The Million Dollar Question: What’s the Best Theme for My WordPress Site
I can’t tell you how many times I hear this question come up. It’s a question that everyone seems to have, because the first thing that becomes a concern when creating a WordPress site is, “How do I want my site to look?”
There are thousands of awesome themes available to WordPress developers, both free and premium. I’ve used themes from Themeforest, TemplateMonster, ElegantThemes, iThemes, and the list goes on and on.
Several years ago I was introduced to a WordPress framework called Catalyst. Catalyst also had a child theme called Dynamik. Once I installed this combo, I was in love! I used this framework on just about every site I could. Now there were other frameworks that I’d hear of, but hadn’t tried such as Genesis and Thesis.
What Is a Framework?
In basic terms, it’s the nuts and bolts that provide the core functionality of the theme. The child theme sits on top of the framework which can best be described as the aesthetics, or the look and feel of the theme. By layering the way a theme works and separating the core functionality from the styling, there are many advantages to a framework.
But there's one really big advantage for theme frameworks and it's this: when upgrading a framework, you don’t have to worry about all of your code modifications to the child theme being wiped out. This is a big deal, especially when you’ve spent hours on end working on CSS only for it to be wiped out by a single update.
Obviously, we should all be using a local development environment and backing up our sites to prevent these types of catastrophes, but unfortunately many don’t take these precautions when updating a WordPress site.
So is there anything wrong with using a theme that doesn’t have the framework/child theme infrastructure?
No. There are many great themes out there. As mentioned earlier I’ve used themes from many different developers, however, I have grown to really appreciate frameworks. Although, I will highly recommend that you choose a theme that provides good support and updates as well.
A Little Background on Dynamik...
A couple years ago our friend Eric Hamm from CobaltApps announced that Catalyst would no longer be available. However, as a replacement, he created a child theme for the Genesis framework called Dynamik Website Builder. So basically, Eric had chosen to stop development on the Catalyst framework and simply build an awesome child theme that was built on the Genesis framework.
Honestly I was initially a bit taken aback and a little disappointed. After all, I really loved using the Catalyst framework. However, as a business owner, I understand how shifts in markets, supply and demand, and even refocusing a part of your business can generate better success. After using the Dynamik Website Builder, I think Eric made a great move.
As a result I migrated all my websites to the Dynamik Website Builder!
What is Dynamik Website Builder All About?
The Dynamik Website Builder has the affection of both high end developers as well as casual WordPress users because it accommodates both groups and everyone in between.
Let me explain...
The Dynamik Website Builder has an awesome user interface that allows the casual WordPress user to point and click to build the child theme. You can adjust fonts, font sizes, colors, headers, footers, menus, all by point and click.
One of my favorite things they’ve introduce recently is the ability to create skins. Skins can be a snapshot of all your customizations which you can capture and apply to another site with the same Genesis/Dynamik Website Builder infrastructure.
Lastly, since we are recommending the Genesis framework and Dynamik Website Builder child theme combo, I wanted to mention that it works great with WP Courseware.
So the Answer to the “Million Dollar Question” Is...
Find a theme solution which has great support, frequent updates, a helpful community, and if possible find one that has a framework. We love Genesis framework by StudioPress mixed with the Dynamik Website Builder by CobaltApps, but there are many others on the market. Do your research, shop around, and find something that achieves the aesthetics and functionality best suited for your site.
Hi there, I also use Dynamik Website Builder and Genesis framework and have been using it for years before when it was Catalyst Theme. A very stable combination!
Eric Hamm is a great guy and a fantastic programmer and follows clean efficient coding. Eric has a very loyal fan club of members and a forum of users that support each other everyday. You always get consistent help and support on his forum.
I am very pleased to to know that WP Courseware run well on this theme am looking forward to trying out WP Courseware for our training products.
Hey Ben, Thanks for sharing such informative post!