“I’m new to WordPress. Which is easier for a newbie, a StudioPress theme or an Elegant Themes theme?”
Let’s take a look, at the inside workings of both themes.
Installing the Theme
Installation is straightforward and the same for both.
- Download your theme
- Log into your WordPress Dashboard
- Select Appearance / Themes
- Click Add new
- Select Upload
- Click Choose File, then navigate to the theme you’re installing and click Install Now
- Click Activate
Setting up the Theme
Once activated, you can Customize the theme by clicking the link. Each theme gives you different customization options. Here are two examples.
#1. Streamline Pro Theme from StudioPress
#2. Nexus Theme from Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes ePanel
Elegant Themes includes their ePanel. When you first install the theme, you’ll see a message like this at the top of the page.
To navigate to the ePanel, click on the link within the message, or the menu item to your left. It will give the name of the theme, followed by Theme Options. In this case we’re using the Nexus theme for our examples.
Here’s what the ePanel looks like:
The ePanel options vary somewhat from theme to theme.
In this example, using the Nexus theme, you can use the ePanel to:
- Upload a logo image
- Upload a favicon
- Create a custom background for your header area
- Decide which preset social media icons to show and link them to your accounts
- Show full posts or blog-style excerpts
And that’s just for starters. When you click on other tabs and menu items in the ePanel, you’ll see other choices as well.
You can use the Navigation settings menu to create your site’s navigation menu. However, I recommend ignoring it and creating your menus instead inside the main WordPress menu area — from the Appearance menu, click on Menus.
The ePanel menu settings were helpful for creating custom menus several years ago, but since WordPress now includes that ability, it’s better to set them up directly.
Genesis Theme Settings
Where Elegant Themes has the ePanel, Genesis themes add a WordPress dashboard item just above the Appearance menu.
Titled simply, Genesis, this dashboard menu includes the Theme Settings, SEO Settings and Import/Export.
This is where you select your
- Color scheme
- Default layout
- Excerpts or full posts
It’s also where you add the code that you need to run Google Analytics, and your RSS feed. Other selections vary from theme to theme.
Genesis offers reasonably robust SEO tools. This is where you fill out the information to make the most of them.
This allows you to create a .json file to export your Genesis settings, or to import them. If you’re moving your site from one host to another, or duplicating a site, it saves manually making all the settings tweaks.
Elegant Theme’s ePanel is more complex than the Genesis Theme Settings, but Genesis includes more in the Customize menu. The end result is pretty similar.
Both designers give you simple ways to make sophisticated customizations.
Both have good tech support, although based on my own experience I’d say that the StudioPress tech support is more predictable in its response times.
Both designers have security firms like Sucuri vet their themes for vulnerabilities, and both get full marks for security from third parties.
StudioPress and Elegant Themes work on completely different sales models.
Elegant Themes is subscription based. You pay an annual fee which gives you all of their themes and technical support for a year. You don’t have to renew, but if you choose not to you’ll no longer receive support or theme updates. Price is $69/year.
StudioPress runs on the Genesis Framework, so typically you purchase the framework plus a child theme. You can install the theme on as many sites as you want, and you get lifetime support and updates. Price for both the framework and child theme is usually $99. (There’s some variation.)
Both offer advanced packages, where a one-time payment gets you lifetime access to all their themes (including themes released in the future) and support. Elegant Themes price is $249, and StudioPress charges $399.95 for new customers, but there’s a discount if you’re a returning customer.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either one.
Both designers create attractive themes on solid code, and both are comparable in ease of use. So find a theme that you like the looks of, and go from there.
Which would you choose?