Today I am going to review the Genesis Framework Theme, a premium theme developed by the StudioPress Team. I have actually been using this theme together with the assorted child themes since 2015, and have not used any other themes since then as I only choose and change from one child theme to another whenever I build a new website that I own.
To give you a brief history about StudioPress, which is the creator of the Genesis Framework theme, it is a company established in 2007, then around 2010, Brian Clark and his Copyblogger Media LLC merged with it to form a single company.
Today, over 500,000 (and still growing!) WordPress sites are being powered by the Genesis Framework Theme, and not only that, it is also being endorsed/used by some of the prominent names in the blogging world including Darren Rowse, Jon Loomer, Niel Patel, and even Matt Mullenweg, which is the creator of WordPress.
With this kind of backing, it has established its name as one of the most trusted brand in the blogosphere today.
What is the Genesis Framework Theme?
So you might ask what is the Genesis Framework anyway? And why are people so crazy about this theme? Well, the Genesis Framework is actually just like a normal theme, where you install it to your WordPress site and it will provide you the theme for your website, but what makes it stand out from the rest are its several features that I will explain to you in a little while.
Another thing about the Genesis Framework that makes it a bit different from other normal themes is that this theme is actually a parent theme and you can install a child theme to overlay it to give your site a different feel and appearance.
The developers from StudioPress actually made a cool analogy comparing car parts and the relationship of WordPress and the StudioPress themes, wherein you can imagine WordPress as the engine of your car, the Genesis theme as the body, and lastly, the StudioPress child themes as the paint job.
Using The Theme
After purchasing the Genesis Framework or other StudioPress child themes, you will be provided a client portal where you can download your product.
In addition to this, you will also be provided access to the StudioPress community together with several helpful resources that you can refer to when using the theme such as the following:
- The “A Beginner’s Guide To The Genesis Framework” ebook
- Several helpful plugins developed by StudioPress that makes the theme customization a lot easier (a big shout out to Genesis Simple Edits!)
- Lots of tutorial covering topics related to the Genesis Framework Theme
- Several helpful code snippets for customizing the theme (mostly modifying the functions.php file)
Now, to use the theme, just download it from your client portal and follow the detailed instruction below to get you going.
Installing the Genesis Framework theme and its child theme is just like installing an regular premium theme. Just upload it to your WordPress website thru the theme upload section, or if you want, you can also upload it thru your web server then activate it afterwards.
Although you can upload both the parent theme (the Genesis Framework) and the child theme in no particular order, make sure you activate the parent theme first, which is the Genesis Framework. You might encounter some warnings if you try to activate the child theme prior to activating the parent theme.
After you have activated the themes, a new menu item will become visible to the sidebar menu. This is where you can access and customize the Genesis theme settings
One of the main features of the Genesis theme is its SEO option so you don’t have to install additional SEO plugins to your WordPress website. These are just basic though but I really believe that its already enough for SEO purposes.
The SEO options of the Genesis theme can be categorized into two – the Global SEO option, which affects your entire website and the Page-specific options, which only affects certain pages. You can see below what each option can provide you SEO-wise
Here you can customize the SEO settings that will affect the entire pages of your website. This option can access by going to Genesis > SEO Settings
Here you can customize several things such as the following:
- Website title settings
- Homepage settings
- Document head settings
- Robots meta settings
Page Specific SEO
The page-specific SEO settings will become available when you create a new page or post. Once you have added a new page or post, you will notice a metabox specifically for the SEO settings of that particular page.
Adding scripts has never been easy with the Genesis theme as it comes with a script box where you can copy and paste any custom scripts that you want to integrate to your website such as retargeting scripts or tracking scripts
Just like the SEO option, you can add the scripts to your entire website or just in a specific page
The global script box can be accessed by going to Genesis > Theme Settings
Just scroll down ad you will find the “Header and Footer Scripts” box. Here you have the option to add any scripts in either the header or the footer of your WordPress website
Page Specific Scripts
Just like the Page Specific SEO option, the page-specific script box will become available when you create a new page or post. Here you can choose whether you put the script inside the header or inside the body of your specific content. The script will only get activated when someone visits that specific page where you placed your script
Theme Specific Settings
All child themes have settings that are unique to that theme. I am currently using the Digital Pro child theme, and for this theme, you can see below the available settings for this specific theme
And that’s basically some of the neat features that you’ll get with this theme.
