This is probably going to be the most biased review I’ve ever written. Why? Because I practically only use StudioPress themes for clients.
But anyway, I’ll make it as objective as possible.
Who/What is StudioPress?
StudioPress is an arm of Copyblogger Media, one of the fastest growing content marketing companies. Ever since WordPress hit the internet, web designers have adopted it as the benchmark for websites and have also developed themes that run on the CMS (Content Management System). StudioPress decided to also jump on this bandwagon and invent its own themes to run on WordPress.
Come to think of it, the names kind of sound alike.
Are Their Themes Any Different?
Well firstly, one theme costs almost $100 and they have no free themes. I guess this is probably due to the fact that their themes are designed for a specific purpose and work a little differently from most other WordPress themes. I’ll review them based on two things: functionality and design.
StudioPress child themes run on the Genesis Framework. This might sound a little techy to you, so let me explain…
A framework is simply a platform upon which something else is built. Take for instance, car manufacturing. The car framework is built first, even before any aesthetics are added to the body to make it beautiful. It’s the framework that gives the car its strength and stamina.
This is the same with the Genesis Framework. It’s a framework upon which your WordPress site is created. Just like the car manufacturing example, the Genesis Framework gives your WordPress website its stamina and strength. In other words, it integrates all the SEO, security and performance features that help your website run optimally.
Then the Genesis Child themes, “sit on top” of the Genesis Framework and mainly comprise of the design elements of your site. What this means is that you can play with all the design you want and you won’t affect a bit of the site performance or SEO.
Cool stuff. It kind of makes you feel like you’re not just running a website but an integrated WordPress machine! Something like this:
Genesis Child Themes
There’s a total of 53 premium child themes that come with the Genesis Framework. They can be purchased individually or as a pack (which turns out a lot cheaper). You can check out the themes here: StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes
Installing the Genesis Framework and its child themes is a little different than most WordPress themes. You can’t install a child theme without installing the Genesis Framework first.
When I first got the Genesis Themes, this was a little confusing because every time I tried installing a Child Theme, the installation would never complete. My first reaction was, “Darn, these themes are wack. I can’t even install them.” It was only after searching online (thanks to Google) that I realized I was working in ignorance.
To make the Genesis Child Themes work, you have to first install the framework just as if you’re installing a normal WordPress theme. So, you’re actually installing two themes to run just one website.
Too much work right?
Nah, it actually just takes about 30 seconds to get both the framework and the child theme installed. Here’s a guide with more details on how to install genesis themes via your WordPress dashboard: Genesis For Beginners Guide- StudioPress
Maintenance is almost hassle-free. After all, it’s not like you’re changing spare parts or something. With the automatic updates feature in WordPress, you practically don’t have to go through any stress in maintaining the themes.
Once StudioPress releases an update to the Genesis Framework, you get notified and your website gets updated, without it affecting the design. However, it’s important that in the design stage of your website, the framework is not tampered with. This is because once it is updated, any modification made to the framework gets wiped off.
I made this mistake with my first Genesis website by modifying the framework to include some design elements. But once I learned my lesson, I never looked back :). All modifications are to be made in the child themes only. This way, you’ll have nothing to worry about when an update is released.
StuidoPress themes are plain, simple and easily customizable (from a non-coder point of view). It also comes in different layouts, from the simple blog layout to the standard website layout. You simply make your choice.
But that’s not what fascinates me about the design. The child themes are designed to give you results because they were built with the Content Marketing first approach. That’s why every Genesis theme comes with a blog template and a landing page template for lead generation.
I always like to believe that the themes were designed for people who are involved in content marketing and want results. In their theme demos, you’ll always see that lead generation is a priority because there’s either a sign up form beneath the navigation or on the sidebar. And this is actually what I recommend for service professionals who want to generate leads from their websites.
Also, while you can install any plugin from the WordPress directory, Genesis also has its own plugins and widgets to help you get the most out of your website.
Should your website run on the Genesis Framework?
That depends on what you want out of your website. If you want to generate leads, then you should go for something designed for that purpose. However, if you’re after jaw dropping flash animations and transitions, you could also get StudioPress themes, but you’ll have to do much more customizing to make that happen. Your best bet would be to go for themes that make such integrations easy.
What do you think? What theme do you use and how has it worked for you so far? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Note: All links to the StudioPress website are affiliate links, so I make some bucks when you make a purchase through those links ;).