Genesis WordPress Theme Framework [Review]

Right now QOT is powered by the Genesis WordPress Theme Framework as we review Genesis theme which promises a professional web design, carefully tested SEO optimized coding for better search engine rankings. After all those Panda updates, we decided to give this new WordPress theme a try.

Genesis WordPress Theme Framework

Enthused by all the buzz around the Studio press Genesis theme framework, and the immense reputation of the Copyblogger network, we also decided to test it out and opted for the Eleven40 Theme WordPress theme which included the Genesis framework and cost around $80.  Of course, there was another good option to buy all the WordPress themes for $350, but we first wanted to try out the Genesis framework with a child WordPress theme.

While Studiopress offers a whole range of WordPress themes to suit different thematic purposes, we chose the Eleven40 child WordPress theme primarily because it resembled the color coding and style of our earlier custom WordPress theme, and was one of the few mobile responsive WordPress themes which display good web design on any screen size and smartphones as well.

buy genesis framework

I think the best deal in buying the Genesis themes is that all these themes can be used on unlimited sites, with unlimited free updates and full support. So for a one-time purchase free, you can use this theme framework on as many sites as you like and create your own child WordPress themes. It is easy to create your own child WordPress themes, and of course you never pay for free upgrades.

You might recall the earlier we used the Thesis theme and it was also an excellent SEO optimised theme. But due to our constant needs to heavily customise our WordPress theme, we switched back to a modified version of QuickPress WordPress theme, which has been live for quite some time now.

Genesis WordPress Theme Review

Genesis WordPress themeInstalling Genesis WordPress Theme can be done directly from the WordPress admin. I installed both the themes and activated the Eleven40 theme, which sourced the code from the Genesis parent theme. We have been trying the Genesis framework theme for a few days now and decided to use the primary Genesis theme instead of Eleven40 as it was easier to customize and create our own custom WordPress theme.

Amazing design – The first thing that wowed us was the professional design with the amazing placement of text fonts and layout. It worked out-of-the-box with an amazing display for categories, tags with easy loading of featured images, and useful 404 pages. In fact the WordPress team has built-in options for adding breadcrumbs, navigation settings, feeds and header/footer scripts and many more other options.

archives options

Auto update and benefits of child WordPress themes – The first good thing about Genesis is that the framework automatically updates itself, and you edit the child WordPress theme so that your customizations are not lost on the theme updates. During this process, I also learned about how to make child WordPress themes and the immense usefulness of actually hosting your site on a child WordPress theme rather than the primary WordPress design that you downloaded, as all your customizations stay intact when the theme upgrades. (In fact it is a good idea to use any WordPress theme as a child theme, so you’re not worried about the original theme upgrades).

 Easy columns – Like most theme frameworks, Genesis also offers a way to easily change your theme layout from 1 to 3 columns with a simple click. But what I miss is the ability to easily change the width of these columns without editing the CSS.

theme layout options

Simple hooks plugin – I think this is the most essential plugin for use with the Genesis theme framework. A theme framework is much different from the usual themes you download from the WordPress directory. It is not easy to edit the theme PHP files as easily as before, and a lot of actions have to be performed by editing the functions.php file ( this is an important file which needs accurate coding). A framework uses lots of hooks, and the Simple hooks plugin makes it very easy to insert code anywhere in the theme you like without actually messing with the theme functions file. For example, inserting AdSense ads in the content is done right now using this plugin. There are many more plugins which we are going to explore soon.

simple hooks plugin

SEO options – I looked around for some SEO options, but could not find any. Then I realized that we used the All In One SEO plugin, and therefore the Genesis SEO options are disabled. Simply disabling your SEO WordPress plug-in, will activate these options – but I found options to be less extensive than that of the former plugin and reactivated it back.

Easy CSS customisation – while I created a child WordPress theme, and it was easy to override the CSS of the Genesis WordPress theme, I found that the Jetpack edit CSS option came in real handy with a syntax checker built-in. We were able to specifically change CSS code which we needed in this file, and it added on to the Genesis CSS file as an extra CSS file.

JetPack CSS editor

Lots of widgets and menus – there are lots of well placed primary and secondary menus which serve as navigation bars, and well-placed widget loaded sidebars where you can load your favorite widgets. Of course, the fancy dropdowns are really cool. I also found that I could add three footer widgets at the bottom just by adding a simple line of code.

 Import Export Genesis Settings – If you prefer to use similar settings on different blogs or would like to save a backup copy of your Genesis settings, the import-export option allows you to easily preserve your settings and export to other blogs.

Extensive support and tutorials – As I browsed around the Studiopress website, there were many useful tutorials as well as community tutorials which helps Genesis theme users customize every aspect of the Genesis theme, with elaborate code examples and help. In fact, I could find a lot of help from the community and Genesis users using Google search.

Access to members only forum – When you do the payment, you get a special transaction code which entitles you to log in to the member’s area and get support from Genesis staff as well as community members for free.

Use on multiple sites – I think this is what makes it worth the money to get the Genesis framework and use it to multiple websites at no extra cost and create your own child WordPress themes to customize the look on all your different websites.

What are you waiting for, go ahead and try the Genesis WordPress theme  and framework for your WordPress blog today and take it to the next level.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.