Studiopress is not only a theme shop but also the creator of the Genesis Framework. In this Studiopress review I'll explain why the two are inseparable, making your site faster, more SEO friendly and bringing about exceptional user experience through minimalistic design.
Transitioning from Google's Blogger platform to WordPress, Brian Gardner, founder of Studiopress, became disillusioned with a free theme he'd installed from the WordPress repository.
Without any knowledge of PHP or CSS, he stripped down the theme to it's files and started playing around.
This transitioned into customizing themes and making them available for free on his site, which then grew into users requesting custom tweaks and hence freelance jobs. Long story short, he eventually started selling themes on his site.
Following talks with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, regarding a proprietary licence deal and a legal need to rebrand his Revolution theme, Brian founded StudioPress.
A number of themes were developed that shared some of the same code base.
But every time he wanted to change a function within his themes, he found himself having to adjust each theme individually.
Brian had a business relationship with a fellow by the name of Nathan Rice, for whom he did some outsourcing work and in an attempt to alleviate this problem he propositioned him as to whether they could "build something that basically shares the same code base, and then the design is just laid over the top?”
Brian has always drawn the analogy whereby the paint work of a car is the design and the engine is always the same. "You can change the way the car looks without having to change the engine"
Hello Genesis Framework.
He'd found a way to keep the same code base for all themes contained in a framework where functions and changes only needed to be updated once. Each (child) theme simply became a design element - a skin so to speak.
StudioPress themes cannot, therefore, run without the underlying engine to drive them. It's also the reason why the words StudioPress and Genesis Framework are often used interchangeably.
This site runs on the Infinity Pro theme and I use StudioPress themes powered by the Genesis Framework exclusively on all my sites. It's a rock solid foundation for any website backed by over 213,000 happy users and recommended by Matt Mullenweg and Yoast. The themes are used on over 500,000 WordPress sites.
I had some terrible experiences in the past with themes purchased on Themeforest. Not only did I get sucked into believing some of the hot air regarding speed and SEO friendliness but I landed up having to fork out recurring contributions each year in order to maintain updates and support for some of the most poorly coded themes you can imagine!
I don't want you to get caught in the same way and that's why I only use and recommend StudioPress themes.
There are some third party theme developers who make themes for the Genesis Framework but I would tend to steer clear of themes that aren't specifically listed on the StudioPress website.
Here are some compelling reasons to stick with StudioPress Themes:
- StudioPress do not provide support for third party themes.
- You still need to purchase the Genesis Framework for a third party theme.
- You can't vouch for the coding quality behind a third party theme.
- Third party themes don't go through an approval process.
- You can customize your StudioPress theme the way you want to so why take the chance of purchasing a theme that may be of inferior quality?
Bloggers rave about the themes.
And they offer an impressive list of features:
- Blazing fast and highly optimized.
- Clean coding + minimalistic and lightweight build.
- Zero bloat.
- SEO Optimized.
- UNLIMITED use on unlimited domains.
- Lifetime support.
- Lifetime Updates.
- No annual recurring fees + themes from $39.
- Highly customizable.
- Extremely well supported across the internet.
- Turnkey themes.
- Unlimited design options.
- HTML 5 markup.
- Cross browser compatible.
- Mobile responsive.
- Supports schema.org microdata.
One Theme For All Of Your Sites
Unlike the majority of themes which involve ongoing costs for support and updates, a once-off purchase of a StudioPress theme entitles you to lifetime updates, lifetime support and unlimited use of the theme on as many different domains as you like, in perpetuity. NO ongoing fees. NO questions asked.
Don’t be lured into buying other themes because the developers or platforms on which they’re sold are silent on the issue of updates and support.
If such a theme is not updated to work with the most recent version of WordPress, eventually it’s going to stop working. This is exactly how these developers gently coerce you into paying a regular yearly subscription.
And besides the fact that StudioPress themes are infinitely superior to most, they also work out way cheaper.
You can buy a single theme from $99 which includes the Genesis Framework or buy only the framework for $59 which comes with a really simple sample theme.
And if you build sites regularly you can you can pick up the Pro Plus All-Theme Package which includes all 64 of their current themes + all new themes that they develop + the Genesis framework (valued at over $1,700) for only $499.
