Background WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
Over the past ten years, I’ve used a great deal of different WordPress themes and have been really disappointed. Up till recently, I was using MyThemeShop, that was pretty excellent. But I still had to perform a lot of customization to make it do and work how I needed it to. A couple weeks ago I decided to provide GeneratePress a try, and let me just say, it is undoubtedly the finest WordPress theme I’ve discovered in a decade . I had been dismissed and am moving all my sites to GeneratePress. I’ll go into exactly why in my in-depth GeneratePress review under. And if you are wondering, yes I’ve attempted Genesis, Astra, OceanWP, Avada, X theme, Divi as well as many other lightweight and heavier multi-purpose themes. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
GeneratePress is a totally free WordPress theme created by Tom Usborne, a developer from Canada. I have really seen it for years from the WordPress repository. Most of you know that I am pretty picky when it comes to web performance, so I have a tendency to ignore everything from the repository. Typically because a lot of things on there isn’t that good, or not encouraged for long. However, in this circumstance, this was a mistake. The motif now has more than half a million downloads, 80,000+ busy installs, with over 500 5-star evaluations. So clearly Tom is doing something right here.
I Actually installed the free version of the motif and in a matter of 15 minutes bought the premium version. I could tell right off the bat, the programmer was thinking exactly how I was envisioning a theme should get the job done. And I will go into that more below, but let us first look at some of the qualities. I’m going to be covering the superior edition of the theme, because it’s worth . Actually, Tom, in the event that you read this and so are seeing Scottsdale, Arizona, coffees on me.
Super lightweight and quick. Modular design allowing you to enable/disable things you do not need running. This is one of the biggest reasons I love GeneratePress.
Responsive, looks fantastic across all devices.
Schema built-in, for greater results in SERPs.
Dramatic integration with all the WordPress Customizer. I haven’t been a lover of the customizer in the past, but Tom does it correctly.
Compatible with popular plugins, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, EDD, BuddyPress, bbPress, and WPML. Fantastic browser service back to IE8.
It also works great with the popular fast-growing Elementor page builder. If you want to dive into even more customizations, these really are a terrific combo. I’ve also read that people using Beaver Builder have experienced success.
Font wonderful built-in.
A lot of filters and hooks which make it great for programmers.
Excellent active service from the developer. On average, 3 updates per month.
The Documentation is also incredible. Besides have good documentation on their website, the theme has been around long enough that everything I Googled during the setup process was found inside a couple of seconds in their own forum.
Going Deep Into GeneratePress
Now it is Time to the fun part! I always test a new theme right from the box with no customizations to just see how fast the foundation is. This tells me a lot of what I can expect by the time that I add everything to it. Running the stock GeneratePress WordPress motif on Kinsta hosting clocked in at a whopping 265 ms loading time. I was quite impressed.
One Thing I was concerned about with GeneratePress was that the modular layout was going to produce a whole lot of big files, but this is not the case. You can tell that Tom actually worked hard on ensuring that every record loaded in GeneratePress is as little as possible. Together with HTTP/2, the number of files isn’t as important. But the dimensions is! Take a look at a few of the center GeneratePress files under:
/generatepress/css/unsemantic-grid. min.css 2.9 KB
/generatepress/style. css 7.1 KB
/generatepress/css/mobile. min.css 1.6 KB
/generatepress/js/navigation. min.js 1.1 KB
/generatepress/js/dropdown. min.js 1.5 KB
That is a programmer that cares about performance! And I have Seen exactly the same throughout each of the premium add-ons. They’re literally as small as you can possibly get them. In fact, Font Awesome is most likely the largest file contained. And that is not even his. Together with Font Awesome 5 coming round the cornerwe can expect that to get smaller too.
The premium add-ons Are setup in what I would call a modular design. It is possible to activate/deactivate whatever you are not using to guarantee they don’t load on your site. As the co-developer of the perfmatters plugin that has a script manager built, I felt right at home for this. Everything ought to be made this way.
If You’re interested, I’m using the following add-ons on this website:
No Child Theme Needed
One of The best features of GeneratePress is that I no more need to use a Child motif . This makes my life so much simpler. No more editing my functions.php or header.php documents. I can literally update my GeneratePress theme this exact minute rather than lose a single customization. The hooks add-on definitely can help make this possible. It permits you to incorporate custom code/PHP everywhere throughout your WordPress site. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
Other Things I Love About GeneratePress
On every Page/post you have a lot of alternatives. You are able to change the sidebar layout and the footer widgets.
You Can quickly swap a page between the default to a full width page, in addition to disable elements.
The WordPress customizer choices is really where GeneratePress really shines! Bear in mind, a lot of these choices are enabled from the superior add-ons. I can not show you everything, otherwise, we’d be here all day. However, let me show you couple which really come in handy.
