Why I Use Genesis and You Should Too
The Genesis Framework is a WordPress theme framework that improves the theme development experience in many ways. Here’s a list of reasons why I use Genesis and you should too.
Clean, Quality Code
Genesis is coded better than any other theme on the market. It was developed by the SEO experts at Copyblogger Media and is optimized for on-site performance and search engines. Other than just a few theme options, Genesis is extremely lightweight; no bloat or unnecessary junk. The lack of theme customization panels means that you will need to be comfortable with CSS at the very least to edit your site’s appearance.
To use Genesis, you first install the parent Genesis files, followed by a child theme (read more about child themes). In your Genesis child theme you can create page templates, customize the design, and pretty much whatever you want. You can create your own child theme from scratch, modify an existing child theme, or use an awesome pre-made child theme that is ready to go and looks great.
Here is the main reason why I love Genesis and recommend it without reservation. The flexibility provided to developers by the use of hooks is second to none. There’s a hook for basically everything. In the rare instance a hook does not exist for what you need, you can simply add it to your child theme. Oh, and what makes the flexibility even better is the amazing documentation. Finding the right hook is as easy as searching the StudioPress documentation. Every hook is well documented with a description and example. The hooks and documentation make Genesis #1 in my book.
Excellent documentation, when coupled with awesome functionality, is a great thing. The StudioPress documentation is tremendous. It covers almost every customizable part of Genesis, including code examples.
This is a close second to flexibility for why I love Genesis so much. The only reason I rank it second is because it wouldn’t exist if Genesis wasn’t so popular (thanks to its flexibility). There are so many helpful people in the Genesis community and many of them have written some really kick-ass tutorials on how to customize your Genesis website. Some of these people include:
- Sridhar Katakam
- Brad Potter
- Ozzy Rodriguez
- Bill Erickson
Brad Dalton– Brad Dalton, of wpsites.net, has nothing better to do than file bullshit DMCA takedowns against other bloggers who create tutorials similar to his, presumably to make sure he’s the only one with traffic for the topic (he makes money by charging readers for membership).
- Gary Jones
These are just a few names but there are many more people all over the community who provide tremendous help, including in the Genesis support forum and by writing awesome tutorials. All of these individuals comprise what is the best theme community within WordPress.
If by chance you ever experience a problem with Genesis, StudioPress has excellent support. Like any other theme vendor, they don’t help you customize your site but they are fantastic at getting back with you when there’s a Genesis related issue.
I’m comfortable with HTML and CSS. How much PHP and WordPress-specific use of it does one need to know to create a Genesis child theme, or to edit an existing one? For instance, if you needed custom posts and types? I know enough to be dangerous…Thanks!
A small amount of PHP will be needed to make the most of Genesis. If you’re not real familiar with it, my suggestion would be to start off studying other Genesis child themes, as well as other projects on GitHub. This was, and still is, a big way of learning for me. For modifying a Genesis child theme, you won’t need to be a PHP guru or be able to create complex applications, but you’ll at least need a basic understanding of WordPress hooks and how they work.
I’m just starting out in WordPress and find your articles really informative and real. I appreciate that. I’m going to make it a point to learn the Genesis framework. Since most of what I will be doing (right now anyways) is e-Commerce, do you recommend WooCommerce? Is there another option that will work better with Genesis?
Also, do you have any recommendations as far as tutorials to better learn the Genesis Framework?
Hey, Joel. I’m glad you like the site!
I do recommend WooCommerce. I think it’s great for e-commerce. Easy Digital Downloads is great, too, if you’re selling digital products/files.
Genesis is also great. I have a few tutorials on here but there are other sites that are full of them. Honestly, when you have a question related to Genesis, just Google it and you’ll likely find an answer. The Genesis community is huge and there are a lot of great resources.
Don’t worry about Genesis and WooCommerce not working together. WooCommerce, in general, is not the easiest plugin to style and customize for a theme. But given it’s features and value, a little extra work on the presentation side is well worth it. The two work great together with a few tweaks.
Are there any Genesis themes that are more user friendly for someone who doesn’t know CSS? What about using Visual Composes or WR Page Builder to make designing easier for a non techy person?
You can use those things but they add a lot of unneeded bloat. In my opinion, it’s just as easy (if not easier) to learn a bit of CSS to get started with as it is to learn the interfaces of some of these plugins. If you’re looking for a page builder, I’ve heard good things about Beaver Builder.
There’s also Dynamik, a standalone Genesis child theme that uses settings to style stuff. The same developer creates the Genesis Extender plugin, which lets you style existing child themes.
These tools give you a lot in terms of options but, without any knowledge of CSS, you’re still limited to what they provide out of the box.