Genesis Theme Framework Review 2019

People keep asking me if Genesis is still a good theme for WordPress.

  • Is Genesis still a good theme/framework for WordPress?
  • Do you still recommend Genesis?
  • Why do you recommend it? It hasn’t added any features lately!

Yes…Genesis is STILL a good great theme/framework for WordPress. And here’s why it’s STILL the #1 theme framework for WordPress…

 

Genesis Framework Facts

  1. Genesis is still the #1 most popular theme for WordPress.
  2. Genesis is still the #1 most popular theme among top developers.
  3. Genesis is still the #1 most popular theme among the biggest WordPress sites.

Why???

 

Genesis is the BEST-CODED

The code is clean, configurable, and complete!

Pick up any other WordPress theme out there and most likely, it’s either:

  • Super clean and lightweight but it isn’t “complete” and requires extra plugins to do basic things. Sometimes needs extra plugins to work with other plugins, hahaha!
  • OR maybe it’s “complete” and has tons of features but it’s bloated as hell.
  • OR maybe it’s clean and complete but it isn’t easily customizable into different layouts and different functions. The list goes on and on.

Genesis strikes a nice balance for me. It is FAST and complete.

Genesis was built for developers and people-who-know-what-they’re-doing. Originally, it was built as a prime competitor to the old Thesis theme (the old SEO/performance champion). To beat them, Genesis had to code so beautifully as to gain the respect and support of developers. At the time, many developers were using a mix of different frameworks or just coding their own (very tedious), and the market was wide open for a unified framework.

Genesis answered beautifully and with a few years, quickly overtook Thesis as more and more of the most popular WordPress sites switched over to Genesis.

 

Genesis is the BEST-SUPPORTED

It’s well-supported by the official Genesis team and even better, massively-supported by the Genesis community around the world. Genesis framework has been around for almost 10 years now? And every legit developer has worked with it at some point and very comfortable with it.

At any given moment, you could easily find a contractor who knows how to work with it. The same cannot be said for all these new up-and-coming themes on the market. You think AVADA has good support? Try asking them tough questions. Try searching for legit developers out there who will gladly work with it or even recommend it…it’s damn near impossible to find.

I will always recommend people to use themes/frameworks that developers like! It’ll be cheaper to build with and cheaper to fix later on. Go with some popular theme made for noobs and it’s likely coded in a much messier way and will be much more difficult to fix. Think about the long run!

  • Fewer bugs (almost none, actually).
  • Stricter demands. Genesis wouldn’t dare leave their respected community hanging.
  • Many solutions provided by talented developers.

 

Genesis is STILL AHEAD of any other theme/framework

This right here is tough to explain. What areas are Genesis ahead in? Just mature framework code for me. It’s been around longer and more compatible with everything.

It’s compatible with WordPress, WooCommerce, and many other popular extensions. Has decent SEO and accessibility built into it. It works wonderfully as a theme/framework and also has many 3rd-party plugins.

Genesis is also built comprehensively to fit every developer’s needs. Logical code structure. Things placed intuitively. Code laid out in an organized manner. No strange hacks.

 

Genesis is not for noobs

Some of you are going to be offended but hear me out. This is part of why Genesis is incredible. They aren’t catering for every noob whim. Sliders, animations, effects and more effects.

Catering for newbies is the worst thing for a longterm business. Why? Because newbies don’t know what they want. They just keep jumping from one bandwagon to another copying the latest trend out there. They don’t know how to design or run a website. And most won’t be in business for very long to even appreciate the strengths of a quality framework.

They don’t know how to audit code, they don’t know how to do anything with code except to add more 3rd party plugins and weigh the site down further. They’re also the most difficult customers to support. They clog up all the support channels with basic questions and still blame the product anyway because THEY don’t know how to use WordPress.

But get rid of the noobs and what happens?

All the experts around the world come out to play and work on doing cool things and sharing ideas instead of being bombarded by newb tech support requests.

 

“But Genesis doesn’t solve my problem!!!”

