How Not To Recover A Hacked Website

I have just spent the best part of 3 days recovering a hacked website. Read this so you don’t have to…

Last week I received 2 emails from software publisher Adobe informing me their products were being sold on my website without their permission.

Screen Shot 10-30-15 at 11.17 AM

The link went through to a page on full of nonsensical spam, however the same url in Google took visitors to a more sinister destination:

Screen Shot 10-30-15 at 11.14 AM 001

The page was redirecting through an iFrame (see bottom of below image).

Screen Shot 10-30-15 at 11.34 AM

A quick Google search of revealed 44 pages of results with around 40 pages being spam!

Screen Shot 10-30-15 at 11.06 AM

Luckily, despite the pages of spam results the site had not felt the full wrath of Google. I had to act quickly to make sure no further harm was done and avoid possible blacklisting.

Here is a step by step account of what I did… and what I should have done

Step 1: Installed anti malware plugins

What I did

If you are a WordPress user you will know there is a plugin for every occasion. I read good things about a couple of plugins. With a simple scan and following instructions I would detect the malware, delete it and the affected pages in short order, job done. I downloaded Wordfence and Sucuri and scanned for Malware, both drew a blank… Wordfence did show that the site was currently experiencing a ‘brute force’ attack from bots!

What I should have done

Found the last uninfected backup copy of my website and restored it.

Step 2: Restored the oldest backup available from my hosting company

When I found out my hosting company kept regular backups of my websites I thought brilliant, that’s that taken care of. I then turned off and deleted my backup plugins. Smart move I thought, no more bulky backups slowing down my website, one less plugin to update. The oldest backup on the server was 2 months old. I restored it, the problem remained, I believe the expression is Doh.

What I should have done

Remembered I had historic backups on the website. The plugins had been deleted but the backups remained in my uploads folder. I should have tried the oldest update which would not affect the content of my site and see if that worked.

Step 3: Began working through this post:

I deleted themes and files as directed but the malware and spam posts were still there. The next step is to delete your whole website, files, database, the lot. So I did, with the aim being to reinstall the themes and re-upload content.

This worked. However, looking at my domain, bare of content, bereft of life, 2011 theme, that I thought, is there another way?…

What I should have done

Restored and updated the oldest clean copy and by this point I could have been enjoying a milky tea and Mcvities caramel digestive.

Step 4: Re-uploaded the latest backup of the site

Faced with the prospect of having to modify my theme and reupload all the content I balked. Visions of blank images, incorrect fonts and missized headers began turning through my mind… so I pressed reset and reuploaded the infected version of the site. Soon I had the comfort of looking at my website again as it should be, even if it was infected with malware with hundreds of extra pages of spam content.

What I should have done

Site restored and functioning fully I could have made another brew, maybe had some soup and see if there were any amusing felines on Youtube..

Step 5: Uploaded a clean backup

The chances of me finding anything remotely malware looking seemed unlikely. The worlds foremost malware scanners, processing thousands of bytes per second hadn’t thrown anything up, however I remained undeterred. While manually searching for malicious files I found some backups, would one be clean? I dared to dream… I checked the most recent backup available. The whole website seemed to be there, posts, images. I uploaded it. Using ftp this took quite a while. When it was done I visited a spam page – 404, boom! Back of the net!

What I should have done

With the malware a distant memory I should have given myself the morning off, maybe gone to a matinee of Spectre.

Step 6: Updated everything to latest versions, deleted unnecessary content, changed passwords

I could now see that the site was clean. The spam pages were gone and the Iframes waere no longer loading. I immediately updated to the latest version of WordPress. I updated and deleted themes and plugins. Then I changed the password.

Step 7: Repair and prevention

With hundreds of spam urls showing in Google I have begun submitting them for removal in Webmaster tools. The first 20 or so were removed the following day, a promising start.

I have installed a new backup plugin, Updraft Plus. It seems very good. I have started taking my own backups again.

Wordfence and Sucuri have both been installed and set to protect my site from malicious bots.

Lesson learnt


Fingers crossed that’s the end of it… I hope if you were struggling with a hack this helped!

7 Viral Content Factors

Viral Content


If you are setting out to make viral content the idea is your starting point. You want the idea to have an emotional hook and be original. If the idea ties in with current news the content has more chance of getting picked up by blogs and news sites.


