Announcing the Prose Theme for WordPress

image of Prose Theme logo

You may have seen recently that we merged StudioPress, creator of the powerful Genesis theme framework, into Copyblogger Media. Why did we do it?

I can sum it up for you in a single phrase: because we’re control freaks.

With Genesis, we saw an opportunity to create WordPress themes that were tailored exactly to our customers’ needs and desires.

We could incorporate the features that are most important for content-rich sites, the expert SEO you insist on, and the security to keep your sites as safe as possible.

Brian and I worked closely with Genesis founder (and our new partner) Brian Gardner on a new collaboration. A WordPress theme designed for those of you — bloggers, copywriters, consultants, and content marketers — who in one way or another produce great content to make a living or part-time income.

I’d like to introduce you to Prose.

An elegant minimalist design

The first thing we knew was that we wanted the design to support your content, not fight with it.

Some themes make great use of animated widgets, or are designed to highlight striking imagery. Or they’re great for e-commerce, or building a corporate brand.

And Genesis has terrific themes that do all of those.

Prose is something different. It’s all about words.

Your words.

It’s simple and elegant, so it doesn’t distract. But it has enough design sophistication that it never looks amateurish or “fly by night.”

Like the perfect little black dress, it doesn’t call attention to itself … it just makes you look amazing.

Point and click design controls

But just because you may not be first and foremost a designer, that doesn’t mean you want to commit yourself to a single rigid design mold.

Writers are creative people, after all. And we knew you’d insist on being able to change some key elements yourself, without “breaking” the overall clean, designed look of the theme.

That’s why we built in point-and-click design controls into Prose. They let you control site colors, typefaces, font sizes, and other critical elements of your site design. Instantly.

Do your readers want a larger font size? That’s just a few clicks away, starting right from your WordPress dashboard.

Want to try a different column layout for your site, or to change the look of your subheads? Takes less than a minute. And if you don’t like it, it’s a few clicks to change it back again.

You can change how your links are styled, how tall you want your header to be, and dozens of other key design elements.

And you don’t have to know any CSS, HTML, PHP, or any other letters. If you can point and click, you can customize your site design.

Search optimized and powered by Genesis

You might have seen that Genesis isn’t just a WordPress theme, it’s actually what’s called a theme framework.

So my first question when I saw that was, What’s a theme framework?

The first thing you need to know is that when it comes to web design, form and function need to be separated.

In other words, how your web page works (like the code that Google looks at to find your content and how to rank it, or the security that keeps evildoers from hacking your blog) should be separated from how your web page looks.

Why?

Well, in the first place, Google is a big fan of clean code. The Google “bots” are sophisticated, but they’re only so smart. Clunky, junked-up code can confuse them — and if Google gets confused, they won’t give your site the ranking you deserve.

In the second place, the web evolves. Those “back end” elements always need to be up-to-date. Security evolves, SEO evolves, WordPress evolves, and your page function needs to grow with those things so that everything works the way it should.

But the last thing you want is for your carefully designed web page to suddenly look completely different because you updated your WordPress theme.

That’s the beauty of a framework. When you click the button to update Genesis, it automatically takes care of all of those security and SEO issues for you. But it doesn’t touch the design of the page, because that’s handled by “child themes.”

OK, so what’s a child theme?

The theme framework is all about how the site works.

A child theme (like Prose and 27 others from StudioPress) is in charge of how the site looks. The colors. The layout. The typefaces.

The child theme controls the “look and feel” of your site. And the exact same content will have a very different feel depending on how that content gets presented.

The nice thing about child themes is that with the Genesis framework, you can change them in just minutes.

That means you can take a funky site with a handmade flavor, like the Genesis Bee Crafty theme, and in about two minutes you can give that exact same content a sleek professional gloss by switching to the Enterprise theme.

And you’ll never touch the important “behind the scenes” code that makes your site work exactly the way you want it to.

The biggest security hazard for most blogs

Unfortunately, bad guys are everywhere, and blogs get hacked every day.

The most common culprit? Bloggers who haven’t updated their theme or their WordPress installation because they’re worried it will mess up the look and usability of their sites.

