This is such a mindfuck.
I don’t like to cuss in my writing, but this one is making me do it.
A more appropriate term is actually, timesuck.
There are so many great WordPress themes out there!
Gone are the days of relying on Divi.
I always thought of Thesis and Genesis as the holy grails of blogging theme frameworks, but today there are so many others that are just as good.
MyThemeShop is one.
Astra is another.
GeneratePress is another.
OceanWP seems to be decent.
Elegant Themes’ Divi gets mixed reviews. I personally stopped using them for multiple reasons. But at the end of the day, they’re still very worthy of being on this list.
I heard that WordPress is coming out with something new that will do away with the need for shortcodes, and so in the future, all the shortcode heavy sites ( ring ring ring Divi Divi) will have to be re-done when and if they decide to change to whatever is to come.
And I’m sure there’ll be many benefits of doing so.
Since 2013 when I started my online marketing journey, I’ve used Divi exclusively on all my sites and client sites – and sometimes Optimize Press.
When I started looking for alternatives, I first went straight for the Genesis framework.
They have many awesome third-party child themes, and there are great ones made by Studiopress as well.
My nutrition blog is now on Genesis and uses a reputable third party child theme. It looks great.
Unless you’re shooting for a magazine pro or can customize other Genesis child themes like Digital Pro or the 3rd party Showcase theme, I find these all tend to look the same.
If you’re making a stylish blog, you might as well be able to change it up.
I am not comfortable with hooks and shortcode, and so I rely on color, images, and branding (font, banners, text size, etc) to differentiate myself with my genesis child theme in use.
As for my dog blog, I’ve started off on a magazine AdSense optimized style blog from MyThemeShop.
This was the result of A LOT of searching. I’m talking week’s worth of searching and reading every review all the way to page 6 of Google on these.
In the end, I’ve learned a lot.
And I really know how important site speed is now more than ever before.
I’m not using a CDN yet, but this may be in my future.
Anyways, for fast, great coded clean themes, I’ve done the research. So you can start with these and go from there.
The 5 top WordPress themes or companies I’d use for a new blog today
- Genesis + child theme (obv)
- Schema from MyThemeShop (any magazine theme from them too)
- Astra (has great free version)
- Generate Press (fast, clean, super awesome theme I’m using here. Plus, a just as good free version)
- OceanWP (I like this review from WPCrafter on Astra v OceanWP)
Page Builders do add a slight drag on speed, but Elementor, not too much at all. It doesn’t rely on shortcodes either, so you can transition off this page builder in the future when and if you need.
Here’s a great explanation and experiment performed by Brian Jackson of Woorkup (one of the marketers I follow) on Elementor’s effects on page speed and SEO. I also learned about Generate Press from him.
In the end, it doesn’t even matter (I had Linking Park stuck in my head. I have no idea why. I don’t even listen to them, but RIP Chester).
What’s most important is getting content created, so don’t be like me and go create content first before wasting ALL your time on these blackhole time sucks. I just did it for you. Choose one of those themes, and if needed, use Elementor.
Fewer plugins is best, but what matters more is that they’re clean, nicely coded plugins. I’ll share my plugins in a future post, and where I found out about them and my reasons for selecting them.
I’m on the fence about Sumo’s share. It’s a great plugin, but currently looking for lighter alternatives with a price tag of free that has nice simple designs and an integration to active campaign or convert kit.
This blog is on Generate Press Pro
Why am I on Generate Press Pro?
There are a few reasons
- the vibe it has
- the community around it
- the underground fandom
- very lightweight
- maybe better than Genesis
- very well coded
- it has a warm feel
- nice scroll
My 2 authority niche blogs are not on GeneratePress Pro.
As good as GeneratePress is, I didn’t think it was best for my 2 authority blogs.
I have a very hard time customizing my blogs. And I also have a very set mind when I want something to look a certain way. This is a bad combination if you’re trying to 80/20 your efforts and are doing everything yourself.
- Either I cannot do it without a pagebuilder (the concept of hooks I have not yet fully grasped)
- Or I over design with a pagebuilder like Divi’s (speaking from very personal experience) and waste weeks over building pages.
Generate Press Pro is my new favorite theme. And it’s the one I will need to put the most time in to master.
It’s a bit like music.
Have you ever listened to a song or an album, and thought it sucked, yet for one reason or another you kept listening to it and then you ended up loving it?
Some music you might hate at first for it’s style or maybe it’s not what you expected. But if it’s quality, at the end of the day that will shine and you might end up loving it.
That to me is what GeneratePress is.
Its feel oozes quality.
I just need some time to work it to my design needs.
It’s a very challenging yet doable, and fun theme to use on a blog.
*update: 2 days later of playing with GeneratePress and I love it more than ever. At this point I can use it for any blog and considered changing the MyThemeShop blog over to GeneratePress. But I’ll continue using the 3 different companies as I’m happy with all 3.
Generate Press Pro is an amazing theme for newbies as well as developers.
It’s clean and worthy enough to be well regarded by WordPress developers.
Many are able to mod it with code snippets to make it unique.
I will stop going on about this theme as if it’s my special little blog baby, but it is. I guess I’ve become a nerd.
For us non-coders, GeneratePress Pro’s customizer panel lets you do things that absolutely no other theme can do without shortcodes or page builders, etc. etc.
There is a downside to using Generate Press
To get a magazine style blog, a bit like the Magazine Pro from Genesis which Survival Life use, it’s not exactly fast, or easy for me to do on Generate Press.
So for my 2 authority niche blogs, I chose to go with the Genesis Framework. I went with a third party child theme developer.
And it looks great.
My other favorite WordPress theme and theme company…
For my pet niche authority blog, I am really loving MyThemeShop’s free theme, Point.
Yes, I’m going super bootstrapped with all of this, and if there is no rush, then I will opt for the cheapest methods out there if they don’t sacrifice quality.
And when it comes to the handful of free themes MyThemeShop have, they’re all good.
Point is amazing.
The MyThemeShop links are my affiliate links, however, Point is a free theme, so if you do use it, I don’t think I’d get a commission for the referral in any way. Maybe if you ended up getting the paid version down the line. Not too sure but yeah, it’s an affiliate link, cheers.
I can’t believe it’s a free theme.
“Point” is sooooo good. I’m glad I found it after failing a few magazine attempts with GeneratePressPro and Elemntor and then with OceanWP and then with Astra and their templates. Point from MyThemeShop was a godsend.
I’ll definitely be upgrading to the paid version of this theme in the future.
I’m very happy with MyThemeShop’s user experience. Very impressed.
Out of the box, MyThemeShop outperforms other themes when it comes to brain-dead set up that looks super sexy and gets you motivated to pump out content and build on it.
- It outperforms Astra.
- It outperforms Generate Press Pro
- It outperforms OceanWP
- And it outperforms Genesis.
When it comes to WordPress themes, there are a handful of options outside of Genesis and Thesis that are equally as clean, fast and suitable for building authority niche blogs.
And the craziest part is that a few of these stellar, clean coded themes are free and better than several bloated paid themes.
Generate Press Pro, MyThemeShop and Genesis Framework + Third Party child theme are what I am happily running at the moment.
Fun times to be had in blog land…