Genesis and Corporate child theme mini review

Earlier this week we took a look at WP Mosaic, an up and coming new framework.

Today we’ll take a look at Genesis by Studio Press. It’s been around a bit longer and while it does not have as many layout options like WP Mosaic, it’s a mature product. We also bought the Corporate child theme which is a very square and grid based layout. Here’s an example of a real world site using Corporate.

Mind life genesis

In the Genesis control panel we found some neat settings like a global enable/disable comments and trackbacks. Some of the standard Genesis features would normally be part of 3rd party plugins. The ones we like are automatic bread crumbs, sorting of categories, and control of excerpts on archive pages.


On each post or page there’s strong SEO integration so you’ll need to install one less plugin.

Genesis theme seo

Genesis (like Woo Themes) also had a way to import/export theme settings, something we wish more themes would have. It’s useful for moving sites from one URL to another if you’re not in the mood to move the entire database files over.

The Corporate child theme home page is built using a lot of widgets. Normally you’d have to drag text widgets over to the sections but Genesis includes custom post widgets that you can drag over the widget areas to pull in select posts from categories. Of course you can also use other widgets on the home page modules.

So what didn’t we like? The gallery slider that is shown in the demo site needs to be manually downloaded from and activated. We’re not sure why they can’t just integrate an image slider like other many WordPress themes. There is both a video and web page tutorial that’s available. We noticed certain settings like turning off the site title text in the header, require check marks to be turned off in both the Genesis main admin panel and the header control panel.

Regardless of these minor annoyances, when we had questions, the friendly and knowledgeable tech support at Genesis forums answered our newbie questions quickly.

We’re impressed with Genesis so far with its set of rich features. We also like their simple pricing model of $90 for the Genesis and child theme with life time support and updates. There’s no club monthly or developer’s fees to worry about. If you’re looking for a solid, well supported theme, Genesis is a great choice!

Google to fight webspam and improve search engine results

One of the toughest challenges running a web site is to get traffic and attention to your site. As we keep emphasizing, relevant content is the way to get visitors to your site. But what if other people are cheating at using important keywords and sending visitors to low quality spam farm websites? You know the ones with that lead visitors on an endless click spree with pop up windows and signup prompts.

Once Google was the king of clean and relevant results but now these days, Google search results are filled with spam sites which are designed to trick the user into looking counterfeit goods or other nefarious activities. These sites trick Google into thinking they’re relevant with various methods. Fortunately, in a recent official blog posting, Google’s anti-spam team is responding and employing un-disclosed changes to turn back the tide to show relevant content, spam free websites.

So while Google is doing their job, you should keep writing relevant content for your website as much as possible. Use a combination of creating relevant content, Scribe wordpress plugin, and sending out Twitter tweets will drive traffic to your website. You can use tools like PixelPipe to speed things up but there is no substitution for hard work.

Further reading:
How Organized Spam is Taking Control of Google’s Search Results
This article has detailed examples and analysis of spam sites results as of January 2011.

Via: Google Changes Algorithm To Penalize Site Scrapers

Reprinted from

DIY SEO: Scribe Plugin & Service

What’s the best way to get traffic? It’s the old adage, lots of hard work. Simply build the best and most relevant content on your WordPress site. The second best bet is to use a search engine optimization (plugin) for WordPress that will help you fill out the required fields to get a search engine to properly crawl your site.

The third step is to get some advice and research on the best practices and what relevant keywords to use. Usually hiring an “expert” is going to easily cost you hundreds of dollars. So for many of us, we’d resort first to the Do It Yourself model.

So we were excited when we heard the team that brought us StudioPress and the Genesis theme framework recently introduced Scribe, which is a self-service Search Engine Optimization (SEO) web app with a complementary WordPress plugin.

We were also fans of Brain Gardners’ earlier commercial WordPress offerings (the predecessors to StudioPress), so we had high hopes for Scribe. Was this anticipation well deserved?

First the numbers, Scribe starts at $17/month and includes up to 15 evaluations and 35 keyword searches. According to Scribe, it takes about 3-5 evaluations per web page to fully optimize it. Evaluations are every time you scan a web page.

Let’s get started. After signing up with a credit card on, they’ll assign you an API key. The installation process is fairly straight forward, you’ll install their suppplied plugin and paste that API key into a field.

Next you’ll have to have install one of the many WordPress SEO plugins. The one that we like so far is All in One SEO pack. Scribe will detect available SEO plugins and adjust its status indicators for each post depending on which SEO plugin you’re using.

When you open an existing post, you’ll see 3 check box status in the right side widget area: Title Tag Ready, Meta Descriptions, and Content Ready. Think of these as check list to help you figure out where the page stands in terms of search engine readiness.

There’s also a widget called Scribe Link Building which won’t show any data until you scan / analyze the page.

This review will be on going so we can’t really answer whether or not it works but so far we like what we see. The only drawback so far is that there’s really little hand holding once you’re signed up. I hate to say it but you’re kind of your own to figure this out as we didn’t see any “Getting Started” tutorial.

The Welcome email gets you up to installing the API key and a link to the support pages but there definitely needs to be a little bit more TLC for new users.

Stay tuned as we optimize real world sites. One test case will be this site and another will be a biotech services web site. Let’s see if Scribe becomes an indispensable SEO tool or not.

Get it: Scribe

Plugin of the Week: Google XML Sitemaps

Here’s our Quick Tip of the week and Plugin of the Week rolled into one. If you have not signed up for Google’s webmaster tool, we highly encourage you to do so ASAP. First like most of Google offerings, it’s free. What will it give you? It will give you some insight into the way your web site is seen by search engines, namely Google (of course), in terms of navigable pages, keywords, speed, and overall catch any problems that may prevent your site from being included in search engine results. Of course Google webmaster tools plays nice with Google other webmaster tool, Google Analytics too.

One of the things that you’ll need to take advantage of  are the webmaster tools is to submit a sitemap to help search engines make sure all your content is indexed/crawled. There’s not much rocket science in choosing a WordPress plugin to do that, we like the aptly named Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress. It can be automated to generate a new site map whenever your site is updated.

Some SEO experts swear generating and submitting a Google XML sitemap is a standard best practice item, we can’t argue against since it takes you only about 10 minutes or so to do this.