Things I Like About The Genesis Theme
To summarize, I listed below some of the things that I really like about this theme, although there are quite a few more, I just listed some and these are the following:
Light Weight and Fast Loading
The StudioPress themes are coded by professional developers with speed in their mind. This guarantees that themes are clean, light weight and loads fast
HTML5 Ready and 100% Mobile Responsive
The Genesis Framework as well as all the child themes are built using HTML5. In addition to this, all of the StudioPress themes are also 100% mobile responsive which gives it an additional advantage compared to unresponsive websites in terms of search engine visibility, especially now since Google loves mobile responsive websites.
SEO in Mind
If you didn’t know, all the StudioPress themes are actually fully search optimized by none other than Greg Boser, an industry expert and SEO pioneer. So I’ll leave it to that and I guess there’s really nothing more to add here.
Security in Mind
All the themes from StudioPress have been coded by professional developers in accordance to WordPress security best practices, which makes the themes one of the most secured themes available today. If you are still not satisfied with that, StudioPress has actually hired Mark Jaquith, a WordPress core developer and security expert to make sure that the Genesis theme has the best possible security available in a theme. Satisfied now?
Lifetime Customer Support and Unlimited Usage
Another nice thing about Genesis is that you will get unlimited use of all the themes you buy, even for your clients, and on top of it, it also comes with a lifetime support and updates.
Each theme also comes with a detailed setup instruction which can guide you on how to setup your site according to the live demo.
StudioPress also have a support ticket system, which you can use if you encounter any issues with your theme. Their support actually replies within 24 hours on weekdays and with 48 hours on weekends and holidays.
Available Support Forum
The StudioPress theme users, especially the Genesis Framework has actually one of the largest community today, and you will be given access to the forum once you join the club. Inside the forum, you will find a wide range of resources and advises from other experienced Genesis Framework users on how to get the most out of the theme
Brand You Can Trust
StudioPress is a established brand composed of professional developers who does the product development. The company is definitely not a fly by night operation as they have been in existence for around 10 years now, and I don’t think they will be going away anytime soon.
Things I Don’t Like
Although this theme is packed with features that I really like, I was still able to spot some things that I think would need some improvement and could turn away some potential users, and these are the following:
Not that Friendly for Non-Coders
Although the Genesis Framework theme and the StudioPress child themes are highly customizable, unless you’re an experienced coder then you will be having a hard time modifying your theme. With this, you still need to learn a bit of HTML and CSS in order to really maximize the flexibility.
Limited Out of the Box Customization Option
Another thing I don’t like about the Genesis Framework theme, which includes the child themes from StudioPress is the limited out of the box customization options. Though some themes will provide you a couple of skin options but aside from that, if you don’t want to spend money on third party visual editors, there are actually no out of the box controls available to customize your theme in a granular level, and the only way to do it is to learn CSS.
Pricing actually depends on whether what you will buy. The nice thing about StudioPress themes is that you can buy the themes individually and also have a lot of options to choose from.
Below are the prices that you can expect to pay when buying the StudioPress themes
The Genesis Framework
If you only want to buy the Genesis Framework theme, then it will cost you $59.95. Now although the Genesis Framework is a stand-alone theme, it actually does not really look that good on its own and lacks in-depth customization option.
Unless you’re an experienced developer and know how to code a child theme, I suggest you opt for the next option below
1 Child Theme + Genesis Framework
Now this is actually what most will do – buy the child theme with the Genesis Framework which costs from $99.95 all the way up to $129.95. With this, you are sure that your theme will have an upgraded appearance and not just the generic look of the Genesis Framework theme
This is actually what I did when I first bought my genesis theme. That time, I was still not aware of the 25% discount hack (which you will learn in a while). The hack could have saved me $40 which I could have spent on something else, oh well, you live, you learn.
The Pro Plus Package
Now if you want more of the child themes, then might as well go for the Pro Plus package which costs a whopping $499. The advantage of this though is you will also get whatever child theme they add in the future.
The 25% Discount Hack
Now for the 25% discount hack, every returning customer of StudioPress actually gets a 25% discount for all the themes that they will buy in the future. This includes the Pro Plus Package as well, so to maximize this discount, the strategy is to buy only the Genesis Framework theme first, then buy the child theme afterwards.
Now, if you decide the buy the Pro Plus Package, it will now just cost you $374.25 which is a significant saving by the way isn’t it?
I guess that wraps up my review. If you are still using some free themes or some premium themes that gives you a lot of problems to your blog, then I guess it’s about time to upgrade now, and there’s actually no other theme that I can highly recommend aside from the Genesis Framework theme.
With all its features together with the unlimited use and unlimited support that you can get, I believe getting this is really a no brainer, but if you are still hesitant, the StudioPress team actually provides a 30-day money back guarantee, so in case you are not satisfied with the product, just request for a refund and you will get your money back with no questions asked.