“The Genesis Framework is amazing!”
“The Genesis Framework is the best WordPress framework around!”
Sound familiar? If you've been looking for a top-notch WordPress framework, chances are that you've run across rave reviews about the Genesis Framework.
However, since there are so many affiliates out there promoting the framework, it can be hard to know who or what to trust.
Is what they say true? How can you know? Just what is the big freakin' deal with the Genesis Framework?!
Now before we dig in and figure this bad boy out–as I believe in transparency when it comes to what I say online–I want to clarify something.
I use the Genesis Framework. I use it, because personally, I like it. But I'm not going to give it that ever annoying red carpet treatment that will have you rolling your eyes and going in search of something better.
This review will be honest, and will clarify some of the things that you may question about all those other reviews out there.
The Main Features Of The Genesis Framework
According to StudioPress, the folks behind Genesis, the Genesis Framework comes with some impressive features. They brag:
- SEO ready themes
- Super fast speeds
- Responsive HTML5 designs
- Airtight security to help stave off hacks
- Quick and easy updates
Now what does all that mean? What makes a theme “SEO ready”? How are these updates faster and easier than for other themes out there? How can you tell if they're really fast or not? Does that even matter?
Theses are all great questions, and they're ones that I'd like to answer.
Genesis Framework: SEO Ready, Really?
So how is Genesis SEO ready, really?
The simple answer: It's all in the code.
The coding of the framework plays into both the SEO side of things and the speed side of things. But for now, let's tackle the SEO side. Though the visual of the theme may look the same as any other, the visual is not what search engines see.
To illustrate this concept, think of it as a metal file cabinet.
Most file cabinets look the same on the outside. The biggest difference is on the inside.
One person may meticulously make sure that every file is neat and orderly, and rightly so. (I gotta work on this…) On the other hand, someone else who doesn't really care that much may just shove stuff in the file folders with no real order and then the inside of their cabinet ends up looking like a librarian's worst nightmare.
The same is true with themes.
Though Genesis themes may look aesthetically similar to others on the market, it's literally how the files look to a search engine that makes all the difference. The Genesis Framework has been coded so that your page's code is properly organized. When those little bots and spiders climb through your website to figure out how to index it correctly, all they see is that coding hierarchy.
If that's all messed and scrambled like your morning eggs, they won't know what the heck to do with it. The result?
A slow ranking website.
StudioPress took care to code the theme correctly so that you're not left in the digital dust. And since things are always changing, the lifetime of free updates to help keep up with an ever changing internet will make sure you're good to go.
Now let's talk speed.
Is The Genesis Framework Fast and Safe? And Is That Important?
Simply put: yes, yes, and yes.
But how do we know that? To answer the first part, yet again, it's the coding.
A theme is constructed of files that contain the code that will eventually make up your website. These files are uploaded to your server and are delivered to a visitor via a browser.
All sites work like this.
The more files that need to be delivered, the longer it takes for your site to render in a browser. Many themes, though constructed well enough to make a WordPress theme, often have files that could be consolidated.
The Genesis Framework is fast right out of the gate because this sort of thing is taken into consideration.
Files are coded to consolidate things while still producing a fast acting site. Fewer files and better coding mean better page load speeds and that's what Genesis has under the hood.
Is that important? Absolutely!
Not only does Google now reward websites in the search engine that are faster, but your viewership is bound to increase while your bounce rate goes down.
Plus, lower bounce rates are something else that Google takes a look at as well and will reward you for.
For further proof of how fast the theme is compared to another theme that I've used from ThemeForest, take a look at the screenshots below.
Look at the difference in these numbers.
Even though my page speed with my Genesis site is only 1 percent better, everything else is leaps and bounds ahead.
Oh, and that 1 percent difference is actually a more than 4 second difference in my page load speed. Just FYI. (*wink*)
My YSlow grade is 9 percent better and with some tweaking I could get that up as well. Plus, look at the difference in my page size and requests.
20 requests using a largely customized Minimum Pro Child theme for my Genesis Framework and over 55 for the one I'm using on my other site from ThemeForest. I have more content on my Genesis Framework site and yet it still came up ahead.
That's not me jerking your chain. That's real data I did while writing this post that I didn't even know about till about 15 minutes ago.
And yes, I plan to drop that ThemeForest theme in the weeks to come.
I did this for you to see that what StudioPress said about speed is true. They aren't lying and how could I argue with that evidence. I use just about all the same plugins on my sites as well, so the page speed isn't reflected by that either.
So… Is the Genesis Framework actually fast? Why yes, yes it is.
As for the security aspect of the framework, it was created to be as robust as possible. That's not to say that it's impenetrable though.
Outdated plugins and server attacks can still create issues for you, but the framework itself is ready to defend against personal attacks. Considering one of the leading WordPress core experts, Mark Jaquith, was brought on to oversee this, I'd believe that it's up to the task in this regard.
Quick and Easy Updates: How Is This Different From Other Theme Updates?
It's true. Almost all WordPress themes can update with the single click of your mouse right from your WP Dashboard.
Easy. Simple. Right?
Well, sort of. It's usually simple… until it's not.
See, what most people don't know is how fragile their websites really are. WordPress Core, Theme and Plugin updates are a must for security and for an ever evolving platform such as WordPress.
However, these very necessary updates can also seriously screw stuff up.
I'm talking full on, ‘Oh my gosh, where did my website go?! Where's all my content?! Why does everything look messed up?!', type of screwed up.
Updates can cause full CSS resets and website wipes that leave you with a clean slate and all your hard work down the drain. (*gasp, sputter, die*)
It's happened to many before and it will continue to happen to those who don't know how to protect against it.
So how is Genesis different?
Genesis is a lightweight FRAMEWORK meaning that it will work hand in hand as the Parent Theme to a Child Theme.
These Child themes help protect against these updates pulling a “Finish him!” on your website. (Hopefully some of you will smirk at the reference.)
Updates to the main framework don't affect the child theme and thus generally help protect you from the panic of what to do after you've lost your site.
Final Thoughts: Is Genesis The Best Framework Out There?
If you're a vegan and someone tried to tell you how yummy this burger was and that you should try it, you'd balk at them. Why? Meat ain't your thing.
Were they wrong in loving it? No. Were you wrong in hating it? Nope.
Same goes for a theme like the Genesis framework and their child themes. It's all up to personal opinion.
Genesis is a well coded framework with plenty of backend features. For a designer or someone with PHP and CSS knowledge, this framework can be a dream come true.
If you're happy with how a child theme looks already, great! If not, you'll probably need a designer who specializes in the framework to give you a hand.
Genesis is an amazing framework with amazing flexibility when you need it. As a designer, I love it because I can create amazing sites for clients and I know I'm giving them a top-notch product.
However, it's not for everyone. So is it the best framework out there?
It's a first-class product, there is not doubt about that, but you'll have to be the one to decide. If you can code, or you're looking to build your design skills and want a product to specialize in, then give the Genesis Framework a shot.
It's not that expensive and everything is a one time fee, so it's actually cheaper in the long run over other theme shops. Plus there are plenty of free child themes out there that you can use as well.
All and all, Genesis is rock solid and worth your time considering. I love and use it, and probably always will.
Do you guys have any questions? Want to know more about Genesis or a particular child theme? Comment below and let us know what you want to hear about!