Genesis vs Avada: Which is right for you?

Genesis vs Avada: Which is right for you?

Joanne Amos's Layout avatar

Whether you’re setting up or revamping your website, one of the biggest decisions is which WordPress theme to choose. And with the nearly limitless selection of themes offered, it’s pretty difficult to avoid becoming overwhelmed by choice.

One of the big debates in the world of WordPress is whether to opt for a theme framework or plump for a standalone theme. With that in mind, we’re going to compare two of the theme giants: Genesis and Avada.

Basics

This isn’t a straightforward comparison because Genesis and Avada are very different beasts – it’s a little like comparing boxers of different weights. So let’s start with the basics.

Genesis

Genesis by StudioPress is the most famous, and the most widely recommended, theme framework, loved by developers, designers, and end users alike.

genesis-vs-avada-genesis

Like all frameworks, it sits on your WordPress installation and controls the underlying design, features, and functionality of your site. You can use the framework on its own or adapt it to suit your needs, or add a child theme by choosing from the wide range available or coding your own.

Avada

Avada by ThemeFusion is the best-selling theme of all time on ThemeForest, the largest theme marketplace. It’s a multipurpose theme that’s jam-packed with features, page templates, and customization settings and options that can be modified to create any type of website without any coding knowledge.

genesis-vs-avada-avada

Avada’s developers have expanded on the core functionalities of WordPress to build a theme that covers practically every eventuality. This makes Avada a multipurpose theme with very few rivals, and is behind its rise to become a bestseller.

Design

Genesis

Genesis is the core, parent theme and it looks great straight out of the box. It’s clean, responsive, and provides an excellent foundation for your website. You can work directly with this, but one of the key attractions of Genesis is the wide range of child themes – over 40 – that you use to customize the appearance of your site. They fit into a number of broad categories, including business, enterprise, magazine-style, photography, and real estate. While none of the child themes would win prizes for innovation, that isn’t the draw here. Instead they focus on providing tried-and-tested designs that are professional, unique, clean, and modern, and give you an excellent base to build on.

Avada

The beauty of Avada is its complete flexibility that allows you to build virtually any design style. A single purchase of Avada comes with a number of demos that are designed for different types of websites, including travel, fashion, agency, churches and nonprofits, architecture, lifestyle, and so on.

You can export any of these demos into your site with a single click, then customize it as you wish. Alternatively, you can combine any of the features with the classic site by simply copying and pasting the code you require.

genesis-vs-avada-design

Functionality

Genesis

Genesis is a developer-friendly theme that’s built using HTML5, ensuring the framework and all themes are 100% responsive and that they look great on all screen sizes.

It comes with a number of powerful customization options, allowing you to choose between six page layouts, customize how your header and content will appear, do basic visual changes, enable/disable breadcrumbs, and much more from the main dashboard. What’s more, the theme customizer has a live preview so you can see your changes in real time.

Widgets add powerful functionalities to your site – such as social media sharing, a tag cloud, most popular posts, opt-in forms, etc. – without the need to tinker with any code. And StudioPress has developed a number of specific WordPress plugins for use with Genesis.

It also ranks highly for SEO, with StudioPress bringing in Yoast expert, Joost De Valk, to ensure basic SEO is inbuilt.

However, there are downsides to Genesis. Although it’s promoted as being highly flexible and customizable, this is only really true if you have development skills. There’s a limit to the level of customization you can achieve via the dashboard to change fonts, colors, etc. meaning the average WordPress user can’t make wide-ranging choices without delving into the code. On the plus side, the lack of options results in a much less bloated site, ensuring fast loading times.

Avada

Avada is also responsive and comes with a huge list of features that give you complete, easy customization control over almost every aspect of the site. It benefits from pre-built page templates, solid coding, consistent updates and built-in sliders.

Users can import the demo content, copy and paste the code they want, or use the Fusion Builder, an intuitive tool that allows you to create pages to your exact specifications using drag-and-drop elements. The options control panel is extensive, giving you the ability to customize and tweak all areas of your website. Avada gives you the power to create rich pages that break free of the constraints of the WordPress editor, or you can create something very simple and effective.

However, this flexibility has its downsides. With so many features and tools at your disposal, it’s easy to get carried away and go a little overboard with sliders and animation effects, leaving you with a slow-loading, overblown site. You also need to beware of decision fatigue, and getting so bogged down with options that you delay your site from going live. Plus, it can be quite complex to fully get to grips with if you’re a beginner.

genesis-vs-avada-functionality

Cost

Genesis

The Genesis framework is $59.95, or you can purchase the framework with a child theme for $99.95. If you’re a developer, the Pro Plus All-Theme Package –the framework plus every child theme, current and future, including third party themes – is a fantastic deal. This is available for $499.95, a saving of over $1,000.

