Last week I got a great question from one of my readers – how I came to choose Genesis as my WordPress framework of choice.
I've been working with WordPress for almost 7 years. To expedite my workflow, I developed my own system for coding my work. I've been working with HTML since the late 90s and I've always been a hand-coder (for you old school folks, I used to revel in nested tables and spacer .gifs…) With the advent of WordPress, I created my own custom theme. Over the years, I refined and streamlined this theme so that I had a great starting point for every project.
Two years ago, I started looking into using a WordPress framework as the foundation for my work. The problem with buying one-off themes from themeforest or smaller developers is that there is NO guarantee that they will be around in 6 months to a year. Many people underestimate how much work it is to support a theme or a framework and will often give up once they realize what is really involved.
I started evaluating Genesis and Thesis since they were both well-supported and documented. I first tried Thesis, but frankly got confused by the structure. The use of a child theme made much more sense to me, so I started using Genesis.
I won't lie, there was definitely a learning curve and Genesis hooks and filters can be confusing for beginners – but here's what I love about it:
- community is super responsive (there are tons of tutorials for functions/hooks)
- the core framework is updated with every version of wordpress (and it's easy for my clients to update) so I feel confident in using this solution
- the product is solid and well supported and it's not going away any time soon
- the core developers are always adding new plugins and features
- they've implemented HTML5 and mobile responsiveness
- studiopress.com forums and customer support are fantastic
I still start every project with a custom child theme that includes my favorite functions and CSS styles. I then customize that child theme to the project design specs.
While Genesis may not be the right answer for your business, I highly recommend creating some sort of standard development process. Most web developers and designers are solopreneurs or small studios – and it's hard to keep up with all the developments in the industry. Choosing a framework allows you to systemize your workflow – making it easier and faster to produce quality work that holds up over time.
I recommend seeing what works best for you – and sticking to it. Once you feel confident in your skills, you can become a go-to developer/designer for that framework or system – opening up your options for additional projects and income.