Genesis child theme main feature comparison table

This post is for: anyone trying to decide which of StudioPress’ child themes to use as a starting point for their own website.

Every time I start a new Genesis-based WordPress design for a client, I go to the list of child themes at http://my.studiopress.com/themes/ to try to decide which one will be the best starting point for the customizations that we have in mind for that particular client.  But I always find myself having to re-open and re-test-drive each theme’s demo, to remind myself which one has which specific features, like a portfolio section or a fixed (“sticky”) top menu or a full-width layout or a good mobile menu.

I know that most Genesis-based child themes can be modified to have almost any of these main features, but it is more convenient to begin a new web design project with as many desired features as possible already “built-in” to the child theme before we start customizing it. It saves us some time and gets our clients on the web more quickly.

So, I’ve started a table to remind myself of some of those main features at a glance, and hopefully to speed up that decision-making process for future jobs.

I’m posting it here in the hopes that others might also find it useful.  If you do, and/or if you have any questions or suggestions for improving it, please let me know in the comments area below. Thanks!

Genesis child theme comparison table

Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Altitude Pro"parallax effects ... flexibility"One-pagerFullBeside logoYes, shrinks to stickyVertical, no sub-menu items shownNoYesNoSub-pages exist but can only be accessed through footer menu.
Parallax Pro"tell a story"FullFullBeside logoYesGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYesNoNarrow content area (huge page margins). Very sparse design. Choice of 5 colours.
Modern Studio Pro"highlighting imagery"FullFixedOn either side of central logoNo. Sticky message option.Good, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNoNoLooks blog-oriented.
Café Pro"combines Parallax and Foodie ... captivating ... simple widgets"Full, but mostly one-pager links in main menuFullOn its own row that starts low, then scrolls up to stickyYesGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYesNoOn sticky menu, logo appears on top and far left side of page
Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Daily Dish Pro"present your content like it's the most appetizing dish"FullFixedOn its own row below logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNoNoBlog-style home page layout
Whitespace Pro"Minimal ... gorgeous organization"FullFixedBeside logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYesNoHome page grid of posts. Narrow content area (huge page margins).
News Pro"News theme"FullFixedOn its own row, above logo & bannerNoGood, vertical list with + signs that expand sub-menu itemsKind of. Images change with clicks.NoNoTwo rows of top menus and more links in the footer. Choice of 5 colours. Space for an ad in the header.
AgentPress Pro"real estate agents"FullFixedBeside logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYesKind of. Set up for properties but could be used for other types of posts.Blog-type setup. Choice of 4 colours.
Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Sixteen Nine Pro"lets your verbal and visual personality shine through"FullFixed with full width background imageSide menu onlyYes, but to the side not the topGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNoNoMagazine or blog style side-menu layout.
Beautiful Pro"your canvas"FullFullBeside logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoKind of. This and wide, on all pages.NoClean design, good for a blog layout.
Agency Pro"the face of your Agency"FullFullBeside logo, at very topYesGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYes, very.Kind of. Has grid on home page of "work posts".Main content areas are in fixed-width boxes in front of parallax background images. Header and footer are full-width.
Metro Pro"magazine-style layout ... sleek social features"FullFixed content on full background imageOwn row at very top, and a second menu under logoNoNo, full menus just reflowNoNo, just large image on first "featured story"NoVery magazine-looking. Choice of 5 colours.
Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Lifestyle Pro"magazine-style"FullFixedOwn row at the top, and a second menu under main headerNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNo, just large image on first "featured post"NoChoice of 6 colours
eleven40 Pro"intelligent design"FullFullBeside logo, at very topYesGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNo, just large image on first "featured post"NoBlog-style look with sidebar/content/sidebar. Choice of 4 colours.
Centric Pro"draws readers in"FullFullBeside logo, at very topYes, shrinks to stickyNo, full menus just reflowNoNo, just huge hero statementNoMenu expands to full viewport width. Choice of 7 colours. Large footer area.
Magazine Pro"versatile layouts and media-ready design"FullFixed main area, full header and footerOwn row at very topYesGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNo, just large image on first "featured article"NoMagazine look. Place for a banner ad on all pages. Choice of 4 colours. Big footer area.
Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Executive Pro"your most important projects ... front and center"FullFixedBeside logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsYes, contains excerpts and photos of postsNoYes, imagesChoice of 7 theme colours
Enterprise Pro"for your business venture or services "FullFixedOwn row, beneath logoNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYesNoChoice of 6 colours
Remobile Pro"The typeface"FullFixed main area, full header and footerOwn row at very top but collapsed by defaultNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoYes, with huge background image as wellNoNarrow content area (huge page margins). Always-collapsed menu requires extra clicks, could annoy.
Minimum Pro"Clean ... uncluttered"Full FullBeside logoYesOnly goes vertical when forced; sub-menu items are superimposedNoYesYes, images
Theme nameMain selling feature in marketing blurbFull site or one-pagerFull- or fixed-width designMain menu locationSticky menu?Mobile menuHome page carousel?Huge home page image?Portfolio page?Other features; notes
Generate Pro"generate more and better email leads"FullFixedOwn row, below menuNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsNoNoNoChoice of 4 colours.
Ambiance Pro"a private conversation with you"FullFullBeside logo but collapsed by default; no sub-menu itemsYes, transparentOnly goes vertical when forced; no sub-menu itemsNoNoNoNarrow content area (huge page margins). Always-collapsed menu requires extra clicks, could annoy.
Modern Portfolio Pro"smart minimalism"Full, but mostly one-pager links in main menuFullBeside logoNoSeems good, vertical list. No sub-menu items on main page, but 2nd menu on Contact page does have arrows that expand sub-menu items.NoNoYes, images
Outreach Pro"A church is one of the most information intensive organizations"FullFullOwn row, below menuNoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsYesNoNoChoice of 5 colours.
Education Pro"Help students, faculty and press find what they need"FullFullBeside logo. Second menu in own row at very top.NoGood, vertical list with arrows that expand sub-menu itemsYes, posts.NoNoChoice of 5 colours.

