The SEO-Advantage of Genesis Framework for WordPress

In this time and day, why would you want to spend tens of hundreds of hours and resources on building a website from scratch? Even the most advanced developers take advantage of frameworks that readily provide a lot of the initial code needed for designing a functional website. When it comes to looking for information on building a website, you will discover that WordPress sites and Genesis Theme Framework and its child themes are all the buzz. Why do so many users – both developers and non-developers use the Genesis Framework? It boasts of many outstanding features including Search Engine Optimization. Discover the SEO advantage of using Genesis for WordPress.

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5 Best Genesis Child Themes

The Genesis Framework is among the most popular and powerful theme frameworks that empowers novice and advanced developers, even non-developers, to build amazing websites with WordPress. True to what StudioPress claims, it is the foundation of any smart WP site design that features search engine optimization, responsive designs, impenetrable security, unlimited options for customization, lightweight and high-performance code, speed, instant updates, and superb customer support. Now that we’ve covered that and you’re convinced that this framework is for you, explore the best of the best Genesis child themes.

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Why You Should Choose Genesis Framework

Image credit: Studiopress.com

For WordPress users – whether beginners or seasoned, one notable trend that you’ll notice is a lot of them use and recommend Genesis Theme Framework.  By understanding what draws these people to use Genesis on their own as well as their clients’ WP sites, you’ll discover a multitude of reasons why you too should choose Genesis Framework.

Fact is – Genesis 2.0 is among the most popular and is widely considered to the most powerful theme frameworks in the market today.

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Genesis Is a No Brainer

If you have ever used WordPress for any period of time, you’ve will more than likely have noticed that a lot of users use and recommend the StudioPress Genesis framework. I use Genesis now for every single one of my own sites, along with my clients’ sites, and so do many other developers I know. I recently designed a website for a cloud pbx provider, built using genesis framework. It hasn’t gone live just yet as I am still performing a few tweaks, but genesis has made it so much easier.

From time to time a potential client will often question me as to why I use Genesis instead of anything else. They’ve all seen the great reviews, but why is Genesis such a big deal? I just like to respond with, “Because it is!”. I know that answer isn’t exactly helpful.

So here are just a few reasons why I love the Genesis framework so much, and reasons why I would also recommend it for non-designers too.

Well-supported and well-coded

Genesis is maintained by a large group of developers from StudioPress. The Genesis framework is continually being updated to mirror the best practices for coding and always remains compatible with latest versions of WordPress. Due to this consistency, I’ve never had to worry about whether updating to the next version will break my site. I instantly know everything will be fine.

If I need support or in the unfortunate event that you run into any problems with Genesis, you can open a support ticket with StudioPress, perhaps start a thread on their support forums, or even ask a designer friend. Since Genesis has such a large community, you can perform a Google search which will bring up many tutorials for free.

Update your site without losing any customizations.

The Genesis framework uses something that is called a child theme, these are like skins that sit above the framework to allow your site look visually different. Instead of making a change to the framework itself, any customizations can be made to the child theme.

It’s not expensive.

Some site themes require users to pay an annual (or monthly) fee for support or updates. With Genesis, you can expect to pay a one time fee of around $60 for the initial framework, that guarantees unlimited access forever. Commonly, child themes are then priced between $20 to $50 range. There is also a Developer Pro Pack (which provides access to 60+ current child themes as well as future releases) which is available from $400. Every Genesis purchase, either a framework or a child theme, always includes a developer license.

Endless possibilities.

Genesis can do pretty much anything. Looking to add a widget to the top of every blog post? No problem for Genesis! How about a slider on your homepage? Guess what, you can do that too! Anything you can see can be edited, deleted, moved, or even reconfigured so that your website performs in the way you exactly want it too. You can also choose from different sidebar layouts for various pages or posts. You even make a homepage entirely full of nothing but widget areas, this means you can simply drag and drop content onto your site.

Wide variety of features and plugins.

From its built in SEO options and settings to mobile friendly child themes, Genesis has a wide variety of features straight out of the box. If a particular feature is not included already, you can bet someone is creating or has created a plugin to integrate it.

Are you convinced yet?

There are a mountain of reasons as to why you should use the Genesis framework, and you certainly don’t need to be a web designer to benefit from them. While I still strongly believe there is no real substitute for a professionally created website, Genesis is certainly a good starting point for DIYers and designers.

