There a variety of types of Child Themes and because I teach people how to build business websites, my focus is on Child Themes that would be suitable for small business sites. I’ve categorized Genesis Child Themes into 3 groups. In fact, I have several handouts on the site.
If we come over here to Lesson 6 which is the lesson that I’m teaching right now, there is this set of resources that we’re going to use throughout this site and I have this handout, “Rick’s breakdown of Genesis theme child themes” that you can download.
Three Different Categories of Child Themes
This essentially takes all the Child Themes that are listed on the StudioPress website and breaks them down into these 3 different categories, Child Themes that are suitable for a small business website, Child Themes that are blog centric and therefore not suitable for a small business website and Responsive Child Themes that are suitable for a small business website.
I’ve got this chart here that you can use to follow along or when you’re over at StudioPress looking at all of their themes, you can use that as a source for sorting through them.
Child Themes Suitable for a Small Business Website
The first category of child theme that we’re going to talk about are the Child Themes suitable for creating a small business website. The characteristics of a Child Theme suitable for building a small business website is, first it has to have a design for static front page.
You may or may not know WordPress is traditionally and originally began as a blogging platform and true to its words, by default, WordPress displays blog posts on the home page. A couple of years ago, it came up with a system of having a static front page instead of blog posts, pages or homepage.
Designed with a Static Front Page
In order for me to consider a theme to be appropriate for a small business website, that theme has to have a design for a static front page. It also needs to be used without using blog functions, that is, you need to be able to use it without creating a blog post, without categorizing blog posts, without using post tags or post categories and you need to be able to use it simply with static pages and have that theme function properly.
Has a Professional Look
Finally it needs to look professional. For many people, blogging is a very personal thing and there are child themes that look very personal but obviously very personal isn’t suitable for most businesses so it needs to have a professional appearance. Those are really the 3 characteristics of a child theme that makes it appropriate for a small business site.
Agency Child Theme
Having said that, we’re going to take a look at a few of these so you can see what I’m talking about. We’re going to start off with the Agency Child Theme because this is the theme that we are using for our business/professional website with Genesis and we’re just going to take a look at its theme demo.
Mobile Responsive Theme
This is essentially its default installation. It has this static front page with a way for you to put static content on using widgets, the ability to put some static text up here and a slider. The cool thing about the Agency theme is that it is a mobile responsive theme.
If you are on a mobile device, you can see what happens when the device gets smaller, the theme changes to accommodate that change in size. You can see that’s what happens here, that’s what responsive design is. Responsive design is a website that responds to the kind of device that is viewing it.
With the Agency Theme that I built this site with, you can see some of the similarities. Right there is the slider configured in a slightly different way, there are the widget areas and the footer widgets but it’s not immediately recognizable because I have a custom background color, a custom background image and my own logo.
In fact, the site is responsive if you drop it down, you can see what happens. You know the site changes as the browser window becomes smaller and smaller and that’s due to the Agency Child Theme. You can actually see what that looks like here, this is their tool for looking at how a site looks in various devices.
Here’s the demonstration site in the device that’s 240 pixels wide, here’s the iPhone in the portrait view, here’s the iPhone in the landscape view, here’s the iPad in the portrait view and here’s the iPad in a landscape view. You can see that this is a default view, it looks exactly like you expect it to look and it has changed the shape and configuration a bit to a accomodate that decreased size.
You can see the same thing happens with the Agency Theme. By default, this is what it looks like when it is shrunk down, there it is in its standard configuration and then it starts getting smaller. If you have your own mobile device, an iPad, iPhone or some kind of a mobile phone, go and take a look at sbywh-final-agency.byobgenesis.com and you’ll be able to see exactly what this site looks like.
By contrast, I actually have another site that I created first for this and that is sbywh-final.byobgenesis, this is not the Agency Theme, this is a different theme. This has some apparent similarities, it has a slider and the same kinds of boxes. However, if we take a look at this in their tool, you’ll see the difference. What it does is it just cuts the side off right?
This is what you’ve pretty much come to expect, it looks fine in the broad view but each version down ends up cutting and requiring it to scale.That’s the Agency Child Theme. It has a nice front page, a nice professional look to it, the pages are simple and clean and it even has its own set of colors to choose from.
If you look closely at this, I’m using the red color in this on the site. Another example of a theme that is suitable for a business site is Enterprise which is actually the one that I did first. The Enterprise Theme in this case looks very similar to the theme that I have over here. The heading is really the only thing that customizes it so it does have a distinctive appearance but it does have this static front page and various other pages.
Another example and one that I like is this Crystal Theme. This is a nice one for photographer or graphic artists because it does have this photo gallery that you can add to it as well as having the slider.
