As a developer, I have never been a fan of using commercial WordPress themes due to the amount of unnecessary bloat. There has been that very rare occasion where I have come across a well-developed theme, and this is one of them.
Welcome to GeneratePress
GeneratePress was developed by Tom Usborne, who on his website says he wanted to build a “solid theme” to base all of his client work on. Tom adds that he soon realised there were calls for more features to be added but wanted to keep the theme light for developers so he introduced “modular add-ons” which “can be turned on and off as needed, so there’s not a bunch of unnecessary stuff loading in the background of the theme.”
Today, GeneratePress has over half a million downloads and has over 15,000 customers according to the GeneratePress website. A stat that is hard not to believe.
What is GeneratePress
GeneratePress is a freemium, secure, mobile friendly, lightweight WordPress theme that can be extended with a premium pack of extensions that include advanced theme colours, typography, layout, spacing, custom hooks and other goodies. GeneratePress works with most page builders and plugins and has a great in-depth documentation available. GeneratePress also has a very active community-slash-support forum, which is an added bonus.
What Can You Do With The Free Version?
The free version of the theme has limited options but they are enough to get you started.
If you have a little bit of coding experience then I don’t think you need the premium version as you could easily customise the theme with custom CSS and PHP. Having said that, we are all for supporting the developer and for $39.95 a year to use the premium version of the theme on an unlimited number of websites is an absolute bargain.
Unlike many commercial themes, GeneratePress uses the WordPress customizer panel giving you the advantage of seeing changes you make to your website live before hitting the publish button. The options available on the free version include the ability to change the width of your website’s, main container, header, navigation and footer. You also have options to change the basics like body background colour, link colour, typography (includes Google Fonts), main navigation position, single page and post layout (with or without sidebar, hiding the page title) and the number of footer widgets you wish to display (1-5). Blog-wise, you can select whether you would like to display a full post or an excerpt – which we failed to include in our ‘Quick Play’ video below.
So, what is the fuss all about? I can get all these features on other free themes and more I hear you say…
Yes, you are probably right, but you are not guaranteed the same speed, quality code and the support Tom and his team provide. GeneratePress was built with speed in mind, it’s a basic, lightweight theme, what you do with it is entirely down to your own imagination.
Talking about speed, after activating all the premium add-ons there was very little weight added and the theme’s performance was hardly affected.
We run a quick Google Page Speed test off one of our standard cPanel hosting accounts without any type of optimisation. The results speak for themselves. Below you will see results with (on the right) and without (on the left) the premium add-ons active.
Pretty impressive, right?
What Can You Do With The Premium Version?
To activate the advanced features on GeneratePress you must install the GeneratePress premium plugin, which unlocks 14 modular add-ons.
The modules add further functionality and options to GeneratePress that help customise the theme further without any additional code.
Let’s look at what is included:
Change every visible colour in GeneratePress using over 60 colour options.
Choose font sizes, fonts (including Google Fonts), font weights for different areas and elements such as the main menu, the header, the content, the sidebars and the footer.
Control element spacing including your header, content, widgets, menu items, and sidebar width.
Display your posts in columns (magazine) or masonry. Change the post image size and alignment.
Add a second navigation element to GeneratePress with all the same options as your primary navigation.
Add your own custom copyright message at the bottom of your website.
Add a sticky menu (fade, slide or no transition), menu logo, and a slide-out menu.
Add new options to your Dashboard that allow you to add in your own custom content throughout various areas in the theme.
Add a basic image or a complex content page header with full screen, parallax and other cool options.
Disable specific elements on certain pages and posts such as the header, navigation, content title and footer.
Easily create seamless sections inside your pages to build unique layouts.
Upload background images to various areas throughout GeneratePress.
Take control of your WooCommerce store with new typography, colour & layout options.
Easily export and import your settings from the customizer.
The beauty of it all is that you can just activate the modules you need which is pretty unique.
If you wish to take things further and fancy getting your creative juices flowing, GeneratePress and page builder plugins are a match made in heaven. We have tried several page builders including Visual Composer, Site Origin and Beaver Builder but the one that stuck out for us was Elementor.
Elementor and GeneretePress are both extremely lightweight, they complement each other very well. In fact, so well that we have built our entire website on Elementor and GeneratePress. This is something that we would have never considered in the past, everything we did was built from the ground up.
GeneratePress is one impressive theme. It’s the perfect solution for developers, businesses and individuals who are looking to build any type of website.
A Quick Play With The Free And Premium Version
Check out the video below where we have a quick play with both the free and premium versions. You will notice there are more options available when you activate the premium add-on.