So you decided to take the leap and purchase the Genesis Framework. Every other blogger you know has been raving about it, meaning it has to be fantastic, right? You complete the download, install it onto your blog, and…now what?
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If you’ve never designed a blog before, or are still dipping your toes into those waters, it can feel a bit overwhelming to make such a big purchase and not really know what to do with it. You might see other blogs claiming to be built off the Genesis Framework and think, how in the world did they go from this to that??? I felt the exact same way for a while, and thought I’d just wasted a huge chunk of money. Let me tell you. The Genesis Framework was one of the best investments I’ve made in this blog to date.
Before I get into my tips for using the Genesis Framework, if you’re new to WordPress, I would suggest learning the terminology used throughout this platform. That was probably my biggest issue when I switched over, because every time I read a tutorial, I had to go searching for the definition of words like “child-theme”, “framework”, and “plugin”. Once you have all of that down, working your way around WordPress will be a breeze.
Now, I like to think of the Genesis Framework as my personal assistant. It organizes all of the complicated aspects of WordPress into a simple, easy to use format. Rather than having to learn about every single WordPress feature, I can focus on my job — creating content and designing my blog. Here are a few other ways to get the most out of the Genesis Framework!
Make use of the Genesis widgets
Included with your Genesis Framework purchase are a few widgets that you’ll find to be extremely useful. They’re fairly simple, but that’s what makes them so great. You can display featured posts/pages in your sidebar, provide a subscription sign-up, or even add an image slider! Because they’re from Genesis, they’ll integrate perfectly with your blog, and you don’t have to go searching for plugins to do the same job.
Choose the right child theme
To be honest, any of the StudioPress Themes are great starting points. As long as you know how to code or have a designer to code a design for you, there’s a good chance you can transform a pre-made theme into exactly what you want. For example, my blog looks nothing like the original child theme I chose!
I suggest looking through each child theme to see what features it already has built in though, especially widget areas and page templates, because those can be hard to code yourself. I loved how my theme came with a home page with a ton of widget areas, so if I ever want to make a shop website, I can simply reuse that theme!
Get to know your CSS stylesheet
My absolute favorite part about the Genesis Framework is that child themes are the default. You automatically receive the Genesis Theme with your purchase, meaning you can start coding a design right away. Whether you choose to stick with that theme or purchase a different one, the first thing you should do is look through the CSS stylesheet (this should be the style.css file within your editor). This is the code that styles your blog, and affects everything from your post title font to the background color of your sidebar. If you know the basic layout of your CSS stylesheet, it’ll make designing your blog a quicker process, and you won’t end up rewriting code that’s already been made.
Make your posts SEO friendly
The Genesis Framework does wonders in the SEO world, and is designed to take advantage of meta tags and page structures. While just having the Genesis Framework installed on your blog can help boost your ratings, you still need to feed it great content and SEO friendly work! That means including keywords in your post titles, creating strong first sentences that give an idea of what your post is about, and writing keyword-rich, lengthy content.
Use the provided resources
With your Genesis purchase comes a fantastic resource – the Studiopress website. The support groups will be your life saver during the implementation and design process, trust me! Every time I ran into a problem, I just searched through that forum and almost every time someone had asked a similar question. If not, you can always make a new thread and wait for a response from some professional Genesis users! Be careful though, they seem to be very particular about how you make your questions, I guess to keep the forum clean and organized. After reading through a few threads, you’ll understand what I mean!
They also have an entire page of tutorials, which are perfect for when you’re first getting started and don’t want to skip a step in the installation process. There are even some more specific tutorials for design elements like sticky navigation bars and adding a Pinterest button! Seriously, you can do everything with Genesis.
Purchasing the Genesis Framework will cost you $59.95, but think of it this way. That’s a one time purchase, meaning you can use this framework on multiple blogs, as many times as you want. And that goes for the themes as well!