Best Minimalist WordPress Theme and Why Use Minimal Themes
What is a minimalist WordPress theme?
It’s a theme that has little or no design and graphics. Essentially it’s a naked theme that you can design from scratch.
Most themes are fully designed. They’re great if you like the design, more or less.
Why use minimal themes?
Because in some cases, it’s faster to start creating and implementing a website design from scratch than changing a designed template.
What’s the best minimalist WordPress theme?
Of course, any “”best”” determination is an opinion. You may agree or disagree. I like reading “”best of”” and “”best whatever”” articles because it’s a starting point for me when researching for a product or service purchase.
Therefore, I’ll throw my two cents worth in the ring on what I think is the best minimalist WordPress theme.
Prose by StudioPress is in my view, the best minimalist WordPress template. I base this opinion on two grounds:
1. It has a comprehensive built-in customization panel, and2. It’s actually a child theme that operates on the Genesis Framework.
Reason #1: Prose has a comprehensive built-in customization panel
Prose is StudioPress’ “”build a website from scratch”” template. In order to do this, StudioPress developed a comprehensive panel in which you can easily and quickly design your website.
Also, Prose comes with pretty much no design. Essentially you get a naked minimalist WordPress theme but with the power of the Genesis Framework. Which brings me to my second reason for proclaiming Prose as the best minimalist WordPress theme.
Reason #2: Prose Operates on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework operates as a parent and child theme configuration. The parent is Genesis, the design and style is dictated by a child theme.
Why not just customize Genesis the parent theme?
Because when you update Genesis (all themes get updated), you’ll lose your customization work. When you design your website on a child theme, when you update Genesis, your customization remains unaffected. This is one of the major benefits of the parent / child theme set up.
Before I moved my sites to Genesis, I resisted upgrading my themes because I knew I’d have to do a bunch of work. Now updating is simple and no work (as long as you restrict all customization and design on your child theme).
Moreover, Genesis has an “”update now”” button in the WordPress dashboard. Just click the “”update Genesis now”” button and you’re done. No more updating via your CPanel in your hosting service.
Premium themes such as Genesis drive innovation
In the early days of WordPress, there wasn’t a huge difference between premium (paid) themes and free themes. Your choice came down to design. Premium themes promoted the fact they paid more attention to design.
Now, however, premium theme developers are constantly pushing the envelope on WordPress innovation. In my view, StudioPress, with Genesis, is a leader in theme innovation.
StudioPress themes were my first WordPress paid theme purchase. I liked their design. I also liked the navigation flexibility and the Featured Posts feature their themes offer. Since then, I’ve bought many other premium themes to see what else is available (I’ve stopped using free themes a long time ago). In the end, after much testing and toying with many themes, most of my websites are built on the Genesis Framework.
Changing your mind about your design – consider the following scenario:
You buy a minimalist WordPress theme (or use a free one). You spend some time designing it, but then aren’t pleased with the design and wish to use a pre-designed theme. Chances are part of your design process is configuring navigation and layout. If you use Prose on the Genesis Framework, all you need to do is install another child theme and your navigation and layout configuration remains generally the same (the home page may change depending on the home page of the new child theme).
If you don’t use a parent / child theme set up, then when you install a new theme, you start from scratch. My point is swapping child themes reduces your overall work in the long run. I know, because I’ve gone through this process more than once with and without the Genesis Framework.