The Genesis Framework is a premium WordPress theme that allows users to enjoy all the benefits of WordPress as a platform, with an emphasis on security, performance, and effectiveness.
It probably has the largest user base among premium WP themes. There are many reasons for this, and one of these is that it’s almost as old as WordPress itself. Well, not really but pretty old compared to other premium themes. Brian Gardner founded Studiopress, created Genesis a mere ten years ago.
Since then, Genesis positions itself as the “standard for premium WordPress themes.” But what does that mean? We will dig into this and more in this article.
Humble Beginnings (or not)
As mentioned above, Genesis is Brian Gardner’s “baby,” and his story is an inspiration for many, including me. Similarly to many successful tools, the beginning was a pursuit of creating a theme that users will appreciate.
And he got it right.
But what makes Genesis so unique? Let’s dig into the details and find out.
Features that Simply Work
500.000 is the number of websites that Genesis powers at the moment according to Studiopress, which is striking because I remember a couple of years back the figure was 250.000.
Minimalism at its Best
The part which many theme makers get wrong nowadays is going for the fancy, feature-packed templates. From one hand, it’s understandable because this is what a certain group of users demands. But there are several problems with this.
For one, the code becomes very bloated resulting in more errors, security holes, decreased compatibility, less future-proof structure and lousy performance.
And this is what Genesis does great. Only features that are really necessary comes with it. This makes it airtight from a security point of view and it becomes more future proof – meaning that when you update WordPress itself there is less chance for errors.
And it doesn’t stop there. Besides the structural simplicity, I am very much fond of the minimal appearance as well.
What could prove this better than a stripped down parent theme with lots of white and gray space?
Top of the Line Security
According to StudioPress, a WordPress security expert reviewed Genesis code, and it keeps all the recommended WordPress security recommendations. It’s no joke when you wake up to a hacked website.
Of course, it’s not all about the theme, but depends from the platform, i.e. WP, and the plugins that we use as well. Because even though, we use a theme that is very secure, plugins with code that is not so well put together can leave you with an overall vulnerable web presence.
So, if you want your website to be secure, besides choosing a theme like Genesis, you have to make sure that the number of plugins is low and the ones you use are from trusted developers. Most of the time a feature that is achieved by using a plugin can be replicated with some directly applied code, or removed completely.
In addition, keeping your Genesis theme, plugins and WordPress up to date will greatly enhance security.
Based on my experience with WordPress and Genesis, the above does the trick.
And most importantly, the web host has a huge role as well. Real security starts with them. For a secure web host you can check out our own web host: A2 Hosting. But I equally recommend SitegGround, or Genesis’s native web hosting, which I believe is the best environment for Genesis specifically.
The thing with Genesis is that there is a great team behind it, mostly veteran developers. This ensures that even though the theme is minimal, it is regularly updated, improved, pushing its capabilities further and further.
I could list many examples for this, but sticking to the most important ones in my opinion: it uses HTML5, CSS3 and it is entirely Schema enabled.
Genesis was always synonymous with lightweight code. If you wanted a high-performing unique website, there was not much coding expertise needed in order to create and customize a child theme. Or there is also the option to use one of the child themes created by Studiopress.
But, we should keep in mind that speed and performance is just partly dependent on the theme we use, there are some other measures we can take. Namely: keeping the number of plugins to the minimum, controlling media and of course the most important: choosing the right web host.
Let’s Talk Child Themes
Most WordPress themes support child themes, but not all have the flexibility of Genesis.
This flexibility becomes a blessing when we start customizing a Genesis theme. We can quickly move elements with WP action hooks and insert custom code in several places in the child themes. Brian Gardner has a neat resource page for Genesis code snippets.
Like most themes nowadays, Genesis child themes come with Google fonts, which is not necessarily the best from a performance point of view. On the flipside, it’s free, font families are abundant, and many look great.
Finding a font for any theme is easy.
Looking at the child theme portfolio of StudioPress, I get the impression that in recent years the design team rolled up their sleeves and came out with several updates to existing themes and new designs as well.
I see a trend towards minimalism, of course without sacrificing purpose.
Genesis has always been massive on niche themes; we can find an item for just about anything: real estate, blogging, corporate, cooking, portfolio, online store, gallery, agency and the list goes on.
I like many of their themes; I think that the new designs show personality without clutter. This is called art.
Unlimited Everything: Is it Real?
Studiopress claims that Genesis has only one plan and that entitles the user to unlimited one-click updates and support.
As a user myself I’m happy to confirm this, with the small correction that Genesis itself is indeed updated automatically with one click, but we can only update child themes by downloading the new version from our Studiopress account.
Inside the account, there is an overview of our available themes and we have an option to download or view set up instructions.
The team at Studiopress created the setup instructions and helping documents through the user’s lense and which assures that it’s easy to follow the instructions and implement them.
For beginners, I highly recommend the ‘Genesis for Beginners Pack’ in the sidebar.
Then the setup instructions for the individual themes is a neatly organized, step-by-step section.
If I had to describe Studiopress and Genesis with a few words those would be professionalism, precision, and conservatism; this is the impression that Studiopress’s website, the inside of my account, Genesis, and even Genesis code makes on me.
I think this a great impression to have when we are the customer. With this being said, there is only one more thing to say: we recommend Genesis as the foundation of a smart we presence because it’s a real solution.