Should I use the Genesis Framework by StudioPress?

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It all started with a tweet… The other day I tweeted that I'd migrated a site over to Liquid Web. Someone saw the tweet, clicked the link, visited the site and noticed it was using the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. Their next question was similar to one many people have.

Should I use the Genesis Framework?

The world has changed a lot since the old days where the Genesis framework was introduced.

In those days frameworks were the rage—partially because the developers of themes were using them to help them create many themes faster than starting from scratch each time. But that was 8 and 9 years ago.

So the question remains. Should someone starting now, buying a theme for their website, who isn't necessarily a developer and doesn't plan to code a theme for themselves—should they use a framework? And specifically the one by StudioPress.

Here are my reasons for recommending it

There are a lot of posts out there that exist already about the Genesis framework and they're all going to walk you thru a bunch of features and benefits, like better SEO, etc. They're right and accurate and you don't need me to rehash them all.

Instead, I'm going to tell you my reasons, which I hope will help you think about these things in a different way.

The goal of getting a site live

For me, getting a site live is rarely about how feature-rich or beautiful it is. That's secondary.

Don't get me wrong, I want the site to look good—which all StudioPress child themes do. But that's not the point. I want a site live for a purpose. Not just to exist. But to test something. To cause someone to do something. To demo something. To get a result.

My objective is always the first thing on my mind. So I don't start by looking over hundreds of beautiful themes to see what attracts me. I'm a functionalist. Is that even a word?

Because that objective is top of mind, it focuses me and my choices. So I benefit from several dynamics:

  • Easy to find (I always know where to download the framework)
  • Fast to download and upload (it's not a big download—I can even pull it down on hotel wi-fi)
  • Everyone option will look good enough to go live with

I can have a Genesis site live in 15 minutes and then I can focus on the content. I don't mean installed—that takes less than 1 minutes. I mean adjusted enough that it works well for my purposes. And yet, with that out of the way, I can get back to my core objective which often requires me to create content.

All the options are available to me

I think you have to launch 100 sites before you realize this dynamic. But I have done that, and more, and I can tell you that the most frustrating thing ever is knowing that something is possible but not available to you because of the theme that you're using. Ugh!

With any Genesis site I'm putting together, I know all the different plugins that exist to help tweak things—not just things I need, but things my customer may need downstream.

So whether it's the simple social icons that a customer may want to add to their pages, or the ability to stop showing the date via the simple edits plugin, I know these exist and have been used by hundreds of thousands of people. It's proven. It's fast. It's easy.

It works with WooCommerce

I do a lot of WooCommerce work and I need to know that my trusted tools will work with it. The connect plugin helps make Genesis and WooCommerce talk to each other. And having just re-built my t-shirt store on Genesis, I also know their Infinity Pro theme rocks!

We haven't even started talking about support, have we?

Do me a favor when you're looking at your next theme on a marketplace site or a dedicated site for selling that theme. Ask a question. Ask a pre-sale question. Ask a post-sale question. And then start your stopwatch.

Then come back here and remind yourself why I recommend my friends at StudioPress. Because they're staffed with folks who actually like answering your questions. And they do so quickly.

Now some of you may think, “That's just how they treat you Chris,” but you're wrong. Because I regularly tell folks I'm helping to reach out to their support team. And my clients all come back with the same experience.

“I really like that support team.”

Yup, no question.

It's not going anywhere

I spent some time last year interacting with several of the StudioPress staff – from the very top of the org down to the lowest level (however you define it).

Here's what I can tell you. Every single person I interacted with was sharp and focused on delivering value to their clients. Every. Single. One.

When you check out other theme vendors, you'll find some cool stuff. At least I do. I find really cool stuff. Then I go looking deeper. And I find the source code hasn't been edited in 2 or 3 years. Ouch!

The framework has been around for a long time and yet folks there are still working on improving it. That's something I count on.

I already paid for it

There's something to be said about buying the Pro Plus All Theme Package because you don't have to pay again. Ever.

I can't tell you how long ago I bought it but I'm thrilled I did. Because these days I don't spend a penny spinning up a new site. I just head over, pick up a child theme, and I'm off and running.

When I take the money I spent and divide it across all the uses, I swear I've spent less than $3 per theme instance on all the sites. That's awesome!

So when you're thinking about price, make sure you're thinking about the big picture. And again, from a business continuity perspective, I know the team will be there and will be making updates for years. Because they've already done it for years.

The same can't be true for theme developers who create a theme, don't see enough traction, and move on to another.

I can re-use my code snippets

Because I now have a bunch of little tweaks I've made to tons of sites, I use a code snippets plugin on each site and drop in what I need (and know works).

That kind of re-use is what makes it really fast to get a site up and running.

The Genesis child themes focus folks on my content

There are a ton of themes out there that do lots of cool and crazy things on a page. Many of them take interactivity to a whole new level. Of course, tons of these also require really awesome photos to make your site look good (like their demo).

My content—whether it's posts, pages, forms, or eCommerce—is what counts. And I can also count on Genesis and my child themes to make sure that's where the focus is. It's a subtle design aesthetic but one I have come to rely on.

In Conclusion

These days every single site I produce is either using Beaver Builder (and their own theme) or the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. Those are my two defaults.

I get the question a lot, “Should I use the Genesis Framework?” Or “Do I still need a framework?”

My answer comes normally in three parts:

  1. Frameworks, when used right, can help you speed up your own development effort
  2. The Genesis Framework, and the team at StudioPress, is one I trust
  3. I think I wrote a blog post about that

At minimum, I now know part three is as true as parts one and two.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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