It’s worth learning how to access Google Analytics for your website

This post is for: small business owners who want to learn how to access Google Analytics to gain insights into the popularity and effectiveness of their websites.

Most of Best Light’s customers aren’t interested in learning how to make and manage their own websites, which is why they hire us. For most small business owners, that makes sense – you’re far too busy running your business and staying on top of changes in your own industry to start trying to do the same for the world of web design. And some of it gets a bit geeky, so unless you particularly enjoy knowing what media queries and favicons and Sass mixins are, you’re better off entrusting the designing and maintaining of your website to someone who actually does enjoy it!

google-analytics-logoBut there’s one aspect, related to monitoring your website, that every small business owner should try to become at least a bit familiar with, because it sheds so much light on how many people your website is reaching. Continue reading

For interview-style videos, you want that great blurred background look

This post is for: small business owners who post interview-style videos online.

Want your interview-style videos to look more professional? If so, have you ever analysed what makes close-ups of actors look so great on television and in movies?

Of course, the amazing lighting and the thousands of dollars of state-of-the art filming equipment has a lot to do with it.  But have a look around the actor: more often than not, everything in the background is out of focus. As TV and movie watchers, we’re so used to that look that we don’t really even notice it most of the time. But putting the subject in sharp focus and everything around him or her out of focus makes the subject look more important, doesn’t it? It focuses the viewer’s attention, and to a certain extent it simulates natural vision, because our eyes tend to convey very detailed visual information to us about what we’re looking at directly, and less precise information about the things around it that are in our peripheral vision. Continue reading

Registering your domain name and hosting your website are two different things

This post is for: small business owners who are unclear about the difference between getting a domain name and getting hosting for a website.