It’s worth noting that returning customers get a discount, and can purchase child themes individually. And once you’ve bought Genesis and any/all of the child themes you can use them on as many sites as you wish, which is excellent value for money.

Avada

Avada is available from ThemeForest for a one-time fee of $59, and this includes all the different design demos. However, you can only use it on a single website – if you want to use it on more than one site, you must purchase a fresh license.

Make your site’s performance out of this world. Just follow along with this guide.

Theme Support

Genesis

When you buy Genesis, you immediately get unlimited access to their dedicated support staff, comprised of WordPress and Genesis experts, who answer queries within 24 hours on a weekday and 48 hours on a weekend. You also have access to the membership forums, where you can discuss problems or issues with other users or hire an experienced developer, and to the documentation section which is full of resources and tutorials, including a dedicated section for developers.

Avada

To date, ThemeFusion has only produced the Avada theme so they’ve been able to concentrate on doing a good job, and this is evident in their support which is second to none. The theme comes with documentation, a knowledge base, and video tutorials. Best of all, they’ve developed a reputation for outstanding customer service, with emails being answered within 24 hours on a weekday and 48 at weekends, though it’s usually much quicker than that. You can rate the service you’ve received, and they keep your ticket open until you’re completely satisfied with the response.

genesis-vs-avada-support

Genesis or Avada?

So which is the best option for you? Well, like so many things, it depends on your needs, and the time, money, and skills at your disposal.

In terms of cost, both Avada and the Genesis framework cost roughly the same. Avada comes with all design demos giving you complete flexibility over your site, but you can only use it once, whereas with Genesis you need to buy the child themes separately but you can use them as much as you like. This gives Avada the edge if you’re building a single site, but makes Genesis excellent value for developers and designers.

Genesis offers a good solution to beginners who want a premium, off-the-shelf theme that’s well supported and excellent for SEO, however it can be complicated to begin with, especially if you want to customize it beyond the basics and need to delve into the code. It’s primarily built for intermediate and advanced professionals, who are prepared to invest in an excellent quality tool that acts as a solid foundation to build their own themes on. It does lack the multi-functionality and feature set offered by Avada, but its focus is on simplicity, ease of use, clean design, and fast, efficient code.

Avada appeals to everybody from complete beginners to advanced professionals. It’s dense with settings, options, and features, and even comes with external plugins such as the LayerSlider WP and Revolution Slider, as well as an excellent selection of layouts and the Fusion Builder tool. This multifunctional, flexible theme gives you the tools to create any type of website you want. It can take some time to familiarize yourself with all the features, but if you’re prepared to put in some work your options are pretty much unlimited.

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Do you use Genesis or Avada? Which theme do you prefer and why? Tell us below.

Comments ( 12 )

  1. Alberto

    December 30, 2015

    I find Avada overwhelming to hand-off websites to clients.

    I've been using Theme Foundry's MAKE theme (https://thethemefoundry.com/wordpress-themes/make/) and I like its balance between begginers/non-coder features and it's extensibility.

    You can even try it for free!

    • Joanne Amos

      January 14, 2016

      Hi Alberto,

      Thanks for your reply. It is possible that clients could find Avada overwhelming at the outset, simply because it's so flexible. However, in our experience clients generally get the hang of it quite quickly, if they allow for a reasonable learning curve.

      It's worth emphasising to your clients that they don't need to understand and use all of it - you can simply guide them to the bits that affect their particular website.

      As an added bonus, it's worth pointing out that Avada has a large community forum that's very active, and an efficient support service that they can refer to.

      Joanne

  2. Tyler

    December 30, 2015

    We're currently building out our site with Avada. Our only real hangup is there seems to be quite a bit of bloat but that is to be expected with a theme that does 'everything'. The real advantage(for us) is that our marketing team can build out our site but still fulfill all of our everyday functions; graphic design, newsletters, IT support, customer service and more. If we had more time and money we may have considered building out something from scratch or out sourcing. This way we can still move at a fast pace and control the whole thing from inside the office! Couple that with Flywheel handling the hosting they do one hell of a job of keeping that bad boy fast and protected. It's one badass combo. It's sort of like cheating.

    • Joanne Amos

      January 14, 2016

      Hi Tyler,

      Thanks for your comment. It's true that Avada is a large theme, so it can seem a little bloated. However, there are other factors that can slow the theme down too, such as the size of any images you add.

      As you rightly point out, if you use a dedicated WordPress hosting service like Flywheel the size of your theme should have little impact overall.