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Top 6 Web Design Trends For 2015

Website designers had a wonderful year in 2014, with many new ideas and innovation. Although some didn’t make it, there were a lot that did.

The ones that did make it big in 2014 will forever be household names in 2015. So what new innovations and ideas can we expect in 2015? Check out our list below.

  1. Flat Designs

    flat-altenrative

    If you think flat design was just a hipster thing or just a fad, then you might want to think twice. Flat designs is about keeping it clean, modern and simple, which are what most clients say. Check out our work for one of our client at http://ultimatearcheryhq.com. They are a blog that review different types of archery bows like crossbows and longbows. Here we created a Flat Design for them,  and by doing so they have less of a clutter, and more white space, giving users a better user experience to read about the products.

  2. Responsive Design

    responsive

    Responsive design in 2015 will certainly become a standard. Clients will surely ask for this as one of their must haves on their list. Why you ask? Its simple, the demand is going to be there. Since tablets and smartphones are selling out left and right, there is a big marketing potential. From fortune 500 companies to a mom and pop shop, responsive Design is best for everyone.

  3. Websites With Better Images

    Designers for many years have pushed for better quality images when creating a sight, but always fell short due to technology issues and affordability.  With 2015 creeping around the corner , things are going to change. As loading speed gets faster, and pricing for images gets more affordable, access to high quality images will increase making 2015 a year to look out for.

  4. Infographics Are still King

    Infographics will still be the best way of representing ideas or data. They are great in presenting a lot of information in a very small space. They are also very eye catching and don’t cost a lot to make. That’s one of the biggest reasons infograhics are ask for. End users really like infogrphics because the layout helps them understand the information a lot easier. It combines bold color schemes, typography and shapes in a way that it intrigues the viewers. Because this is such a great way to communicate, infographics will for sure be used more in 2015.

  5. Typography

    Goodbye Hevetica, goodbye Georgia, goodbye times Roman! Welcome to 2015, the year typography takes over. Arial is no longer the go to font, as prices of better and higher quality fonts become more affordable. The default fonts are no longer a good fit. And as more companies want a bolder look and better fonts, they will have to step outside the usual font family and be different.

  6. Presentation videos

    Presentation Videos are making a come back because of companies like vine and instagram. The 6 second videos of vine or the 15 second videos from instagram has the potential to go viral easier then your usual 5 min videos. Short presentation videos are a lot easier to make and as the our addition span gets shorter, you’ll see a lot of short clips become part of many website designs in 2015.

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The Bootstrap Framework – Web Development For Mobile

When starting up a new website one of the most important considerations is which framework to build it upon. This choice can affect everything from how the website performs to how it looks on different displays. While there are plenty of options out there for web developers to choose from, there is one that has gained popularity in the last few years since it was first introduced: it’s called Twitter Bootstrap. With most of the world’s web content being consumed on mobile devices its important to have websites that operate naturally on these smaller screens. The developers of Bootstrap created it as mobile first framework that makes it easier for other developers to transition sites from desktop sized screens to handheld ones with the same code.

What really makes Bootstrap great is its ease-of-use paired with its unique features. The framework consists of HTML, CSS, and Javascript that acts together to produce websites that have professional functionality and design. At getbootstrap.com users are able to download the open source code and get to developing right away. The site also provides documentation and examples of how to implement Bootstrap and see how it looks on multiple devices. Below we’ll explore some of the key reasons Bootstrap has become the framework of choice for so many developers.

Responsive Websites

Responsiveness refers to a website’s ability to change its design based on the size of the screen that is viewing it. This was never an issue in the past but since the invention of the smart phone developer now need to be considering smaller displays anytime they are designing a site. The great thing about Bootstrap is that it is designed to be responsive at its core – meaning all Bootstrap sites are responsive by design. The way this is accomplished is by Bootstrap’s column and row system. All the content of the website is wrapped up in to rows and columns, and depending on the screen size these rows and columns can shift and change positions so that they span the entire screen, or stack vertically. The result of doing this means a website that is less cluttered on smaller devices and presents the information naturally. A great example of this is a website that catalogs different drones for sale: when viewed on a desktop the left panel and right side bar are shown inline with each other, but on a smaller device the left panel expands to take up the full screen width. This little change makes it much more appealing for users who now don’t have to zoom in on their mobile devices to see content.

