UX, Web & Brand design by Stuart Gamblen

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What is the Genesis Framework for WordPress?

Is Genesis the best WordPress website development framework?

In my previous article What is WordPress? we took a thorough overview and look at WordPress and why it’s such a great platform for building websites.

Now we have an understanding of WordPress I thought I’d provide some insight into the Genesis Framework. The framework that I use to build everyone of my WordPress websites.

If you’re been around WordPress for a while you might have heard of the Genesis Framework. But if you’re not familiar with the concept of a framework, how the Genesis Framework works and what it does, then it can be difficult to understand the many benefits it brings to a WordPress powered website.

Maybe you’re a web designer or developer who’s new to WordPress, frameworks or Genesis. Or perhaps you’re someone looking for a new website who’d like to understand the benefits and solid website foundation the Genesis Framework provides to any WordPress website.

Whatever the case, by the end of this article you’ll have a thorough understanding of the Genesis Framework and how it can benefit your WordPress web development or website…

What is a WordPress Framework?

A WordPress framework is a powerful and solid code base or library that is used to either:

  1. Install a pre-built WordPress website theme, or…
  2. Speed up the development of a new WordPress website or theme…

A WordPress theme is like a “skin” that creates the desired look and functionality for your WordPress powered website.

A framework allows you to update the core functionality of your WordPress website without losing it’s styling options and unique aesthetics. It separates the core functionality from the aesthetics of your website (which the theme controls) so that both can be manipulated independently without losing the settings or effects of the other.

For developers it also provides a solid, tried and tested code base on which to develop new WordPress child themes. This cuts down initial repetitive tasks that often come with creating a new website and drastically reduces development time, which in turn benefit’s both developer and client. Overall, once you are familiar with how the framework works it makes WordPress website development much, much easier.

Frameworks are also throughly reviewed by the WordPress community and often develop their own, so they are much more likely to follow best practices, deliver excellent code quality and have fantastic support.

What Is The Genesis Framework For WordPress?

The Genesis Framework is a WordPress framework owned by WP Engine. It’s one of the most popular WordPress frameworks avaialble, and has had a lot written about it.

One of the biggest misconceptions of the Genesis Framework though is that it’s solely a WordPress theme. Many people believe that Genesis is just like any of the other thousands of themes that you can download and install for your WordPress website, it’s not. It’s much more than that. Genesis is a WordPress framework not a WordPress theme.

Genesis can best be described as the framework or base on which the look of your WordPress site is built on. It isn’t just one theme, or a theme at all really. What it does is give you a fast, efficient, SEO friendly, upgradable basis on which to install a premium Genesis theme or launch a pre-made, customised or bespoke WordPress website.

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.


This makes it a good basis for practically any type of website. As you can build almost any kind of theme or website on it. There are sites using Genesis that just run a simple blog, with a front page showing each individual post, and a plain black and white theme. But at the same time there are also websites that run huge, fully featured media websites on Genesis. This is really the true strength of Genesis, it has a lot of flexibility.

This flexibility is also shown in the fact that it’s ideal for both developers, and novices. If you know a lot about CSS, HTML, and other web development, then it’s ideal for creating custom WordPress websites. As a web designer or developer, the framework will allow you to create practically any type of website extremely quickly and efficiently.

If you’re a not a developer though there’s no need to worry, because it is perfect for you to. Genesis enables you to create fantastic looking sites, even with no knowledge of coding, using their fantastic collection of pre-made child themes.

As well as the pre-built themes Studiopress offers there are also many other third party Genesis WordPress themes available.

How Does The Genesis Framework For WordPress Work?

In order to explain how Genesis works with WordPress it’s best to break it down into an analogy.

It’s probably best to think of…

1. WordPress as the engine of your car

If your website were a car then WordPress would be it’s engine. It’s the core that powers the rest of your site, and without it the site would not work.

While the engine (WordPress) is important, nobody but your mechanic (or web designer) is looking at the engine, they just expect it to be there and working.

2. Genesis as the frame and body

The Genesis Framework would be the cars frame and body. It’s the rock solid, secure, framework that holds everything together.

It’s the solid, reliable, secure base that can be easily modified or upgraded over time for a newer, stronger and improved foundation.

3. Themes as the paint job

A WordPress theme or child theme, is the paint job of your car or rather the “skin” for your website. It’s the part that everyone notices and controls the aesthetics of your website.

