Genesis Framework is my go to WordPress framework for last few years. I have joined their Pro Plus package in 2012 and used them extensively on many of my sites like this one.
This has turned out to be a single most useful investment I have made for my online presence. You can check the official site for StudioPress for more details.
1. Why I Like Genesis Framework?
Most of the theme contains two parts of code, one which interacts with WordPress and get the data and other with contains the layout and design of the elements.
What is a Genesis Framework?
Genesis Framework is the part which interacts with WordPress and generate the data to be displayed on the page or post. Now I know it sounds like a very simple thing but it does lot of other things like making your site SEO friendly, handling different layouts, security and most importantly speed improvements.
The framework is also very customizable and allow you to add your functionality at almost any place with the help of hooks and filters.
Hooks – It allows you to hook specific functions to a specific action. It is useful when you want to add new things at any specific places. Here is a list of the hooks supported by the framework.
Filter – Allows you to modify the output of existing functions. It is useful when you want to change the existing output at any specific places. Here is a list of all the filers supported by the framework.
Now hooks and filter is nothing new, WordPress comes with those and Genesis expands those to include its own hooks and filter. It’s close integration with WordPress is one of the prime reason of its efficiency.
Do I need Child Theme?
The answer is yes, you need both the parts to render the webpage correctly. Genesis Framework will provide the data which will displayed and child theme will put that data into the layout.
All of their child themes are responsive, which means they will work fine on desktop as well as mobile and tablets. Being responsive is one of the most important aspect as more and more people have started to browse from their mobile devices.
Why Genesis is different?
There is a benefit of dividing the workload in two different things, it makes core framework independent of your site layout. It means that you can get all the core updates without worry about all the customizations on your site.
Their turn-key design allows to enable and disable elements very easily, not only that you can swap themes with a good speed.
Everyone likes to customize the look and style of their site and you can do that with ease on Child Themes. As you are just changing the look and feel not the way you receive the data, updates to Genesis Framework will not break anything on your site.
That why Genesis is little different than other themes in the market. You will get all the timely security updates, optimization, latest WordPress support without worrying about anything breaking on your site.
Genesis framework has been build keeping speed and SEO in mind. It comes with pre-build support of SEO features which can take care of most of the SEO work for you.
Not only that, it integrates well with Yoast for SEO, one of the must have SEO plugin for me. If you have Yoast for SEO installed, it hides most of its SEO settings which is duplicate of the plugin. This way you only set it at one place and do not get confuse with extra boxes in the panels. Yoast himself has talked about Genesis doing much better job than other WordPress themes.
Genesis Framework also compatible with Schema.org and generates most of the common metadata automatically. If you want to add the additional metadata, that can be done easily with filters or hooks. This way your results are shown correctly on the search result pages. I have not seen any schema.org errors on this site, though have not added any additional metadata but most of the common metadata is displayed correctly.
Now I have told earlier that Genesis Framework is build keeping SEO and speed in mind. Page loading speed is one of the important factor for search engine rankings and Genesis make sure that your site can remain fast. Their core framework are optimised for fast loading and they have also partnered with leading caching plugin providers W3 Edge.
You can enable the fragment cache in the W3 Total Cache plugin to get 30-60% speed improvements. Genesis Framework is optimised for fragment cache, so no other changes are required. You need to enable the Pro mode in W3 Total Cache for getting the Genesis Extension.
StudioPress themes comes with an unlimited usage license. It also comes with a Developer licence, so if you are selling website design services, you can use it on your client site also.
There is almost no restriction in terms of usage of the Genesis Framework and Themes. I have even sold sites build with Genesis Framework with no issues.
Community and Free Resources
Genesis has a very big community and support forum, where you can find almost any help needed. It also has a backing of a big developer community, so it will be easy to hire someone, in case you need it.
You can also reach people based on hashtags, just look at the hashtag #GenesisWP on Twitter or Google Plus. If you need some help, use the tag and many people should let you lend a hand. Even their support forum is also very active, so you can just go and search there and most probably you will find the solution.
StudioPress has a very well written support documentation and they also provide step by step setup guide for each theme. These are very extensive and well written document so should be easy to follow and setup your site.
Genesis coveres most of the functionality through core framework and child themes, for any additional functionalities, there are many free and paid plugins.
Here are some of the best free plugins for Genesis Framework which will help you setting it up correctly:
- Genesis Visual Hook Guide – This plugin will show the actual location of Hooks, Filters and Markup in your theme. So that you can make the right choice while customising theme.
- Genesis Simple Hooks – This plugin adds a new setting page where you can make the edit to any of the hooks for Genesis Framework.
- Genesis Layout Extras – It allows you to modify your layout for home page, archive pages or single pages.
There are so many other plugins available which can increase the ease of use, just choose accordingly.
Genesis Framework come with many shortcode but if you want to extend that support, you can download my Awesome Shortcode For Genesis Plugin.
There customer support is very good and they treat their returning customers with extra goodies. Do you know they provide additional discount of 25% for only the returning customers. So if you buy something from them, it automatically brings down the rates for everything else.
I have used their hosting solution for almost an year and contacted their support team multiple times. Every time their response was prompt and they have resolved the issues adequately.
2. Why You should avoid Genesis Framework
Now if everything is so rosy, why on earth anybody is buying any other theme?
A single theme or framework cannot be suitable for everyone in the world, so there are certain things which you need to keep in mind.
There are plugins available to customize but the true power of Genesis Framework is in Child Theme function.php and style.css. If you have never worked with PHP or CSS before, or you do not have any exposure to coding and debugging small problems, you might want to give it a skip.
You can skip updating the files with the help of some premium plugin but you will have to spend extra money for them or hire an experienced developer for Genesis Framework.
For setting up the child themes, please follow the setup guidelines. Each and every theme comes with a very well documented setup instructions.
You can contact me in case you still have any questions about Genesis Framework or ask in the comments below.
This post is part of the ToolBox Series. To check all the post of the series, check My ToolBox.