One of the biggest advantages of using a framework like Genesis by StudioPress (aff) is the amount of high quality child themes there are to customise it. They cover a lot of styles, work for just about any industry, and if you want to make changes to the design, layout or add or remove certain functions, it’s very easy to do so.
The Genesis Framework for WordPress
A simple explanation of a WordPress framework:
A framework is simply a theme that designers and developers can build upon. Usually they are quite bland to look at and come with very little styling (although Genesis looks good on its own – see the image above). A framework usually consists of its own hooks, commands and features based upon the WordPress code. A framework is known as a ‘parent theme’ and any theme based upon the framework is called a ‘child’.
If you would like to read a more detailed explanation of a WordPress framework, click here.
The Genesis Framework theme settings
You install Genesis in the same way as any other theme. Once activated, there are a few things to set up. The settings you define here remain the same whichever child theme you use, and you can import and export the settings to another site.
Access the settings for Genesis through the link in the vertical menu on the left hand side of the screen:
There are three main options – Theme Settings, SEO Settings and Import/Export.
(This post only covers the theme settings section.)
At the top of the page is the information box which shows the version number, release date and a couple of options you can enable or disable.
Many StudioPress themes allow you to select a colour scheme from a few options. Select the one you want from the drop down menu:
If you use Feedburner to manage the RSS feed of your site you can force Genesis to use it too; just enter the Feedburner URI into the box, then, when you display the RSS feed icon on your site using Genesis (see Navigation Settings – Enable Extras on the Right Hand Side below), it will link to the Feedburner feed.
If you tick the Redirect Feed box, WordPress should redirect anyone who lands on the default feed links to the Feedburner link.
This is a great feature of Genesis. You set a default layout for the whole site, but you can change the layout on each post and page. This makes it super easy to experiment with different layouts to see which work best. It’s also useful if you want to switch off sidebars on certain pages.
There are six layout types available by default:
These options carry through to most child themes.
Custom menus in WordPress are fantastic. They allow you to have full control over which categories, pages and custom links appear in your menus.
You can also choose to enable fancy dropdowns and secondary menus should you wish to use them.
When using the Genesis Framework you have to use at least the Primary Navigation Menu. In its default state it has a link to “home” and nothing else until you add some pages, categories or custom links.
You can also choose to enable one of the extras ‘on the right hand side’. The exact location on the right hand side of these items depends upon the theme. From the drop-down menu, choose which one, if any, you would like to use:
- Today’s date
- RSS feed links (posts and comments)
- Search form
- Twitter link
To set up the Twitter link just enter your username and the text you would like to display. StudioPress doesn’t access your Twitter account, it just links to your page.
If you take a look at the top of this page you will see breadcrumbs navigation: Home > Category > Page Title. I like breadcrumb navigation as it helps with SEO and it helps readers navigate around a site. In Genesis you can choose to have this on or off, and you can choose which pages or sections display breadcrumb menus.
Comments and trackbacks
Control sitewide comments and trackbacks. Don’t feel obliged to allow comments on your blog or website just because most people say it is a good thing to do, it’s purely down to personal preference. This function enables to you make a decision at the top-level.
This is where you create the layout for your archive (this is ours) pages. There are several options available – choose to display the post excerpt or the content, include a featured image (and specify the size of the image) and select the post navigation wording – older/newer, previous/next or numeric.
Blog page template
Use a blog page template whenever you want to make a page out of a blog category.
Header and footer scripts
Almost everybody using Genesis adds at least a couple of scripts to their installation. It could be Google Analytics, a verification code or something else. These two boxes make it easy to add any scripts you use.
That just about covers it for the basic installation and set-up of the Genesis framework.
What the Genesis Framework, and at least one child theme gives you, is a fantastic looking and easily configurable website that doesn’t require you to mess with any code as everything is set-up through the WordPress admin area.
Compare that to the cost of hiring a professional web designer and waiting for him/her to come up with a concept and go through the build process, and the Genesis Framework really is a no-brainer. Spending a fortune on a fancy-dan website is not always cost-effective, especially when you can buy with something just as good and have it running in next to no time.
I’ve used Genesis for a long time now and I really can’t recommend it enough. The framework is fantastic, easy to use and there are plenty of great child themes to choose from. The plans for StudioPress/Genesis look good too; each theme will eventually be recoded to work on mobile devices, seamlessly integrate into bbPress and work with the WooCommerce plugin so you can turn your WordPress powered blog/site into a fully fledged eCommerce site.