I was interested to read The 10 Biggest Mistakes Artists and Creatives Make at Internet Marketing (and How to Fix Them) by Mark McGuinness and to see that he advocates that creative businesses use a self-hosted WordPress platform with a premium theme/framework.
This reinforced an item high on my action list for 2011 – to upgrade the theme (template) of my self-hosted WordPress blog. When I first moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress four years ago (for similar reasons to those set out in Mark’s article), I restyled a free theme to generally match the look of my website in terms of layout, fonts and colour. Since then, WordPress has added new features and functionality and my theme is not coded to take advantage of this, the CSS is all over the place and the SEO is sub-optimal.
It’s time to invest in a premium theme/framework with a commitment to WordPress future proofing, built-in SEO and strong support. There appear to be three main contenders: Headway, Genesis and Thesis. Headway places a lot of emphasis on their visual editor that allows you to drag and drop design elements and to see what you are doing without getting down and dirty with coding. Then again, Thesis claims “Not a coder? Not a problem. The Thesis option panels allow you to command your site with ease, while Thesis does all of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.” And Genesis also offers point and click options with their Prose child theme. In any case, I’m up for dabbling with CSS so that’s not going to be the deciding factor.
Reading the reviews has not been an exercise in clarity. I’d still be interested to hear about the experience of others with any of these frameworks. I know Candy Glendening is a Headway fan while Lisa Call recently switched her entire website to the Thesis framework (but she’s a professional software engineer and I’m not quite in that league!) and Genesis enjoys high profile champions such as Darren Rowse from Problogger. If you’ve been through a similar evaluation exercise, let me know your experience before I take the plunge.