess around with my website. Of the many blog posts and forum discussion threads I must have scoured, these were some of the most helpful.
If this post has helped you at all, please consider purchasing your copy of Genesis Framework for your WordPress website:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
- Do you use a WordPress Theme framework? If so, which one?
- Do you use Genesis Framework? If so, what do you like or dislike about it?