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Why you should use the Genesis Framework for your WordPress Blog
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If you have been hanging around the WordPress community for any amount of time, you undoubtedly have heard of Genesis Framework. That’s because it is by far the most popular and widely used frameworks in the WordPress community; currently in use on more than 300,000 WordPress sites.
On my other blog, I’m using the Genesis framework with a child theme called Eleven40 Pro from Studiopress. In fact, I use Genesis on almost all my blogs, and I couldn’t be more happier.
Genesis is not only popular but also one of the most powerful theme frameworks available on the market today. What makes Genesis so popular and powerful are its simplicity and flexibility.
Developed and maintained by a group of developers from StudioPress, the Genesis framework allows you to quickly and easily build the site that you want.
What is the Genesis Framework?
The Genesis Framework is basically a core theme (or parent theme) that sits on top of WordPress and provides a rock solid foundation by adding extra functionality, SEO benefits and increased security.
You can use Genesis as a stand-alone theme if you wish, or use in conjunction with any of its child themes.
What is a Child Theme?
A child theme inherits the functionality of its parent theme (in this case Genesis) and allows you to further enhance the look and feel of your site without affecting the core functionality of the parent theme.
StudioPress uses a car analogy to describe their framework and child themes in relation to WordPress:
Once you install the Genesis framework, then you install and activate the child theme of your choice and your site is ready to go.
Why you should use the Genesis Framework?
There are plenty of theme frameworks available to be used with WordPress, so why you should use the Genesis Framework? There are a lot of good reasons, but here are some of the most important:
WordPress alone is very search engine friendly by itself, but Genesis takes it one step further with HTML5 markup, Schema.org code, clean and lightweight code to help get you ranked high in search engine results. Right off the bat, Genesis is very well optimized for SEO, so no add-ons are necessary.
1. Genesis is Lightweight and Fast loading framework
Genesis was built with speed in mind. Unlike other theme Frameworks that are packed with features you’ll never use, Genesis is designed to be clean, light-weight and bloat-free. That means your web pages will load significantly faster, which is vital for user experience and SEO alike.
When Google includes the page load speed in their ranking algorithm you know it’s more important than ever to have a fast loading website and Genesis will help with that.
2. HTML5 Ready
The Genesis framework is built using the latest HTML5 markup language, meaning your website would be compatible with future changes to the web. It also means that your website will be mobile-friendly and cross-browser compatible.
Some of the Benefits of HTML5 markup:
Genesis supports schema.org code that helps search engines to better understand and categorize your website’s content so they can serve it to people who’re specifically looking for it. This in turn increases your website’s visibility in organic search results and dramatically boost your click-through rate (CTR).
The major search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo and Yandex use this markup.
Here’s what Yoast de Valk says about it:
Here’s what Google says:
Endless Customization Possibilities
4. Availability of child themes
When using a theme framework like Genesis, you’ll most likely install a child theme which let you instantly change the look and feel of your site without touching a line of code.
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can design your own child theme from scratch. But you really don’t need to, because there are literally dozens of pre-made child themes (or designs) available for Genesis, which are ready to use right out-of-the box, so you can get a professional-looking site up and running in no time.
StudioPress, the makers of Genesis Framework, offer a nice collection of attractive child themes for almost any type of blog niche. All of their themes are clean, professional, and more importantly, they are designed to showcase your best content. In addition to their own collections, they also feature designs from third-party developers as well.
Whether you’re running a business website or a personal blog, or real estate, or whatever, there is a theme that’ll work for you.
Even if you are not satisfied with the design, you can hire a developer over at StudioPress to design a custom theme exactly the way you want.
5. Tons of dedicated plugins
Given the popularity of the Genesis, the developers have created some great amount of plugins to make your life even easier. The best part about these plugins is that most of them are available for free in the WordPress plugin repository.
These plugins are specially built to integrate with Genesis framework so that you don’t have to mess with your theme files. For example, Genesis has over 50+ hooks and filters that let you put content or ads into certain parts of your site, such as “before header,” “after header”, “before post”, “after post,” etc. The best way to get to grips with this is to use Genesis Visual Hooks plugin. If you want to modify certain areas in your theme such as “the post-info (byline)”, “the post-meta”, and “the footer area”, you can use the Genesis simple Edits plugin to do so.
