It is quite weird that I didn’t write a Thesis Theme Review until now since this blog has been built on Thesis from day one. It seems that I really can’t answer the question of why I haven’t written such a review and believe me, I asked myself. The important thing is that I have finally found the time to write my own Thesis Review based on my personal experience with this theme over the past 18 months or so.
|Focus||WordPress Theme Framework|
|Price||$87 / $164|
What Is Thesis?
Thesis is actually a WordPress theme framework and it is different than most of the other premium WordPress Themes you might know. A Theme framework is a Theme designed to be a flexible foundation for quicker WordPress development, usually serving as a robust Parent Theme for Skins or Child Themes. Some Theme frameworks can also make theme development more accessible by removing the need for programming or design knowledge with options pages.
As a theme framework, Thesis allows for extreme customizability & flexibility to enable a developer to build anything on top of the parent framework. The use of hooks allows for easy development of skins and child themes and the ability to add anything you want to just about anywhere you want. It comes with easy to use options which will enable you to customize the theme on the fly and without any coding or programming knowledge.
Thesis Theme Design
As you should have realized by now, Thesis is a very customizable theme and you can change it quite a bit without any programing or coding skills by simply playing with the various options it has which are divided into:
I don’t see any reason to go into every option as I’m sure you get the point by seeing the above screenshots. There is little you can’t control, edit or change from these options.
What is great about Thesis is that you can customize it to such extent that no one will really be able to tell that your blog is actually running on Thesis. Just take a look at the Thesis Showcase page and check some of the blogs that are listed there to see how different they look. When you do that keep in mind that the Thesis theme site, http://diythemes.com/, is obviously running on Thesis but you wouldn’t really be able to tell that as it doesn’t look like it at all.
Thesis OpenHook, a Must Have Plugin
To take full advantage of the hooks feature that comes with the Thesis framework and making it as easy as possible to use, you will probably want to install the free Thesis OpenHook plugin. This plugin will make it easier and simpler to modify Thesis and in order to better understand how it works you can watch this video on YouTube.
I really don’t know where to start explaining to you about the hooks feature so I think you will be better off reading How to Customize Your Site Intelligently with Hooks and checking the Thesis Hook Reference List.
Thesis Theme and SEO
Thesis has always been known for its great SEO support and it is one of its main features. It ads an SEO Details and Additional Style to any post or page edit screen and allows you to add the relevant SEO information.
I personally installed the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast and I don’t use the built in SEO features of Thesis but that is not something you must do. I decided to do it and I don’t really know if that is the right thing to do or not. Just letting you know what I did and in regard to this specific WordPress SEO plugin and Thesis there has been quite a stir in the online community when Chris Pearson didn’t agree to support Yoast’s plugin on Thesis as he feels that the theme should handle SEO and not a 3rd party plugin.
Whether or not that is the right perspective is up to you to decide as I don’t intend to take any side on this debate. If you want to learn more about this issue you can check out what Yoast had to say and be sure to read the comments to get the full story.
The bottom line is that I use Thesis in combination with Yoast’s plugin and it works great for me and I don’t see any conflicts or problems.
Another thing that many Thesis fans use to prove that it is a great theme when it comes to SEO is the fact that Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, is using Thesis to run his popular blog and if Matt Cutts uses Thesis than you can be sure it is a great theme, especially when it comes to SEO.
Thesis Theme Support
The support for Thesis is without a doubt one of the best things about it. You get a complete and updated Thesis User Guide that will go over everything you need to know about the theme. More importantly, you will get access to the Thesis Theme forums (only members get access) where you can find answers to whatever questions or problems you might have.
The Thesis forum is very active with thousands of threads (as you can see in the screenshot below) and you can be sure you will find a solution to whatever problem you have with the theme. I have used the forum countless times and I was always able to find answers there.
On top of the support you get from the Thesis community, you can simply Google just about anything you want to know how to do with Thesis and you will find countless sites dedicated to the Thesis theme providing you with tutorials and valuable information. I don’t know of any other WordPress Theme that created such a buzz and built such a large community around it.
Why Thesis Isn’t For Everyone
Until now, I pretty much praised Thesis but now it is time to be more realistic about it and I would like to tell you why I think Thesis is not for everyone. Even though Thesis is very customizable thanks to its coding and various easy to use options, there is still a limit to how much you can change it without using code.
In order to really make Thesis look different and add some cool features you will need a little more than the built in options and the way I see it, you have 3 main options:
- You can do it yourself
- You can use skins
- You can outsource it
Do It Yourself
Customizing Thesis yourself is an option and it would probably be much easier than to customize any other theme framework but that would still require you to know what you are doing. I don’t know what I’m doing since I don’t know programming and/or coding of WordPress themes so there is no way I could fully customize it as I wanted it by myself.
This is the option I chose and as you can see, my blog doesn’t really look like Thesis out of the box and that is thanks to the Thesis Skin I am using. I guess Thesis Skins are the same as Child Themes in other WordPress Theme frameworks and it basically means I install the skin on top of Thesis which is a pretty simple and easy process.
The skin I am using here on my blog is Called BlogSkin by ThesisAwesome. It took me quite sometime to find a Thesis Skin that really gave me the features and look I was looking for and BlogSkin is without a doubt the best Thesis Skin that I found and I love it. There are quite a few Thesis Skins available, some are even free but I would really love to see some official Thesis Skins from the guys behind Thesis.
The third option to customize Thesis to your own desires is to simply outsource it and pay someone that knows how to do it. A great example I can provide you with is Pat Flynn’s, Smart Passive Income blog, which is now powered by Thesis and yet it looks exactly the same way it looked a few months back before he made the transition to the Thesis Theme.
If Pat wouldn’t share with his readers that he made the transition to Thesis I doubt if any of them would have noticed since the developer he hired for the job really made it look exactly the same as the previous theme he had and by making the transition, Pat has reported that his site loading time has reduced quite drastically which was one of the main reasons he wanted to make the change in the first place.
Thesis and Internet Marketing
When it comes to internet marketing and building AdSense, Amazon and any other type of niche site, Thesis won’t be my number one recommendation. There are WordPress themes that are specifically designed for internet and niche marketing purposes and I think most users would find them better than Thesis.
I actually only know one big internet marketer that uses Thesis on all of his sites, blogs and sales pages and his name is Andre Chaperon. He really makes Thesis work great for him on his various sites and sales pages but I think he is the exception and in any case, if you are anything like Andre, than the theme you are going to use shouldn’t really make that much of a difference .
Thesis Theme for WordPress is great and without a doubt among the best theme frameworks available and I think it is the most popular one. With that said, Thesis isn’t for everyone and only you can decided if it is going to be good for your needs or not.
Thesis is beautiful, very easy to customize, SEO optimized and comes with features you won’t find in any free theme and you won’t find many of them in other premium themes. Thesis is also well known for helping to reduce loading times which is now an important factor to consider as it has some effect on SEO and more importantly, on user experience when they visit your site.
If you are looking for a premium WordPress Theme to power your blog with than Thesis should at the top of your list as they are very few themes out there that can match what Thesis brings to the table.
To you success (and mine ),