When I first started building websites with WordPress, I was just dipping my toes in the water.
I didn’t have much of a plan other than that I wanted to write about sports. I certainly wasn’t thinking about monetization.
But as traffic started to grow, I got more serious.
And, as I learned how to generate revenue from that growing traffic, I got much more serious.
No longer just dipping my toes, I started doing running-start cannonballs right into the deep end …
I had gone from being a casual WordPress user to a serious WordPress publisher.
When this happens, your thinking changes. At least it should. Mine did.
Commodity hosting was no longer good enough. I needed a server that could handle 125,000 hits on Super Bowl Sunday and peaks of 4,000+ concurrent users.
I needed a simple, powerful content solution to maximize the site’s #1 source of traffic.
And, of course, I needed an easily-customizable, professional-looking theme that would load quickly.
I asked a few of my most trusted friends in the WordPress and blogging world where I should turn for such a theme and I got the same answer, over and over: StudioPress.
So I got on board. And my friends were right.
I do so proudly. We all do — here at Synthesis — because we believe StudioPress makes the best premium themes in the WordPress world.
Today, I’m going to tell you about a handful of Genesis child themes that I have personal experience with that you should strongly consider using.
But first, a few quick words about Genesis.
And, of course, the framework.
If you want to a quick visual of everything the Genesis Design Framework for WordPress does for you, click here.
Among the highlights:
- It’s search engine optimized
- It’s fast
- It’s secure
- It’s versatile
- You get unlimited support
- The child themes
This graphic sums it up perfectly: WordPress is your site’s engine; the Genesis framework is the body and design; Child Themes are the paint job.
And here are seven of the most beautiful Genesis paint jobs …
This is the obvious place to start, because it’s my favorite StudioPress theme.
We put it on MSF several years ago and have kept it there.
What I particularly like about Magazine is how easy it is to balance feature content with the traditional chronological content listing of a blog.
Using the easy-to-configure slider above-the-fold on the home page, I can highlight our best recent content. Underneath it, using widgets, I can display the most recent posts, splitting them up into categories if I so choose.
And, if you’re going the display advertising route, the Magazine theme does a really nice job of a) making it easy to configure ad spaces, and b) displaying them with as little impact on the content as possible.
This theme is perfect for anyone who wants to bring a stylish, high-gloss feel to their website. Sites based on news and entertainment content are perfect candidates for the Magazine child theme.
The Crystal child theme is described as a “professional portfolio framework.”
When you read this, and then see the demo site, you might think it’s best for something sexy, like a photographer’s website or a modeling website.
And yes, it would be great for either of those types of sites.
But don’t shortchange it as a potential theme for a business website as well.
For example, I had a meeting a few weeks back with a guy who sells office cubicles. There is nothing sexy about office cubicles.
But I bet when we finish the site, they’ll be the sexiest office cubicles around, thanks to the Crystal child theme’s layout and ability to maximize the impact of high-res photos.
The lesson: think outside the box.
If you see a child theme that strikes you (here’s the page that lists all of them), seek out reasons it can work for you as opposed to reasons why it won’t.
Agency, Metric & Enterprise
But what if you want a more traditional look and feel for a corporate website?
I asked Matt at our office, who’s been designing corporate websites for three years, which StudioPress themes he uses. While he used to create many of his customer sites with the Corporate child theme, he said that Agency, Metric, and Enterprise are now his go-to themes for standard business sites.
In addition to the simple, classic design of these themes, Matt says clients appreciate the featured area for a slider plus the divided widget areas below.
If the content of your website is primarily text, I highly recommend the Prose child theme.
What makes this theme great is its simplicity.
Its basic “out of the box” look and feel, as you can see below, is pretty bare bones. Just a white background, black text, gray highlights, and red links.
All of the attention is focused on the words. If you are a storyteller or if your blog has a journal-type feel, Prose is excellent.
Prose is also one of our most powerful themes, with point-and-click design controls and much more.
One of StudioPress’ latest child themes is my new favorite! The Mindstream child theme is a way to turn your Genesis-based site into a Tumblr-style blog.
I like it so much that I switched my personal blog from Prose to Mindstream.
Mindstream takes full advantage of the built-in custom post type options in the latest version of WordPress. So if you plan having lots of short posts — a picture here, a link there, then a video – Mindstream will work out great for you.
On my blog, I balance out short posts with longer posts, and it works just fine for that too.
There are many more great themes to gawk at over at StudioPress, besides just these seven.
If you’re having trouble visualizing your site going onto one of the seven themes above, check out the showcase. There, you’ll see some of the most impressive websites deploying Genesis and a child theme, which may set off a light bulb in your head for how StudioPress can work for you.
We designed our hosting stack to be optimized for StudioPress because we believe it to be the best premium theme framework on the market. And we were customers long before we became partners.
So if you’re ready to get serious about your WordPress site, or if you already are, and are ready for a design change, I just have one question: which child theme are you going to choose?