There are dozens of frameworks available for the WordPress platform. Since my last blog focused on WordPress, I believe I have tested just about every single one, premium and free.
I purchased the Genesis Framework from StudioPress two years ago (June 2011 to be precise). Initially, I was not overly impressed with it. It seemed like a good product, however I was so used to editing templates directly myself that I found having to create functions to modify my theme frustrating.
From the very start, support from StudioPress was fantastic. They answered all of the questions I had quickly, politely and thoroughly. I still did not believe that Genesis was any better than any other framework that was available in the market. Several months later, I did some updates on the website I created using Genesis and revisited the framework. I got to know it better and decided to use it on a few more small content websites I owned.
As I used Genesis more and more for projects, I began to understand how it works. Like any framework, Genesis has a slight learning curve. Once you learn how it works with child themes and how to customise things using the functions.php template, things start making sense. I now use Genesis on most of my WordPress installations, including this blog.
Today I would like to share with you 11 reasons why I love the Genesis framework. I hope you enjoy the article 🙂
1. Competitively Priced
Genesis only costs a one off fee of $59.95. That guarantees unlimited updates and unlimited support. A lot of theme companies charge a yearly fee to cover their costs of providing ongoing support. StudioPress does not do this. You pay once to get updates and support forever. Not only that, there is no over-priced developer option; you are free to use Genesis on as many WordPress websites as you like.
StudioPress does a great job of looking after existing customers by offering them discounts on all of their designs. Genesis child themes are already really cheap at $24.95 per design, however existing customers get a whopping 25% off. This reduces the price of designs to only $18.71.
2. Frequent Updates
In the two years I have used Genesis, the framework options area has not changed that much (if it all), however StudioPress are always quick respond to changes in the WordPress platform. There is usually an update every two months or so. Updating Genesis is a breeze as it can be done directly through your WordPress admin area. You will see an update notification on your website when a new version is available. You can also enter your email address and be emailed about updates.
3. Great Support
Support is important for any product or service you purchase, particularly at the beginning. This is an area where StudioPress excels. Their support forum is moderated by staff who know Genesis inside-out. Thousands of existing topics are on the forum therefore it is likely there is already an answer to your question on the forum. All you have to do is search for it. If you cannot find a solution on the forum, you can create a new thread or open a ticket through their ticket support system.
4. Great Documentation
Within the member area of StudioPress there is a detailed tutorials section which has dozens of articles and videos. These will help you get to grips with the framework when you first install it. There is also a Code Snippets section that offers many functions. All you have to do is add this snippet code into your functions.php template to add additional functionality to your design.
Step-by-step video tutorials can also be found at StudioPress.tv.
5. Beautifully Designed
The default design of many frameworks look horrible. The default design of Genesis has a minimal design, however it looks so good that many people use it without making any major changes.
You can choose from a range of different layouts and a few changes to the stylesheet is enough to completely change the look of your website.
6. Plays Nice with Other Plugins
StudioPress is proactive at ensuring that the Genesis framework plays nice with all major WordPress plugins. I have never encountered any plugin that does not work correctly using Genesis. This is partly due to the minimal style of Genesis. The framework does not try and reinvent the wheel.
Many premium themes offer complex options areas for users that allow you to easily make changes. Some are so advanced that there is no need to ever edit a template again. Unfortunately, these options come at a price. There more functions that are placed in a theme’s functions.php template, the higher the odds that the theme will conflict with plugins. Genesis’s simplicity ensures that this never happens.
In addition to working well with other plugins, there are over a dozen plugins that were created specifically for Genesis users. The most useful being Genesis Simple Hooks, a plugin that allows you to insert code into any area of your website without editing your templates.
7. Optimised for Search Engines
All StudioPress designs have been optimised for search engines by Greg Boser from search engine marketing company BlueGlass Interactive. There is a general SEO settings area with five different sections to configure and SEO settings can be customised on a per post/page basis (the SEO settings appear under your post editor).
Here’s the great thing about Genesis. As soon as you activate an top SEO plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast or All in One SEO Pack, Genesis removes its SEO functionality (remember what I said about playing nice with other plugins!). All you have to do is deactivate the SEO plugin for the Genesis SEO settings to return.
8. Incredibly Secure
StudioPress hires WordPress Lead Developer Mark Jaquith to check every major release of Genesis to ensure that the framework is secure and adheres to WordPress standards. Few WordPress theme companies to this kind of effort to ensure the product is secure. Here’s what Mark Jaquith said about Genesis 1.9:
It’s clear StudioPress made security a priority when developing Genesis and from a security standpoint, Genesis 1.9 is at the top of its class.
9. Huge Amount of Child Themes
I mentioned previously that the default design of most frameworks is basic. Unfortunately, most frameworks do not offer any custom designs either; therefore it is left to the user to create a design themselves. Most people are not great designers so users of a framework frequently end up using a slightly modified version of the framework’s basic design.
Genesis is different. Whilst the framework can easily be used to create a custom design yourself, the sheer volume of child themes available for Genesis means that you do not have to. In addition to the 43 designs from StudioPress that are currently available, there are more than 20 designs from other designers too. All of which can be bought through StudioPress with a 25% discount and they normally update each design every year.
10. Responsive Designs
The Genesis framework and all of its child themes are optimised for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This ensures your design looks great all the time. The forthcoming release of Genesis 2 is being designed using the mobile friendly HTML5 platform, thus ensuring that their dedication to mobile platforms continues.
11. Easy to Use
Genesis is an easy framework to use. There is one settings page for SEO and a general options page for your theme. In the options area you can redirect your RSS feed to Feedburner, choose your default layout (left sidebar or right sidebar etc), enable breadcrumbs, comments and trackbacks. Blog categories can also be excluded from here and you can insert scripts into the header and footer.
The options are actually fairly limited; which is what I like about it. This simplicity allows you to get a new website launched using Genesis in a matter of minutes. Theme and SEO settings can be exported to another website easily too. This is useful if you build a lot of websites using the framework.
What I found frustrating at the start was being forced to make all edits through the functions.php template, however it does not take long to become accustomed to this. Once you are, you will find Genesis a joy to work with. All you need is a basic understanding of CSS in order to change the colour scheme of a design. Templates are commented throughout so making edits is a breeze.
Should you want to modify the styling of your website visually, I recommend the Prose child theme. It has a design settings page that allows you to modify every aspect of your design. Perfect for those of you who hate changing code.
Is the Genesis framework perfect? No, far from it, however having tried dozens of other WordPress frameworks, I can say with confidence that it is the best framework available for WordPress. The latest version of Genesis (2.0) is scheduled for release within the next month. I am keen on changing the design of this blog though I am going to wait and see what StudioPress do with their upcoming release. I am sure it is going to be great.
If you have never used Genesis, I recommend giving it a try. The framework can be purchased from StudioPress for only $59.95.
Thanks for reading.
Link: Genesis Framework