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Last updated: August 1, 2020
GeneratePress is a combination of a free, lightweight WordPress theme and a premium plugin. This plugin allows you to add essential features, but only the features that you actually want to use.
This makes GeneratePress not only lightweight, but also very powerful and flexible. In this review I am going to be explaining what I like about GeneratePress as a WordPress theme and why I think you should use it too.
|FAQs about GeneratePress|
|Is GeneratePress free?||The theme GeneratePress is free. However, The GP Premium plugin is not free and currently costs $49.95.|
|Is the GP Premium plugin required?||You can certainly run a WordPress blog with just the free theme. However, the GP Premium plugin offers essential features, so it’s recommended to purchase a license.|
|How do you add Google Analytics in GeneratePress?||You can add Google Analytics (and other site-wide scripts and tags) by using a Hook element. Follow this guide for more details.|
Review: 6 Reasons You Need GeneratePress
In 2019 I planned to build a brand new affiliate site, and for this project I wanted to use a new theme. A theme that was ready for the future. A simple, lightweight theme that would give me the features I needed, and nothing else.
So I decided to purchase and install GeneratePress on that affiliate site to try it out. After a bit of getting used to and implementing a few changes here and there, I was (and still am) super happy with the looks of the site as well as with its performance.
And that was it. I made the decision to say goodbye to Thrive Themes and get Blog Pioneer switched over to GeneratePress as well.
With most of my sites now running on GeneratePress, it’s time for me to share my experience, and walk you through 6 solid reasons for you to make the switch to GeneratePress.
1. Page Speed: GeneratePress Is Lightweight and Clean
We all know page speed is important. Google has even confirmed that mobile page speed is in fact a mobile ranking factor.
But for me personally, the Google Page Speed Score is not something I worry about too much. What I care about is a good user experience, and as such I want my sites to be light and lean.
GeneratePress was built with site speed in mind. The most basic installation of the theme is less than 30Kb which is unrivaled. In addition, GeneratePress is coded and structured according to the latest coding standards.
As an ex software developer, I do actually look at how themes and plugins are coded. And I can honestly say that GeneratePress looks very clean and well structured.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Let’s have a look at the Google Page Speed scores from before and after the switch from FocusBlog to GeneratePress. Needless to say that I ran these tests multiple times.
The first test is of the home page:
The second test is of a long blog post that has quite a few images:
The page speed scores are around 8-15% better. Not a shocking result by any means, but that’s because the site was already performing well.
But the only thing I did was change themes, nothing else. So it’s safe to say that these improvements are purely because of GeneratePress.
Here’s the page speed scores for my affiliate site that is also using GeneratePress:
Also note that I could improve that speed score further by implementing funky things like lazy loading images and using next generation image formats. But at this stage I’m simply not too fussed about it.
I don’t get obsessed with site speed. As long as it hits above 70, I am satisfied.
2. Unlimited Customization Options
The way GeneratePress works is, the theme itself is free, but the extra plugin is premium. The theme itself is bare bones and super lightweight, which is a good thing.
The premium plugin allows you to add features to the theme. But only the features that you need and want. In other words, you are in full control over what you are installing and using.
You know how some themes are incredible feature-rich but you hardly ever use the vast majority of these features? The result is that you end up with a super heavy, bloated theme that doesn’t perform well.
With GP Premium you won’t have to deal with that.
GeneratePress Premium is a paid plugin that works alongside the theme. It allows you to activate sets of features, known as Modules.
For example, the Colors Module allows you to customize the colors of all elements in your site. Headers, buttons, links, background, widgets, literally everything can be configured.
Another useful Module is Typography, with over 70 typography options that give you complete control over your site’s content.
Perhaps the most powerful Module is Elements which consists of the following:
- Header Element:
Allows you to create custom headers that you can display anywhere you like.
- Layout Element:
Allows you to change the layout of your site such as sidebars and footers, with custom layout options for different pages.
- Hooks Element:
Allows you to “hook” your own custom code into various areas of the theme without changing core theme files.
For example, see that funky little author box at the bottom of this article? That doesn’t come standard with the theme, instead I’ve had to use a Hook Element to let it appear underneath each blog post.
With a bit of help from the GeneratePress support forum, it was pretty easy to do.
