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Last updated: June 7, 2021
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 powerful and versatile. In this review I am going to be explaining what I like about GeneratePress as a WordPress theme solution, 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 $59 per year or $249 lifetime.|
|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: 7 Reasons You Need GeneratePress
For a new niche website project a while ago, my plan was 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 niche 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) very satisfied with the looks and performance of the site.
And that was it. I made the decision to say goodbye to my previous go-to theme (which was Thrive Themes at the time) and get the majority of my sites switched over to GeneratePress.
With most of my sites now running on GeneratePress, it’s time for me to share my experience, and walk you through 7 good reasons for you to also make the switch to GeneratePress.
1. GeneratePress Is Lightweight
We all know that page speed and Core Web Vitals are ranking factors. Page speed has been a mobile ranking factor for a while, and in 2021 Core Web Vitals (CWV) has also been added to the list of Organic Search ranking factors.
Personally, I don’t stress about page speed and CWV so much. What matters to me is being able to offer a good user experience. As such, I want my webites to be light, clean and easy to navigate.
GeneratePress was built with site speed and user experience in mind. The most basic installation of the theme results in a 7.5kb page size, 2 HTTP requests, and no dependencies.
As an ex software developer, I do actually look at how themes and plugins are coded, and I can honestly say that GeneratePress and GP Premium are incredibly well built.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Let’s have a look at the Google Page Speed scores for one of my affiliate sites. Of course, I ran these tests multiple times.
There are a few things to point out here. The affiliate site used in this test is super lightweight, has very few plugins, runs on a decent server, and uses no page builders.
As mentioned, I don’t stress about page speed or CWV. But if a WordPress theme can give your website that perfect foundation, then you should absolutely go for it. And that is what GeneratePress + GP Premium is all about.
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.
3. Pre-Made Starter Sites
If customizing is not your thing, and you really just want to start cracking, with GP Premium you have access to a wide range of pre-made starter sites.
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 that template.
There are many different templates to choose from in the site library, suitable for all sorts of different niches, in addition to e-commerce and business websites.
4. GeneratePress Is a One-Stop Shop
Choosing GeneratePress with their GP Premium plugin means you don’t need to go elsewhere to build websites.
The following products, all from the same development company, work amazingly well together:
These four products are all you need to build and manage your WordPress blog. You don’t even need to use/purchase GP Premium, GenerateBlocks or WP Show Posts, as the GeneratePress theme itself is sufficient for some.
But I would always recommend GeneratePress + GP Premium as the foundation, and add GenerateBlocks if you need a tool to build great looking pages without having to use a heavy page builder.
GeneratePress is 100% compatible with the Block Editor (formerly Gutenberg). In fact, the GeneratePress development team were one of the first to fully embrace Gutenberg as a WordPress editor.
GenerateBlocks is a plugin that works as an extension to the standard WordPress Block Editor. It’s created by the same development team.
The plugin gives you four simple blocks (container, grid, headline, and buttons) that allow you to basically create any type of layout you want. It kind of eliminates the need to use a bloated page builder.
Compatibility with Page Builders
If you do want to use a page builder, such as Thrive Architect, Elementor or Beaver Builder, there is no need to worry about any compatibility issues.
I am personally using Thrive Architect for a few landing pages on Blog Pioneer, and I can report that GeneratePress and Architect work nicely together, no problems at all.
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. 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 showing how to do this, plus the support team will always help you out.
Since version 11.0, Yoast has included 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 with all the necessary objects. For these reasons I have decided to disable the GP Schema markup and use the Yoast solution instead.
7. Affordable Pricing
The premium version of GeneratePress is surprisingly affordable.
For only $59 per year, or $249 for a lifetime license, 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.
If you purchase the annual license, you will have to renew it after each year in order to keep receiving updates and support. The renewal fee however comes with a 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.
1. 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.
2. Install GP Premium
Click this link to go to the GeneratePress website, and scroll down to the section where you can purchase a GP Premium license.
You have the option to purchase a one-year license or a lifetime license. Choose one of the options, and click on the Get Started button.
In the following page, simply submit your payment details to finalize the purchase.
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.
3. 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 biggest alternatives (or competitors) to GeneratePress are Astra, Kadence and OceanWP, three themes I actually rate highly.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, check out my list of recommended affiliate marketing WordPress themes for more options.
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.
Kadence is another WordPress development company that has received a lot of positive reviews in recent years, especially in the affiliate marketing world.
The Kadence Theme was developed and designed to offer lightning-fast performance, and comes with a great set of features that make it easy to quickly build good looking websites.
For a quick setup, Kadence has a collection of free templates available that you can use for your own website.
The theme itself is free but you can purchase Kadence Premium for a very reasonable price which gives you access to a whole lot of extra features.
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 shows that I am not the only one excited about this theme.
>> How to add an Author Box in GeneratePress.
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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 am now very happy that I made the switch to GeneratePress, it has exceeded my expectations.
Hopefully this review has convinced you to give GeneratePress a serious go. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
GeneratePress occasionally offers a discount coupon. To see if there is a coupon available now, click on the button below.
This will direct you to a page from where you can purchase a GP Premium license with a potential discount if there is a coupon available.
|Review||GeneratePress + GP Premium|
|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||4.8 (out of 5)|