Best of all, it doesn’t have a steep learning curve in order to get the most flexiblity out of its child themes. With built-in settings, theme options and a variety of widgets and plugins, it’s hard to not get the site you want—all without having to go the custom theme route or knowing html, css and php.
For those of you who are thinking of using a theme from StudioPress, considering switching to it, or if you have just started, this post includes these instructional videos:
and a few plugins
Genesis Theme Settings – A walk-through of the basic settings whether you are using Genesis as a standalone framework, or with one of the many child themes.
Genesis SEO Settings - A look at the SEO settings for your entire site, homepage, single posts and pages. You can also use any 3rd party plugin, like WordPress SEO by Yoast or All In One SEO Pack and they will override these settings. Note: I am simply explaining these settings and not giving you SEO advice, as that always depends on your site, your service and products, as well as your own goals.
Genesis Custom Header and Background - Here I show you how to easily edit your header or upload a custom graphic to your child theme. Also included: a look at the custom background settings which include changing the color or uploading an image for your background. These settings are available for all Genesis child themes. Header size varies from theme to theme.
Genesis Default Widgets - A walk-through of the default widgets that come with Genesis, whether you are using Genesis as a standalone framework, or with one of the many child themes. These widgets include Genesis Featured Page, Genesis Featured Post, Genesis Latest Tweets, and Genesis User Profile.
A nice collection of plugins that add very cool features to your child theme. The beauty is that most of them add customization to your site without you needing to learn how to code. I have selected six to share in this post.
Genesis Simple Sidebars
This is probably one of the plugins I use the most. Almost all of the child themes for Genesis have the option of a primary and secondary sidebar. The position of these are chosen as a default in the Genesis settings, but you also have a variety of ways they can appear on single posts or pages. But wait. This plugin takes it one step further. Now there is no need to have the same content in your sidebars throughout your site. What if you could customize the sidebar on your About Page? Or sell that ebook on “mobile” only, on posts using the category mobile. It’s the idea of making your sidebar work with your content, instead of against it. In this video, I show you how you can easily do this with the Genesis Simple Sidebar.
Genesis Simple Menus
This plugin works great if you need to customize your secondary navigation bar in your child theme. Most child themes from Studio Press come with two menus, and placement varies from theme to theme (for example, maybe one above and below the header; two stacked on top of each below the header, etc.). Like the simple sidebars, you can use this for single posts and pages, as well as categories and tags. Why would you need this? Watch this video to learn how to use it and where you may find a need.
Genesis Simple Edits
There are a couple of areas on a blog that I get asked, over and over to change. The first is the meta information. Often you find it in a couple of places: below your post title, where you will find date, author name, comments, etc. and below your post with categories and tags that you have assigned the post to. Secondly, there is the footer information. For example, the theme’s name, a “back to the top” link, etc. So how do you change these? Normally you would have to edit the theme’s php files, which so many of us don’t want to touch. Watch this video and see how this plugin makes that job so easy.
Genesis Simple Comments
There are certain parts of the commenting section that you may have wanted to change but you couldn’t find an easy way to do it. For example, the heading above your comment section that invites reader comments may say “Speak Your Mind”. But what if you would rather it say something else? Or maybe you moderate your comments, and would rather have it say something a bit more friendly than “Your comment is being held for moderation.” In this, video I show you how you can easily change these and other parts of your comment section.
Genesis Simple Hooks
If you know what hooks are, you will love this easy way to use them. If not, a hook is a piece of code written into a theme that allows you to attach content to the theme itself. In other words, it provides the ability to extend functionality by way of inserting (or hooking) code. These hooks are in different locations throughout your theme. For example, the first hook is right before the header and all content on a single page. The thing is, you will either need to know html, php, or shortcodes to use these effectively. In this video, I show you a couple examples of what a hook is, and also a way to cheat the system without having to know html.
Genesis Simple Breadcrumbs
If you use breadcrumbs on your site, this simple plugin allows you to make some edits within the breadcrumb without knowing code. Watch this video for some examples.
There are some other very useful plugins primarily for Genesis and its child themes. For example, the Genesis Responsive Header Plugin, the Enews Extended Plugin and the in-depth Genesis Extender Plugin for some serious customizations. I will be doing additional videos on these and others in the near future. And for my clients, whether I help you with your site through my retainers or through one of my build your blog or build your website packages, I will also be creating videos on specific Genesis child theme features and on how to set up your homepage so you get for the most out of your theme.