Javascript Components

Bootstrap includes a handful of Javascript components that expands website functionality beyond just static pages. One popular component is referred to as a ‘modal’ and acts as a popup menu that darkens the background website to draw the viewers attention to it. You can see an example of this snow blower reviews website found here which uses modals to showcase videos of the products they are viewing.

Well Designed CSS

The base CSS of Bootstrap is very appealing in the Web 3.0 space. There is a flat design that effects buttons, forms, navigation bars, body text, typography, images, and headers. This constant design runs throughout Bootstrap’s framework, leading websites to have a consistent look without effort from the developer.

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Drag-And-Drop Themes Are Changing The WordPress World

WordPress has changed the world of web design. It has broken down the walls and decimated the learning curve that obscured casual users in the past and has finally brought the internet to full maturity. After all, if it weren’t easily accessible to the masses, web design and the internet in general would have stayed allocated to a few knowledgeable programmers around the world. Seriously though, where’s the fun in that?

Yes, things have become very easy to pick up and learn by practically everyone. A simple YouTube search for easy to use WordPress themes will reveal hundreds of great video tutorials on how to make a website quickly and efficiently… they don’t look half bad either! And as it that weren’t enough, the platform has begun to open up even further with the release of simple, drag-and-drop WordPress themes that take ease-of-use to an absurd level. LITERALLY ANYONE can drag and drop something with a mouse, right? That may be oversimplifying things but you get the idea.

You can usually find me looking at sites working under the Studio Press Genesis Framework but there are plenty of options out there for web designers who really don’t know too much about programming, whatsoever. Here are some great options for all of you that may be looking.

1. Site Origin’s Page Builder

This theme uses widgets that you can move around in order to build your page. Check out their site and you can find some themes that they’ve created with Page Builder. Here’s my favorite one (just out of simplicity I guess). Best of all? It’s FREE.

2. ThemeFoundry’s Make

The Make theme by ThemeFoundry is another free offering that let’s the layman go wild with his web design with just a few drags and drops. While very easy to use and pick up, I found that there were some limitations in the interface and didn’t like it as well as Page Builder. You can check out the Make theme’s site here for more info and here are some sites that are currently using this Make theme (Site 1 and Site 2)

3. Aqua Page builder

Another super simple and free option for all you cheapskates out there. The Aqua Page Builder is a tad on the “beginner’s” side of things but it is undoubtedly super easy and intuitively made. The interface is probably the easiest to use for me among all of these examples (probably due to its lack of features and functionality) and this is exactly what someone who is just starting out is looking for. You can check them out over here.

There are so many options available out there and all of these will certainly give the Genesis Framework a run for its money. The problem though with a lot of these widget-themes is that the cold may sometimes be bulkier than usual and this will certainly add to your Google PageSpeed profile and may simply just turn away visitors. This is where hard-coded sites will always have the advantage but my opinion on this is that internet speeds are only getting faster so this may soon not be an issue at all.

Only time will tell if these drag-and-drop themes will change WordPress for the better. Whatever the case may be, I’m looking forward to the bumpy roads of user-friendliness ahead!

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5 Design Tips for Sports Websites

When designing a website, it is important to catch the readers’ attention immediately. Most users won’t even enter or select other pages on your site, if you don’t have a design that stands apart from others. When designing an extreme sports site it is important to keep the it simple. Simplicity avoids users from being overwhelmed and lost. You do not want your users’ thinking, “What’s this website about.” You want them to know immediately. With that in mind, here are 5 design tips for sports websites.

1. Showcase Photos of Action Shots: Extreme sport participants only care about one thing, excitement. No other sports give people a more intense rush and your website should show that on your homepage. Grab the users’ attention and make them feel part of the images. Let their imagination take over. Remember to use professional photography. Here are some ideas for action shots.

  • Show pictures of an air dog snowboarder landing intense arial tricks.
  • Show a skydiver turning flips in mid-air.
  • Show a rock climber using an ascender off the side of a cliff.

