Yesterday I spent the whole day looking into my best choice for WordPress Theme. Specifically Genesis framework and child themes. Why did I do that and how important is it anyway to have the right WordPress theme?
Originally I was using the free WordPress theme IconicOne. And everything looked pretty good. So why change to a Theme that I had to pay for?
I was about to write up about the setup and configuration of my essential plugins (as recommended by my chosen Internet gurus). However, in doing more research for the article, I came across articles I had not previously seen. Many found the Jetpack by WordPress.com (one of my essential plugins) unsatisfactory. They claimed the Jetpack plugin to be too bloated, caused too many conflicts, and generally advised against that plugin.
The point is that, I want to MINIMIZE the number of plugins that has to be installed. And I certainly don’t want plugins that are likely to create conflict with other plugins.
Have good plugins but as little as possible.
It is always a hassle to update plugins. Each time you do, you have to do a backup of your site and database plus there is always the potential of conflicts. These will give you endless hours of fear and frustration.
Hence, though we do need plugins for WordPress, the more we can minimise the number of plugins needed, the better.
So what do plugins have to do with WordPress themes?
In researching the problems with some plugins, I came across more and more recommendations for Genesis (Framework and Themes). It was claimed that with the Genesis framework, we could actually do away with some of the plugins we would otherwise need. For example, the Genesis framework has SEO capabilities (which could mean you didn’t need another plugin for SEO). And the promise that with Genesis, we would have “instant updates”. This is one of the most important considerations for me. I hate loosing hair and sleep when updates involve manual backend maintenance fraught with potential problems and conflicts.
So though I had originally put off having to pay for a theme (when there are so many free themes available for WordPress), I thought that if Genesis was as good as many claimed, then paying for a robust theme now would save me a lot of headache later on. Both with problematic WordPress theme updates as well as plugin updates.
I decided it was worth the trouble and time to fully look into Genesis from StudioPress and to make a decision which might impact the number of plugins I would need to install.
After my research into Genesis, I went ahead and bought the Genesis Framework (yes! now proudly an affiliate link) and the Prose (child) theme.
This is what my site looked like when I had the free IconicOne theme (before Genesis):
And this is what NetWebbing looks like with the newly installed Genesis Prose theme (not as pretty). However this is pretty much what it looks like straight out of the box. No styling and customisations yet ..
At this stage, you might be thinking why I changed to Genesis Prose as my preferred WordPress theme. Well hopefully by the time you read this article, my site will look different enough to answer that very question. But while looks are important, I will go into some detail why I finally chose Genesis as my preferred WordPress theme even though I had to pay for it.
References for those who need more:
Jetpack and WordPress SEO by Yoast (re. why Jetpack is not preferred)