If your content elicits strong emotions people will want to pass it on. Positive emotions tend to be more successful with the top 5 emotions being: Amusement, Interest, Surprise, Happiness, Delight. Don’t rule out negative emotions though, the New York Times found their most shared content is ‘angry’. Emotional stacking is used on blogs who use lists like Buzzfeed. You can lead the reader emotionally to the point you want them to share (end of post).


Surprise and interest will give the emotional hook an extra kick. If you can combine surprise with another strong emotion it will give your content a much better chance of going viral.


Tying your content in with a current trend is a strategy which is often used successfully. Just think of all the popular Harlem Shake videos! If a news item is becoming popular maybe you can capitalise on that.


Visual content is understood more quickly and easily and on the whole is better at eliciting emotions. People find visual content more engaging which is why images, gifs and video are ubiquitous on the web.


To maximise the chances of your content going viral you need a lot of sharing going on as soon as its published. If you have a piece of content you have identified as being potentially viral can you get influencers to share it? Maybe you could drop a few emails before it goes live.


What factors make sharing more likely?

  • Content that makes people feel like they belong to a group or are ‘in the know’
  • Content that makes the sharer look more intelligent
  • If content is aligned with someone’s identity and represents that to their peers
  • Having a purpose to sharing is a strong motivating factor eg. a campaign. The underlying motivator here is altruism as it is for:
  • Useful info.

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Tsohost Review and Promo Code

Tsohost Web Hosting Review

Tsohost Review and Promotional Code

Tsohost Promotional Code: 10% Off Hosting/ Servers/ SSL Certificates: JWTG10


If you have your own website you need hosting. A web host keeps your website’s files and databases on its servers and makes them available when people reach your URL. The minimum you want from a web host is a high up time for your website (99%+), good customer service in case there are any problems and value for money. With Tsohost you can get a website online for £2.99/ pm and they will even move your website over from another web host for free. I have been with Tsohost for 3 years and have 14 websites hosted with them. Take a look below as I run through the packages and key features.

Tsohost Cloud Hosting

Tsohost Cloud Hosting Platform

Cloud hosting works by sharing the load for websites in the ‘cloud’ over multiple servers. That means if one server fails the load is taken by the others and your website remains unaffected. Tsohost now offer cloud hosting as standard.

Key Features

Advanced Dashboard

The design and functionality of the dashboard make it easy to use even for a beginner. Adding websites and managing files is intuitive and straightforward and if you have many websites there is a search function. You can choose between a Windows or Linux platform and the cloud dashboard is infinitely scalable.

1 Click Software Install

You can install common software packages such as WordPress to your webspace automatically. With 1 click the database is set up, files uploaded and everything configured for you. There are 28 software packages to choose from including open source ecommerce software.

Self Restore Backups

30 days worth of backups are created automatically for all your websites so if something does go wrong with a few clicks you can put it right. This will give you peace of mind when doing a WordPress update for instance.


Set up emails for your websites so you can send and receive emails from .yourdomain. Once you have them set up you can redirect emails to your preferred email client and manage everything from there.

Multiple Locations

Coming soon you will be able to choose where your website is located through the control panel. The planned locations include multiple sites in the UK, Europe, Asia and America. Your server location is an SEO factor so if you are serving customers in the US a US server location will benefit you likewise with the UK.

Multiple Users

You can give multiple users access to the account with different levels of access.

Tsohost cPanel Hosting

Tsohost cPanel Hosting

With cPanel hosting your website is stored on a particular server. The packages are virtually the same as for the cloud hosting in terms of the pricing and specification, the main practical difference being the dashboard. If you have used cPanel for years and are comfortable with it you may choose to stick with it rather than have to learn to use the cloud dashboard. Other than that your best option is cloud hosting.


  • Lite Hosting: 2 Websites £14.99/ pa
  • Standard Hosting: 4 websites £34.99/ pa
  • Pro Hosting: 6 websites (+ free domain) £49.99/ pa
  • Ultimate Hosting: 100 websites (+ free domain) £199.99/ pa

I currently have 2 pro packages 1 on cPanel and 1 on the cloud hosting. When the cPanel hosting comes up for renewal I will switch over to have them all on cloud.

Tsohost Promotional Code: 10% Off Hosting/ Servers/ SSL Certificates: JWTG10

Customer Service

As of 2010 customer service has been available 24/7 365 days a year.