Outdated software is a major security hazard. In fact, Brian Gardner told me that one of the reasons he developed the Genesis framework in the first place was to make updating his own sites one-click-easy.

When it’s easy for you to update WordPress and your theme framework, and you don’t worry about anything breaking, you won’t put it off.

And that keeps your blog (and your readers) safer.

Get Prose + Genesis today

Pick up Prose with Genesis today and you’ll get:

  • Prose’s point-and-click design controls to create the exact look you want
  • A great-looking theme that puts the focus on your content
  • All the SEO and security benefits of the Genesis Framework
  • Unlimited updates and support
  • The ability to use Prose on as many sites as you like (no developer surcharge)

Find out more about the best WordPress theme for writers and content marketers here.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is Senior Editor of Copyblogger and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Follow her on twitter.

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Comments

  1. I was fooling around with prose on Studio Press last week, and it was so cool how even I, a complete non-techy, can do so much with it.

    I can’t believe how much has changed just in the past couple of years as far as themes go!

    • So true! We’re spoiled for great options these days. :)

    • Well, and you can do all that in Thesis too. But of course, nobody’s going to talk about that here. Funny how politics can make such harsh divides in blogospheres.

      • I wouldn’t call it a harsh divide or politics. We’re not knocking Thesis and we never will, we’ve just grown in different directions.

      • Martyn, it’s not so much what a theme can do, as how it does it, that matters to us. We believe the child theme approach is best (as does WordPress) and Thesis went in a different direction.

        So, we decided to do it the way we believe in (would you have it some other way)? That’s the beautiful thing about the Internet — everyone gets to do things the way they see fit.

        • For the record, Thesis works with WordPress child themes (as of version 1.8). There’s been a lot of misinformation surrounding this topic, and I want to set the record straight.

          • See, I didn’t know that. These would be child themes from third-party developers, right?

            We also think it’s important for the design controls to be in a child theme, to keep the framework as lean as possible. Again, it’s a different approach, and different doesn’t mean the other guy’s product is wrong.

          • Correct, Thesis supports child themes from third-party developers. Best of all, developers can choose one of two methods of delivery—child themes or a custom-function based approach (that will be expanding massively very soon).

      • I rather believe we should somewhere put an end to Thesis vs the whole Copyblogger media.

        SO JUST STOP!

        Things change, situations change and the world changes. Why not Copyblogger :) I guess people have freedom to decide their own paths.

        BTW if I dont sound bad would definitely say Genesis themes (agreeing to that the code might be solid) doesnt look ‘that’ sexy. This is just an personal opinion though.

        Regards
        Himanshu Chanda

  2. This is a seriously smooth option for anyone looking for hassle-free blogging.

  3. What if I have another theme right now (like Thesis)? Do I need special help to convert to something like this without screwing up my existing look?

    I would be one of the complete non-techies who’s afraid to update my WP…yeah, I’m THAT bad.

    Jen

    • Jen,

      There isn’t too much work involved in changing themes, especially to Prose on the Genesis Theme Framework. You would have a change in visual style, but as one that has experimented with Prose since it was in beta, I have found that the back end options make it simple for anyone whether they are code savvy or not to make changes as needed.

      Another huge plus is the StudioPress community support forums. Once you buy a StudioPress theme, or at least the Genesis Theme Framework, you unlock access to the support community which is very active and helpful.

      Best wishes Jen!

      • Mark, just wanted to say thanks for the kind words you said about our community. We value support and customer service very highly, and it’s nice to see that our hard work and efforts pay off. :-)

        • The pleasure is all mine Brian. Kudos to you and the other members of StudioPress for building a great community, that isn’t always easy.

          I’ve been impressed since making my Genesis Theme Framework purchased. I don’t know what took me so long!

    • Since your site has a nice clean look without tons of styling, it should port over quite smoothly.

      I hate fiddling around with tech stuff, which is one reason I like the whole “point and click” design updates thing. :)

    • Hey Jen – I wanted to drop a quick comment to also mention that if you were thinking about giving Prose a try, and didn’t want to lose your current SEO settings, we have an answer. We developed a plugin called SEO Data Transporter, which (in a matter of seconds and one click) will rename your fields from one theme to another.

