The Academy Relaunches On The Genesis Framework

Last Updated on June 1, 2016  

Well, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, then there’s a good chance that you’ve already noticed that the site looks pretty different now.

I have just re-launched Blog Marketing Academy, now powered by the Genesis Framework.

Personally, I think it looks a HELL of a lot better. 🙂  What do you think?

Why Did I Pick The Genesis Framework?

I will likely do a more thorough blog post where I compare Genesis to some of the other theme frameworks out there. In the meantime, however, here are a few reasons why I decided to go with Genesis over other frameworks which are available, especially Thesis:

  • Genesis is better supported by the WordPress community. Thesis, because of its history with the GPL license, is still a little frowned upon by those guys. I, as an end user, want to be able to get as much help as possible with the guts of this site. You can search/install Genesis-specific plug-ins right inside the plug-in directory. This makes things a lot easier.
  • Genesis is very cleanly coded.
  • Genesis seems to have more company backing. Thesis was late on delivery of 2.0, still suffers from lack of documentation, and still hasn’t delivered the two promised child themes they have on their offer page (not that I care about those, but still…)
  • Genesis had a number of mobile responsive child themes available.

So, there it is.

Why Did I Pick A Framework At All?

This site was always using a custom theme. And, I know full well how to customize my own theme. So, the obvious question is… why did I even bother?

By basing this site off a framework, it brings a TON of built-in capability to the table. With a totally custom theme, it is up to the programmer/designer (aka… me) to build in every single thing – manually. Or, I have to use yet another plug-in.

Just a simple thing like breadcrumbs (if I wanted to use them) would need to be manually programmed. If I wanted nicely formatted page numbers, I had to either code it by hand, or use a specialized plug-in.

Also, my custom theme was so customized that it bypassed a lot of the conveniences of WordPress. Things like the menu system and sidebar widgets were totally unusable on my customized theme. So, by going with a framework like Genesis, which is very tightly integrated with WordPress, it makes my life a lot easier because I can use all these features.

Now, anybody who is used to customizing their own theme and is considering a frame…. keep this mind….

It will take some getting used to. At first, it will seem counter-intuitive. It will feel like the framework is getting in the way. But, as you proceed, you will soon get the idea how it works. You’ll begin to understand the hooks and actions, how to customize output… and you’ll soon find that you can get things done a LOT faster than doing things the old-fashioned way.

The Academy Re-Design

So, how did I make Genesis look like this?

Well, I started off with the Education theme. It had some things I liked about it.

Then, I went to town. It took a lot of Googling, a lot of study of other people’s code snippets. But, slowly things began to take shape.

My original intention was to have the design still sport a lot of similarity to the old one. But, as I kept on tweaking, it became clear that I was pretty much completely re-designing my site – complete with a new logo, new header, and more.

Another positive side effect of this design is that I am able to unbury some guides and other great pages of this site which were otherwise buried. And, the nature of the navigation I had with the prior design made it impossible to make a clear path to those pages.

What Comes Next?

Well, being that this project ended up turning into a re-design, I’m going to be updating a lot of my profiles to reflect the change in branding.

And, because of the flexibility of Genesis, I’m seriously considering changing the members area of the Academy from OptimizePress over to the Genesis Framework. I actually think a Genesis child theme (very likely based on this very theme) would make a gorgeous membership site. So, we shall see. 🙂

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

And, if you have any weird flukes show up on your browser, computer or device, let me know. I tested things out pretty well, including on my iPad and iPhone. Things were working pretty well. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few little issues pop up.

Until next time…


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  • On some pages, I find that your Social-Link-Buttons (Twitter, G+, Facebook, etc.) on the left Sidebar, get in the way of reading the Content Text. They need to placed somewhere else or more whitespace is needed between them & the Content.

  • Leon Zapata says:

    Hi David

    I like the new design of this website. I don’t even want to leave.
    I am Trying to get my website done, but I am not skillful for that.
    Would be good if you put some video tutorials for your list in how you created re designed the website step by step. no a lot of tutorials about Genesis Framework

  • JP McLean says:

    I’m no expert, but it looks great to me. Crisp and clean. Congrats.

  • Steve Spring says:

    David,

    I like the new design. It is very clean and easy to navigate. I also liked the popup for the blogging guide and I hate popups

  • Ammar Ali says:

    Love your new design, it’s just simply awesome, Easy to navigate, fast loading and useful navigation and get started guide.

    Keep it up David! 😀

  • Luca Lazzari says:

    Hi David, well done, Home Page very clean and clear.
    Just one thing. I’m not an Englishman so what I’ll say is absolutely arguable, but I don’t like the repetition of the verb “operating” in the “Who Runs The Academy” section in the footer.

    Have a great day
    Luca

  • Keith Davis (@wmwebdes) says:

    Site looks good David – clean and easy to read

    ” Education theme.” would never have known if you’d not said – looks nothing like Educatiion.

    I’ve been using Genesis for a couple of years now and if you pick the right child theme you can have a site up and running in just a few hours.

