Sage8 Viability

Hey folks,

My company is in the process of migrating many of their currently static pages to WordPress, and I’m trying to get them to consider Sage over the Genesis framework, which I’m not particularly fond of. They’re interested in Genesis for a number of reasons:

  • The CMO has familiarity with it.
  • We’re trying to beef up our SEO.
  • It has a number of pre-defined templates.
  • Genesis is a framework and requires a child theme, so theme updates are more viable.

I’m hoping to convince them that sage8 is a better alternative for both the short- and long-term, for a number of reasons:

  • I have more familiarity with it.
  • It will enable us to develop more quickly, thanks to features like npm for package management, gulp for task automation, SASS for styling and Browsersync to make the local development workflow easier.
  • It’s more performant than typical WordPress themes, thanks to CSS/JS minification, image optimization through gulp, etc.
  • It seems like its put together with SEO in mind.
  • Building our templates from scratch, along with flexible content courtesy of ACF, will enable us to build out the initial pages more quickly and provide us with more long-term flexibility as pages grow.

Anyway, I have a few questions for the community here:

  1. How SEO-friendly is sage8 out of the box? What’s missing?
  2. What are the long-term security implications of using sage8, assuming it will no longer be receiving updates?
  3. Are there any other reasons you can think of that could potentially get my company on board with sage8 given what I’ve laid out here?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

Sage is a starter theme and Genesis is a framework, so right out of the gate the two are going to be difficult to compare since they are providing different solutions and have different values.

Frameworks generally tend to make things easy by building everything for you. Of course this means there are a lot of assumptions baked in.

Sage is more like a supercharged project template or boilerplate. The “supercharged” part is the modern build process it uses your assets and how it does templating. It makes few assumptions markup and design-wise — nothing you can’t easily change — which is really good for more custom solutions.

Answers to your questions

Sage isn’t trying to do your SEO for you — that’s up to you. So in that sense it’s very SEO friendly since you have nothing to fight against. But in another sense, everything is left up to you. Good SEO doesn’t happen magically in the first place. Having good control over the markup and content is really helpful for SEO though and Sage enables you to do that. Also, having a really good frontend workflow to keep your assets minified and smaller in filesize will help SEO.

Really, I would say it’s up to you to make it secure. If the site is done well, you shouldn’t have issues with security necessarily. I have Sage 8 themes that I haven’t had to touch in 4 years and there are no security concerns with them.

I think you reasons you’ve listed are great. Maybe use the showcase in your pitch.

And I gotta ask…

Why not Sage 9?

  • More modern frontend workflow.
  • Blade + controllers for more DRY templates + separation of concerns.

I think the jump from Genesis to Sage 8 is a more winnable argument than to Sage 9, if it’s an argument.