Avada, Divi, Genesis Framework and BeTheme.
I’m in the process of updating the dsignwrx.com theme. For the past 3 or so years I’ve been using a custom Genesis child theme I made based on the Genesis Sample theme. Now with the future of the Genesis Framework uncertain (StudioPress who makes the Genesis Framework was recently purchased by WP Engine and I don’t know if they will continue to improve the framework or what will happen to it), I don’t want to spend too much time on another Genesis child theme but I still want to use Genesis here for the time being at least. I may do what I’ve done on a couple of other of my own sites and I will install the current Genesis Sample child theme and then modify it with custom CSS in the customizer and some plugins. One plugin very handy for customizing themes is Easy Google Fonts, it’s especially handy for switching from one child theme to another (with Genesis especially), because it maintains your styling even after you switch the theme. I wish there was a way to export the CSS though, I need to look into that. Also, instead of using the CSS editor built into the WordPress theme customizer, I use a CSS plugin called Simple Custom CSS so that the CSS edits I make don’t change when I change child themes.
I still love Genesis but I’ve been using other themes for my clients lately because they are more user friendly for people who don’t code at all, plus I like them too. I’ve mostly been using Avada, but recently decided Avada was a bit too expensive to buy a new license for each of the sites that I do and Avada is very resource hungry, so I decided to start using Divi which can be purchased once for unlimited use. Divi as a theme is a bit more limited than Avada but I actually really like the front end editor, it is one of the first front end editors that I tried that I like, though I did recently try the new free version of Visual Composer from visualcomposer.io and liked it quite a bit, especially considering that it’s free. I’ve heard that Beaver Builder works well with Genesis, but I haven’t spent much time with it yet. I’m happy that all these page builder plugins for WordPress have reached such an evolved state, they sure make my job more fun. I still enjoy using CSS, it’s very handy to know and I find CSS fun, and combined with the page builders, it’s a nearly perfect system.
There are so many great WordPress theme choices, but there are also many themes that look good but the maker may not be providing updates regularly, especially if it’s a free theme. The only free themes that I really trust are those made by WordPress.org themselves. I know that WordPress.org will maintain their themes and they will be compatible with all there updates.
An advantage for me to focus working with only a few themes is that then I can get to really really understand how the themes work and can take advantage of all the features and I can work faster and that translates into lower fees for my clients.
UPDATE 02/19/19: I recently had the opportunity to get to know the Muffin Group’s BeTheme and I like it very much, it’s similar to Avada. It has a back end page builder called the Muffin Builder like Avada and the WP Bakery Page Builder plugin. The BeTheme is nearly as expensive as Avada though, it’s currently $59 to install it on one website.
Though the WordPress 5 update did cause a bit more complexity to using the Divi theme’s Divi Builder (Divi’s Page Builder), there are still ways to make the Divi Builder work on both the front end and the back end, at least for now. But from what I’ve heard, the Divi Builder back end builder will be going away completely eventually, so it may be best to just get used to using the front end Visual Builder. One great thing about the Divi Builder is that it also works as a standalone plugin so it can be used with almost any theme that doesn’t have it’s own page builder (Genesis for example).