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Best Genesis Child Themes for an Amazing WordPress Site

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Genesis is a special kind of WordPress theme: a theme framework designed to build child themes on. As a result, it is super powerful. Genesis is also the world's most popular theme framework.

It is the flagship product of StudioPress, which has also created some of the best child themes for it. In June of 2018, StudioPress was acquired by the WordPress hosting company WP Engine - making for a very powerful combination.

Below, we discuss why you should use Genesis in addition to introducing you to the best child themes available for it.

When it comes to CMS popularity, there is no disputing that WordPress is by far the most popular one out there today. For the past 15 years, WordPress has steadily but surely dominated the blogosphere and is now used by roughly 75 million sites online.

While there are very many useful and highly customizable frameworks that work with WordPress, Genesis and Genesis Child themes is perhaps the most noteworthy of them all.

Customizing WordPress Theme Frameworks Like Genesis

The idea behind WordPress is simple: it is an open-source software application that you can use to create beautiful websites, apps, and blogs.

It has a wonderful community of developers and users behind it who are always ready and willing to help you with any issues that you may face while using any of the available frameworks.

Why Use a Child Theme?

WordPress allows you to customize your chosen theme as much as possible without ruining the entire framework. If this is what you want to do (and you almost certainly do), experts recommend using child themes.

This is mostly because a child theme is separate and stores all of your specific customizations, which means that you will not lose any of these customizations should the parent theme framework ever be updated.

How to Use a Child Theme

This video gives you a quick tutorial on how to create and customize Genesis Child Themes with WordPress:

As you can see, it is quite easy to customize Genesis Child Themes for WordPress. But that is not its only advantage.

Two other wonderful benefits come with child themes in general:

  1. They are themes that hold your specific customizations which makes it very easy to see what you have done so far on any given project as well as highlight what is going wrong. This means that you do not have to go through a million lines of code to see what is wrong.
  2. If you use the same parent theme over and over, the code that you develop for one child theme is highly reusable on any other future projects. This, however, depends on your using a parent theme that is meant to be customized through a child theme.

When it comes to user-friendliness and accessibility, WordPress is head and shoulders above other software. Thanks to the huge community of coders and regular users, you will find that there is a solution to almost every problem that you may encounter as you try to customize your platform.

The frameworks available today, such as the Genesis theme framework, are very well coded and look to make things much easier for the end user. Customizing a Genesis child theme is akin to checking off a list as opposed to taken four years of University level programming.

StudioPress Genesis Screenshot
Screenshot via StudioPress

Five Reasons Why You Should Always Run a Genesis Child Theme

Child Themes, in general, have inherent advantages that come with them (see above). Perhaps the one that should scare you the most and stop you from ever using the Genesis framework or any other parent theme as your active theme is this: should the parent theme get updated, you will lose all your customizations! Imagine weeks of work and hours of coding gone just like that because the parent theme was updated?

Shielding yourself from this kind of risk is very simple. All you have to do is run a Genesis Child Theme. Here are several other reasons why you should consider doing that:

1. A Genesis Child Theme Allows You to Customize

As mentioned earlier, WordPress has a huge community online. As the themes and frameworks get updated, you will often receive instructions on how to add or remove things from your old website to make it function better and in a user-friendly fashion. One of the most common bits of instruction will look like this:

"Insert this code into your child theme's functions.php file."

How are you going to do that if you aren't running a child theme? Most user-friendly coders and members of the community assume you are running a child theme because it is the smart thing to do.

Additionally, with a child theme, you can manage your CSS file, and even 100% customize it if you so wish. This means that you can make your website look however you want it to look. With a Genesis child theme, you have the freedom to customize and run your website the way you desire. You will have an exceptionally difficult time customizing your site if you are not using a child theme.

2. A Child Theme Keeps Your Customizations Safe

The good people at WordPress are always working to make things better for you, and this means that there are frequent updates to all frameworks including Genesis. These updates can completely change the way your website looks and functions.

If you want to protect hours, if not weeks, of customization work and want to keep your website looking just the way you want it to look, then you have to customize it using a child theme. Doing so will keep it safe from any updates; meaning the parent theme can be updated without affecting your customized look.

3. WordPress Will Keep Warning You if You Are Not Using a Child Theme

To give you an idea of how much using the Genesis Framework as your active theme is frowned upon by developers, your site now shows you an error message whenever you log in. If you are using Genesis directly, you will get a huge warning sign every time you log into the backend of your website.

Is this something you want to see every day? Of course not. If your very own dashboard is advising you to use a child theme, perhaps it is a good idea to do so.

4. Genesis Child Themes Have Hooks for Everything

Whatever it is you need to customize on your Genesis theme framework can be customized. There is nothing that cannot be edited using an action or filter.

5. Genesis Child Themes Have Understandable File Structures

As the name might suggest, a child theme should be easy enough to customize so that even a child can do it. While that is not the true meaning behind the term "child theme," it embodies the notion behind it all.