It’s the first thing that people see when they look at your website, so it needs to look good. No one cares about the fact you’re running WordPress, they only care about the presentation, legibility and ease in which they can consume your websites content, and this is controlled by your WordPress theme.

A child theme inherits the look and feel of the parent theme and all of its functions, but can be used to make modifications to any part of the theme. In this way, customizations are kept separate from the parent theme’s files. Using a child theme lets you upgrade the parent theme without affecting the customizations you’ve made to your site.

WordPress Codex

Whilst the Genesis Framework is technically not a theme a Genesis child theme allows you to override and modify it’s aesthetics and functionality in the same way it would a parent theme. This allows you to update the Genesis Framework and your core website structure as updates arrive without overwriting the code that controls the design and look of you site.

So to summarise, if you were to think of your website as a car then WordPress would be it’s engine, the Genesis Framework would be it’s frame and body and the WordPress or Genesis child theme would be its paint job.

Benefits Of The Genesis Genesis

There are many benefits to using the Genesis Framework for WordPress. Going into them all is beyond the scope of this article. However, I thought I’d cover a few of the biggest and most important ones:

SEO Friendly

Genesis is coded to a very high standard, much higher than most free themes that you can get. This clean code along with Genesis’s Schema and micro data implementation is important for search engine indexing and optimisation purposes. It ensures your websites structure is set up just how the search engines like it so that you can get optimum rankings.

“The Genesis Framework lets me focus on my business, not on design tweaks and SEO. It’s really easy to edit and adapt, and in the hands of a good designer, it really sings”

Chris Brogan – President, HB Works

Fast Loading

Genesis’s impeccable code quality also ensures that your website loads quickly. This is not only extremely good for website users and decreasing bounce time (visitors who exit or “bounce” after the first page) but will also boost search engine rankings in and of itself.

Excellent Security

Genesis’s excellent coding and strict compliance to best practices also ensures that it is extremely secure from malicious hackers and bots. It’s even been reviewed and given the nod by WordPress’s lead developer, Mark Jaquith.

It’s clear the Studiopress team made security a priority when developing the Genesis Framework. From a security standpoint, it’s at the top of it’s class and follows WordPress security best practices

Mark Jaquith – Lead Developer, WordPress

Ongoing One Click Updates

If your a Genesis website owner then Genesis makes it easy to keep your site up to date through their one-click updates, which give you instant access to current web standards, best practices and Studiopress’s ongoing development.

Highly Customisable and Extremely Flexible

If you want to add or remove certain aspects from your site, such as boxes, sidebars, menus and much more, you can do that to. Genesis gives you the ability to easily change many aspects of your site. Without a developer.

Great for Designers and Developers

If your a web designer or developer then the Genesis Framework makes creating websites fun and efficient. It will cut down on a lot of the tedious and repetitive tasks that go in to the initial creation of a bespoke theme or website. The hook and filter system also makes moving entire parts of a site around as simple as a few lines of PHP.

Child themes and a framework are the only way you should build your WordPress site and Genesis has great support for child themes and other WordPress functionality

Matt Mulenwegg – Founder, WordPress

Final Thoughts on the Genesis Framework

I’ve spent a lot of time researching different WordPress frameworks as well as developing WordPress websites and in my opinion the Genesis Framework is the best Wordpress framework out there. It’s one of the most popular for a reason and trusted by over 112,000 WordPress website owners at the time of writing.

It’s the perfect website structure for anyone looking to build a secure, cleanly coded, SEO friendly WordPress website, wether you’re a solo blogger, website owner, fortune 500 company or experienced web developer.

It’s ideal for experienced web designers and developers, as it gives them the speed, flexibility and solid basis needed for modern web and WordPress theme development. But it’s also perfect for novices allowing them to easily set up and install beautiful, secure, cleanly coded, pre-made website themes with no web design or development skills.

It also provides you with a great basis and low cost option to further customise an existing site or build a totally bespoke theme with the help of a Genesis web designer or developer, should you wish.

Have you used the Genesis Framework? What are your opinions? Are you new to WordPress or the web and thinking of using Genesis? Or are you a web designer or developer considering it? Let me know by leaving you comments, questions and experiences below. I’ll do my best to answer your queries.

And if you need help to build your own Genesis powered WordPress website from an experienced freelance web designer, pick a time on my calendar for your complementary website discovery call here.