And since StudioPress was acquired by WP Engine in 2018, you can now get the Genesis Framework + 36 StudioPress themes for free when you sign up for a hosting plan with WP Engine. That’s over $2,000 in value!
That’s especially super value for developers and agencies.
And the cherry on the cake is that after your first theme purchase, all following purchases are discounted, including the all-theme package.
Highly Optimized And Blazing Fast
When I talk about being highly optimized, I mean that all StudioPress themes are:
- Have ZERO bloat.
You won’t find unnecessary bells and whistles such as Google Maps and bloated sliders to weigh down your site.
The Genesis architecture and code is clean, lightweight and strictly in accordance with WordPress best practice, thereby ensuring speed and enhanced SEO optimization.
Contentful paint time is indicative of perceived load time, This is the time it takes for a user to believe the page is fully loaded. At 371ms, I’d say that’s pretty formidable.
Dom interactive time (432ms) is the time it takes before a user can interact with the content, e.g. start filling out a subscribe form.
Fully loaded time was 0.7sec.
Mobile Responsive, Cross Browser Compatible And HTML5 Compliant
Back in the day when there weren't as many devices in use, mobile responsiveness wasn't such a major issue.
It was only in around 2012 (and recognizing that more and more users were accessing the internet via handheld devices) that Google started concentrating heavily on mobile responsiveness.
The development team are constantly keeping abreast of best coding practices and the Genesis framework is actively updated to ensure your theme will always be properly mobile responsive and cross browser compatible.
That's why all of the newer StudioPress themes are built using HTML 5 markup.
Whereas older HTML standards required additional plugins, e.g. flash to maintain browser compatibility, HTML 5 can teach older browsers to handle and properly display "unknown" HTML elements, without needing any additional plugins and/or extensions.
Truly SEO Optimized
Besides clean, lightweight, optimized code and the very best in architectural design, all themes support schema.org markup.
This enables microdata to be output to the world wide web, thereby positively enhancing SEO so as to ensure the best search engine rankings possible. (Microdata works in a similar way to tags. It helps to tell users what your content is about).
Our Gutenberg Optimized Themes empower end-users to customize those modules—or combine with others—ensuring font, color, layout, and styling is consistent from the back-end to the front-end, enabling you to do everything from launching twenty simple landing pages in an hour to building a complex new digital experience.
Turnkey Themes With Unlimited Design Options
It goes without saying that you’ll choose a theme design that closely matches your niche and what you have in mind for your website.
With over 64 StudioPress themes to choose from, there’s a theme for virtually everything.
Nevertheless, your outlook could change in an instant. I’ve personally customized and completed a few websites only to find that I didn’t like the design and immediately went about changing it.
Or maybe you build sites regularly or have a propensity to change theme design from time to time.
No problem. The Genesis framework includes a number of classes and hooks allowing you to add and re-design elements on your pages in a flash.
Additionally, there are a number of dedicated, lightweight Genesis plugins designed to make it easy for you to customize your theme. For example, if you’re not a developer or a tech savvy individual, Design Palette Pro enables you to edit and change almost anything in your theme without having to write any code.
Other great plugins include Genesis simple sidebars (add dynamic sidebars to posts), Genesis simple edits (edit footer credits without having to use code) and Genesis eNews extended (email list building).
Theoretically, you could completely overhaul your entire website design as often as you like. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or use a page builder to achieve this as the Genesis framework includes everything you need, thereby eliminating the need for many additional plugins.
Furthermore, all your SEO efforts remain completely intact, as the only thing you’re changing is the design!
That said, there’s nothing stopping you from using a page builder if you want to. The StudioPress themes play nicely with good page builders such as Beaver Builder.
Even WP Engine use Beaver Builder.
Or you can change your entire design in less than a minute by switching to another StudioPress theme.
Various Layout Configurations
StudioPress Themes are All About Minimalist Design
Here's the man behind these great designs.
Plenty of white space, just the elements necessary to get the point across and no distractions is the recipe for great user experience.
- Users will judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second.
- “Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.
Here is some of Authentik's work. Can you recognize any of these themes?
Access To Independent Genesis Developers
It's hard to find a good and trustworthy developer. If you need one to handle some customizations, just hit up StudioPress. They maintain a list of talented and reliable developers.
Detailed Setup Instructions
On your theme download page you get comprehensive setup instructions.
