Fast WordPress Themes – Recommendation

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In this article I want to unpack what makes a Fast WordPress Theme, why you want to use one, and provide you with a solid example.

If you’re uninterested in the details and just want to know what WordPress theme I recommend here it is:

Genesis Framework / StudioPress

3 Fast WordPress Theme Must Haves

Not all themes are created equal. Some are built by brilliant coders, others are slapped together by coders who know enough to build a theme, but lack the ability to keep things clean.

If you’ve ever bought a theme from Themeforest for example. In most cases those themes have a ton of options and often have a bunch of “cool” features built in, but they’re almost always blotted and layered with bad code. On top of that, they tend to require the use of several plugins to get those desired “cool” features to work.

Crapy code and a bunch of poorly developed plugins will never result in a FAST #WordPress Theme!

Here are the 3 things I believe are required to qualify as a “fast WordPress theme”.

  • Mobile First Approach
  • Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
  • A Framework

Mobile First Approach

This is the concept of first designing for mobile then for the desktop.

This is not a new concept, but has been around since we started using responsive design to build themes.

However, taking a mobile first approach is still uncommon practice.

It’s easy to identify a theme that has a desktop focus by observing how many cool features it has and if the demo has an option for mobile view.

This approach is important because the majority of your traffic will be from a mobile device, and you not only want to have a good user interface (UI) you also want to have a good user experience.

While a theme that is developed from a mobile first approach may not be loaded down with a bunch of shinny objects, you can bet it will run fast and look great on any mobile device, no matter the screen size.

Search Engine Optimized (SEO)

I know what you’re thinking, how do you optimize a theme for search engines?

Well, an important aspect of SEO is site speed. Site speed can be impacted by how well a theme is developed. The actual coding can impact your performance.

With StudioPress themes you can be sure your theme has clean, optimized code and smart design architecture which is important for achieving the best rankings possible.

In addition to clean code, you want any easy approach to optimizing individual pages and post, without the need for a third party plugin.

Built into the Genesis Framework is just that (see image below). Although you do not need a SEO plugin like Yoast or SEOPress, Genesis doesn’t prevent you from using them either.

Once you activate an SEO plugin, the built in SEO tools are turned off.

In order to maintain good clean code and SEO best practices, regular updates to that code is required. A way for the fixes and changes to be applied to your website without effecting your design and accessibility.

Because Genesis is a framework and utilizes child themes, you’re able to receive updates, just like with a plugin, through your WP admin dashboard and keep your theme, up to date and secure.

A Framework

Using a framework is crucial to the sustainability of your website.

Another important part to using frameworks is “child themes”.

The best why I can think to explain how a theme framework works, is to use an analogy.

If you bought a Tesla, the framework of that car (things like the engine, battery, driveshafts, transmission, breaks, cameras, navigation, etc) would be the same as every other Tesla on the road.

However, you get to customize your Tesla with paint, leather color, wheels, tint, and whatever else you want to do to make it yours. This is like using a child theme.

You never have to touch the framework, updates are made to improve the functionality, security, and SEO, but this can be updated automatically via the WP Admin, you only have to focus one the uniqueness, your child theme.

If you want to change the paint (child theme), you can swap out your child theme without losing content or the need to start over from scratch.

In most cases, frameworks are packed with features and functionality, but you only use them if you want to. This reduces theme bloat and website slowness.

What You Should Do Now

You should head on over to StudioPress.com and checkout the Genesis framework and all the cool child themes they have!

These are premium themes so they’re not free, or are they!?

How to get the Framework and Child Themes FREE!

If you want to know a trick to get all the StudioPress themes and framework 100% free, you just need to host your site with WP Engine and all this awesomeness is included.

Also, go checkout this post about the Genesis Page Builder, which is only available through WP Engine. Just another awesome tool to make building your website easier!

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