What is a WordPress child theme… and how to install one

October 20, 2017

A WordPress child theme is a theme which inherits its functionality from another WordPress theme or framework, known as the parent. Each of the Design by Bloom themes are child themes of the Genesis Framework, which is the parent theme (or framework).

What is a WordPress Child theme and how to install one #wordpress #genesis

The beauty of child themes is that you can customize or tweak the child theme without losing any changes you have made when WordPress or the Genesis Framework is updated.

The Framework + Child Theme structure of site building is great because it separates the performance issues of your site from the design issues. So, if you use a child theme, you can design all day long without ever touching the critical, underlying code that makes Genesis sites so powerful.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a Child theme built on the Genesis Framework?

Like with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a WordPress theme framework. Let’s take a look at both.


  • Ease of development – As mentioned previously, using a child theme enables you to make tweaks to the theme. A child theme has a smaller number of files, so tweaking these files is easier than tweaking a parent theme.
  • Functionality – The Genesis Framework comes with built-in widgets, and additional functionality, such as hooks. There are also a number of plugins which are Genesis specific, allowing you to give you site additional functionality.
  • Upgrades – The Genesis Framework is updated regularly along with WordPress. You can safely make updates to the theme, secure in the knowledge that any updates to WordPress or the Genesis Framework are not going to overwrite any customizations you have made to your theme.
  • Community – The Genesis Framework has a huge community behind it. This makes it much easier to get assistance with any tweaks you want to make which aren’t covered by theme support (which is restricted to assisting you getting your site to look and function like the demo).


  • Price – The Genesis Framework is not free. In the long-run, the cost is worth it, but it does add to your initial cost to get your website started. The Genesis framework’s cost is $59.95. It’s a one time fee.
  • Learning curve – The Genesis Framework has its own unique hooks and filters, which can introduce a learning curve if you are wanting to customize your child theme.
  • Extra, unnecessary code – the Genesis Framework comes with all the built in code you will need, but also may contain functionality which you will never use.

To learn more about the Genesis Framework, download the Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners:


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How to install a WordPress child theme

Before you can install a child theme, you will need to install the parent theme (in this case, the Genesis Framework). Click on images below to open in a new window, for ease of viewing.

To get started, go to:

    1. Dashboard
    2. Appearance
    3. Themes
    4. Click Add NewHow to install a WordPress child theme
    5. On the next screen click Upload Theme
    6. Click Choose File (and browse to where you have downloaded the Genesis Framework to on your computer
    7. Click Install Now

  1. Once the Genesis Framework has been installed, click on the Return to Themes page link. You don’t need to activate the Genesis Framework. Repeat the process to install the child theme. Once the Child theme has been installed
  2. Select Activate

The child theme is now Active, and ready to be set up, following the theme’s setup instructions. The setup instructions for each of the Design by Bloom themes can be accessed here.

Meet Susan

Susan Ramsey of One Happy Studio is a StudioPress recommended developer and would love to help you customize your WordPress website
I create and customize themes, and create custom websites using WordPress. I work exclusively with the Genesis Framework. Creating the website is just part of the story – I am somewhat obsessed with the process, and love to help others by answering support questions for Bloom Design Co. and on the StudioPress community forums. I’m honored to be a StudioPress recommended developer. Talk to me (here) about customizing your WordPress website!