      In other words – your SEO can easily be moved to Genesis/Prose so you won’t lose any custom titles, meta descriptions, etc if you happen to use that feature.

  4. This announcement must have bogged down the servers, as my session timed out going to look at it.

  5. What happened to Thesis. Copyblogger used to heavily promote Thesis. Do you no longer recommend it?

    • No, I no longer recommend it. I specifically left DIY Themes because I no longer recommended it. We’ve been on Genesis here at Copyblogger for months.

      • OK so I’m a little concerned that I got the Thesis theme on a new blog a little over 2-3 months ago at the recommendation here on copyblogger.

        I tried reading a little bit of the interview that Mike shared but it was too long.

        Is Thesis no longer a secure option? Should I be switching to something else?What if an upgrade comes? I can’t even tackle that because I had a web designer install it and she used her license.

        Please advise. I am concerned with security issues and whatever may arise.

        Thanks

        • From what I’ve seen, both frameworks are pretty much equal when it comes to the basics: security, child themes, stuff like that. It’s basically just a matter of preference and what you’re used to. If you’re using one, are used to it, like it, and it serves your needs, stick with it.

          The people at Copyblogger switched for their own reasons. I think — don’t quote me on this — at the time it was because Thesis didn’t have child themes (it does now, and has for a while), and Copyblogger wanted more flexibility for the product it was touting. There are no security issues with either (that I know of). I’ve actually had my eye on Thesis for a while, until I saw this new Genesis child theme (the Prose one announced above). Now I’m leaning toward Genesis.

          Like I said, it’s all a matter of preference. I had my reasons for leaning toward Thesis, and other people have their reasons for leaning toward Genesis.

          If you have any more questions about security, I’m sure your web designer would be happy to look into it further for you.

          I hope this helped a little.

  6. I tried to click the link to go to prose and the site is just hanging. It won’t even load.

  7. Brian Gardner rocks!

  8. Prosa Child Theme appears fantastic. I am now seriously considering it for my new blog.

  9. Those “stepped” buy now boxes on the prose demo page are super clever and super cool. Well done.

  10. I just installed the Prose theme on my blog and made a huge list of CSS changes in under an hour. I’m duly impressed.

    How do you build a business model around child themes given that most people are going want to dig in and tweak the child theme?

    The answer? Make it easy to tweak!

  11. Mark McGuinness :

    My Inner Wordsmith is drooling at this.

    Any chance of calling the next one ‘Poetry’? :-)

  12. I bought Thesis a year and a half ago and it’s worked well for me. I don’t mind spending money on a theme and Genesis looks really cool so maybe I’ll check it out.

    But my big thing is that I want something that’s stable and will be around for a while. I’ve spent a good bit of time understanding how Thesis works which is more valuable to me than the money I spent. I bought the developer license and have Thesis installed on close to 10 sites now (does Genesis have a similar licenses?) so the thought of learning a new framework isn’t all that appealing. And as much as I like Copyblogger I’m sorry to say but I’m not sure I trust Brian anymore to recommend a framework to me. In a year or two could he have a falling out with the folks at Genesis?

    I hope I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that without Brian’s marketing support for Thesis they’re going to go downhill,which saddens me since I’ve put so much time and effort into my Thesis sites.

    • Ashley I reckon you would do well to get a professional theme designed. The ongoing support and relationship with your designer/marketer is what I reckon you crave.

    • Hi Ashley,

      I’ve just started messing around with the Genesis framework and child themes for some side projects my company’s doing (I’m a Headway theme user). There’s no limit on the amount of sites you can use Genesis on – it’s free to use on multiple sites (something I like about the Headway developer license).

    • Ashley,
      In the world of Genesis, there is no upsell for “developer licenses”. When you buy any product at StudioPress, you are free to use it on as many sites as you want.

      As for the pain in learning a new system, I can assure you that if you “get” your current theme, you will easily “get” Genesis. Genesis uses the same hook system (provided by WordPress) that was first popularized by the Thematic theme, and later adopted by themes like Hybrid and Thesis.

