Now that you know how Genesis 2 child themes work let’s talk about the three different types of child themes. From my perspective, there are those that are suitable for blogging only, there are those that are suitable for small business websites and there are specialty themes.
If you’re not a beginner then the distinction between these is academic. If you’re a designer or a developer you can make just about any child theme do whatever you want it to do so that distinction is not absolute. But for beginners really there are 3 types of themes to consider using.
Features to Consider
I have this handout that I’ve made of the StudioPress child themes that breaks them down by specific features. It tells you whether or not they are suitable for a blog, suitable for small business, whether or not they have HTML5 and whether or not they’re actually responsive.
It is important to check for these features because in fact, not every StudioPress theme is HTML5 and not every StudioPress theme is responsive. There are still a number of their themes that do not have either of those things.
Characteristics of a Business Child Theme
For a business child theme there are a number of characteristics that you want present in the theme.
Design for a Static Front Page
First, it has a design for a static front page. In the typical WordPress blog, your front page is your blog page and it shows all of your blog posts. That’s probably not suitable for most small businesses so anything that is designed specifically to be displayed that way, I placed in the category of blog themes not suitable for small business websites.
So that’s really the main distinguishing characteristic, that is that it has a static front page or design for a static front page.
Can be Used without Blogging
Also, that the theme can be used without using any blog functions. There are lots of small business owners who have no intention of writing a blog or using the blog functionality in any way.
Something to note though is that there are lots of ways you can use blog functionality without actually blogging. You can use it for all different types of content but it’s often the case that small business owners just don’t want to use the blog functionality period so we’re looking for a theme that can be used without that.
Obviously, it needs to look professional and then from my perspective there are a couple of new things to consider.
Responsiveness and HTML5
A small business website that is starting today needs to be responsive and needs to be based on HTML5. In terms of the HTML5, if you’re not a beginner there is a way for you to make a Genesis theme that’s not HTML5 behave like an HTML5 theme but it requires a little bit of code editing.
For beginners, those who are not going to edit code themselves and those who are looking for a child theme that’s built specifically with the small business user in mind, these are the characteristics of a small business theme that you want to keep in mind.
Looking at my handout it looks like there are about 9 out of the Studio Press 44 child themes that I think are specifically appropriate for small business websites. All of the rest of them either aren’t built specifically for small businesses or aren’t responsive or need a little bit of code help to make them HTML5.
As I said it’s certainly possible to make one HTML5, it’s probably not possible, for example, to take the freelance child theme and make it responsive. You’re not going to do that because it’s not built that way but it is possible to take the education one and add HTML5 to it with a little bit of code.
Genesis Business Child Themes
Agency Pro, Executive Pro, Enterprise Pro, Parallax, Centric, Modern Portfolio, Minimum, Streamline and Outreach are example of business themes. Note that many of these say “Pro” beside them. The Pro distinction was one that StudioPress added after they started making child themes specifically for Genesis 2. Today we’re going to be today looking at Enterprise Pro.
Enterprise Pro Example
This is Enterprise Pro in operation. This is a site that I threw together with Enterprise Pro with a slider and some featured pages and then we have content and articles. This is, in my mind, what a typical small business website looks like and this is what we’re going to work on as we go through the basics of Genesis 2.
Characteristics of a Blog Centric Child Theme
There are a good number of child themes that are for blogging. And the main characteristic of a blog centric child theme is that it’s focused on the display of blog posts. It generally speaking does not have any kind of a setup or preconfigured front page.
There are all kinds of examples of them here but let’s just take a look at the Lifestyle Pro theme. It’s got one big featured post and then a bunch of other featured posts and then some featured categories and then sidebars. It’s essentially a straightforward blog template. That’s an example of a blog centric theme and then there are actually a handful of specialty themes.
Themedy has one very good specialty theme, it’s Clip Cart which is an eCommerce theme. It integrates with Cart66 and with WooCommerce quite nicely and it’s excellent, I highly recommend the Clip Cart theme as a starting point if you’re going to use WooCommerce. I don’t recommend using Cart66 but if you’re going to use WooCommerce it’s a great starting place.
Studio Press themselves also have a handful of specialty themes. For example, there’s the Outreach Pro which is really focused on Churches. There are a couple of portfolio focused themes that are really working on photocentric types of sites. And then there is Agentpress, a child theme which is specifically designed for real estate agents and has special functionalities for that. So there are those kinds of specialized child themes as well.