Online Ticketing System

The online ticketing system can be accessed from the main website or from within your account. You select a category such as billing or technical query then fill out the form and it is sent across to the support team. The average response time is 12 minutes and if you have any further questions you can send a follow up email to the same customer service representative. If accessing the ticketing system from the main website you need to enter a few more details like your company name and fill out a capture form. All your support tickets are saved for you in case you need them later.

Telephone Support

The phone support is free and available 9am – 11pm 7 days a week. If you are calling from a mobile there is a landline number which may work out cheaper than the 0800 number. The few times I have had to use phone support the call has always been answered right away.

Knowledge Base & Forum

There is a knowledgebase and forum which is accessible to anyone whether or not you have an account. It’s not a feature I have needed very often but I did find what I was looking for when I used it.




Tsohost offers the cheapest domain registrations I have found. You can register a domain from £3.35/ ap and I have registered several domains with them. The whois privacy protection is cheaper than their competitors too. I would advise you register domains with the same company you have hosting with if possible as it saves hassle with Nameservers.


Tsohost offer free transfer for domains. For other domains you get a free transfer if you register the domain for at least a year. I have transferred several domains from 123reg to Tsohost. You need an authorisation code from your current registrar then you fill out the forms on the Tsohost website. As of August 2013 Tsohost have a dedicated team just for website transfers.

Bulk Register/ Transfer

With the bulk domain registration/ transfer tool you can register or transfer up to 20 domains at once saving time.

Tsohost Promotional Code: 10% Off Hosting/ Servers/ SSL Certificates: JWTG10

SSL certificates

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. You need an SSL certificate if you are operating an e-commerce website or a website handling sensitive user data. An SSL certificate makes the web connection secure and verifies your identity. You can recognise a website with an SSL certificate as they have either https at the start of the URL or a padlock symbol in the browser.

Tsohost offer a standard SSL certificate for £49.99 with up to 256-bit SSL encryption and $10,000 warranty. If you need further protection there are Premium, Wildcard and EV Premium SSL certificates available. For most ecommerce websites a standard SSL certificate is what’s needed. Take care if you decide to shop around. Some cheaper SSL certificates do not provide adequate safety for an ecommerce site.

MS Exchange

Microsoft Exchange enables online collaboration through email, shared contacts and shared calendars. This is a premium service and costs £99.99 pa. I have not used this feature.


Tsohost provide great value for money, excellent customer service and packages to suit businesses of every size. They not only provide hosting but also are the best value domain registrar around and provide website extras such as SSL certificates. The customer retention for Tsohost is 96.7% and with the high level of service I have experienced its not hard to see why. Their cloud hosting solution is ideal if you are new to web hosting and if you need to grow the number of websites you have it is easy to upgrade. If you are unhappy with your current web host switch to Tsohost and they will move your domains over for free. If you have any questions feel free to message me using the contact form. I hope you found this review useful.


Rating: [yasr_overall_rating]

Visit Tsohost

*This review was updated Sept 2013

Genesis 2.0 for WordPress

Genesis 2.0

Genesis 2.0…. no its not the latest revision of the Bible where they explain fossils. It is in fact a brand new way to run your WordPress website.

Genesis is a WordPress framework which sits on top of WordPress adding a lot of additional features and customisation options. I run all my websites on the Genesis framework so I was interested to hear about the release of Genesis 2.0. It is the biggest update to date and brings with it a suite of new and improved features. Since I bought Genesis ver 1 ($59.99), I get version 2 free. One of the great things about Genesis is you get free updates.

According to the sales pitch Genesis 2 offers better security, faster load speeds, improved SEO, a new design template and ‘ultraflexible foundational coding’. What does that mean in terms of new features?

HTML5 Markup

If you are a regular blogger you may have heard of HTML5. You know HTML5 is a thing that exists and quite frankly that is all you want to know. If you are a developer you may have stronger positive feeling about HTML5.

I am by no means an expert on HTML5. What I do understand is it is a web language which offers exceptional support for audio and video and works well across multiple platforms meaning your website renders better on mobile devices. It is replacing other web languages and can also be used to make apps.

Genesis 2.0 has full HTML5 compatibility. HTML5 markup is activated by a single line of code within a child theme and all future themes developed by Studiopress will be written in HTML5. Because the types of content you can publish with a HTML5 coded website are much expanded Genesis has new hooks for loops output in HTML5. I don’t understand what that means, I presume it is something to do with phishing 😉


If you are using a theme with HTML5 Genesis will output your markup using microdata. Microdata is a way to label content so Google knows exactly what that content is. The more info Google has about your content the better it can rank your site.

