One of my favorite things about the Genesis Framework for WordPress (other than everything) is the community of designers, developers, and end users who pool their knowledge to make Genesis better. Unlike some frameworks *cough* Thesis *cough* that seem to thrive on confusing their users, Genesis is constantly evolving to become better and easier to use.
If you’re using Genesis for your blog or website, you may have questions about how to do certain things or how to add functionality you’ve seen on other sites. While you can almost always find free tutorials with a Google search, what happens if you aren’t comfortable with coding?
Luckily you can accomplish a ton of customizations with any number of plugins created specifically for the Genesis framework. And the best part? Most of them are available for free from the WordPress repository, thanks to the amazing people who use and love Genesis.
Here are 10 Genesis plugins that will make your life easier without a lot of fuss.
10 Awesome Genesis Plugins
1. Genesis eNews and Updates: Every Genesis child theme comes with built-in styling for opt-in forms using the eNews and Updates plugin. Install it, drag the widget to your sidebar, and follow the instructions to configure it to work with your mailing list. Whether you use Feedburner, MailChimp, Aweber, or any number of mailing list providers, you can use this plugin to make an opt-in that matches the rest of your theme.
2. Genesis Title Toggle: Easiest plugin ever. Install, and every post and page on your site will now have a checkbox to remove the title. You can also remove page titles by default through your Genesis theme settings, then override if needed on an individual basis.
3. Genesis Simple Sidebars: Ever want to have different sidebars for different parts of your site? The Simple Sidebars plugin allows you to create as many sidebars as you want. Then you can just go into the page or post editor and use a dropdown to select the sidebar you want to show. If you don’t choose one, the default sidebars will be used.
4. Genesis Easy Columns: Genesis has built-in column classes, but it can be a real pain to deal with all the
<div> stuff needed to use them. This plugin gives you a series of buttons in your post/page editor that will add shortcodes for columns – just insert your content between the beginning and ending shortcodes, and you’ve got columns that work correctly every time.
5. Genesis Simple Edits: If you need to change the post meta, post info, or footer credits and don’t want to edit your functions.php file, Simple Edits gives you a place to customize those areas with shortcodes (and yes, there’s a list of examples).
6. Genesis Simple Hooks: Several of my clients are a little scared of the hooks contained within Genesis. The Simple Hooks plugin gives you a list of all the hooks (in order) with space to add PHP, HTML, or shortcodes. Need to drop an ad code after your header? Just scroll to the After Header hook and paste in your code. No edits to your child theme’s files required!
7. Genesis Design Palette Pro: This is a fantastic plugin for people who aren’t comfortable editing CSS but need to make simple changes to their sites. Design Palette Pro gives you a panel where you can easily change link colors, fonts and font sizes, background colors, and other visual parts of your website, all while previewing the changes live in your dashboard. I HIGHLY recommend this one!
8. Genesis Simple Menus: Want to use a different menu on different pages, categories, or posts? The Simple Menus plugin lets you create additional menus and display them in the Secondary Navigation spot on a conditional basis. For example, if you need certain menu options in an area for members, you can use this plugin to make a new menu for those areas of your site.
9. Genesis Simple Comments: If you want to customize the text or input fields in the comments section of your site, this plugin will give you an easy way to do it.
10. Genesis Extender: This is the granddaddy of all Genesis plugins. Extender gives you the ability to edit your site’s CSS while you’re actually looking at the front of the site. Click an area and you can change its color, size, padding, etc. and see the difference in real time. You can also easily add widget areas and make a custom homepage layout. And did I mention that Extender is compatible with any Genesis child theme? It’s amazing and definitely worth a look.
11. BONUS PLUGIN – Genesis Custom Footer: After talking with some of my blogger friends, I wrote a plugin to allow you to customize the Genesis footer text from the theme settings page. Check it out in the WordPress plugin repository!
There you have it –
ten eleven simple plugins that can make your Genesis experience even better! Are there any plugins you’d recommend that I didn’t list here?