Genesis Framework for WordPress Overview
What Is All This Framework Stuff?
The Genesis Framework is actually a WordPress theme which acts as the primary platform from which other visual or functional modifications are made. Think of it more as a middleman between the programming code that governs a WordPress website and the visual component of the theme that your users see when they visit your site.
So the Genesis Framework sits between the WordPress program in what is called a child theme. This framework helps integrate SEO (search engine optimization), adds security features, along with other performance features for your website.
Another way to look at this is think of WordPress as the foundation of your home, the Genesis framework theme would be like the framing plumbing and electrical pieces of your home which is built upon the solid foundation. The exteriors of the home would be what is called a child theme which can usually be modified easily without needing to change the foundation or the framework.
Just like you can run into problems if you have poor design and functionality in your electrical system in your home or your plumbing was improperly or poorly constructed, having a poorly constructed theme can cause lots of problems with website load times, buggy errors, and glitches between different components which need to communicate effectively to have a well-run website.
The great thing about using the Genesis framework is that they are experts at this, and they have figured it out for you. Just like you don’t have to know how to install the electrical system in your home, you do need to make sure that you hire a master electrician to get the job done right.
A Little More about a Child Theme
A child theme is a layer of programming that sits on top of the framework theme. Its main purpose is to provide the design elements of your website. In other words, you can modify this portion of the theme to create the look and feel you are after without having to worry about changing programming code in either the WordPress files or the framework.
You can also add functionality to your website without worrying about unforeseen conflicts that can occur when you add to any software program. It’s like being able to repaint your house without having to worry that it will screw up the plumbing.
Is It Easy to Install and Configure Genesis?
Installing the Genesis framework into WordPress is the same as installing any other theme. One little difference though is that you initially install the Genesis framework theme. After you activate it for use, you would then install a Genesis child theme using the same method.
So basically it is like installing a theme on top of the theme, which is exactly what it is. This also allows a layer of protection when you decide to change a child theme. So certain customizations you make to your site will not be lost if you change your child theme.
Basic Settings of the Genesis Framework
The basic settings you start out customizing after you install the Genesis framework and child theme are configured within the WordPress Customizer and the Genesis specific settings page on the WordPress admin page. The best way to figure out what these settings do is to just play around with them initially.
They are pretty self-explanatory with help boxes on each option that helps guide you through what you need to know about each particular setting.
On the admin page of WordPress there is a Genesis Menu item where you can set some global settings for the Genesis framework. There are global “theme settings”, SEO settings, and import/export options. Many of the same settings are also available within the WordPress Customizer setting section as well.
The nice thing is that there are help icons throughout each of the settings which provides more information on the spot for each particular option. And the great thing is that most of the default settings are exactly what you need, so even if you don’t go through and learn each option, chances are the right setting is already in place.
Widgets Specific to the Genesis Framework
Genesis comes with three framework specific widgets which are added to the widgets section within WordPress. The first one is the Featured Page Widget. It is used often to display a featured image along with an excerpt from the featured page. These widgets can be used and implemented in any of the sections of a page where widgets can be placed.
The Genesis Featured Posts widget does the same thing except for posts instead of pages. These are highly customizable and can be used over and over to show a wide array of content in different formats.
The Genesis User Profile widget can be used to display a user’s Gravatar and bio and has numerous configurations to modify the type of display it shows.
Genesis Specific Plug-Ins
There are a wide variety of plug-ins available for the Genesis framework which can be obtained through the WordPress plug-ins dashboard within WordPress. You can use these knowing that they work correctly with the Genesis framework and are usually well coded and work seamlessly with the Genesis themes.
They can be very helpful for making changes to the look and feel of your site without having to worry about modifying even the child themes.
Genesis Child Themes
Remember how we discussed how child themes sit on top of the Genesis framework? If not scroll back up to the top!
Child themes are the window-dressings for your site. And the nice thing is, if the child theme was written for the Genesis framework then you know the backbone of your website will be solid.
There are numerous child themes available for Genesis, many are free, and some cost money. But most of the premium ones that cost money are usually pretty reasonable. And if you do not find one you like, which is highly unlikely, you can create your own child theme or have one custom-made for you.
So while starting out you may not appreciate the benefits of having a great theme framework for your site to be built upon, believe me after a while you will be wishing you had started out with a framework like Genesis.
Just like with buying a house that’s new, if you have poor construction from the beginning you may not notice it when you first purchase the home, but after you’ve lived in it a while you will start to notice all the problems which result from This.
Poorly constructed theme coding leads to decreased website speed, glitches, and unexpected bugs down the road as you add features to your site and more and more content.
Let us know what questions you have in the comment section or other advice if you have experience using the Genesis Framework.