New Design

Genesis have 43 WordPress themes available. They have tons (maximum 43) of amazing ones like the Agency Theme which I use for Think Genial. It costs $20-$30 to buy a theme once you have the framework however if you want a basic template you get one out of the box when you buy the framework. Studiopress have updated the standard theme to HTML5.

Removed Features

3 features have been removed for ver 2.0: the Latest Tweets widget, eNews widget and the “post templates” feature. They are now available as free plugins. I was not using any of these features so am unaffected.

The Latest Tweets widget is used to display tweets from your timeline on your website, I use Twitter Feed: Embedded Timeline WordPress Plugin. The eNews Widget was an optin box where people could subscribe to your posts and the ‘post templates’ feature is for custom templates available in some themes. You still have the 6 templates which you can choose between for each post/ page as standard.

Additional features

  • Reorganized CSS file
  • Network Upgrade now upgrades the Genesis database for all sites in a network when running WordPress in multisite mode
  • Widget classes are now coded in PHP5 format
  • Admin CSS and Javascript are now minified
  • Inline HTML comments have been removed to reduce page size
  • The Scripts option now has its own metabox when editing an entry.
  • Introduced a flexible markup API to allow changes in markup element attributes with a smart filter system

Genesis Review

I have used Genesis for a number of years and have found it an excellent way to manage your WordPress website with outstanding out-of-the-box themes. Genesis is recommended by the very top bloggers. For instance Joost de Valk who’s team recently facilitated the move of the Guardian website from to a .com domain recommends Genesis.

Rating: [yasr_overall_rating]

If you are interested in using Genesis for your website take a look at the Genesis review I did or jump over to the Studiopress website and take a look at the themes. I hope you found this post useful.

SEO Primer

If you are looking for a quick small business SEO primer this could come in handy:

1. High Quality Tactics Rewarded

It may sound obvious that Google would seek to reward ‘high quality’ SEO tactics. However, the focus on rewarding high quality tactics and discounting or even punishing low quality tactics has increased in 2013 and this pattern looks set to continue.

There are many high quality tactics, here are a few examples: focus on content for your website, guest posting, have great web design and user experience, build relationships with influencers, thought leadership, have exceptional products and customer service. If you do approach webmasters for links make sure it is done in a personalised way, if you can build an ongoing relationship even better.

2. Low Quality Tactics Penalised

Google is continually improving its algorithm to bring what the searcher is looking for to the top. Low quality SEO tactics don’t help Google do that, the focus it to trick the algorithm into bringing your website to the top. You may need to take a few measures to tip the results in your favour but if that is the main focus of your SEO activities it is likely you are now in a whole word of pain and the bad news its only going to get worse.

Building dodgy links from NASA, artificial blog networks, using bots to blast forums with 1000s of links, tactics like this are now easily identified by Google and if you do it enough your website will be penalised until you remove the bad links. If you are using an SEO firm check what tactics they use. Bad links can get you banned from Google and ruin your business. There are many examples!

3. Anchor Text Diversity Important

Anchor text is one of the easiest ways for Google to see you have been trying to manipulate the algorithm. You used to be able to have 1000s of links with the same keyword in the anchor text pointing at your website which contained your primary keyword and rank well. Now the anchor text in your link profile needs to look natural. Use your keywords, keywords within a sentence, your company name, URL, and many other phrases in links that point back to your website. You can’t control all the links but keep diversity in mind and don’t go over 50% with exact match anchor text.

4. Link Diversity Important

When an effective SEO tactic is uncovered the news travels like wildfire around the internet and everyone and his dog starts doing it. This is usually followed by a backlash where the tactic is deemed worthless but does still work when done well. Guest posting and infographics are 2 tactics which spring to mind. The best thing to do is to build a diverse link profile and use a mix of content which will weather any changes in the conditions of the Google algorithm. Pay attention to trends and if there is a new tactic, make sure it fits into your strategy before implementing it. If possible have links on blogs, news sites, blogrolls, guest posts, video sites, as many high quality websites as possible.

5. Content and Social Media Use Becoming Essential

It is becoming increasingly difficult to gain a good Google ranking without a blog. There are tactics you can use but if your competitors are using a blog they have the advantage. They can target more keywords, have more potential to gain links and can use a wider range of SEO tactics. Using social media connects you to customers, influencers and gives you opportunities to share your content for links and social shares.

