I started another blog a few days ago and wanted a fresh new look. Most of my sites run on Thesis and end up looking extremely similar because I find out how to make specific edits and then incorporate the changes into multiple sites. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to deviate from the norm and try something fresh and new, so I purchased the Genesis framework with a child theme.
Genesis appears to work very similar to Thesis by adding hooks and filters to your (child themes) functions.php file, so one might argue that I could create the same looking website with my existing Thesis framework as I could with Genesis. This might be true if I was a coder or designer, but I’m not, and I’m sure all of the premium theme designers are happy there are people like me who are not only buying functionality, but buying a semi-configured look as well.
I make my theme purchases based on how much I like the demo, and how easy I think it will be to emulate that similar look, so I went with the spacious and mobile friendly Eleven40 child theme. I’ve never cared for the three column look before, but this one was so nice looking that I flipped the switch almost immediately to give it a try. It’s easy enough to change with a one click default layout option if I was so inclined, but for now it’s exactly how I want it.
To give you an idea of how spontaneous I am when it comes to starting something new, the inspiration for this new blog came about from a five minute conversation. It’s a hot, timely topic that I don’t know a lot about, but when I checked how many monthly searches there were, I figured it was worth exploring. When I found a 9 letter domain name that is also a popular keyword phrase getting 90K+ searches a month, I bought it and put the gears in motion.
I don’t see this topic being short-lived or faddish so there should be plenty of time to develop content and grow with the public’s interest. Since I don’t know much about the subject, I’m using the blog as I would a college course with each new post being like an essay on a topic I’ve researched. While I might not be able to turn around a few posts a week with this kind of objective, I’ll at least have some (hopefully) decent information to pass on to visitors.
Back to Genesis. There’s not as many built in options and features as Thesis, but for the most part these missing choices are negligible. I do miss how easy it is to upload a header image in Thesis though. For something so basic, I would have figured this would be included in my Genesis child theme to replace the text option, but alas it was not.
I absolutely love the default font size and face. I never thought to go bigger like that, but surprisingly it makes the text more inviting and easy to read. This child theme has an easy to configure header widget for a custom navigation menu and nice extended footer widgets too. There’s also two built in widgets called page title and after post that would be perfect for inserting advertising without the need for an additional plugin.
It’s probably still too early to pass judgement on Genesis, but I’m a few days into it and I’m still learning and excited about the possibilities. To see what you’d get, check out the default Genesis demo as well as the Eleven40 demo I decided to use. The real test will be the response I get in the forums to compare to the diythemes support folks that are top notch. If they’re just as good, this might just be a dead heat.