There are many wordpress themes in this online world. To find a good theme which is search engine optimized and fast loading is a difficult task. GeneratePress theme is one of the best themes for easy customization and schema functionality.
What is the best theme for a blog?
This wordpress theme review will discuss about the features of GeneratePress (GP) Premium plugin with respect to page load speed, performance and customization.
GP Theme adds just 15KB of code to your page size, after gzip compression. This is in addition to the media, CSS, JS, Google Fonts and other kind of resources. If you have images, your page size may look bigger. For example, one of my site page size was 750KB after installing GeneratePress.
Advanced Layout Controls for your blog, will make changes to byline items like post author, post categories, post tags, comment count and post date.
Background image optimization is another rich feature of GeneratePress Premium theme. You can customize the background image of body, header, primary navigation, secondary navigation, content, sidebar, footer and many things.
The latest version of GeneratePress free theme is 2.4.1. Last updated on Nov 26th, 2019. It has 0.2 million downloads as of Feb, 2020. Compatible with WordPress version 4.5 or higher. On an average, it has around 1500 downloads per day. 99% of the user ratings in the WordPress official repository, are 5 star rating.
The latest version of GP Premium is 1.9.1. You can purchase it for $49.95.
GP Premium – Modules Available
5. Disable Elements
7. Menu Plus
8. Secondary Nav
10. Site Library
GeneratePress – Performance Optimized
The main advantage of GeneratePress theme is its lightweight, ultrafast loading speed and schema optimized.
In order to test the efficiency of GP Premium theme, I have taken a test site. It had 11 posts which included few images. Before I installed GP Premium, Thesis framework existed. The following was the test configuration, obtained using the “System Status” functionality of Thesis.
Thesis & Current Skin
Thesis Version: 2.9.13
Skin Name: Effectus
Skin Version: 1.2.3
WordPress Version: 5.3.2
Filesystem Method: direct
Using Multisite: NO
Active Plugins: Accelerated Mobile Pages, Akismet Anti-Spam, Classic Editor, Lightweight Subscribe To Comments, Cookie Notice, Easy Table of Contents, Inline Related Posts, kk Star Ratings, Link Juice Keeper, PageSpeed Ninja, Redirection, Schema, Shortcodes Ultimate, TablePress, Yoast SEO, WP-Sweep
As you can see above I already installed a few plugins. I did not want to disturb the current configuration, as it was a live site. After testing a test page with Thesis framework, I installed GP Premium on the same site. I activated the “Site Library” module.
Then I imported the “GeneratePress Marketer” site template settings, without the content. This also activated few other modules like Blog, Colors, Menu Plus, Spacing and Typography. With this kind of set up, I again tested the same page for site performance.
This also tested Thesis vs GeneratePress page load speed efficiency with full plugin workload.
I used 3 tools to test the page speed of a particular page.
3. Google PageSpeed Insights
Pingdom Performance Test
The page size obtained using Thesis was ~805KB, while it was 730KB when GP Premium was installed. GP Premium reduced the page size by 11%, even with some of the modules activated.
The major improvement came in the load time. After installing the “GP Marketer” template, my page load time decreased by 385%.
GTMetrix Performance Test
To remove any ambiquity in the type of tool used, I tested the same page with Thesis and GP Premium frameworks using GTMetrix site speed testing tool. But in this test, the fully loaded time was just 0.2s better than Thesis when compared to GP Premium. Similarly a decrease of 71KB in page size can be seen. The number of requests also reduced by 3, though it is not a big margin.
Google PageSpeed Test
In this test, we have test the same page for mobile and desktop. When I tested with Thesis framework, I got score of 98 for desktop and 54 for mobile. All the other parameters like First Contentful Paint (FCP), First Meaningful Paint (FMP), Speed Index, Time to Interactive, Max. Potential First Input Delay were also green, in the desktop mode.
The mobile pages were redirected to AMP version. When using GP Premium theme, the PageSpeed scores were 98 for desktop and 49 for mobile. I was little surprised to find the mobile score less.
As you can see from the above speed test results, GeneratePress is really good in all the features. The support and pricing is to the taste of small bloggers. With a fair pricing of $49.95, (aff) you can use it on unlimited sites with a few tweaks. The license is valid for 1 site only. You also get 40% renewal discount after 1 year.
The free theme does not come with premium modules. Without them, GeneratePress cannot be easily customized. You need to know PHP code and edit files like functions.php, single.php etc, to make any fancy changes.
GeneratePress vs Envo Magazine
In another case-study, the performance of GP Premium was compared to Envo Magazine theme. With an empty site, this popular WordPress.org theme gave the following page speed test results with Pingdom tool.
- Had a performance grade of 77
- Loaded in 1.05 seconds
- Had a page size of 243.9 kB
- Had 15 requests
Then GeneratePress theme was installed on the same site. Nothing was changed. The following were the test results.
- Had a performance grade of 87, 10 points better
- Loaded in 666 ms, ~37% faster
- Had a page size of 26.8 kB, ~90% smaller
- Had 9 requests, ~40% fewer
As you can see, the page loaded in less than 1 sec with GP theme. The page size was also less than 30KB. The number of requests also reduced by 6.
This show great speed performance improvement over default themes in WordPress.org repository. So from loading perspective, GP shows great improvement. That is why, buying Premium themes will do better for search engine ranking and marketing.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate link to GeneratePress Premium version. I will get small commission when you make a purchase. No hidden charges, No extra pricing. Discount coupon will be updated, once received.