One of the biggest complaints about Genesis is that it isn’t everything to everyone. It cannot solve all your problems. And this is a valid point. For the sake of furthering the understanding of WordPress development, we must clearly define these 4 distinctions:

  • Framework
  • Theme
  • Plugin
  • Solution

 

WordPress framework 

A framework is a the foundation of the theme. It’s like the base structure of the theme that’s re-used again and again. This stays the same so you don’t have to keep rewriting the same old stuff from scratch. It’s like a starting template or blueprint for an architect to design different houses. Sure, the rooms might be shifted around or final paint colors would be different but most parts of each house are the same structurally.

By always starting your project with a framework, you’re free of the same boring repetitive stuff and can move immediately to the fun unique stuff. Same goes for WordPress, using a solid framework allows developers to go straight to customizing the design instead of rewriting the code from entirely scratch.

Genesis framework is fantastic because the code is so complete, covers every little detail to help the theme integrate with different design layouts, plugins, search engines, social media, etc. Another benefit with using a framework is that it can be upgraded without affecting the design. Suppose you wanted to upgrade all the plumbing (framework) in your house. It’d be great if you could do it without tearing down the walls and design/decor (theme).

Ideally, you start with a solid framework and then build a beautiful theme on top of it. Think of a car, you want to combine a solid engine and clean wiring on bottom, with a great body and aesthetic on top.

 

WordPress theme

A WordPress theme is simply the part of WordPress that dictates how your WordPress site will look. It’s the design part of WordPress. Different theme, different look. Simple as that. But of course, not all themes are equal.

Some themes are built clean and simple, work well but not many options. Others are overloaded with options but bloated with excessive code and run slow as heck. Very few are built super-clean and have just the right options.

Do all WordPress themes need to be on a framework? No. But if they’re not using a framework, you’re hoping they took the time to handle all the repetitive details. And you’re also hoping they’ll be around to update the framework should WordPress core, other plugins, or other integrations change over time. Otherwise, your theme won’t be compatible with the latest WordPress and plugins any more and you’ll have to get a whole new theme again!

Some developers don’t start with a framework at all, because they want to shortcut straight to the design part. They might be selling to newbies who don’t know better. So why should they waste time on code when they can get straight to the design part and get paid quickly. All that work under the hood probably won’t be appreciated anyway, so they take as many shortcuts as possible.

 

WordPress plugins

Plugins are used for features. Some features are “design features” like pagebuilder, pop-ups, animation widgets. Other features are “function features” like search results, shopping store, user directory, etc.

Ideally, plugins are completely independent of themes as that makes more sense. You want a clear separation between design extensions vs function extensions so that one is not stuck to the other. You want to be able to change the design without losing features. And likewise, change features without losing the design. All makes sense, right?!

Except only…many themes comes loaded with their own “function plugins”. They have their own image sliders, their own product display widgets, search functions, etc. It’s a bit like buying one of those all-in-one products that are locked-in and dependent on each other and don’t play nicely with other parts from other manufacturers.

Why is this a problem? Because you’re somewhat stuck to using their own theme and plugins. If you try to change anything, it doesn’t look the same or function the same. It might even break. And likewise, this delicate theme/plugin ecosystem might not play nicely with other 3rd party extension you introduce into the mix. In the end, you scrap them all and start over painfully.

 

WordPress solution

This one of the biggest reasons why we have such chaos in the WordPress themes and plugins today. It’s because everyone’s trying to offer the right solution to customers. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a tech-savvy WordPress site-owner who knows exactly what theme and plugins and settings he wants. He’ll know exactly what features he needs and which ones he won’t need. He’s clear in what he wants and actually has a business to run!

What about if you’re unlucky? You’ll get someone who’s never run a website before. Doesn’t know the difference between a theme and a plugin. Doesn’t even know what WordPress is. They don’t even have a business yet and therefore don’t know what they need. So they ask for a site that can MAYBE do everything. Of course, they might not use some of these features yet…but they still want it there ‘just in case’. Guess what those folks buy—YEAUP, one of those do-everything bloated themes that come bundled with 10 plugins and 100+ layouts.

So yeah, Genesis doesn’t compete with that. It’s for people who know what they want and will help them get from A to B in the cleanest most effectively-coded way possible.

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