2. Put Key Information on Every Page: When users search the web, many different pages show in the results. Ideally, you want your homepage to be within the list. However, this does not always happen perfectly. Sometimes users will be directed to sub-pages on your site. For example, a user may click on the first result which happens to take them to your FAQ page. You want every page to have links to your homepage, as well, as the most important information. Examples of important information, if company name, phone number and city. You don’t want users to feel lost and go back to the search results.

3. Bright Colors/Simple Background: It is important to enhance the products you are advertising with radiant and bold colors. For example, ThePaintballProfessor does a great job showcasing paintball guns on its website. Design popular brands and equipment with bright colors. These are the things that users will recognize. You want them to know exactly what your website is about. In order to make this more successful, use a simple base background. Usually, different shades of grey will draw eyes towards the more bold colors.

4. Mobile Friendly: In today’s technical world, people are spending more time on their phones than an actual computer. Because of this, it is extremely important to have a mobile site as an option. Nothing turns a user off more than having to maximize and minimize to see information. You want your mobile site to be clean and simple. You can choose to have a mobile app for your site or have the site automatically sense a mobile device and show accordingly.

5. News Section: Much of your traffic will be interested in the latest news and trends in their sports. See this section will keep users on your site and increase the likelihood of them clicking on more sub-pages. Here are a few examples of things you can highlight in your news section.

  • List current rankings and standings.
  • Highlight upcoming competitions.
  • Current weather for popular extreme sporting places, such as, ski resorts or mountains.
  • Live updates.

Keeping your sports site simple and easy to maneuver is the key to keeping traffic. Following the above tips will assist you in making your site a popular result.

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Genesis WordPress Theme Review

Having a great looking website that appeals to visitors is something very important to many online businesses, but looks alone won’t make the site great. Having an easy to navigate website, where visitors can easily find what they’re searching for is also very important. For example, we recently created a website for the police department called policeofficercareershq.com. Their main service is teaching someone how to become a police officer. Our goal for the site design was to make sure, when a visitor comes to the site. They can find what they are looking for very easy. So although site design is very crucial, it shouldn’t be given too much value. There are many businesses out there that have amazing looking websites, yet it is very hard to tell what service they are offering.

When building websites, our favorite platform has been WordPress, using the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. Although their theme doesn’t have that wow factor, visitors can very easily tell what the sites are about and what services our clients is providing.

Our Genesis Review

Very Easy To Use

The Genesis Framework theme is one of the easiest to use themes on the market. One of the biggest hurdles developers have when they take over a website is another person’s unfinished job, but with the Genesis Framework, the difficulty is no longer there. Everything is very well documented and standardized. Making handovers, or team development super easy. Developing on a Genesis WordPress theme will save a lot of time and money. The two things people cherish most.

Strong Community

The Genesis Framework became very popular very fast, and is used by many developers, creating a very huge community of Genesis users. There are thousands of websites that have Genesis powered WordPress themes and a lot of developers developing themes based on it, so when a problem arises, finding any documentation shouldn’t be a problem. Studiopress themselves published their own official documentation and many other developers document their Genesis tweaks on their personal blogs and websites. Below is a list of links that are very important if anyone wants to use the Genesis powered theme.

– StudioPress Documentation: This site has a lot of great tutorials, published by the creators themselves.

– Genesis Tutorials: This is a personal blog containing great genesis ideas and tutorials for theme developers.

– Genesis Plugins: There are tons of great plugins for the Genesis theme available in the plugin directory of wordpress. Many of these plugins are developed by third party vendors, but they are still great.

– StudioPress Themes: Studio Press themselves have their own shopping center for their Genesis framework. So for non-developers, you can easily purchase many different child themes created by Studiopress themselves.

In Conclusion

The Genesis Framework theme is very easy to use, and backed up by a huge community of users, full of features and updated constantly. This theme is used by many of the top people in the internet and blogging world, such as ProBlogger Founder Darren Rowse, and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. So if there was one theme to pick, the Genesis Theme is the way to go.

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Genesis Case Studies: The Awesome and the Downright Hideous

The Genesis theme portfolio is known for its visual appeal, responsive code, and flexible framework. Yet having this powerful and sleek weapon at your disposal does not guarantee that your website will be a bona fide success.

In fact, we’ve found plenty of examples of sites using Genesis that got it completely wrong. We’ve found one particular example that can be easily added to the ‘hideous’ pile and then some. To contrast these insults to aesthetics, we’re also giving an example of a site that actually leverages the framework in the right way.