    I’m hearing lots of comments about Thesis, which match yours – late on delivery and no documentation!

    Anyway welcome to genesis and hope to see you on #genesiswp.

  • Lorraine Grula says:

    It will be interesting to see how this redesign affects your conversions, etc. Please keep us informed of those things. I was surprised to see on the “start here” page that there is no sign up. The PDF downloaded without signing up. I see 2 different sign up places on each post and of course the large one on the home page. Just trying to figure out exactly what you have done, not complaining or criticizing at all. Everything looks fine on my screen, using FF. I have been planning on getting one of the genesis themes too.

    • David Risley says:

      There are still some opt-ins on the sub-pages that need to be placed. But, the PDFs that are available without opt-in were on purpose.

  • First, please know that I appreciate your work and I’m about to go the StudioPress route myself. That being said, here’s the bad stuff that jumped out to me.

    1. Your blog home page is killin’ me. I think this has to do with the third sidebar (Next Mastermind / Top Tools). The problem is the main blog text is scrunched down so much that anything next to a photo is chopped up. For example, on the second blog post;

    Some people
    have lost their
    jobs and are
    looking for
    alternatives.
    Some aren’t
    having much luck
    finding a job and
    are, too, looking
    for alternatives.

    I’d rather see much smaller images or an image that takes up the whole space so the text starts below.

    2. Footer icons. You have the 5 icons at the bottom and they have a 3D feel. The two icons you have above that are 2D. Minor thing, but would give a more polished feel.

    3. That’s a lot of white space on the right side of the your logo in the header. Consider centering the logo unless you are going to put something in there.

    4. FAQ’s menu link in header doesn’t work.

    5. Home page – with the big quote, uses “Helvetica Neue”,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif in the CSS for the font. The text appears very aliases (jagged). Consider using a display font – a font that’s made to look good at big sizes. Same with blog post titles.

    6. Personal opinion – the Pop-up box on the HOME page is too much. I start by seeing this huge text and a huge box for my email address – which is ok by me. Then I see a pop-up asking for another email. 🙁 Seems to betray your teachings on appearing professional.

    7. I love the “click here to get started on this site” page.

    8. Blog category archives pages – the “read more” text is in inside a button, which looks cool, but the text appears as:
    [Read
    more…]

    One line, please. I’m guessing this is an oversight. My current resolution is 1152×864 so it shouldn’t be re-sizing in case it it.

    9. Needs a splash of color. use the yellow / ocre color from the Join Academy to use sparsely elsewhere. Otherwise, the dark blue gives a bit of a bland feel. Think colored handkerchief in a dark suit front pocket.

    10. More of an observation / question. The “Free 30-day Chal” box on the right side is nice but I can’t get over the fact that it’s showing a DVD box and DVD’s when it’s really streamed content. Maybe using the image within an iPad or computer screen would work? I don’t know.

    • David Risley says:

      Thanks, Chris. Many good points… others just a difference of opinion. 🙂

      (1) Will check that. I think it is a resolution problem, but will verify.
      (2) Gotcha. You’ve got an eye for detail.
      (3) White space was intentional. No centering.
      (4) I know. Haven’t written it yet.
      (5) Hmmm, will check. Looks great here. Might be the way the font is on your machine, but either way, will verify.
      (6) I thought I removed that. Will re-check. But, yes, definitely don’t want the scroll-triggered opt-in on the homepage. Only blog posts, in fact.
      (7) Cool. Me too. 🙂
      (8) Ah, OK.
      (9) It is one thing to look pretty. It is another to design for conversion.
      (10) We’ll see.

      • Cool.

        #5: Might be my machine. I tweaked the CSS and it didn’t make a much difference – the fonts were still jagged at smaller sizes. I’ll have to check it on another computer.

  • Sergio Felix says:

    I think it looks super TIGHT man and knowing how perfectionist you are, I’m pretty sure you’ll continue dabbling with it until you get it really close to amazing!

    PS. Looks fantastic on a wide screen and Chrome.

    PPS. Ever crossed your mind to teach html, css, php, mysql or anything like that?

    • David Risley says:

      Yeah, will be tweaking some things. I wanted to kick it out the door, tho.

  • Susanna Perkins says:

    David, congratulations on turning away from the dark side 🙂 I’ve been using Genesis for a couple of years now and very happy with it. I also like their tech support, tho I suspect that’s not a big issue for you.

  • Shlomo Skinner says:

    David:
    I haven’t spent a lot of time on the site, but what I’ve seen looks good.

    That being said, your bullets in this post are not well formatted on my machine. I’m on a 15″ laptop with FF. The first bullet the lines are almost on top of each other. The third bullet the lines may be a bit further apart than you really want them.

    Shlomo

    • David Risley says:

      Yeah, Dawn pointed that out. Is it in Firefox? Because, on Chrome, it looks perfect. Will check.

    • David Risley says:

      Fixed. Wasn’t a theme problem. Just some stupid format thing in the post itself. 🙂

      • Shlomo Skinner says:

        It looks good now in FF.

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