When I first started by blogging journey I started on Blogger (Blogspot), I’ve been on WordPress only about 4 years. When I first made the move, I was terrified and in awe. WordPress is so much more. On Blogger I was used to bending themes to my will with some simple CSS and basic HTML. But on WordPress things are a little different. There were all sorts of strange files and new coding languages. The theme I first used (and paid a pretty penny for) had so many options, all it did was overwhelm me.
And then I found the Genesis Framework and I heard the angels sing.
First, what’s the Genesis Framework?
Before we jump into the thick of it, let’s talk about what the Genesis Framework actually is. WordPress themes build out your site. So let’s think about a house. Your blog posts are the contents of the house (furniture, your clothes, groceries, etc). Themes provide a structure for you to put those content in an orderly fashion. They give you the walls and the decor.
When you use a framework you’re dividing that work (structure + decor) into two components. First, the framework or Parent Theme (structure) and then the Child Theme (decor). In essence, Genesis acts as the base walls for you blog so you can then come in and add the furniture and decor. From StudioPress (the Genesis Framework creators) themselves, using a car analogy –
A framework (ours is called Genesis) is a powerful type of WordPress theme — the frame and body of the car — that acts as a design, security, and SEO foundation for your website. It also “future-proofs” your site customizations, so there’s no hassle when it comes time to upgrade your software with one click.
A child theme is the pure design element that rests on top of the framework — the cherry red paint job on that car. Or blue. Or black. Pink. Green. You get the idea…
In simple words Genesis has all the functions and hard-wiring for your blog, then the child theme takes care of the pretty elements without you having to worry about that hard-wiring stuff.
As a designer and developer, I believe if you truly wish to make the most out of WordPress, you need to know what all those files and new coding languages are and how to work them (for a more in depth look at why, read this post by Ashley from NoseGraze).
However, as a blogger I also know and understand the need to have things simplified. That’s what the Genesis Framework does for you, it simplifies things for you, and then some. So let’s talk about the “then some” and go over the reasons Genesis is perfect for bloggers —
The Genesis Framework and Sample Child Theme (the default) are only $60. From there you can customize the Sample Child Theme to fit your needs with some simple CSS – no JS, no PHP, just CSS – for only $60. Pretty nice, eh?
If you want something more out of the box, you can buy a premium child theme for anywhere from $30 to $75. This means you could easily have a gorgeous looking blog within minutes for $100-130. Boom.
It’s Well Coded
Genesis is maintained and updated by a group of seriously smart people at StudioPress and the Genesis Community. They work tirelessly to ensure the framework adheres to best coding practices and is always compatible with the latest version of WordPress. This means you don’t have to worry about your theme breaking when there’s a WordPress update.
And since, as I mentioned above, Genesis inherently works with child themes (the pretty decor) you don’t need to worry about losing your themes’ customizations when you do update Genesis. With other themes, unless you create a child theme yourself, you’d lose all customizations when updating.
One of the big criticisms against frameworks is the “extra” code some of them come with. This is because they have all the features. However, Genesis has been built with speed in mind. The folks at StudioPress make sure to only build-in those features that are absolutely essential to the framework’s users so it’s not slowing down sites. Which brings us to…
While the framework is lightweight and kept to the bare essentials, you’ll be amazed by the plugins available for Genesis that allow you to add functionally. Everything from adding a slider to splitting sidebars to completely changing the layout without touching a line of code.
FURTHER READING: What are plugins and how to install them
It might sound like a bit of a chore “oh my gosh, I have to add a plugin to do that? why doesn’t it just come with the framework?” But see previous point. Having the dedicated plugins allow you to have those features you need, and only those features instead of 500 features you’re never using and are slowing down your site.
Beautiful, Professional Blog In Minutes
The sheer selection of child themes available is so diverse, you’re bound to find one that fits your needs. In fact, I think you’ll have a hard choosing the theme for you out of so many available. StudioPress itself offers almost 60 different child themes for you to choose from. However, one of the wonderful things about Genesis is the size of its community and what it has to offer. There truly is a child theme for everyone.
- Lifestyle blogger? Try the Simply Pro theme or Modern Studio Pro theme
- Food blogger? You cannot not try Shay Bock’s Foodie theme built for food bloggers specifically or venture over to Restored316’s Divine Theme
- Craft/DIY blogger? Try the Pretty Chic theme or Restored316’s Market theme
The wonderful thing about all these themes is not only that they were built with specific type of bloggers in mind, but also their versatility. All these themes offer the opportunity to upload custom headers and change the colors / fonts to match your brand.
Easily Change Your Blog’s Look Without Added Hassle
While branding advice says to keep the look of you blog consistent, we all know it’s far too easy to get bored with how our blogs look and get that itch to change it up. With traditional WordPress themes, and specially with “Page Builder” themes such as Divi, switching themes can be a headache.
This is because traditional WordPress themes (and for sure page builder themes) come with a lot of little features that are theme specific, such as shortcakes and theme specific widgets. When you switch themes, you lose all of that. Widgets simply disappear and short codes go from being beautiful functionalities to looking like this [shortcode].
Genesis makes it super easy to switch your blog’s look. All you have to do is switch child themes, rearrange widgets if they’ve moved around, and regenerate thumbnails if needed. And you’re done. This is because special widgets come with those dedicated plugins we discussed before, so they are not child theme specific. So your slider will still work, it’ll just not match your new theme’s styles. The only time you might have a little more work do to will be if you change to a non-Genesis theme. In this case you *might* need to find non-Genesis-specific plugins for your sliders, social media icons, etc.
Need Extra Help? No Problem
Last, but definitely not least, as I mentioned above the best part of Genesis is its amazing community and support team. If you ever run into issues, you can always contact StudioPress’ support directly. Or reach out via social media, either on their Facebook group or on Twitter using the hashtag #GenesisWP. There’s hundreds and hundreds of people that use and work with Genesis always willing to help.