Another Plugin I highly recommend grabbing is the free Lightweight Grid Columns. Not to my surprise, this can be made by precisely the same developer as GeneratePress. It enables you a super simple way to add responsive columns to any page or post. Characteristics include:
Desktop grid width
Tablet grid thickness
Mobile grid width
Insert Customized courses
Insert custom inline styles
Equal height columns
This is An example under:
You May Want to Also grab his incredible WP Display Posts plugin too. View my featured posts on the sidebar of this website? That is using the WP Show Posts plugin. I have it set to show posts from a specific”featured” category. You can also get it show past modified/updated posts, recent articles, etc.. I am using the free version and it works great.
The Sections add-on in the premium edition of GeneratePress lets you perform all kinds of things concerning design. Think of it like a webpage builder with no bloat. GeneratePress is definitely not only for blogs! I’m in reality using GeneratePress for our ecommerce site (perfmatters.io) that is running Easy Digital Downloads. Feel free to look it over. But as you can see below, it looks like a site.
For those Of you who are regular readers, you probably didn’t even notice I changed the whole motif that powers woorkup.com. It just took me about an hour for GeneratePress to mimic my MyThemeShop theme which I had spent a year customizing. Here’s a comparison under.
woorkup.com Old MyThemeShop Theme
My older MyThemeShop theme was already pretty fast, but I spent a great deal of time customizing it. In fact, I have gotten a great deal of emails from you guys asking me to print all my customizations. My advice now is, simply get GeneratePress!
woorkup.com New GeneratePress Theme
Together with the New GeneratePress theme I was able to attain faster speeds and 600 fewer lines of code! And remember, I do not have a kid theme. Each of the customizations were created with the wonderful GP hooks and snippets plugin (both CSS and PHP).
Like the WordPress theme I’ve working on woorkup? You’re in luck. Tom asked if he can create a replica of woorkup to your new GeneratePress site library. I am pleased to allow you to know that you can now put in my woorkup theme in your GeneratePress site with just a single click! It’s known as the Marketer motif. Get started using a fantastic blog layout immediately.
brianjackson.io Old Array Theme’s Theme
Additionally, I Moved over my personal site, brianjackson.io, to GeneratePress. Previously I was using a motif from Array Themes. It is a pretty basic minimum site, as I do not use it to get much. Since you can see it loaded pretty quickly.
brianjackson.io New GeneratePress Theme
I was Able to replicate the entire look 100 percent in GeneratePress in under one hour. And as you can view it loads faster! Amazing. I was able to get rid of a few plugins which weren’t needed because of GP.
forgemedia.io Old Array Theme’s Theme
I also Moved over our business website, forgemedia.io, to GeneratePress. Previously I had been using a theme from Array Themes. It’s a pretty basic minimum site, as we simply use it to our LLC. As you can see it loaded pretty quickly. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
forgemedia.io New GeneratePress Theme
I was Able to move everything over and get it looking just how I wanted it in under an hour. And since you can view it loads even faster! Amazing. I was able to get rid of a total of four plugins and it dropped my whole page burden 2x!
I can not express my Excitement about finding GeneratePress and I’m moving over all of my sites for this (which includes some EDD e-commerce sites). Once I have my 9 sites all running in GP with no child topics, my entire life will be a breeze! The developer has revived my faith in multi-purpose themes, and that when done the right way, can actually perform quicker.
And The best news isI finally have a billion more choices to choose from than I did before.
What GeneratePress Is Great For…
GeneratePress Is the ideal option for performance-focused users who want to be able to personalize and control precisely how their site looks.
You Can make GeneratePress perform pretty much anything. And because GeneratePress has a focus on performance, the website that you build will have a fantastic foundation to make it load quickly.
Since Of that, people who build WordPress websites for a living love GeneratePress. They will normally pair it with a WordPress site builder and use it for literally any kind of site.
However GeneratePress Might Not Be A Fantastic Fit If…
…you Want something which will instantly appear perfect out of the box.
For Example, if you know you want to create a fashion blog, you may be happier choosing a niche theme that’s developed exclusively for trend bloggers.
Even though GeneratePress is becoming a lot simpler to use, as a result of its pre-built Website Library, GeneratePress still looks very barebones when you first install it.
So To create GeneratePress look how you want it to, you’ll almost certainly need to go in and personalize matters. And though the substantial benefit of GeneratePress is how customizable it is, many users, particularly casual users, don’t like having to make those changes themselves.
GeneratePress Features That Make It Unique
Here Are a few of the particular characteristics that explain why GeneratePress is indeed common.
Plenty Of Customization Options From The Real-Time WordPress Customizer
Beyond Performance, another area where GeneratePress does nicely is its customization options.
GeneratePress Uses the WordPress Customizer for customization, and this can be convenient because you’ll be able to see all of the changes that you make in real time.
The Free version of GeneratePress provides you adequate possibilities, but should you own GeneratePress Premium, you’ll be able to customize pretty much all about your site.
For Example, if you go in the Design area, you may configure detailed settings for yourown:
- Header — you can move your header around and alter its styling
- Navigation — GeneratePress gives you two different navigation options, such as sticky menus
- Sidebar design — you can use a Couple of sidebars
- Blog post layout — like featured image dimensions, metadata, etc..
