Customizing Genesis Themes

Customizing Genesis Themes Just Got Easier

I’m really excited to announce my first course release on Customizing Themes with Genesis for WordPress. I’ll give you more details about the class in a second, but first…

A little about Lynda and Me

If you’re not familiar with Lynda, it’s a video-based tutorial site that’s been around 1995 (yes, it actually pre-dates YouTube for streaming content!). My first introduction to Lynda Weinman was via her web design books in the late 90’s. They were beautifully produced books that taught the basics of web graphics, html, and css.

Fast-forward to 2010 when I started working with WordPress… I signed up for an annual subscription to with the goal of quickly learning WordPress. After a handful of WordPress classes by Morten Rand-Hendriksen, I was on my way to setting up a business creating WordPress sites for people.

I had the pleasure of meeting Morten last year at WordCamp San Francisco 2013, where I pulled a WordCamp n00b maneuver by getting starry-eyed over the opportunity to meet someone who’d been so influential in my WordPress experience (and he didn’t even know it!). Some time after that meeting, Morten introduced me to the folks at Lynda and so the journey of becoming a Lynda author began.

In early July, I spent a week in Carpinteria, CA where the Lynda headquarters are and recorded two classes, the first of which Lynda released on Friday, August 22. So that brings us to present…

Customizing Genesis Themes

Customizing Themes with Genesis for WordPress is ideal for someone who already has a foundation working WordPress and Genesis and wants to take their understanding of the Genesis Framework a bit deeper. I talk a lot about the file structure and “guts” of the Genesis Framework and how to use that help you with theme customizations. I’ll also walk you through how to work with actions and filters to bend any Genesis child theme to your will.

The course is a little over an hour and includes some practical exercises to help cement your knowledge. While subscriptions cost money, here’s a link to a free 7-day trial if you want to check out my class or any other classes in the learning library. If you go over a week, the subscription fees are well worth the money for the access you get to awesome tutorial content. At least, I think so. :)

Course Preview

Here’s a wee preview of the course introduction. If you take the course, I’d love to hear your feedback. Want more video tutorial content? I’d love to hear your ideas for future topics.

Carrie Dils

I’m a recommended Genesis Developer with 15+ years experience in web design and development. I'm creative, resourceful, and ready to put my mind to your project. Want to discuss your WordPress project? Let's talk!


  1. says

    Full circle. As it should be. I’m glad you came up and talked to me Carrie. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of “oh my GOD I can’t believe I’m in the presence of *insert name here*” of my own at conferences and concerts and the like. Just you wait. Soon you’ll be the subject everyone is oogling.

  2. Jeff Richards says

    Congratulations Carrie!
    I love, I also read her early books and have been following her since 1996. Morton’s courses have been very good, but I’m glad to finally see a Genesis specific course up there. Lots of success to you. Maybe a followup course building Genesis theme from scratch?

    One of these days I’ll get to a WordCamp and get star struck by you. :) I’ve followed your blog for some time now and it’s been very helpful!

  3. says

    Congratulations, Carrie! I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’m in the middle of it right now but wanted to take a break and tell you how awesome your class is! I’ve been customizing Genesis child themes for a while now and have learned on my own, but your class cements all the bits of knowledge I’ve gleaned over the last year. Thank you so much! Keep on training!!!

  4. says

    Congratulations! Really psyched to see this! I noticed it in the New Releases a couple of nights ago and started watching immediately. Though I’ve been playing around with Genesis for a couple of years, I don’t know all I’d like to know, so I’m excited to see what you’re teaching!

    Thanks so much!

  5. Kathaleen says

    Yay!!! I am a visual learner and I can’t wait to watch your lesson. Please please continue making the videos more in depth as the courses progress (hoping you do several more). I recently dropped Lynda because of the sites lack of Genesis lessons on how to successfully make child themes.

  6. says

    I just finished the course, and I wanted to leave a big THANK YOU. I’ve been working with Builder for the last few years and only dabbling in function snippets. For some reason, I just wasn’t able to wrap my head around hooks and filters. Now I “get it”. Now I can comfortably move over to Genesis as my “go to” framework. More please!

  7. says

    Hello Carrie
    I just finished your custom theme course. You said “I’d love to hear your feedback.” This is mine…

    1) At first I thought “will one hour and ten minutes be enough?” But I was surprised how much you packed in to that time.
    2) I like the code snippets. It makes it much easier to follow along.
    3) I liked all of the videos but common customisations and putting it all together were my favourites.

    Ideas for future courses…
    More info about filters.
    An in-depth look at the Genesis Custom Loop.
    How to find the CSS classes for commonly changed elements.

