Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post – however, if you decide to purchase Genesis, any of the links below and the StudioPress images on my site, are affiliate links and so I’d appreciate it if you click those links if you are ready to make the switch. Thanks.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I always love “tinkering” with it. Before switching to WordPress, one of my favorite pastimes was making new headers for my Typepad blog and fiddling around with the colors and typography. Since I’ve been on WordPress, I’ve had a few different themes.
Cleaker WordPress Theme
About a month after switching over to WordPress, I decided to design my own theme. After some tutoring from friend and fellow designer Todd Hiestand I embarked on creating my own theme. I named it “Cleaker.” It was pretty cool at the time (2007) and it’s probably been downloaded over 40-50,000 times. Every now and then I’ll run across a site that is still using it (though I have no idea why…). It was a fun theme and a good experience for me to design it, but it wasn’t coded very well, certainly had NO built-in SEO functionality, and was just hacked together.
Thesis Theme Framework
After having that design for a couple years, I switched to Chris Pearson’s Thesis Theme Framework. Working with a framework was something I hadn’t done before, and so to be honest, the learning curve was a little intense at the beginning. But it was great. I could make customizations to just two files (custom.css and custom_functions.php) and that was it. I didn’t mess with the core files at all, and so when updates came out (and for awhile – they were coming out very frequently) it was relatively easy to just upgrade the core files and my design would stay in tact.
That was a pretty novel idea at the time, and Thesis really was at the forefront of WordPress frameworks (regardless of the controversy surrounding it) and I was glad to be able to learn about frameworks from Chris and the Thesis community. I used Thesis for a bunch of personal projects, for this blog and used it for one large client site, Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
Thesis became extremely popular and tons of sites starting using Thesis – it was always very easy to tell if a site was using Thesis – and after having used it for so many sites, the upgrading process was a bit annoying. There were a handful of steps you’d have to follow, uploading the new files, downloading some files to your desktop, re-uploading them, changing file permissions and then hoping it all worked out. It generally did for me – but seemed like there should be an easier way to upgrade.
StudioPress and the Genesis Framework
In February of 2010, the Genesis Framework from StudioPress was released, and I’ve been slowly starting to migrate over to using their stuff since it came out. Brian Gardner is the Founder of StudioPress and a really great guy. I’ve found the StudioPress/Genesis Framework community to be by far the most helpful and creative group out there. It also helps that some of my local design friends (Dave Bonds, Nicole Nicolay, Reggie Nicolay, Chad Johnson, Agent Evolution folks) are all huge supporters of Genesis and work regularly with Brian on cool projects like AgentPress.
Genesis is a Framework and there are a ton of Child Themes designed by StudioPress available, and even more that are now beginning to be designed and sold by other designers. Perhaps it was because I had a head-start understanding frameworks from using Thesis, but I found the switch to Genesis to be extremely user-friendly, and the community was always there for any questions I had. I started using Genesis for some Cleave Design projects, and was really happy how they turned out. You can see two examples of Genesis powered sites here: Presbymergent (using the Executive Child Theme) and D’Oliva Olive Oil (using the Enterprise Child Theme). I also designed my new Dazed Dad blog using Genesis and the Agency Child Theme.
In addition to the amazing community, the plethora of really professionally designed child themes and the ease of customizing Genesis, one of the best things for someone who designs/runs a lot of sites is the 1-click upgrades. I honestly have no idea why Thesis hasn’t implemented this, but with the 1-click upgrade of Genesis, I’m not sure why anyone who is in charge of keeping a lot of sites updated would NOT choose to work with the Genesis Framework.
So all of this is just to explain why I’ve switched Pomomusings to run off the Genesis Framework. In the future, I’ll probably redesign the colors and do some more work with the typography, but what you see is a pretty basic install of the Enterprise Child Theme.
What are you waiting for?
So – if you’re looking for a really amazing WordPress community of designers and coders to work with, you should head on over to StudioPress right now and pick up a copy of the Genesis Framework. And please, don’t take only my word for it. Mashable is already calling Genesis the successor to Thesis, and it’s been interesting to see folks who have switched over recently, particularly from Thesis. Brian Clark from CopyBlogger is now using Genesis and obviously supports Brian and the crew. And another long-time Thesis user, social media guru Chris Brogan, switched over to Genesis and talks a little about it here.
If you’re looking for a new theme or framework, I can’t recommend StudioPress and the Genesis Framework enough. Great stuff for a really great value – and they have a StudioPress Affiliate Program that you can join to make a little money as well.