  13. I love it.

    What happens if you have a whole bunch of categories though? Do they spill into a second line?

    Tyrant

  14. Is there a free version?

  15. I’ve never found the perfect little black dress but the timing of Prose and what it claims to be good at fits in well with a project I’m working on. Going to give it a close look for sure.

  16. Been around WordPress for a while but new to the “Genesis framework and child themes”. Gotta learn a bit more first. Thanks.
    Danny

  17. Sonia – you have done it again! Must be your way with words. As a Copyblogger reader, Teaching Sells’er (purchased before your time, but you improved it), Third Triber, and now just bought Prose (and deactivated Thesis!). Looking to get serious and ramp up blogging to support my training business and love the clean simplicity of Prose.
    Phil

  18. I like the old-school look of Prose.

  19. That is great one, I love child theme rather than customizing it from functions. Thanks

  20. I have been using the free copybogger theme on a couple of my sites and assumed that was the theme that you were using. I guess I will have to reconsider my theme selection.

  21. We have purchased the entire studio press collection, and love the foundation it gives us for our web design work

  22. I am debating whether to go with Frugal Theme or Genesis. Are they basically the same product?

    • Joe,

      Short answer: No

      Long answer: Green Bay and Dallas are both cities, and a person can thrive in either one. However, they include some important differences depending on your wants and needs. Same concept with Genesis and Frugal (etc.). You can build a nice site with either — but there are important differences depending on your wants and needs. Sonia noted the key benefits of Genesis above.

  23. Have you thought about Localization?
    Can we easily translante the theme in our language?
    It is a simple thing to implement with Poedit.

    • I have been using Thesis for more then 3 years now. Every time that Chris Update the theme, I have to spend 2-3 hours to re-translate thesis… What a pain in the a**.

      I have bought a theme from Elegant Themes for a friend of mine and no translation to do since the theme is coming with PO files…

      Smart People`s like you should see an opportunity here to make even more money!

    • Jean,

      Prose is fully translatable for all the addition text it has over Genesis. A translation file set for nl_NL and en_GB exist, with hopefully it_IT and fr_FR on the way. The .pot file is included with Prose, and the others are downloadable from the Prose board on the StudioPress forum.

      Genesis has it’s own translation file sets, which I know includes Spanish, Dutch and Danish, among others.

      If you purchase Prose, and would be willing to submit another language (I think there’s about 96 strings to translate), it would be great to make it available for other Prose users.

      Gary.

  24. I just want to say I’m using Genesis and Prose. They’re simply awesome! Everything about Genesis rocks. Even using Genesis as a stand alone
    is a minimalists’ dream. I love that clean look and feel. When I received the email pertaining to Prose, the best got even better! Keep up the great work! Thesis? Forget about it.

    Jaco

    • Thanks! (I saw your note, your comment was just stuck in the Akismet spam filter for some reason. We marked you as “not spam” so that should help you out elsewhere.)

  25. I apologize, but I was remiss in mentioning Genesis + a good web host = Lightning fast load times. Incredible!

  26. I just got on wordpress and have no idea what I am doing. I would love to be able to customize my blog but do not know CSS or HTML.

    So now I’m reading about Genesis and Child. Is this an add-on for people who are on wordpress. Sorry to be so elemental. I’d love more control and options.

    • Marsha

      You have a free hosted blog at WordPress so you cannot use Genesis and Prose. You need to have a self hosted blog and use the WordPress software in order to use Genesis. My best advice is get your own domain name, get a web and use WordPress as your blogging platform.

    • I’ve just started using Genesis Framework for one of my blogs with the Child theme its amazing. GF simply transforms wordpress with more creative freedom than ever before. You don’t need a great deal of HTML or CSS knowledge in fact you don’t need any. I’m currently writing a mini review on Genesis Framwork and Child theme which will be on my blog soon.

  27. The guys at studiopress make great themes. I reccoment to all, but i have to say that i’m a bit dissapointed that the studiopress move from ejunkie to shareasale.

  28. I think I might be in love with you guys. I may have said that before, but I mean it even more now. This is awesome.