The fact that there are tens of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from means that it’s a great time to be a WordPress user, as you are spoilt for choices.
But with that benefit comes the difficulty of deciding which one to go for.
Not only are they all vying for your attention, but the last thing you want to do is to unknowingly pick a low-quality, badly-maintained theme which will hold back your site.
So where do you start?
When creating and building a WordPress.org site, my own personal first port of call would be to use StudioPress and this post will look at why you should also consider using it for your own WordPress site too.
Who is StudioPress?
Started by Brian Gardner back in 2010 and now owned by WP Engine, StudioPress provides an all-in-one WordPress solution that allows you to get your WordPress site set up, hosted and ready to go.
They previously had their own hosting platform, but after being bought out by WP Engine, which is a well-known managed WordPress hosting (and a very good one at that too), they could focus their attention on their main products, which are the themes and framework, as well as providing fantastic support and updates.
And it’s the child themes and framework that has helped them to become a popular brand within the WordPress community.
Yes, there are a lot of platforms that can do similar jobs as StudioPress. But the difference with StudioPress is that their products and services are reputable, top-of-the-range, consistently well-maintained and provide a solid foundation for you to grow on.
And if growing your website is something you want to do, then you want to make sure that you have infrastructure that can handle that.
One thing StudioPress is particularly well-known for is its Genesis Framework, which acts as the skeleton of your WordPress website and provides a strong base for your website to build and grow on.
And if you haven’t heard of the Genesis Framework, below will give you a brief overview of this fantastic product.
I don’t want to go into too many details about Genesis in this post as there is a separate Genesis Framework review post where you can learn more about how it works and how it can benefit your WordPress site.
Here are some of the key benefits of the Genesis framework:
- Search engine friendly
- Incredibly light and smooth to run
- Complies with the industry compliant HTML and CSS#
- Strong and secure with state-of-the-art security
- Offers a wide array of Genesis child themes to choose from
- Affordable for everyone
- Fantastic support via StudioPress and the community
- Consistently updated a team of developers
- Easy-to-use widget-based layouts and display
- You can grow and scale with Genesis
- Fully accessible
You can buy the Genesis Framework by itself for just $69, though you would need a compatible Child theme to go with it, which is the next point.
For those who are more technical, the other benefit of using Genesis is that you can custom edit your themes without having to touch the fundamental aspects of Genesis. This also means that the future updates of Genesis will also not directly affect the theme either, as they are separate from each other.
StudioPress Child Themes
If you go through the themes page, there are dozens of designs available that have been put together both by StudioPress designers and by reputable 3rd party designers.
Combined with Genesis, most, if not all of the themes are designed in a way to make it easy to design what you want.
Sure, there may be times where you will struggle with certain widgets or plugins. But the brilliant thing about StudioPress themes is that:
- you can look and navigate around the demo site to give you a feel what you can really do with it
- there are excellent documentations within StudioPress’ help section of the site on how to create your site exactly like the demo
- you use the design as a source of inspiration to your own site.
After that, it’s up to you to customise it.
For example, this very site you are looking at is built using the Infinity Pro theme (you can view its demo here). But if you compare this site to the demo, it looks quite different and most people wouldn’t know without analysing it in detail and looking at the codes.
And that’s the benefit you get with most high-quality themes – you can customise it and make it your own.
There are a couple of price-points which you can aim for when it comes to buying themes:
- StudioPress Themes – $129.95 as a one-off payment per theme
- Pro Plus All-Theme Package (Genesis + unlimited access to all current and future themes) – $499 as a one-off payment
Some people might argue the prices above are expensive, especially as you can get free WordPress themes elsewhere, like in the official WordPress themes repository.
But when you pay for a premium theme, not only you will get a well-designed and developed theme, but you will also get a lifetime of support and updates. This is very different compared to the yearly subscription models that many developers and designers choose.
And if you are someone who is expecting to own multiple websites of your own, or you are expected to set them up for your clients, the Pro Plus All-Theme Package might actually save you money in the long-run.
The WordPress community itself has also rallied round by creating their own version of plugins for Genesis.
A search for ‘Genesis’ on the WordPress plugins repository brings up hundreds of plugins to choose from, so you are never short of any features.
And as you can see in the image above, it’s not just StudioPress that are developing these plugins, but also other developers who have no affiliation with StudioPress and just want to share their products with you.
And for free too.
Of course, you should still follow the rules about downloading plugins and what to look out for before downloading.
But the combination of StudioPress and the community are fantastic at pooling together their talents just to help your website perform as best as it can.
As mentioned earlier, StudioPress used to have their own hosting platform until they were bought by WP Engine back in June 2018.
What this means for you is that you can have everything under one roof if you want to get your website going: hosting, framework and theme.
WP Engine can provide you with the Genesis Framework and StudioPress for FREE when you sign up to their hosting plan, which they estimate to be worth over $2,000 in value.
Again, this provides many benefits for those who want to reduce the headache of using multiple sources, and instead have the all-in-one-package.
Who Should Use StudioPress?
StudioPress is perfect if you are:
- A content creator
- An entrepreneur
- A membership site owner
- A business which sells products, services or digital downloads
- Looking for a solid and reputable all-in-one solution with includes framework, themes and hosting
Who Should Not Use StudioPress?
There are a small number of people who would not benefit from StudioPress’ services:
- Newbie blogger
- Newbie WordPress-er – with so many things to learn about WordPress, you might be better off learning the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress before you make an initial investment
- Hobby blogger – because of the initial investment, you do not need StudioPress if you are a hobby blogger and blogging for fun (would potentially be better to learn how much does a WordPress site cost first, before making any investments)
If you are any of the above but you have gradually grown out of your current site and want to move to the next step, you can do that with StudioPress.
The good news is that you don’t have to start using StudioPress from the beginning. You can grow your site at your own pace and then when you are ready, you can easily change your framework, themes and plugins.
Overall Review of StudioPress
Think of using StudioPress like a car:
- WordPress is the engine, which powers the site
- Genesis is the frame and body, which provides the sold structure of the site
- Child themes are the design and paint job that you see
And if we add a reputable managed WordPress hosting to the car analogy, you will also have premium oil to make your site run smoothly.
If you want to have a well-run car that doesn’t cause you any headaches, you won’t want to buy a run-down, badly designed, faulty car.
Sure it may be cheaper, but is it really worth the hassle?
It’s very easy to get by with using various free WordPress themes and plugins that are available. I would recommend you do that if you have a hobby site and it’s not an essential part of your income.
But for those who are more serious about their online presence and growing it, you want to make sure that you have the right resources available to help you do that.
And StudioPress can help you with that, which is why I would highly recommend them.
I may be biased as I use them, but wouldn’t you rather I provide an honest review of a product that I use every day and have been for many years?
If you do use StudioPress, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.
Likewise, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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