As a regular reader of this site, you already know that this site is currently built on top of Genesis 2.0 together with the Dynamik child theme. While I haven’t been using the Genesis framework as long as some other people, but I’ve really grown to enjoy the capabilities that Genesis provides me.
I know a lot of you have been thinking of making the switch over to Genesis. So in this post, I’d like to do my own personal review of Genesis 2.0 and share why I think it should be your choice for creating any blog or website.
What is the Genesis Theme Framework?
There’s no doubt that Genesis is now the most popular framework out there today. Whether you compare it to Thesis Theme, Elegant Themes or any random Themeforest theme, Genesis definitely has the most mindshare today when people talk about theme frameworks. Just take a look at my top Genesis blogs post and you can see how many of the most popular bloggers are using Genesis today..
The Genesis theme framework itself is the engine that powers any Genesis based site. It’s the core code that provides the structure and hooks for whichever child theme you decide to use with it.
If that was all you got, then you might not be too impressed. But what makes Genesis special are all the child themes that work with it. Currently, there are 44 child themes created by the StudioPress team, plus several great third party child themes as well, including Dynamik which is what I use.
Each Genesis child theme provides it’s own different look and feel. You will find general purpose child themes like Eleven40 Pro that will work with any blog, portfolio style themes for personal sites, and even niche themes like Agency Pro that would work well for a business style site. You can adopt any of these child themes as-is or use them as the foundation for your own custom website design.
What’s new for Genesis 2.0
Genesis 2.0 was a huge release, and there were lots of improvements were made. Here are some of the major ones that you’ll notice.
HTML5 support – All new child themes and most existing child themes will now output HTML5 markup. HTML5 is the latest web standard and ensures that your site works with the latest web technologies. This means better cross-browser compatibility so your site will look as you expect no matter what web browser your visitors are using.
Schema.org microdata – This is a bit technical, but essentially schema microdata allows search engines like Google to properly classify your posts in the search results. When you see those author headshots or star ratings in the search engine results, that’s done via schema microdata.
Genesis provides hooks to customize the microdata of your pages which allow you do some very cool things. As an example, check out how Yoast has leveraged schema microdata for some of his pages.
Mobile Responsive – More and more people are visiting your website via mobile phones and tablets. On SlickWP, we are seeing almost 10% of our visitors use these types of devices. And I’m sure the percentage is even higher on other sites depending on their demographics.
Designing your site to look great across all possible screen sizes is a huge challenge if you were to do so yourself. But with the Genesis framework, you don’t have to. Your website will look great for your visitors no matter what device they are using.
Creating Your Perfect Site
When someone decides to go with the Genesis Theme framework, they don’t normally only purchase the framework by itself. That’s like purchasing the engine of a car without the body. Instead, you will more than likely purchase it with a companion Genesis child theme.
The first thing you need to do is explore the available child themes and find one that matches the vision of the site you want to build. This Studiopress page has a gallery of all themes for sale. Each child theme includes several different layout and color options, so your best bet is to play around with the demo pages of each child theme to get an idea of how they would work for you.
Prose Theme for example is a good choice if you wanted to start a blog site because of it’s simple, functional design. Plus it has a lot of customizable options that allow even non-coders to tweak design elements like colors and fonts for your site.
If you are more of a DIY type person, then I would recommend taking a look at Dynamik Website Builder child theme. You can read my full review here, but this is the most customizable child theme I’ve used and you can definitely create any type of site you want with it.
Or take a look at the Genesis Extender plugin which gives you most of Dynamik’s custom features, but works with any Genesis child theme.
The Genesis Community
Being the most popular theme framework today comes with several advantages, and one of the biggest is the large and vibrant Genesis community.
If you do a quick Google search, you will see that they are tons of blogs out there (including this one) that provide tutorials and tips for doing all sorts of things with your Genesis site.
There’s also a large developer community of people who can do custom Genesis work. This means if you need any custom Genesis design work for your site, there are no shortage of people to help you out. You’ll also find these same developers creating various free Genesis child themes, custom Genesis plugins and basically creating an awesome Genesis ecosystem.
If you’re looking to for a theme framework to base your next website on, then the Genesis Theme framework would be an excellent choice. It makes it easy to create and design a site you will love and you will also become part of an amazing community. Give it a try today, and I guarantee that you will be impressed.