  3. Jenry

    April 10, 2016

    I have used Avada theme along with others (i'm a web developer more than a designer) and Avada is a perfect fit for me as it is so customizable that due to my limited design skills it makes designing websites quite easy. I think its the most highly customizeable theme i've come across, plenty options to choose from.

    Another theme that I rate highly is the7 - this i love really well from a design standpoint but Avada has more options to choose from.

    Lastly, being a web developer makes these themes much more easier to work with, that its so easy to do so many things with the theme. Whatever tweaks I need, I'm quite efficient at PHP, HTML & CSS so its usually a walk in the park.

    http://www.svgcricket.org - Site i've built with Avada.
    http://www.jennoswebdesign.com - Site i've built with the7 theme

    Had to dig more into the code of the "The7" theme and do a bit more customizing than the Avada one.

  4. zozothemes

    October 6, 2016

    Amazing Work, GLWS

  5. Ramon

    November 6, 2016

    I did this a SEO Improve for this website http://www.ulefonespain.es
    Is developed with Avada, the big problem of this theme is the slow load time, so you need to work in a good VPS server with some cache system working.
    I go to buy a license for check Genesis at next days.

  6. Mark Lovett

    December 4, 2016

    I have not used Genesis for quite a while, and have been using Avada quite a bit. I thought I would check out Genesis reviews again to see if anything new was going. I was kind of surprised that most of the reviews tend to favor Avada.

    I agree that the fast loading of Genesis is a huge plus, and not having the extra bloat is very nice, however, there are many advantages to Avada .... flexibility, ease of creating different looks, speed of design, the support, the demos, and a backend that customers can use.

    Genesis backend is not user friendly, which can be a good thing for the web dev, I guess, because they need you to do anything to the site.

    Using a VPS with caching and optimized images keeps the Avada load times reasonable.

    If you are considering customizing the code, one of the challenges with Avada is the complexity of the theme. Looking under the hood can be quite overwhelming if you're used to WP's twenty twelve theme for example!

    I built my main web dev site with Avada, at Mark Lovett Web Design, here:

    http://www.marklovettdesign.com

    I think I'll stick with Avada for now.

    • Carolyn Sampson

      April 10, 2017

      Love your site, Mark. Thank you for the review as well.

  7. Dr. Ovcharenko

    December 20, 2016

    It is sometimes a tough choice and a pain of going through too many options each of which seems to be very best.
    Comparing to the options available to me 5 years ago when I ordered the website to be built the first time for my new dental office, it's pretty fair to say that one cannot go wrong with either Genesis or Avada.
    Right now I am choosing the platform upon which I will have my website re-vamped. Considering Avada's flexibility, I tend to decide into Avada's favor. The only one thing that concerns me is multiple reports from different people saying the load time is bigger than compared to the Genesis theme.
    How much of an impact would it make for SERP? I am yet to find out I guess.
    You can look at my page being built at yourfamilydentistva.com
    I guess I will choose the flexibility over simplicity.
    Can anyone advise me how page load speed affects SERP?

  8. Deepak Singla

    March 31, 2017

    Its depends on your requirements which theme to be chosen. Designers and developers love Genesis and Avada being a multi purpose theme doesn't require coding knowledge.
    There's another framework TemplateToaster that you can also try which is easy to use and fulfils all the requirements since being compatible to all the browsers and highly responsive.

  9. Gil

    June 13, 2017

    Personally, I use Genesis on my site, but for clients, I use Avada. I also use Genesis on some select clients should they prefer a minimalist site. "Decision Block" yep that's the right term for it. I tried redesigning my own site using Avada, I got mentally stressed. Too many doable designs and options that I end up going back to Genesis.

    Great post!

  10. Michael Romano

    August 11, 2017

    I've been using Avada the past few years, and it's become more and more bloated over time. The developers keep adding design features that increase the code and slow down load times. I once heard it described as the "18 wheeler of WP themes" and that's very true. I'd prefer that it actually be much faster loading. Would love to hear thoughts from people who switched to Genesis.

  11. Mike holliday

    October 7, 2017

    I am a complete beginner and self taught web designer. I bounced through several themes and eventually stayed with Avada.
    I feel as long as you put the time in to play with the settings, it becomes intuitive to work with.
    Knowing that all the parts are customizable makes browsing the tools easier becomes you know you can find a tool that does what you want.

    So as I said I am a beginner and I feel my site has come a long way and ranks very good for my market and keywords.

    I did add some plugings like a Cashe system and SEO plugin etc.

    Love any comments on my site. Thanks for this article and I'll be linking to it on my site and twitter.

  12. Dennis Schmets

    November 4, 2017

    I have build years websites with Genesis, but now i build with Avada. The functions are incredible en we don't have to make this by hour own.

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