As an entrepreneur, establishing an online presence is not easy, and you may be required to set aside a considerable initial investment. And although you may opt to use an in-house grown system instead of working with a professional Node.js programmer, you still need to have a credible content management system (CMS). The main reasoning behind this is because the type of CMS system you choose may significantly impact on the look, functionality, and speed of your website.

And that’s where WordPress comes in…

Since 2003, this open-source web builder and CMS has grown to become one of the most popular blogging software on the market. According to a 2020 report by Kinsta, WordPress powers approximately 37.6% of all self-hosting websites and accounts for 37.6% CMS market share. The same report also shows that, on average, 409 million people visit over 20 billion WordPress pages per month, with more than 70 million new posts per month.

In this article, we are going to look at the growth of WordPress in general and how this growth has led to the evolution of WP frameworks. 

Brief WordPress Background
In its infant stages, WordPress was merely used as a web builder. However, in  2004, the release of the 1.2 WordPress version came with a plugin architecture, which compelled WP to quickly outgrow its initial purpose. For instance, users and developers were now able to extend WordPress’s functionality by writing personalized plugins and sharing them with others. 

Fast-forward to today, WP has grown to become a robust platform with changes continuing to emerge across different areas of the platform. This is especially the case in the area of WordPress frameworks. Not so long ago, WP themes were overly simplistic and could only do so much. Today, there are countless free and proprietary WordPress frameworks, all of which aim to give website owners basic theme functionality and the freedom to customize their theme’s appearance.

What Is a WordPress Framework?
Basically, WordPress frameworks are the building block of a WordPress theme. They contain the parent codes that cover the design elements and other basic features. Once in place, frameworks are then used to build new WordPress themes by adding new features and design elements.

Source: Digital.com

There are two major categories of WordPress theme frameworks i.e the universal frameworks that can be used by anyone and the in-house frameworks that are designed to be used by specific theme shops. 

Below are examples of the 3 best WordPress frameworks;

Genesis 
Genesis is arguably one of the most popular WordPress frameworks currently available on the market. On top of being used on over 270K websites, Genesis also accounts for 9.1% of the entire theme market share. 

Key highlights that truly sets Genesis apart is its lean, secure nature, plus it is SEO friendly and mobile responsive. With that said, it must be paired with either the proprietary or a customized child theme.

THESIS 2.0
Thesis 2.0 is and still remains the only framework giving Genesis a serious run for its money. Although it was previously focused on SEO, the relatively new Thesis 2.0 version included some new, interesting perks to the framework.

Today, more than 57,000 websites are powered by THESIS.20, with the new features allowing users to incorporate markup schema and Google Authorship. 

Headway 
This is yet another excellent WP framework that allows you to tweak your website’s design without having to learn the code. Boasting of a drag and drop operation, it powers over 47,000 websites and allows you to control the layout, colors, fonts, and other aspects of the theme’s design. Better yet, Headway allows you to add custom styles to your website using the Design Editor. 

The Evolution of WordPress Frameworks From 2018 and Beyond
In a world where responsive design and e-commerce platforms continue to dominate, the importance of WP frameworks has continued to increase. And whether you are a Node.js programmer or a Java programmer, using a framework-based approach not only provides you with a strong foundation to create new themes with minimal modifications but also reduces the future workload.

The release of WordPress 5.0 version in 2018 brought about many changes, with the whole playbook revolving around the highly-publicized block editor- Gutenberg. Designed to replace the TinyMCE, it enables WordPress to not only write articles but also build content layouts. It is also one of the many transitions that are geared towards creating a more simplified UX

The second Gutenberg phase replaced menus and widgets with blocks, updated the minimum PHP requirements, incorporated a visual builder into the core of WP, and leaning more towards JavaScript libraries for front-end development. 

On November 12th, 2019, the WordPress version 5.3 release also simplified the process of working with blocks further. For instance, it added the Block Appender for color differentiation which works both on individual and multiple blocks.

Also, WP as a CMS has become super-convenient thanks to the local Auto-save. It prevents data loss in case of internet disruptions as well as make it easier to upload high-resolution images. 

As Gutenberg continues to make inroads into other areas of WordPress and the front end in the future, you should also begin to see less bloated themes. Plus it is already embracing blocks for visual content like CTAs, gifs, and embeds.

Final Thoughts
WordPress Frameworks allows website owners to work with robust, secure base code as well as offer flexible design and powerful SEO options. Along with that, they also help improve page loading speeds, making the site load faster. However, with the platform seeing updates every 4-weeks, some tremors are bound to be felt depending on the framework you are using. The key lies in choosing a flexible theme that allows you to easily adapt or make changes down in the future, without causing significant downtimes. 

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