Comparing 2 fantastic premium themes with tons of development options for both newbie users and coders.
- Which is “better”?
- Which is faster?
- Which one should I recommend for you?
Let’s go over their history, unique strengths, differences in workflow and development mentality, and ultimately figure out which projects they fit best!
In case you’re wondering, I still feel the same about these themes as of today.
Genesis – the #1 framework for developers
Genesis has been the #1 framework since it overtook the former #1 premium framework (Thesis) around 2010. At the time, Thesis was known for being incredibly SEO-friendly and non-coder-friendly. Back then, SEO functions were relatively basic and SEO plugins weren’t quite necessary yet so themes had to deal with those functions. Thesis was also sold as a functional “drag-and-drop” themebuilder at the time. You could say it was one of the earliest pagebuilders, although it wasn’t anywhere near as powerful as the pagebuilders today.
Although Thesis worked exactly as advertised, it still seemed expensive, cumbersome, and not well supported. It was mostly a one-man show and made tons of promises about its forever-delayed Thesis 2.0 framework. The update took forever, arriving to a half-exited audience and impressed almost no one. Many (like myself) still felt the old Thesis 1.x version was better and more user-friendly.
Genesis in the meanwhile…stayed professional, priced more attractively, was better supported by many developers and users in the community. If you want really polished 3rd-party child themes, look no further than Genesis theme marketplace. Incredible stuff done by respected developers!
What makes Genesis really attractive for me is that not only did it come with great coding, great SEO, and well-polished child themes…it’s also coded super lean! It’s a truly complete framework, everything neatly placed, accessibility, SEO-friendly, all ready to go. And also many compatible 3rd-party plugins as well. Although Genesis never really advertised their theme around speed, as the trend back then was to advertise themes for SEO and design-aesthetics…their code fit perfectly with today’s trend of wanting faster/leaner themes. Genesis is by far the most comprehensively-coded theme, tons of hooks and filters, AND still super super lean. Yes, the theme may be fully-featured and comprehensive but it’s still as lean as any other fast theme out there!
What else? Great community of respected and senior-level developers. If you want great code and to work at the level of the largest companies, Genesis is for you. You can read my full Genesis Theme Framework Review.
+ Polished child themes
+ Many 3rd-party plugins
+ Big community of experienced users/developers
GeneratePress – the #1 freemium theme for non-coders/coders
GeneratePress created to fit the free theme market around 2014. A desire for a clean free base theme that newbies and non-coders could use to start their WordPress site without any cost. Unlike most other free themes that try to offer you a ton of built-in styling, GeneratePress gave you an empty canvas to work with. If you need some help, there were useful example child themes. And if you wanted more features, you could buy the premium version to unlock more.
GeneratePress got popular because of the owner’s quality of code and fantastic support. It quickly grew as a fan favorite, especially among newbies not wanting to pay for a premium theme. Nowadays with free pagebuilders, you can pretty much combine them with GeneratePress to create any look you want…of course, the limit is your skill level! (Read my full GeneratePress review.)
+ FREE & PREMIUM
+ Incredible support and community of newbies
+ Well-updated with the latest trends
GeneratePress vs Genesis – which is better for you?
Genesis is still the #1 pick for me but GeneratePress is awesome as well. Both are my favorites but they have a different vibe. Super solid professional (Genesis) vs really well-crafted community theme (GeneratePress). I think you should pick the one with the community you like better. Genesis community is full of pros and A-level coders. GeneratePress feels more like DIY type of folks.
If the site is being developed be A-grade developer, use Genesis. If it’s being done by low-grade developer or a DIY non-programmer, go with GeneratePress. It’s not personal preference…depends on skill, comfort, familiarity. But both can work either way…since Genesis does have some incredibly polished child themes (for newbies), and likewise GeneratePress can also be hardcoded from scratch by A-grade developers.
The more skill you have, the less limited you are by the theme and community. But if you don’t have so much coding skill, then you should choose the community that fits more of your workflow style. Pick GeneratePress if you want to DIY with a pagebuilder and ask for help to create certain effects. Pick Genesis if you want to start with a publish-ready child theme and then ask for help to customize little bits of it.
Use GeneratePress if:
- You don’t want to pay anything.
- You’re a newbie or non-coder and love to DIY.
- You’re a low-grade/limited developer just trying to finish sites quickly.
- You like being in a community of newbies and pagebuilders.
Use Genesis if:
- You don’t mind paying $60 for the framework.
- You’re an experienced programmer who can code things from scratch, OR you don’t mind paying another $90 for a child theme.
- You’re building super professional, high-end websites.
- You like being in a community of experienced developers and programmers.