- Footer layout — just like the number of widgets to add
Similarly, The Typography place enables you to control the font for each and every element on your site, including buttons:
And You also receive a detailed region to control the color of every single element on your website.
All In all, GeneratePress will provide you much more customization options from the WordPress Customizer than most other topics. This amount of detail might be a little overwhelming if you’re a beginner. But as soon as you understand the way the preferences come together, you will have complete control over how your site looks.
Optimized Performance And Quick Page Load Times
Across All of its attributes, GeneratePress always has a focus on excellent performance and clean code. The whole theme is less than 30 kB, and it will be about as small as you’ll ever find for a WordPress theme. Even most other optimized WordPress topics are still 200+ kB. And a few poorly coded themes can even surpass 1 MB!
GeneratePress Also does not have any code dependencies, which will help you avoid the render obstructing error that Google Pagespeed Insights often cites.
Place That collectively, and you obtain a superfast-loading theme. How quickly? To give you a sense, I ran a little test.
First, I set up an empty site utilizing a haphazard popular WordPress.org theme (Envo Magazine). After analyzing its functionality with Pingdom, it
- Had a performance tier of 77
- Loaded in 1.05 moments
- Had a page size of 243.9 kB
- Had 15 requests
That’s Not bad in any way! But GeneratePress can perform.
Next, I triggered GeneratePress on the exact same test website without altering anything else. Here’s how GeneratePress failed:
- Had a performance grade of 87, 10 points better
- Loaded in 666 ms, ~37% faster
- Had a page size of 26.8 kB, ~90% smaller
- Had 9 requests, ~40% less
If You do the exact same test with other topics, you’ll continue to see that GeneratePress is among those fastest-loading WordPress topics in existence. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
Other Helpful Premium Extensions, Plus Much Modular Approach
Beyond Giving you more design controls from the WordPress Customizer, GeneratePress Premium also comes with a lot of other helpful features such as:
- Elements — a exceptional feature which allows you create customized hooks, page headers, or design templates.
- Page Header — allows you create a unique page header on a per-page basis.
- Sections — this is sort of like lightweight page construction. It permits you to create separate”sections” onto a page, each with their own design and column settings.
To Stay lightweight, GeneratePress also provides you a modular interface where you can pick and choose exactly which features you want to activate.
That Way, you do not have to slow your site down for a feature that you’ll never use.
Pre-Made Starter Sites Make It Easier To Design Your Website
In The past, you had to build GeneratePress sites from a blank canvas no matter what, which made the theme difficult for casual users to install.
Earlier In 2018, however, the programmer added a new Site Library feature for GeneratePress Premium users which allows you easily import any among those 25+ pre-built demonstration websites .
You Can import them right from your WordPress dashboard.
Yes — this site still uses GeneratePress! All I did was click on a couple buttons to import a demo site.
Page-Level Settings Provide You Detailed Control Over Each Bit Of Content
With Most topics, each page and post will use the very same configurations for the most part. You may have some custom formats or templates — however you don’t have very much control past that.
GeneratePress Changes that by providing you a new Design meta box for each and every post and page:
You Can use this meta box to:
- Change how many sidebars your website uses, or the sidebar orientation (such as altering the sidebar from right to left)
- Choose the number of footer widgets to utilize
- Disable certain components, such as your header, navigation menu, post featured image, article title, or footer
- Produce a special”container” for your own page builder
Where These controls would be the most useful is if you are using a WordPress site builder.
By Disabling certain components, you’re in a position to produce the proper baseline for your page builder layout, making it effortless to create custom content as needed. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices
GeneratePress Replies: Cheap And Works On Unlimited Sites
The Core GeneratePress theme can be obtained at no cost at WordPress.org.
Nevertheless, If you’re seriously interested in utilizing GeneratePress, I believe you should purchase the GeneratePress Premium plugin, as that is what makes the theme so elastic. The free version doesn’t give you almost as many configurations from the WordPress Customizer. And you’ll also miss out on the premade Site Library.
GeneratePress Premium can be still fairly affordable. It costs just $39.95, which gives you use on unlimited websites . You will also get a 40% discount if you want to renew to continue receiving support and upgrades following the initial year (you can, of course, continue using GeneratePress following the initial year without renewing — you just won’t get any more upgrades ).
When You believe that the typical premium WordPress theme will often cost around $60, GeneratePress offers a great price.
As I mentioned, I do not think GeneratePress is for everybody.
If You want a niche-specific motif, you can probably save time by purchasing a theme that satisfies your requirements for your market from day one.
But If you are willing to spend some time changing settings, GeneratePress’ mode controls give you the flexibility to turn it into any type of WordPress website. Or, you might even be able to find a starter site that fulfills your needs to save a little time.
Additionally, It is among the fastest-loading WordPress themes you will locate. So if you’re looking for the best performance possible, utilizing GeneratePress as your WordPress site’s base is a good decision.
If You combine it with fast-loading hosting, you should have no difficulty making your website load in under one minute. WordPress Theme Development Best Practices