The Awesome: The Cultureist

Unique logo? Check. Stunning photography? Check. Inspiring content that will knock your socks off? Double check. The Cultureist has taken the Genesis Magazine theme and taken it to a whole new level.

What really set this website apart is the individual love and care given to each and every blog posts, image and image. They don’t just plunk any old photo as the Featured Image, but make sure it fits the theme of the post and always adheres to the strict quality guidelines.

The company has also invested in a custom logo, in-house banner advertisements, and a carefully curated Instagram account that’s featured on the home page. Going custom doesn’t require a huge investment either – just a few select pieces can help you stand out from the crowd straight away.

Finally, the Culturalist really shines through its incredible content. And that’s what really sets websites apart from the rest. People want to consume something that’s actually worth reading and this website exudes that from top to bottom.

The Downright Hideous: Dentist Edinburgh

We’re glad that these guys are only going to be in charge of our gnashers, because they’ve really made a mess of the otherwise simplistically stunning Wintersong Pro theme. This theme is usually a perfect example of minimalism in action, but in this case it’s anything but.

Dentist Edinburgh is plain, lacks imagination, and has no real direction. Where’s the navigation? Why is there just one image? All we see is the dreaded ‘wall of text’ and a boring 1-minute YouTube video. Not exactly inspiring!

What’s also glaringly obvious is the distinct lack of navigation. The website looks like a one-pager (why not use the Landing Page post type?), but it’s actually relatively complex and layered. A basic site:URL search on Google shows that there are forty-seven indexed pages – why do we not get even the smallest sense of this when we hit the home page?

What this exercise has shown us is that while Genesis is a good framework for your website, it won’t do everything for you. Without a dash of imagination and investment in finding the right images and text, your site is going to look as boring as the standard WordPress theme that comes out of the box with every installation.

Remember, websites are all about converting that traffic. If your site screams ugly from the rooftops, you’re going to get nowhere in a real hurry. Our recommendation? Invest in a designer to add a couple of custom graphics and let Genesis do the rest.

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The Importance Of Responsive Design

With more and more people using mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, it is becoming clear that mobile is taking over when it comes to surfing the web. It goes beyond that too though. Everything from checking social media sites, emails and even doing some shopping can now be done with a mobile device.

With this increased usage of the internet on mobile platforms, it has become very important for businesses and website owners to have a mobile friendly site. Previously, most people had one site designed for traditional desktop users and another design specifically for mobile users. However, now you can have a site that can be optimized for both the desktop and mobile platforms. This new type of design is what is referred to as responsive web design.

Responsive Web Design – What Is It?

To put it simply, responsive design means that a website is made so that the structure and content of a site is the same no matter what device you access it on. So when a user visits a site using a desktop, they will get a full view of the website. When that user uses a smartphone to access the same site, a retracted version will be shown that fits the smaller screen. A good example of this can be seen by visiting MedicalCareersHub.com. The site uses a responsive WordPress theme that allows users to view the site through any platform.

With a responsive design for your website, there is no need to worry about having different websites for different platforms. One website is all that you need as your site will show up properly on mobile devices and desktops.

So what other reasons are there for making the switch to responsive design?

Well for starters, more people are going mobile as mentioned before. Just take a look around at any public venue. What you’ll find is that just about everyone is on a smartphone.

The second reason is that it is recommended by Google. Why does this matter? The answer is simple as Google owns about 67 percent of the search market share, by far the most popular search engine in the world. Google realizes that responsive design offers website visitors a much better user experience, keeping them engaged and on your site. Otherwise, these visitors will go elsewhere for their information, increasing your bounce rates and harming your SEO.

Responsive design can also help increase your conversion rates. This is obvious as a website that is not optimized for mobile users will not be able to convert.

This was mentioned briefly before, but responsive design also provides users with a better user experience. They don’t have to mess with zooming in and out of your site as much to view content. Instead, it will automatically adjust to fit the size of whatever screen they are viewing on.

Lastly, responsive design will help you stay ahead of your competition. There is a good chance that many of your competitors are not making use of responsive design yet. This is especially true for small business owners. So take advantage of this and it could help you take customers from your competition.

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