You can import all the demo content during installation. This is a great help because your installation will look exactly the same as the demo version on the StudioPress website.
Then all you need to do is replace the demo content with your own.
You can access the setup instructions directly on the StudioPress site or download them to your PC.
Take a look at how comprehensive they are.
Easy Theme Settings
Theme settings are easy to configure within a minute and are (now) accessed via the customizer, thereby keeping all you customization settings in one place.
StudioPress themes make it easy to add scripts and other code into the header and footer of your HTML pages without having to make adjustments to template pages (e.g. header.php)
Updating Is A Breeze
An untold number of users neglect to update their sites because they've had bad experience involving multiple hours, even days, fixing problems created by updating.
But this lends itself to vulnerabilities and your site could be easily hacked and brought to its knees.
With StudioPress, this will never happen.
Updating to the most recent version of WordPress and Genesis is a breeze as the process is integrated.
You can rest assured that your theme customizations remain untouched while the underlying framework is updated with code changes.
Fort Knox Security
WordPress sites can be vulnerable to those who want to take your site down or exploit it for malicious reasons. Having your site hacked is an expensive, time-consuming hassle — and it can really damage your reputation.
We brought security expert and core WordPress developer Mark Jaquith in to make sure the Genesis Framework has the best security possible. With his guidance, we built our framework to follow all WordPress security best practices.
Built In Accessibility Options
Themes include accessibility options for those who access your site with screen readers.
The theme I use on this site, Affinity Pro, includes support for accessibility options in the functions.php file.
And screen reader css in the stylesheet.
Because this post is a StudioPress review, I'm not going to go into much more detail but Carrie Dils put together a great post about accessibility options.
A Huge Community To Fall Back On
Backed by WP Engine, support is always there to help you.
Depending on time zone differences, tickets are responded to not later than 24 hours.
Many External Tutorials And Code Snippets
If you need help with something, a Google search that includes the word "Genesis" will normally yield thousands of available resources and tutorials, both written ...
... and on YouTube.
Best Selling StudioPress Themes
According to StudioPress, these are their best selling themes as of April 2019.
They are specifically targeted to certain types of businesses purely because of the design of the home page. They are therefore made for convenience as it makes it easier to choose a theme that is geared towards a specific market.
Nevertheless, the home page designs of all themes can changed according to your liking.
This can be achieved by changing the layout and design of the widgetized home page included with the theme or you could build a separate static page with a page builder such as Beaver Builder, in the same way I have done. As a matter of fact, I used a pre-built Beaver Builder template and removed certain elements that I didn't want.
Layout options may include all or some of the following:
You can also change the default layout for individual posts on the edit page for the post as well as assign custom classes for body and post.
Foodie Pro Theme
2. Agent Press Pro Theme
3. Essence Pro Theme
4. Author Pro Theme
5. Mai Lifestyle Pro Theme
6. Business Pro Theme
7. Magazine Pro Theme
8. Infinity Pro Theme
Click the image to view the theme.
- 13 Different Homepage Widget Areas
- Accessibility Ready
- Custom Header
- HTML5 Markup
- Landing Page
- Lead Capture Page
- Team Page
- Mobile Responsive
- Theme Customizer
- Theme Options
- Translation Ready
- Gutenberg Optimized
- 3 Layout Options
This site runs on Infinity Pro!
9. Corporate Pro Theme
10. Refined Pro Theme
That's All Folks
I’ve used plenty of themes in my days but none the likes of StudioPress.
They’re extremely well coded and fully supported by a team of dedicated, long term developers. Furthermore, they support all of the WordPress features and many are also WooCommerce ready.
There are loads of resources available on the internet related purely to the Genesis Framework. I’ve never had a problem finding an answer to something or a code snippet to provide additional functionality.
If you’d like to see how some of the StudioPress themes have been customized, you can check out the StudioPress showcase.
With the full courage of my convictions and without a shadow of a doubt, I believe that the StudioPress themes are head and shoulders above the rest. I’ll personally never use anything else.
If you’re about to purchase a StudioPress theme, you’re making a really good decision. I’d really appreciate it if you use one of my links to do so. I hold nothing back on this site, so what you get here is the real deal and you support help me to keep this site alive. Thanks so much in advance.
If you already use the Genesis framework, then tell me something. Do you love it too? Let me know in the comments.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this StudioPress review as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Cheers for now.