Another example is breadcrumbs. If you’re using Yoast SEO, it’s very easy to create a Hook Element to implement breadcrumbs in your blog posts, just like you see them at the top of this particular post.
Pre-Made Site Templates
If customizing is not your thing, and you really just want to start cracking, GP offers a wide range of pre-made site templates. All you need to do is import and activate the template you like, and your site will have the very same look and feel of the template.
The site library even has pre-made options for page builders such as Elementor and Beaver Builder. So if you’re using one of these page builders, simply pick a template you like, and you’re good to go.
3. Compatibility with Page Builders
If you’re using Thrive Architect, Elementor, Beaver Builder, or any other major page builder, there is no need to worry about any compatibility issues.
I am personally using Thrive Architect, and apart from a few changes I had to implement after the switch, GeneratePress and Architect work nicely together, no problems at all.
And as mentioned above, GeneratePress also offers pre-made templates for sites using one of these page builders.
Gutenberg / Block Editor?
What about the WordPress Block Editor, formerly known as Gutenberg, I hear you ask.
Good news, GeneratePress is 100% compatible with the Block Editor, no issues at all. In fact, the GeneratePress development were one of the first to fully embrace Gutenberg as a WordPress editor.
Even better news is that this same development team has created a plugin named GenerateBlocks, which is essentially an extension to the standard WordPress Block Editor.
GenerateBlocks gives you four simple blocks (container, grid, headline, and buttons) that allow you to basically create any type of layout you want.
4. Inbuilt Schema Markup
If you’re not familiar with Schema markup, it’s a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and present your page in the search results.
While Schema is by no means required to rank high in the SERPs, it does help you to get featured in rich snippets, carrousels and other funky elements you see in a Google search results page.
Here’s a screenshot taken from Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, where I’m testing an article on Blog Pioneer:
As you can see, lots of Schema objects there.
The only schema objects I added myself in the above list are BreadcrumbList (via a GeneratePress Hook Element) and Review Schema (manually). The rest of the objects is automatically generated by the theme.
Please note though that you are free to remove any of the elements that you don’t want to have. Simply add a filter for the Schema data you want to have removed.
If this sounds complicated, the GP forum has lots of examples around how to do this, plus the support team will always help you out.
Since version 11.0, Yoast has included extensive Schema markup functionality. Yoast uses JSON-LD to generate the Schema output, whereas GP uses MicroElements. Both ways are acceptable, but JSON-LD is generally considered to be the preferred way. In addition, the Schema that Yoast generates is better structured which makes it easier for search engines to interpret. For these reasons I have decided to disable the GP Schema markup and use the Yoast solution instead.
5. Amazing Support and Documentation
Using GeneratePress Premium for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. The theme + plugin is very different from how other themes function, so there is definitely a bit of a learning curve to deal with.
But once the penny drops and you become more familiar with how the theme works, you’ll start to recognize the power of this product. That’s the process I went through, at least.
The first thing you should do after purchasing GP Premium is reading through their extensive online documentation library. It covers everything you need to know, from setting up the theme and basic troubleshooting, to customization and developer resources.
I’ve had to ask for support a few times myself, and every single time the response was quick and helpful. Every single time.
The support forum is open to the public, so you can see other people’s support requests as well. I challenge anyone to find a support request that doesn’t get addressed in a timely manner. Seriously though.
They even help people out with issues that are not directly related to GeneratePress. For example, if someone is struggling to get a certain element in a page to look differently, they’ll provide you with custom CSS to achieve that.
The beauty of such a support forum is that over time it has grown into an enormous source of technical issues and resolutions. So if you ever have an issue with GP, simply do a search in the forum and chances are you’ll find the solution.
6. Affordable Pricing
The premium version of GeneratePress is surprisingly affordable.
For only $49.95, you will get access to all premium modules and the site library. And this isn’t just for one website, you’re free to install the premium plugin in as many websites as you like.
The only small catch is that you’ll have to renew your license after one year in order to keep receiving updates and support. The renewal fee however comes with a 40% discount.
Don’t like GeneratePress? They offer a 30-day money back guarantee. But you won’t have to use it, you can trust me on that.
How to Install GeneratePress and GP Premium
In this paragraph I am going to explain how to purchase, install, and configure the GeneratePress theme and Premium plugin.
First, we’re going to install the free GeneratePress theme.