Does Using Expired Domains For SEO Work?

Expired Domains For SEO

A large factor in search engine rankings depends on inbound links to your website. A great link building blog I read is Point Blank SEO. Check it out if you need link building tips!

Buying Expired Domains For Links

One article I came across on there recently suggests buying up expired domains and then redirecting the links to your website. Here is the article >>

The method explained is basically buying the expired domain (which only costs the registration fee) then putting up a number of pages of content and linking back to your website.

Another method discussed is buying and hosting the expired domain then putting a 301 redirect from that domain to your website. A 301 redirect passes 95%+ of the ‘link juice’ from one website to another.

I was doing some link building shortly after I read the post and came across a website in one of my niches which was expired. Bingo! I thought. I bought it, put it up on my server and did a 301 redirect to my website. The website had about 20-30 links which isn’t that many but they were good quality links and worth £6 for the domain I thought….

Top Authorities’ Views

I could see the potential of this method of link building so did a bit more digging before I invested any more time and money in buying expired domains. It was lucky I did because I found this post from Danny Sullivan who is a global leader in SEO

In this article Danny states that when the domain expires it loses its link equity. Hence there is no point in buying expired domains for their ‘link juice’ as it is precisely zero. There’s this article too with a conversation with Matt Cutts, Google’s webspam guy where he advises against the practise >>


I have done more digging and there are webmasters who insist there can be benefits of buying expired domains for links. Others suggest buying domains cheaply before they expire from, for example, Go Daddy auctions.

It looks to me like the only possible way to gain the link juice from old websites would be this: Buy a domain from an auction before it expires (no content on the site at this point), rebuild the website using and find what pages were on the old website. Link back to your website/s from the pages on your new site.

According to Danny Sullivan in his article on the subject above this method would not work. However, there are webmasters and SEOs using this method or similar who insist they are benefiting from redirecting link juice from old websites.

There’s a Pin In It

In the future if I have the time and inclination I may try building links using domain bought at auctions but for the time being I am leaving the method to one side. As for the domain I bought with the 301 redirect set up, I’ll just leave it, unless I become desperate for room on the server.

If you are an SEO/ webmaster who can clarify, feel free to dive in in the comments.


PS. If you are buying domains, expired or otherwise, I recommend TSOhost, they are the cheapest and best.

3 Real Life SEO Tips for Manchester Businesses

I have been practising SEO for a little while now and I want to share with you 3 techniques which have brought massive traffic to websites I manage.

1. Create a Web Tool

I had a problem last year with a clients Twitter account. I needed to delete large numbers of tweets but couldn’t find an app up to the job. I thought it was a good opportunity to create one. I didn’t have the technical expertise but I found a developer who did and he developed an app to do one thing: delete all tweets from a Twitter account. The app has been live just over a year and now ranks no 1. for ‘delete all tweets’. It also ranks pg. 1 of Google for many related search terms.

The app now gets over 1,500 visitors every day and has attracted around 9,000 links. 7,000 of these are from one site but you have to agree that’s still not bad! I added the site to a handful of Twitter app directories and made a video which I submitted to around 10 video sites, the rest are organic.

Is there a simple web tool which customers in your industry could make use of? It could be good for SEO, generating leads and for branding. Making the app may not be as hard as you think. Get in touch if you need help with an idea.

2. Review an Event

One website I manage is a blog about an interest of mine. I went to an event and wrote a review. It was a local event in Manchester and took about 1 1/2 hrs of my time. I really enjoyed the event too!

In the review I mentioned people by name, I obviously mentioned the location and the name of the show etc. It was only natural to mention these things. This review has attracted over 110 links. The webmasters who linked must have picked the post up using Google Alerts.

The site which has the review on is doing very well in the Google listings and I attribute that in no small part to this 1 review. The great thing about these links is they are all natural and Google can tell, their algorithm is smart!

3. Tie in Content With TV Shows

When people watch a TV show which piques their interest they may well search for related content after the show. TV shows have resulted in a traffic spike on one of my websites and a traffic surge on a colleagues. I had 600 visitors in 24 hours and a colleague of mine has had 6000 from 1 show!

This all resulted from TV shows about which we had previously published related content. The content on my site was actually about a guest on a chat show. The guest was directly related to what I write about on that website so was a relevant subject. Writing about this guy has actually brought me 1000s of visitors in total now because of his media profile. These are targeted visitors too because his fans are interested in the niche.

