WordPress is a vast content management system and you will be lost with the huge number free and premium plugins and themes available. Some of the popular premium themes also combine plugins and sell as a package to attract customers. Though selecting a good theme depends on the features you needed for your website, there are few themes stand out from the crowd. GeneratePress is one such a theme that can help you create a super fast website. Here is a GeneratePress WordPress theme review based on usage in our sites.
Related: Review of Astra theme – is it worth the hype?
Those packages themes can be attractive when you create initially creating your website. However, in long run, you may use very few features consistently like images and text. We run this website almost for 10 years in different platforms. One thing we can tell you is to choose a minimalist theme that offers few functions you need. If you don’t believe us, just find any WordPress website that exists 5+ years online. Drop an email to the website owner using the contact form on the site and ask what type of theme you can choose for you starter website. You will get the same answer to buy a simple theme with minimal features. Remember, not to ask the question to any affiliate website owner who will lead to buy a useless theme for their affiliate commission.
Now, go to WordPress theme repository and search for a minimalist theme. You will hardly find few themes that is popular and cope with your needs. GeneratePress is one such a popular minimalist theme you can rely on to create your website.
Related: Top tricks to customize GeneratePress theme.
As per the WordPress.org theme page, the theme has 300K+ active installations with 1200+ five star reviews. An independent developer, Tom Usborne owns the theme and offers a premium plugin for extending the free theme’s functionalities.
The premium version also has more than 80K+ customers indicating the popularity of the theme. GeneratePress developer also offers a block based GenerateBlocks plugin which is the best alternative for heavy page builder plugins.
The theme offers following features:
- Custom theme options
- Gutenberg support
- Premium plugin
- Mini site builder using sections
- Show or hide elements and get custom navigation
- Custom elements to hook on any positions of the page layout
- Additional colors and typography options
- Remove copyright footer from free theme
- Site library to choose pre-made templates
In this mobile world, speed is important than any other factors to retain the users on your site. The size of the download file from WordPress.org site is a mere 881KB. It adds 15KB to your file size when you serve the pages with GZIP compression.
Besides the smaller file size, it has all the basic functions you need.
Related: GeneratePress Vs Astra – Which is best for you?
You can get 100/100 in Google PageSpeed Insights tool with the base WordPress installation with GeneratePress theme. The score may be less depending upon the plugins you choose further. Important part is that the theme does not have high impact on your speed. You can completely focus on optimizing other SEO factors.
Free Theme Options
Like any other default WordPress themes, you can go to “Appearance > Customize” and start customizing your site. GeneratePress will add additional theme options to optimize colors, typography and other settings.
You can change the container width, customize header, arrange navigation, choose sidebar position or full width layout and choose the columns for your footer. As we have mentioned, these are the basic features you need to setup the look of the website.
Remember that on a free version, you can’t remove the promotional footer link that will show “Powered by GeneratePress”.
Typography and Colors
You can customize the font size and family for each element of your site under “Typography” section. However, the free theme only allows you to customize up to H3 headings and you may need to purchase a premium plugin for more granular level customization.
With GeneratePress, you can choose to use the default theme on your computer instead of loading additional fonts. The “Colors” panel will allow you to choose your favorite colors for each element like different levels of headings on your site.
Related: Discy WordPress Q&A theme review.
The “General” section allows you to select the icons as fonts or SVG. You can also combine the CSS to reduce the size and enable caching of dynamic CSS files. Layout, colors, typography and general are the options available in the free version.
Documents and Support
Frankly, you will not need any support for using the free version. If you have purchased premium version, there are videos and forum support to get help. Generatepress forum is very active and you can find answers to almost any questions from previous discussions.
Upselling Premium Version
One of the typical issues with the free version is upselling the premium version in every possible way. The only menu added by the theme “Appearance > GeneratePress” simply is a collection of all premium modules. The sidebar will show few options which will take you to the customizer. Again, the customizer will have a bold and first option for using premium version. In addition, you will also see the promoted links under colors and typography section with the footer by default includes the link to the developer’s site.
In our opinion, this is too much of upselling of the premium version which is already popular enough.
After installing the free theme, you can go to “Appearance > GeneratePress” menu to view the list of premium modules. Click on any of the link to go to the developer’s site and read more about that module. Premium version comes as a separate GP Premium plugin to enhance the free version. The features include custom backgrounds, remove copyright information on footer, additional typography, enhanced menu, site library and much more. It will cost you $59 for a yearly license with one year free updates and support.
Related: Newspaper WordPress magazine theme review.
Premium Site Library
The notable premium feature is the “Site Library” that offers pre-defined templates for starting your site. You can simply choose one of the available demos and install quickly to start your site instead of customizing everything from scratch.
The premium site library includes the demos of standalone theme as well as with Elementor and Beaver page builder plugins.
Elements for Custom Layouts
After using the theme for few months, we surprised to see the power of Elements option offered as a premium feature. You can create header, sidebar widget or any other element and assign to the site layout based on the rules. This will make it easy for inserting specific elements for categories, posts or pages. For example, you can have a special text box widget to show on the sidebar of posts belong to particular category.
Other premium features like Secondary Navigation, Menu Plus and Sections will help you to take your site to next level. In addition, you can also have custom options when using WooCommerce store on your site.
Problems with GeneratePress Theme
GeneratePress is a lightweight theme, which is an indication you will loose many features other premium themes offer. Check out the complete list of missing features in this article.
- For everything, you have to create a hook and insert in the required positions. For example, inserting Google Analytics code needs a site level hook to be inserted in header position. This may look easy as long as you are sticking to GeneratePress. When you decided to change the theme, you have to manually migrate all those hooks on your site.
- Basic feature like author box is not available. We believe, multi-author WordPress sites need an author box to showcase the ownership of the article.
- The post meta data by default will to the post URL itself. In our understanding, date should link to date archive and not to the post itself.
- Free version does not allow to remove the footer link, while similar lightweight theme Astra offers this with free version.
- At the end, you will end up with installing handful of plugin for having a decent blog. This may pull down the site speed affecting the ultimate purpose of the using GeneratePress theme.
GeneratePress is definitely a choice to consider when you want to focus on building simple content website. The premium version of the theme also supports page builder plugins and offers enhanced customization options. However, limiting the basic functions like typography in free version and showing too many promotional links may drive some of the users away. In addition, you may feel the site layout is too simple and needs additional plugins for even adding author box. If you focus on speed and simple content then GeneratePress may work for you, otherwise you need to find a theme that offers additional features.
- Promotional footer link in free version
- Missing basic features like author box
- Limited customization for meta data
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