No other framework on the market has offered a decent number of dedicated plugins for you to enhance the functionality of the theme.
One of the great things about Genesis is that you can widgetize almost any part of your theme such as the header, footer or even the container.
Genesis comes with several custom widgets which you can simply drag and drop them onto your sidebar or footer and use instantly without any coding knowledge.
The built-in widgets include User Profile, Featured Posts and Featured Page. There are also many types of Genesis widgets such as social media icons, slideshows, and latest tweets that you can install via plugins.
7. Mix and match Layout functionality
Another great built-in feature of Genesis framework is its ‘mix & match’ layout functionality. That means not only you can choose any of the six layouts for your entire site, but you can have different layouts for different pages or posts with a simple click of a button.
Below is a list of 6 post/page layouts that come with the Genesis theme framework:
And, if that’s not enough, you can add up to 9 new layouts using the Genesis Layout Extras plugin by David Decker.
StudioPress take Security very seriously. To ensure that the framework is secure and adheres to the WordPress security best practices, StudioPress has hired Mark Jaquith, a core WordPress developer, to perform a security audit on Genesis.
So you can rest assured that your site’s security is always up to date and protected against hacking and other malicious exploits.
Here’s what Mark Jaquith has to say about Genesis:
Community Support and Resources
9. Large Community and Support
One of the great things about working with Genesis is a huge community of developers, designers and enthusiastic bloggers available to help you. If you ever get stuck, StudioPress has an active support forum with many helpful moderators to get you heading in the right direction.
Obviously, with so many helpful people in the Genesis community, you can rest easy knowing that you will get help when you need it the most.
10. Tons of Tutorials online
With a large community of people using Genesis, there are loads of blogs and tutorials online that will show you how to do almost anything with Genesis framework.
In addition to this, StudioPress has maintained a good amount of tutorials, documentation, videos and code snippets to help you get the most out of Genesis.
However, with all these resources available online, even a novice can design the site they want.
Pricing and Licensing
11. One time payment – Unlimited Usage, Update & Support
The Genesis framework is worth every dime based on its straightforward pricing scheme alone. You pay $59.95 once and get unlimited support, unlimited updates and unlimited access to all official StudioPress tutorials for lifetime.
And to top it all off, you can use the framework as many times as you like and on as many websites as you want, including personal websites or client/business sites — at no extra cost. There are absolutely no restrictions.
What else could you ask for?
So – if you’re looking for the best theme framework to take your WordPress to the next level, look no further than Genesis. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your site is always secure, search engine optimized, updated, speedy and responsive to visitors. With a lot of built in functionality, and dozens of plug-ins and child themes to choose from, you can have a professional looking WordPress website up and running in a matter of minutes.
But don’t just take my word for it. Genesis Framework is used and recommended by many core developers and top bloggers in the WordPress realm, including Matt Mullenweg (WordPress founder), Yoast de Valk (creator of the WordPress SEO Plugin), Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan and others. Even Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, uses Genesis on his personal blog.
Here’s what they had to say about Genesis:
You couldn’t ask for a better endorsement!
Things You Should Know before buying the Genesis Framework
1. Learning curve: Like any framework, Genesis has a bit of a learning curve at first if you want to modify the design beyond what its child theme offers. You will need to at least be familiar with editing CSS and PHP in order to customize the design to suit your needs. And really it’s no big deal. Once you get to grips with it, you can easily customize your site, exactly the way you want it. If you’re a developer/designer and are familiar with the details of the Genesis framework, you can build any type of website imaginable – the possibilities are literally endless!
However, for those who are not comfortable with the code, there are a few ways to customize Genesis without touching any code whatsoever:
2. You must use a child theme: Although Genesis is designed to work as a stand-alone theme, it’s highly recommended to use a child theme for any customizations you may want to make. Why? Because a child theme is completely separate from the parent that preserves all of your customizations. So if there is a theme update, you will not lose any changes you have made. That’s why StudioPress provides a free sample child theme to use with Genesis if you opt to purchase the Genesis framework alone without a child theme.
3. GPL License: The Genesis framework and StudioPress child themes are licensed under the GPL, just like WordPress. This means that you are allowed to use and modify the themes for any purpose (Personal and Commercial) without any restrictions. For example, you can change the footer credits linking back to StudioPress.com if you wish.
And I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. What do you think of Genesis Framework? Please share your comments with us below.
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