This principle can be extended to relating your content to topical subjects, celebrities and events. If you know people are going to be searching for something soon write a piece about it, particularly if it is quite niche and few others will be covering it.

I hope these tips help. If you are based in Manchester and need help with SEO feel free to get in touch using the contact form.

Freelance SEO Manchester

Freelance SEO Manchester

Think Genial now offers honest, holistic SEO to Manchester businesses. That means we can increase targeted visitors to your website.

What I Learned

Working with businesses in Manchester and being a small business owner myself I have come to realise there is a big need for honest and effective SEO for small businesses. Print advertising is ineffective, online directories push you to take paid listings that send a trickle of visitors, you are bombarded by cold calls from SEO firms promising the world….

As a small business owner you face the dilemma of knowing you need high search engine rankings but not knowing how to go about it. If you hire an SEO firm you don’t have the knowledge to tell if they are doing a good job. Should you go with a firm someone recommended? Are you getting value for money? Is what they are telling you correct…?

Over the past couple of years I have been learning and practising SEO. I have optimised websites for local companies resulting in 1st place Google rankings and I have a number of websites of my own which attract significant targeted web traffic.

Freelance SEO Offer

I am offering keyword research, on site optimisation (if you have a WordPress website) and off site optimisation. If you don’t have a WordPress website the keyword research and off site SEO can be enough to get you a No. 1 ranking (examples provided).

The holistic approach means social media optimisation and optimising local listings. For further details please see the SEO page.

The SEO services I am offering start at £100. However, for a limited time I am offering a free SEO audit and basic keyword research*. With a list of quality keywords you will be well armed to work with another firm or if you decide to do some SEO yourself.

Why Contact Me?

Many SEO firms wont consider a project of less than £1k. The service I offer is for small businesses aiming at medium difficulty keywords so prices start at a lot less. You can spend hundreds on print ads and directory listings with little or no return. With my offer you will see the increase in visitors in Google Analytics. If you aren’t happy with the results after 60 days I’ll give you all your money back.

You may not believe I can significantly improve your web traffic and to be honest, unless you know me, I don’t blame you. There is a lot of false information and false claims made to local companies about SEO. If you contact me I will provide you with:

  • Free SEO audit*
  • List of keywords 
  • Examples of SEO work I have done.

Contact me today for a free SEO audit and keyword list >> SEO CONTACT FORM

* Greater Manchester businesses only

Genesis WordPress Theme Framework Review

genesis framework review

Do you want a good looking website? One that you as a beginner can install and easily customise yourself? Read on.

Getting Started With The Genesis Framework

I got my first WordPress site around 2 years ago and my first self hosted site 18 months ago. I am not a beginner now, though it feels like it sometimes. I am not a ‘tech’ person and have few graphic design skills.

When I started self hosting I wanted to do things as cheaply as possible. I tried quite a few free WordPress themes, using Athualpa for a while. If I was going to spend money I wanted to make sure it was well spent.

I couldn’t find a free theme that did what I wanted so I started looking at premium themes and found the Agency Theme on Studiopress.

I asked around and reports were good so I went ahead and invested the Genesis Framework and Agency Theme for $79.95. With a little help from a designer friend I had the Think Genial site. Since then I have redesigned the site and in its current incarnation, apart from the logo, the design work has been done by me (I am not a designer).

Since then I have built 3 websites myself using the Genesis Framework and free themes. 2 of these are making me money as affiliate sites and they haven’t cost me a penny more from my initial investment. All are hosted with TSO host for a total of£4.99/ month.

WordPress Frameworks

A framework is a set of computer code which sits on top of the WordPress Content Management System. It adds more functions to WordPress such as easier customisation, enhanced security and impoved SEO. There are 2 widely used WordPress frameworks – Thesis and Genesis.


genesis wordpress framework

  • Recommended by WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg
  • Used on over 96,000 websites
  • 40+ Child Themes
  • HTML5 support


You upload the Genesis framework through the WordPress dashboard like a theme. If you are using a Child Theme you upload Genesis first then the Child Theme. Any customisation is made to the Child Theme.

