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Genesis Is Not Your Friendly Framework

Dear folks who are getting into web creation,

I want to share with you a little bit about the Genesis Framework and really help you understand what you’re getting into before you actually commit.

What is / isn’t the Genesis Framework?

If you’re looking to get started, you probably did a little bit of research on this already. To start of, what the Genesis Framework is, is a WordPress theme. It’s built with a solid base of coding that allows you to create child themes. It was built with Security in mind, SEO best practices, HTML5 Schema markup, Layout Out Selectors, and much more. It truly is, an amazing framework.

Here’s where things get confusing though. What the Genesis Framework isn’t, is a theme where everything is built for you, and you just pick what you want (ah hem, Theme Forest). It isn’t a framework for beginners looking to get into WordPress. It isn’t a page builder of any sorts. It also isn’t a magic, install and start creating themes with no web knowledge at all theme.

The Genesis Framework is an amazing theme for developers, only if you know what you’re doing. I’ll get more into that in a bit.

The Mixed Marketing Message

StudioPress is great. They tend to do all the right things when it comes to promoting and pushing their product. In fact, the community is so amazing and getting to be so large, that they rarely even have to promote, since most people that use Genesis, will promote it for them. Brilliant.

Although that tends to be what screws people up as well. I have emails come in from people that try out the Genesis Framework, and they’re just like “This sucks, I just don’t get it” or “Why is this so complicated, all I want to do is move x to x?”

Then I think to myself, why are people having such a hard time with this, it’s supposed to be easy, right?

Well StudioPress says it is:


And also here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.21.28 PM

And lastly here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.22.46 PM

So Genesis makes sites EASY TO CUSTOMIZE. The funny thing is, they’re right. Genesis sites are very easy to customize BUT at the same time…

Genesis Is Not Easy

No not by a long shot. If you don’t have much web experience and you’re thinking that Genesis is that framework that will make you churn out websites really fast, think again. Genesis is a developer framework. That means if you have experience creating websites, whether with WordPress or not, then Genesis will be good to get into.

It’s a solid theme that give you the flexibility THROUGH CODE to get the results that you want. Meaning if you’re not comfortable with code, or have no interest in learning how to actually code websites, then you should get a developer who uses Genesis to do it for you.

Here are four prerequisites I created before getting started with Genesis:

  1. You should know CSS. The basis of every theme is CSS. It’s what makes the sites look the way they look. If you’re not familiar with CSS, then you are going to have a very hard time getting your site to look right.
  2. You should know a little bit of PHP. You don’t have to be an expert at PHP, but Genesis themes make heavy use of the functions.php file. If you take a look at any of the child themes provided by StudioPress, you’ll see only 2 files exist (usually). They are the functions.php file, and the style.css. That’s it. Those two files will allow you to create any type of site you want. When you start getting more and more into it, you can start creating new page templates (front-page.php). As a base though, you should know a bit of php.
  3. Hooks and Filters – Start looking these two words up. Hooks are everywhere on the Genesis and they’re what primarily give the theme it’s flexibility. However, code that is place in hooks and filters, are 98% php (see #2).
  4. You should know HTML. Though most of what you use to create functionality within the Genesis site is PHP, you need to know HTML. It’s the basic markup of any website.

Another one that I didn’t include on the list is if you just want to learn. If you’re getting into website creating and want to learn how to develop, then get the framework, and start picking apart all the child themes. See how the code was implemented and understand how it works. Doing so will make you a better developer.

So should you get the Genesis Framework?

If you’re willing and ready to learn how to code websites (CSS, HTML, PHP) then yes, dive in and get it. If you already have a background in development, even just front-end (my background), then absolutely get it, it will make your life easier.

If you just have “shiny object” syndrome and heard that Genesis is awesome and just want it because everyone says it makes creating websites easy, take a step back and re-evaluate.

I see many people get frustrated and pissed of at the Genesis Framework because they just didn’t understand what they were getting into. Genesis is a solid framework and is super friendly for developers and there is A LOT of talent out there that can build you an amazing site using it. If you can’t do it yourself, then you’ll definitely be able to find one.

It’s a great theme to work with and it’s great to use as the base of your business, but if you yourself can’t get passed the coding aspect and will be doing all of the work, I would look somewhere else.

Some Resources to help you out.

Learn How To Build A Genesis Child Theme From Scratch (Self Promo). This course takes you deep into CSS and the Genesis Sandbox theme to create a child theme from Genesis that was the actual theme, used on my old site. It goes through troubleshooting and everything in between.

Build a site Faster with Genesis, Beaver Builder, and Views – When you don’t want to do all the PHP stuff, learn from this course. I go over my shortcuts, plugins, and tricks to make sites faster with high quality, and no php.

Google – Seriously. The Genesis Community is huge and there is a TON of free information out there. Just do a Google search (the Google link above is one) for anything Genesis and I’m sure you’ll be able to find an answer.

Also, there are developers (like myself) who offer up our services to help you build websites with the Genesis Framework. You can contact me if you need help on your next Genesis Project.

TeamTreeHouse – Great place to learn all the basics and not get bored. I prefer this over Lynda, mainly because I find Lynda to be a little boring.

Beaver Builder and Genesis Dam Buster Plugins – Two great plugins that work in tandem. Beaver Builder will allow you to create awesome page layouts, and Genesis Dam Buster will make it easier with the Genesis Framework.


About the Author
What's UP! This is my site, I write 99% of the articles on here. I'm also the owner of I help out a lot of developers and designers getting into the web game. Helping is fun for me, so feel free to ask me any questions! I've made courses and have a membership as well to help get you on your feet!

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