    All in all, your course alone was worth my monthly subscription. And there are hundreds of other courses in with the price, I intend to do several.

    With a 7 day free trial for new users, I’d recommend this to anyone.

  8. says

    Awesome. Congratulations!

    This certainly will help many beginners out there. Also, I will enroll too, to get a good look on how you get things done (in a professional way). :)

  9. says

    Hi Carrie,
    I’m so glad you did this course as I am learning genesis and it was not easy to figure out things like hooks, filters, actions…So that helped a lot and I’m glad to have everything in one place! Great work!

    I am new to Lynda and don’t know if it’s like udemy where you can ask a question to the teacher. Is the Faqs the place to ask you a question on Lynda? I have some doubts about actions and filters that I’d like to resolve..

    Kind regards


    • says

      Hi Chrys,
      Glad you liked the course! There’s not really a “ask the teacher” aspect to Lynda (at least that I know of yet). Feel free to ask here and I’ll see if I can get you pointed in the right direction via clarification or additional resources.


  10. says

    Carrie, I was so excited to see yourself and Genesis in the same package at Lynda. I couldn’t understand how it was taking them so long to cover Genesis. Now finally I am starting to understand how to customize Genesis. I’m also a visual learner and haven’t really stood a chance without the video tutorials.

    You did a great job of breaking it all down. Thanks again. Ive left a comment with Lynda requesting further Genesis courses by your good self so hopefully more will do the same.

    Take care


  11. says

    Hi carrie,

    For some reason I cannot answer above my thread..When I hit “reply” it wouldn’t work. So I’m wrinting here…
    The two questions I had are:

    – Do I have to remove the action I want to work with before adding it again with a tweak?
    remove_action (‘genesis_entry_header’, ‘genesis_post_info’,12);
    add_action (‘genesis_entry_header’, ‘genesis_post_info’,9);

    It sounds logical to remove the action with the 12 priority before adding the same one with a 9 priority but I want to be sure. I couldn’t just put the add_action line with the 9 priority in my functions.php, could I?

    – It’s a bit the same question for the filter. Couldn’t I just copy paste in functions.php the echo apply_filters line which is l.75 in the tutorial in comments.php and replace the word “comments” by what I want?

    I’m sorry if that sounds silly..I’m learning so I like to understand things…:-)

    Kind regards


  12. says

    Hi Carrie,

    I just finished your course “Customizing Themes with Genesis for WordPress” and I have to say you did a great job explaining action hooks and filters and how to use them! I have been using the genesis framework for a while now so this course was perfect timing. I highly recommend for anyone who already knows a bit about genesis but wants to take it to the next level of controlling customization.

    – Trever

  13. says

    Carrie, great tutorials. Watched them both tonight. I had hoped to hear more about good practices for adding a few lines of CSS to child themes, such as to the colors of Executive Pro, no layout changes. I do this, add the code to the end of other child themes. Do I need to give the theme a new name? Have asked StudioPress staff and gotten skilled answers but basically the: go to the forums response, nothing I feel secure with just due to the nature of quick emails and support staff and forums. So I was hoping to hear from you on this in the video. Also, you mentioned a few Genesis plugins but not all the plugins I use, such as Layout Extras or Simple Hooks or Genesis Extender. Thank you and for doing this video. I needed this. Please reply if you can.

  14. says

    I was just curious if you had a list of plugins you like and what you think of these popular ones or if they are relevant in your work.

  15. says

    Sorry, I see the chapter on the stylesheet now. It sounds like you’re saying it is okay to tweak colors, etc in CSS of the child theme and not rename it.

  16. says

    Hi Carrie, I watched your videos on Lynda yesterday. I like the first set of videos about up and running with Genesis but I looove the second tutorial about Customizing Genesis themes. I may have learned a bit about that by reading tutorials in people’s blogs but your video makes the process clearer more understandable! ^_^ Thank you for making me feel smarter!

    • says

      You don’t have the Genesis Framework (or a Genesis child theme) active on that URL. For support with the Genesis Framework, please log into your account at and submit a support ticket or check for an answer in the community forums.


  17. says

    Watched this travelling today Carrie and loved it, you really explained things well and I’ve a much better understanding of Hooks and Functions now which previously baffled me a little. I can’t wait to try out some of the examples and learn more and look forward to more of your tutorials, thanks :)

  18. Lezly says

    This was a fantastic course & when finished I was able to really customize the look of my site. Finding out about the G Hook guide was worth gold! Outstanding tutorial, but then, I haven’t had a bad one on Hope you create more!

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