Child Themes

Agency                                  Copyblogger (free)              Genesis (free)

agency themecopyblogger themegenesis theme

There are 40+ Child Themes to choose from and there really is something for everyone. The 3 themes I have used are shown above. They are all great themes, and I am a particularly big fan of the Agency Theme. It is straightforward to modify things like the colours, fonts, logo etc. and if you want to make more advanced customisation the support forum is jam packed with useful info.


  • 65 Genesis Framework tutorials available
  • Tutorials for all paid themes
  • Expert moderators on forums
  • Learn everything from how to change design, add logos and customise just about everything in forums


SEO optimised out of the box. I recommend the free WordPress SEO plugin for further optimisation, though plenty of options available in Genesis.


When updates are available you will be notified through the dashboard. NB. Make sure you have the latest version if updating any Genesis plugins. Updating the plugins first has caused my site to go down. I needed to go into the FTP to fix it (it could not be done from the WordPress dashboard).

Genesis 2.0

In August 2013 Genesis 2.0 was launched. Security, SEO and site speed have all been enhanced. The biggest change though has been the addition of HTML5 support. HTML5 is increasingly being used in web design, particularly for mobile sites and apps. Genesis 2.0 puts your website at the cutting edge of design capability.


There are quite a few great Genesis-only free plugins. Here are a few:

Genesis Hooks: Allows you to add bits of code without having to go into the CSS. If you want to easily add code for things like Facebook buttons or advertising you can use this plugin (tutorial available)

Footer Widget: If you want to add more footer widgets, use this

Design Palatte: Change the colour of backround, text, links and borders with a few clicks; change fonts too.


These big shots recommend Genesis.

who recommends genesis theme


If you are starting out with your first self hosted website I would take a look at the Genesis Child Themes. If you find one you like its worth spending $80. If you did want to make further websites you can do so for no additional cost. If you need more Child Themes they are $25 each once you have the framework.

There is an option to buy rights to all the paid themes for $349.95. I wouldn’t go for that unless you are a developer.

The all inclusive package has recently gone up $50 from $299.95 to $349.95. If you are considering making the purchase I would think about buying now to avoid any price increases. There is a 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind.

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* edited 28.08.13

WordPress Plugin Recommendations For a New Site

Wordpress plugins

One of the best things about using WordPress is the plugins. Thousands of developers create plugins and a lot of them are free. I have been adding plugins to a new site today:

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

I use the Genesis Framework for all my sites which comes with a lot of SEO functionality. This plugin comes with additional functionality and instructions how to optimise your site.

By default the plugin gives your site great SEO. The options I have changed on other sites are titles and meta descriptions for the homepage and ‘blog’ page (for increased clickthroughs).

2. WP Security Scan

This plugin makes your site more secure. Hackers are constantly scanning the net for vulnerable sites. If you install this plugin and follow the instructions you can vastly increase the security of your site. Making your site editable from 1 IP address and securing the wp-admin page are a couple of the security steps.

3. BackupWordpress

If you value the content on your site you need to back it up. If files become corrupted during an update or if the whole site gets deleted, you have a copy of the site and can get back up and running. BackupWordpress is easy to use and can be set to automatically send backups to an email address.

4. Digg Digg

This is a social sharing plugin, used by a lot of popular sites eg. Mashable. You can make it easy to share your web pages through 24 social networks with Digg Digg, though you might want to make this number more manageable ;).

5. Fast Secure Contact Form

If you want people to be able to contact you through your WordPress site the best way is through a contact form. Using a form you don’t have to put your email address on the site, which can be picked up by bots for spamming. It looks professional and you can customise the form to request the info you need.

6. All In One Favicon

The favicon is the tiny image that appears next to the page title in the web browser. You can customise it with this plugin which accepts png and gif files as well as ico files.

Further Recommendations

Premise for WordPress

On some pages the action you want visitors to take should be very specific. Landing pages are pages on your site dedicated to converting visitors. That might be to leave their name and email address or to buy something.

To create landing pages properly you need a plugin. Premise works with any WordPress site to create fully customisable landing pages. Premise is a premium plugin. When you buy Premise as well as the plugin you also get access to a knowledge base which teaches you about landing pages and copywriting. The knowledge base is excellent and teaches everything from PPC optimisation to increasing traffic and conversion optimisation.

Mailchimp and Simple Popup

If you want an easy way to increase signups to a mailing list use the Mailchimp widget with Simple Popup. When visitors land on your site a popup appears requesting name and email address. You can set the time delay and other options and its a free solution.

Hope this helps,