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I’m Moving My Affiliate Sites to the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme FrameworkHi all – so as I tweeted a few days ago I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks playing with the Genesis WordPress Theme Framework and designing my own child theme.

I’m happy to say that I’ve built several versions of my own theme, and at some point in the near future will be releasing it on my website. First though – why Genesis and why a Theme Framework?

Why Use a Theme Framework?

First – what is a theme framework? WordPress themes consist of many different files doing many different things. There are files that define the layout and function of each page, post, category, and archive, as well as style sheets, function pages, javascript and so on.

A theme framework breaks these things into 2 themes – a Parent theme and a child theme. Genesis and Thesis are both parent themes, and child themes in Genesis consist of only a style sheet, a functions page, and an image folder – at least simple ones do.

This is better for 4 reasons.

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  • First of all, it allows you to make visual changes to your theme without having to worry about breaking anything on the backend.
  • Second it makes it easier to design child themes in the first place, as all the changes you make are designed to carry through the whole theme.
  • Third you can update the parent theme more easily to stay up to date with WordPress. Sometimes your child themes will need updating to – but it’s much easier to fix a child theme than it is to fix a whole parent theme – and in the case of a theme framework the parent theme gets updated for you.
  • Finally, all child themes are backed by the rock-solid code of the parent theme, which helps with site speed, search engine rankings, and performance.

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Up until a couple weeks ago, I ran all of my affiliate websites on a theme that I created for exactly that purpose. I did this because most WordPress themes are setup poorly for search engine rankings, and if you want an affiliate website to be successful then SEO is really important of course.

The problem is that I originally designed my theme over a year ago, back when WordPress was at version 2.7 or so. While my theme still appears correctly in 3.1+, there were certain backend things that weren’t working very well, and I was afraid that they were creating too many queries and slowing my site down which can hurt your search engine rankings.

I decided to transition to a theme framework and design a child theme for use going forward to eliminate those problems.

Why Chose Genesis over Thesis?

Thesis has been around for a while, and Genesis is the new kid on the block. What pushed me to Genesis over Thesis was actually Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.

Now I don’t know Bryan personally, but I have bought themes from Studiopress in the past, and I’ve been happy with the quality of the themes, and more importantly with the support that I got from Studiopress – and Bryan himself. In my opinion support is the key in the WordPress theme business – if you can’t get support a theme isn’t worth having no matter how nice it looks.

I also like that Genesis is backed by a team, whereas as far as I understand it Thesis is mostly supported by one person.

Finally, even though Thesis makes it easier for a non-designer to modify the design, Genesis actually makes it easy for a designer to modify, and the hook system makes Genesis really easy to work with and modify once you know how to use it.

Also, if you’re comfortable with css you can do virtually anything with child theme design.

I haven’t talked about any of my affiliate sites up to this point, but I figured I’d actually show you all one so you can see what’s possible with Genesis. This is my first child theme – so be gentle – but let me know what you think in the comments below.

Green Hobbit
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The site is: www.GreenHobbit.com

This is a gardening affiliate site I started a long time ago and haven’t done much with, but will be developing it a bit going forward. To be clear, I’ve never made a sale with the site, and it get’s no traffic. It’s not a great model for an affiliate site – at least not yet – but I will be making it better.

I thought it would be helpful if I used GreenHobbit as a demo going forward – as examples speak louder than words.

By the way, I’ve named my new child theme Aplomb, which is Composure and Self Assurance – as I always try to make my websites instill confidence in my visitors. I’ll be writing a post on my theme shortly.

genesis-bannerIf you’re looking for a quality theme to run your affiliate websites, then I strongly recommend you check out the Genesis Theme Framework. Studiopress sells many great child themes, and you can also find free child themes or design your own like I did.

I’m planning to release the Aplomb Child Theme to the public sometime soon – although it won’t be as ‘cute’ as GreenHobbit.com. My standard design is much cleaner. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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