Install the GeneratePress Theme
In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Appearance >> Themes. Click the Add New button at the top, and search for GeneratePress:
Hover over the GeneratePress theme image, and click the Install button.
Once it’s installed, click the Activate button:
The next step is to purchase a GeneratePress Premium license, after which we can install the plugin on your website.
Install GP Premium
Click this link to go to the GeneratePress website, and search for the Add to Cart button.
Click that button, and submit your billing details in the following page.
You will now have a GeneratePress user account where you can download the GP Premium plugin as a ZIP file. Download and save this file to a folder on your computer.
In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Plugins >> Add New, then click the Upload Plugin button. Browse to the ZIP file on your computer, and then click the Install Now button. Once it’s installed, make sure you click the Activate Plugin button:
The next thing you need to do is activating your License Key so you can receive updates when they become available.
To do this, navigate to Appearance >> GeneratePress. On the right side, you will see a box labeled “Updates”. Paste your license key into the license key field, and click the Save button.
Install a Site Library Template
You will notice that your site now looks very empty, perhaps a little bit boring. With GP Premium, you have access to a Site Library with great templates that you can use.
Have a look at this Site Library here, to see for yourself what’s available.
I personally like the Tasty template, which is great for recipe sites, but can be used for any other niche as well.
To import this template (or any other template) from the Site Library, navigate to Appearance >> GeneratePress, and activate the Site Library module:
Once you’ve done that, click on the Site Library tab at the top and search for your chosen template.
Click on the Details button, followed by the Import Options button:
GeneratePress will now import all the settings, modules and plugins that are required by this template. Once that’s done, check your site again. You will now see that it already starts to look a whole lot better.
The next thing you should do is click the Customize button at the top, which will allow you to customize your site, such as changing the header, the font, the sidebar widgets, and so much more:
I recommend you take your time to go through these settings, so you can get your site to look exactly like you want it to look.
GeneratePress is not the only awesome theme out there of course.
I would say the two biggest alternatives (or competitors) to GeneratePress are Astra and OceanWP, both of which I actually rate highly.
The super popular Astra theme is very similar to GeneratePress in the way it is set up. Astra is also very lightweight and is designed based on a modular approach.
Astra has a base theme that is free, and you can extend it by purchasing the Pro version. This Pro version allows you to activate various modules that you may find necessary for your own blog.
Astra is also designed such that it is compatible with popular page builders such as Elementor and Beaver Builder.
Just like GeneratePress, Astra also has several website templates available that you can import and use straight away. Some of these are designed with page builders, others are more bare bones.
The OceanWP theme is also a free theme that can be extended by purchasing individual modules or by purchasing the Core Extensions Bundle.
The free theme is super lightweight, and it’s entirely up to you which modules you would like to add to your theme setup. This setup makes OceanWP one of the fastest loading themes on the market.
Similar to GP and Astra, OceanWP also offers several demo site imports, some of them free and others paid.
OceanWP has a huge amount of 5-star reviews on the WordPress site, which proves that I am certainly not the only one who is excited about this theme.
>> How to add Google Analytics in GeneratePress.
>> How to add an Author Box in GeneratePress.
>> How to add BreadCrumbs in GeneratePress.
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Final Thoughts (+ Coupon Code)
Switching themes is quite a time consuming process and it’s also a bit scary. It’s like buying a new car. Will you like it? What if you don’t like it, or what if it doesn’t perform as well as you expected?
Choosing the right WordPress theme is an important decision because you want to stick with it for many years to come. And that is why I did my due diligence before purchasing GeneratePress. I’m now happy I made the switch from FocusBlog to GeneratePress, it has exceeded my expectations.
One more thing I should mention is that GeneratePress is 100% mobile responsive. It looks and performs amazingly well on mobile and tablet. You can test this yourself by opening this article on your mobile, if you’re not there already.
Hopefully this review has convinced you to give GeneratePress a serious go. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
GeneratePress currently has a 10% discount coupon running.
The use that coupon, click on the button below which will direct you to a page from where you can purchase a GP Premium license with a discount.
|Summary||GeneratePress is a free WordPress theme plus premium plugin combination, that is not only lightweight and fast, but also powerful and flexible. The theme itself is bare bones, with GP Premium allowing you to select and activate the extra features you need. The power of GeneratePress is not only the boost in page speed, but also the unlimited customization options.|
|Rating||4.5 (out of 5)|