Again, this is clearly a static front page with an attractive layout including a blog page and a portfolio page and the portfolio page clicks you off of the portfolio to a specific project in that portfolio. This is also very attractive and functional especially for graphic professionals.
There’s another one I want to show you and that is the Backcountry Theme. The main reason I want to show you this theme is because it looks like it might be a blog theme but in fact, it isn’t. This is the Backcountry Theme and there’s a very clever menu system here.
It has a thing indicating that it has a space for advertisement but really this can be anything, any kind of a widget up here or it can go away and you can have a full width header image. These things here look like they’re blog posts but this is actually just widget areas where you can use different kinds of content widgets very much the same as these are widget areas with various widgets in them.
That’s the same thing that’s going on here in this Backcountry where this featured post sections is just a widget. You can choose to put any kind of content in these widget areas and you don’t have to use blog type contents. This could be a perfectly suitable theme for a business website.
I want to draw your attention to another one which is the AgentPress Theme. This theme is designed specifically for real estate agents. Other types of professionals use this as well but this does come with some special plugins that allow you to drag in your “Email Us” things.
This is a very popular theme and I know that at least one of our members is using this theme so we’re going to have plenty of opportunity to talk about how to use this theme in the course of this class. It’s a very specialized theme, I know that other people are using it, contractors are using to show their work because it easily showcases images but it’s really designed for real estate agents.
Those are the StudioPress child themes, that’s not all of them obviously, there’s a fairly long list of those themes that I consider to be suitable for small business website.
Community Themes Section
There are also some very nice themes that are suitable for this in the Community Themes Section. These are actually supported in the forum but they are designed by community members who get the lion’s share of their sale. There are a number of themes in here that are suitable for a small business site and you can look at my matrix to see.
Clip Cart Theme
One of those here is this Clip Cart Theme that was designed to work with Cart66 which a couple of our members are using and it does have some specialized styling for products that you may find useful if you are creating an ecommerce site so this is also a theme that would be suitable for a small business site.
Blog Centric Child Themes
The second category of themes are the Blog Centric Child Themes. We’re not going to talk about Blog Centric Child Themes during this course except for right now. The characteristics of this type of theme is that it’s focused on displaying blog posts which means it either does not have a static front page or the static front page displays blog posts by default and it may look more personal than some of those other themes.
This Lifestyle Theme is a great example of this theme. Here you are, it automatically displays blog post on the Home page. This is a beautiful theme for a blog but we’re not building a blog, we’re building a small business website and while building a small business website, we don’t want blog posts showing up or being the primary feature of a Home page.
You may want to put your blogs posts on your Home page if you’ve got a blog but a typical small business site will have to be more focused on its static content on its Home page.
Responsive Child Themes Suitable for Business
The third category is the category that I’m going to spend the most time talking about which is Responsive Child Themes Suitable for Business. StudioPress has a whole bunch of Responsive Child Themes however, only one of its Responsive Child Themes is suitable for a small business site and that’s the Agency Theme, the one that we’re using right now.
From the community, there are a couple of them that are quite good, for example, the Driskill and the Optimal themes. If we look at the community offerings again and scroll down here to Driskill, this is a mobile responsive theme with a good layout for a static content.
You can see what happens when it gets smaller, right? The slider gets smaller, the content gets smaller and starts stacking and as it gets smaller, it stacks again in a different way and so on and so forth. I think it’s a very attractive small business theme.
In addition to that is the Optimal Theme. This is a beautiful theme and I love this theme. I think this would make a spectacular Architect’s theme. It’s very beautifully designed, it has very nice colors and a nice crisp clean slider to it. If you slide it down, you can see what happens to it. This is one of those community themes that would be perfectly suitable for a small business site.
Mark Hodder’s Themedy
Then there’s one other theme that I would like to tell you about that’s not in the community here but it’s from themedy.com. This is a guy named Mark Hodder and he creates his themes both for Thesis and for Genesis. I’ve known of Mark from the Thesis forums but I didn’t really pay attention to what he’s been doing.
As I was preparing to create my own Responsive Child Themes for Thesis, I was doing some research and I came across his new Child Theme called “Reactiv”, you can buy this for $35 for your site. It’s a very attractive site and I think Mark did a really good job with it.
Take a look at the demo and you can see it responds very nicely to changes. Things stack up nicely, it has a good static front page, if you’re a graphic professional, it does allow you to have very nice portfolio content on the front page. It also has a bunch of extras that are actually pretty cool and these extras are not common to all Genesis themes but I think he’s done a really nice job with this.
This is not an affiliate plug by any means, I just think that Mark has done a great job with this business and with this theme and as you’re considering appropriate themes for a responsive small business website, I encourage you to consider “Reactiv” as well.