Do you want a good looking website? One that you as a beginner can install and customise yourself? Read on.
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.
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.
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.
- Recommended by WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg
- Used on over 80,000 websites
- 40+ Child Themes
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.
Agency Copyblogger (free) Genesis (free)
The Child Theme for this site has had a little modification from a designer. I used instructions found in the forum for my other 3 sites. The range of Child Themes is such that there is something for everyone. Its easy to change the colours, fonts, logo etc.
- 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).
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.
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.
Click here to visit the marketplace>> StudioPress Marketplace
*edit: The design for this site is now my own work. Studiopress redesigned the Agency theme and gave me download access for free because I had the old version. The logo was done by a designer.