Genesis offers you an easy to explore library that has everything you might need to customize its child themes. All you have to do is look it up and follow the instructions.

The idea is to separate the parent Framework from your customizations. Using child themes allows the Framework to remain as just that - the Framework. Everything else will be stored in a separate folder, and the two do not have to tweak with each other's settings and cause you a headache.

Five of the Best Genesis Child Themes for Your Blog, Magazine and Business Websites

Remember, to use any of the themes listed below you will need to have Genesis installed first. None of them will work without the parent Framework. With that being said, here are some of the best Genesis Child Themes on the market for your blog, magazine, and business website:

1. Ansel

Ansel Screenshot
Screenshot via Imagely

Dubbed as the perfect theme for Photographers and those who appreciate spectacular imagery, Ansel is by far one of the most visually stunning child themes in this framework. It is extremely responsive, aesthetically polished and it has minimalist characteristics.

Inspired by Ansel Adams, this is a pixel-perfect Genesis child theme that has a whole list of impressively breathtaking demo websites to show you how your site might look once it is customized.

Like all Genesis Child Themes, Ansel is easy to install and customize. It has all the necessary instruction right on the home page as well as a vibrant support community of visually motivated webmasters behind it.

2. Parallax

Parallax Pro Screenshot
Screenshot via StudioPress

The main reason why Parallax is so popular is because it takes two of the most recent trends in web design and puts them together in one beautiful child theme. The long vertical scrolling homepage, as well as 3D storm, are the main themes for this framework.

Aside from that, Parallax offers your visitors a distraction-free experience as they explore the inner pages of your website. The beautifully clean and spacious layout gives them the time and space they need to truly connect with your content.

Parallax is perfectly designed for those who want to generate leads and make sales online through their website. The theme allows you to build a relationship with your readers as you guide them through the clean, spacious pages towards an action point such as a 'check out' page.

3. Start

Start Screenshot
Screenshot via ZIGZAGPRESS

Somewhat similar to Parallax, Start uses the ever so popular vertical scrolling homepage and combines it beautifully with a full-width image slider that leaves a huge impact on your visitors.

It has a clean and bold design that allows you to use different elements to populate your pages making this one of the best choices for those who want to sell and promote products online. It has an icon system as well as a gallery that allows you to highlight the best features with style.

Another outstanding feature is that you can easily create a price comparison table without necessarily having to use a third party plugin. This also goes for profiling your team members on the site. It even has a scrolling testimonial slider that shows your new visitors how satisfied past clients are with your services.

4. Infinity Pro

Infinity Pro Screenshot
Screenshot via StudioPress

When it comes to creating modern business websites, Infinity Pro is the way to go. It has a default homepage layout that allows for a full-screen image that can be fully customized with bold text including a call to action button.

There are other wonderful homepage features that allow you to display more of what your business has to offer as your viewers scroll further down. You can even choose to direct them to different pages of choice so that they can get a clear picture of what you do. These can be the mission statement page, the "meet the team" page, or even the blog page. This theme is designed with a widget-ready footer that accentuates the professionalism of it all.

As is the case with all Genesis Child Themes, the Infinity Pro theme is highly customizable. You can tweak with the homepage and make it look just the way you want it to look. Other pre-built layouts come with this theme such as:

  • An author's page template for the blog
  • Blog posts layout templates
  • Category page templates
  • Contact page designs

It even has lead generation and landing page templates that are perfect for those who want to run an ecommerce business using their website.

5. Magazine Pro

Magazine Pro Screenshot
Screenshot via StudioPress

Magazine Pro Theme is by far one of the most popular Genesis Child Themes in the market today. That is mostly because it comes with a homepage that makes it easier for your readers to find your best content without necessarily scrolling through the entire website.

It comes with recommended plugins that allow you to add essential items to your site with great ease. The most popular and useful plugins include:

  • Social media icons
  • Email newsletter signup forms

This is the theme you need if you intend on leveraging great content to run your online business. It has a clean and beautiful design that promotes wonderful content on the homepage.

Get Going With Genesis Child Themes

When designing your website, you want software that comes with a framework that allows you to customize it as much as possible all the while giving you the necessary support, both technical and customer based.

WordPress is that software and Genesis is that framework. To get the most out of both, you need to run Child Themes as your active theme.

Any of the Child Themes mentioned above would do great for any website. It all comes down to what you want to do with the website and how you want it to look when it is finished.

Frank Moraes

About Frank Moraes

Frank has worked in the tech industry since the early 1990s — as a writer, programmer, and manager. He’s an insatiable blogger and “Don Quixote” fanatic. In his spare time, Frank writes experimental plays — usually involving puppets like Grumpy Squirrel in his image.


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January 25, 2019

Why can’t you explain what the differences are between the Child themes. This article totally side steps the differences. What are the differences? Fonts? plugins? options?