If you’re a small business owner, you need a website. To get one, you need to do the following:

  1. Buy your domain name.  This is the “www.(yourcompany).com” address that you will  advertise as the location of your website.
  2. Buy hosting for your site. This is the place on the Internet where your website will reside, and where everyone will be able to find it.
  3. Build your website, or get someone to build it for you.

Continue reading

Don’t let technology hijack, dilute or upstage your message

This post is for: business owners who are making decisions about the content and the presentation of their websites.

Websites are built and presented with technologies that continue to evolve. Every month, there are new tools, tricks, fads, and ways to present, adorn and animate a website’s contents. And that’s great. The web would be a boring place indeed if every site looked the same, like different entries in the same dry encyclopedia.

The problem, though, is that websites that use the newest web design fads and techniques sometimes suffer from the “because we can” syndrome. Which, for most small business owners, is precisely the wrong answer to the crucial question, “Why exactly are we using this new tool / method / trick?” Continue reading

With WordPress, you can add and edit your website’s contents yourself

This post is for: business owners who are unfamiliar with WordPress, but considering it as a way to let them edit their own websites

Sometimes clients ask us to build them a website that they can edit later themselves. In these cases, we often recommend WordPress, a very popular platform that gives you a web-based area (a “dashboard”) where you can log in and add your own text, images, links and documents to your website without needing to know much about web design or HTML. Continue reading

‘Help, I need a website!’ What you need to do to get your small business online

This post is for: solopreneurs, freelancers, consultants, owners of start-ups, and anyone else who needs a website and isn’t sure exactly what’s involved or where to start

We received a question recently from a small business owner asking us to “describe at a high-level the steps needed to create a personal website, by breaking them down into ‘must do’, ‘can do’ and ‘might do’ from the customer’s perspective.”  Here’s what we normally tell clients who say they need a new website: Continue reading

3 ways to put non-actors and shy people at ease in front of the video camera

This post is for: businesses and organizations who want to make videos using their own people in front of the camera

Because video is so popular on the web now, and such an effective way to get your message across, more and more business owners and company representatives are being called upon to speak in front of a camera.  But not everyone is comfortable there.  In fact, most of us are self-conscious to some degree when we have to speak in public, whether it’s to a group or to a camera.

Continue reading

It’s only three letters long, but its misspellings are rampant on the web.

This post is for: anyone who isn’t sure when to use “its” and when to use “it’s”

I’m not proud of it, but I can’t help it: my brain hurts every time I see the word “its” spelled incorrectly on the Internet. I’m on the Internet a lot. My brain hurts a lot.  :-) Continue reading

How to wade into Twitter slowly

This post is for: business owners (and others) who are curious about Twitter, but don’t know where to start

Being a guy of a certain age, as well as a guy who spends a lot of time sorting through all the hype and nonsense that some people call “marketing”, I’m often pretty skeptical, and sometimes downright curmudgeonly, about jumping on bandwagons.  I often wait until I see something of real substance in them, and I let a lot of them pass me by altogether.

twitter-questionFor quite a while I was very happy to do the same with Twitter, but something about the persistent enthusiasm of those who do use it finally convinced me to take a closer look. Continue reading

Make your videos more professional with better audio

This post is for: anyone filming their own videos for their website

Lots of cameras and phones can now film high definition video, so you might decide to make your own videos for your company’s website or YouTube channel.  That’s great, and you can get professional-looking results if you pay close attention to certain aspects of the filming process.  One area that you might overlook, however, is the quality of the audio that you’re recording.   Continue reading

Your website needs to be mobile-friendly

This post is for: business owners who don’t use smart phones to view websites, and anyone who’s unfamiliar with “responsive web design”

It wasn’t until I got my own smart phone that I finally understood why every small business really needs a mobile-friendly website. It’s because they’re called phones, but they’re really pocket computers, and millions of people are using them every day to browse the web. Continue reading