I’m a big believer in finding your passion and sharing it with the world. That’s why I started Morning Upgrade – I was writing personal development articles on LinkedIn, and I loved it…and I had the crazy thought, “Why don’t I build a brand out of this and try to create a ripple effect of impact?”
When I first started Morning Upgrade I built the site quickly with a free WordPress theme so I could get it going as fast as possible. What’s most important when starting a blog is to simply start! Don’t second guess…don’t hem and haw…just move. Because honestly, a website is always a work in progress, so you might as well just get it live and then tinker. You can always pick a lightweight WordPress theme today and change it down the road as you get a better feel for the flow and vibe you’re looking to convey.
You can easily get bogged down in website design: the images you use, colors, etc…and never get it off the ground. So, when I started blogging I wanted to get it done quickly so I could start sharing my message with the world. Here is my review of GeneratePress.
Why I Decided to Use GeneratePress
After I really got things going with the site, I decided to update the design using GeneratePress. For SEO purposes, I recommend you use WordPress as the backend of your website. With WordPress, you have different ways you can build it. You can use a custom-coded design or use a pre-built WordPress theme (like GeneratePress). The theme is the shell of the website and has optimizations and options built into it.
Here are the top reasons why I chose GeneratePress:
1. GeneratePress Is a Lightweight Theme Which Makes it Fast
There are thousands of themes on the market, and each has its own list of benefits and features. I chose to use GeneratePress because it is a lightweight theme that is great for load speed. Paired with WPX Hosting, which is a fast hosting company that has a built-in CDN (content delivery network), my blog is fast…and you want this for SEO and general usability.
Since I’m always adding new content, have scripts running, and have embedded players for my podcast…I needed a theme that wouldn’t get overloaded with these elements and slow down. Even with the images, players, and content that we add to the site, my load speed scores are strong. After researching various pre-built WordPress theme routes, I felt the GeneratePress theme best suited what I was looking for. They offer a decent amount of options in their free version and have some nice features in their premium one if you need them.
As I said, you want a fast website for your SEO and the usability of the website. But you can’t pair GeneratePress with a crappy host and expect it to provide you with great speeds. That’s why I paired it with WPX Hosting. The two work well together.
2. GeneratePress Has a Site Library
One thing that I really liked about this theme is that it has a site library of demo websites that have been built using the GeneratePress theme. These can be used as templates for your site to make the build easier.
You can find demo sites in the library that are meant for blogs, podcast sites, shops, and more. I liked that there were templates that I could choose from to rebrand the Morning Upgrade, and there were more than enough options for page builders that I didn’t struggle to find one I liked.
I think it is helpful to have these built-out templates because they help you visualize what your site will look like. Also, it gives you a head start because you can install the demo site and play around with the different designs and page builders before deciding on what you like best.
3. GeneratePress Lowers Your Website Build Cost
Originally, I had been looking at doing a custom-coded design for the redesign. However, I decided to go with a GeneratePress theme because it cut down on the cost of the project without sacrificing the quality, usability, and speed of the site. After checking out their free version, I found a page builder design I REALLY liked in the site library, so I just installed it on Morning Upgrade and customized it with my brand elements and content.
GeneratePress Premium is an option for those who need a little bit extra in its offerings. The GeneratePress Premium version adds new GeneratePress theme and template tools, customizable style and layout features, and some priority support features. There are pros and cons for companies that offer additional theme builder features behind paywalls. I’ve gone back and forth on whether GeneratePress Premium is something I would use enough to be worth the cost. And their free version does have some decent design options within it. However, I would encourage you to at least look into GeneratePress Premium if you need additional options from them.
4. GeneratePress Reduces Site Development Time
Websites usually take a few months to be built because the development company is building the design from scratch. Getting the design right requires a lot of back and forth between them and the client. With GeneratePress, I was able to choose the design I liked and then have my developer customize it. The ability to access custom CSS was easy to find, adjusting between page builder and theme builder setup was simple, and I never felt like I had to wait for the WordPress site to load when using GeneratePress. This cut down on the design time and the back and forth to get it where I wanted it. I will mention that some of the website theme builder options included in GeneratePress Premium were pretty savvy! Time is money, after all.
And if you don’t want to use a developer to build out your site, the demo sites in the site library make it easier for you to customize.
OK, I now want to bring my developer into this review to share some of his experiences with GeneratePress and a few tips on how to work best with the theme.
Here’s what he said:
Makes it Easy to Design a Professional Looking Website
A lot of times, when we go to a website that was designed by someone who’s not a professional, it shows. You can usually tell by the lack of call-to-action buttons and the simplicity of the design. With the premade templates in GeneratePress, it’s much easier to get a professional-looking website without being an experienced website designer.
That is not to say that there isn’t a little bit of a learning curve you’ll have to overcome with the theme, but you will have an easier time than trying to work with a theme that isn’t already built out. Just because a theme is capable of looking a certain way, you still have to build it to look that way. With GeneratePress, the templates are already designed for you, and custom code is quite easy to enter and apply.
Relies Heavily on the Gutenberg Editor
If you’ve worked with Gutenberg before, then this will be great for you. I think Gutenberg is still a little clunky to use, so if it is your first experience with it, you may have a few issues using the theme.
You will build your pages in the Gutenberg editor. However, not every part of GeneratePress functions the same way the Gutenberg editor does.
For example, editing elements in the header and footer are not the same, so I didn’t think that it was as intuitive as it could have been. As a result, I put together a few steps to show you how to edit the header and footer.
How to Change the Headers and Footers in GeneratePress
To make changes to headers and footer you will:
1. Go to Appearance
2. Select Elements
3. Click Add New Element
4. Choose Element Type
There are headers, footers, blocks, and hooks. I’m not 100% sure what the block and hook are for, but I think the block might be how you’d create a reusable block.
5. Select Display Rules
You can choose to have the header and footer displayed on only certain pages of the site. For example, you can have it displayed on pages and not on blogs.
Once you’ve created your header or footer, you can edit them here.
My GeneratePress Review Final Thoughts
I would say that if you have a passion for creating a blog or website and you have a limited budget, this is a good option. You will have a much better chance of creating a professional website and launching it quickly. You’re able to check it out through their free version and don’t have to commit to their premium version from the beginning if you don’t want to. GeneratePress will give you a good head start, will help you launch a website quickly, and will be one you’ll be proud of. There are other WordPress theme options out there, but by far, this is the one I would recommend to others.