Thesis WordPress Theme Review

My Rating:
Review by: AJ Clarke

Before starting the review I want to make a few things clear. First, I have worked with Thesis many times for client websites and Second, wpexplorer.com is an affiliate of Thesis which means that I make a commission from any Thesis sale generated through my affiliate link. This said, I wanted to let you know that this is not your average bs review that sounds more like an advertisement. Rather I wanted to create an Informative Review of Thesis so you can better understand everything about the theme.

I could sit here for hours and write about how awesome thesis is, however, you probably rather read about the factual in-and-outs of this theme.

There is a lot to read on this Thesis Review…This is why I have provided these nice big headers so you can skip to whatever sounds interesting. Enjoy!

Visit Thesis

What is the Thesis WordPress Theme Framework?

Thesis is a Premium WordPress Theme Framework developed by Chris Pearson and has become one of the most popular and downloaded/purchased Premium themes out there. In fact, I can not go a single day without browsing the web and seeing a site running on thesis. It is unbelievable.

You have probably encountered many blogs or sites that are using thesis and possibly recognized their similar appearances. At the same time, you may have also seeing many sites that were using this framework and you had no idea. The reason for this, is that Thesis is an awesome theme right “out-of-the-box” but it can also be customized really easily too look like “anything”.

But what actually is Thesis? I guess you could call Thesis a WordPress Theme, however, it is much more then that. It is a code and design Framework built around WordPress that delivers a rock-solid SEO website code plus design flexibility that requires no knowledge of HTML or CSS to make customizations to your website’s design.

Thesis Admin Control Panel

The Thesis Admin Panel is what makes this platform truly stand out (in my opinion). Sure many themes out there let you customize your twitter account or upload a logo for your header, but Thesis is different. This powerful platform will allow you to make tons of adjustments from including pages in the navigation bar to selecting a custom CSS style-sheet. You will have the power to customize your site completely, right through your WordPress administration area.

The admin panel makes it really easy for bloggers that do not want to get their hands dirty with any code but still want to do some basic editing to their website design and make customizations to their on-page Search Engine Optimization.

Admin Panel Screenshot

Here is a quick screenshot of one of the admin setting pages so you can see more or less what they look like. The control panel is really clean and makes use of drop down containers so everything is nicely organized and you can find what you need without having to scroll down forever.

Thesis Theme Panel

Customizing Thesis & Thesis Skins

As mentioned earlier, one of the best things about the DYI Thesis Theme is the ability to customize the look and function of your site via theme control panel which is easy to use and very intuitive. But you can also customize the look of your site via what are called “child themes”, which are themes designed to work with the Thesis Framework and can be uploaded via your theme panel and they will automatically add a new style/design to your site. There are many places where you can find Thesis skins and they are available both for free and for purchase. This ability makes Thesis great for bloggers who don’t want to spend anytime customizing their site or need some extra features that are available via other skins. And it is also a great for web designers who are looking to use the Thesis Framework for all their clients.

Is Thesis Really That Awesome for SEO?

While any theme or site can be edited for Search Engine Optimization many are not optimized to start with. This can be a real hassle for amateur/inter-mediate bloggers which is why the Thesis Framework has been designed to be search engine friendly right out-of-the-box. In fact, most people download external plugins such as “All In One SEO”. But what if you could have your SEO built into your theme? This would make everything run more smoothly with cleaner code and it will make it much easier for you to make overall SEO changes to your site. Plus, Thesis is already very SEO-Friendly right out-of-the-box, so you can install it and feel comfortable that your site will be indexed.

Some of the key components that makes this framework good for SEO purposes are:

  • Title tags and Meta Description fields on pages/posts
  • Noindexing options for pages and psots
  • Alt text for images
  • Clean and simple back-end code
  • Simple design – faster loading (google has added speed as a measure of search engine rankings)

You must remember that simply by installing Thesis on your site you will not automatically rank number 1 on Google, rather the framework provides a very good base and clean code to help make your SEO efforts easier and possibly more successful.

Target Advertisement with Thesis & Thesis For Affiliates

Now here is a really neat feature about Thesis you are going to love: “The Multimedia Box”. This is a 300px by 250px (size can be changed) advertisement block that is by default on the top of the sidebar and it will allow you to rotate between different media (images, video, adsense).

So what? A rotating media box. Sure this is true, but what makes the multimedia box of Thesis so unique is that you can edit what appears in that area for every page. This means that you can provide better targeted advertisement based on your page content. So for example on a Thesis Review post you could have an affiliate banner for DIY Themes and on a post about WordPress SEO you may want to have an amazon link to a corresponding SEO book. For posts that you do not have any affiliate links to post you may consider using that spot for adsense.

Ultimately with the media box you will be able to provide relevant advertisement to your visitors and help increase your affiliate sales.

With the latest version of Thesis (1.7) there is a new feature that affiliate marketers will love and it is the ability to easily create 301 redirect links out of your affiliate links. This means that you can transform all your ugly affiliate links into ones that look like they are on your site and with pretty slugs. This way people will not be discourage to click on them and you can help increase your click-through rates.

How Unique is Thesis?

Uniqueness is very important to generate visitor loyalty and help encourage a community on your site. The problem is that many people are using the same WordPress Themes as everyone else, so when you browse the web you find sites that look just like every other site. At least for me, this is a real turn-off.

There are currently thousands of people using Thesis and many people are using thesis with the basic settings applied and nothing customized. The beauty is that this framework is so easy to customize that you can make your site look 100% unique in just minutes. Ultimately it is up to you…You can go for the plain and basic design or you can edit it a bit and no one will even know you are using the Framework.

This is what makes Thesis so great. Unlike many other themes out there you will have to do a lot of CSS and XHTML editing to make your site look unique, but with Thesis you can log into your admin panel the second you activate it and make some changes really quickly and easily. Or you can upload ad use your own custom style-sheet.

Is Thesis The Perfect Theme?

No theme is “Perfect”, as any theme can virtually be improved in one way or another, however, there are probably many users out there that would argue that Thesis is very close to being a perfect theme. Below I highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of Thesis so you can see what things are awesome and what could be improved.

Thesis WordPress Theme Advantages

  • Clean code and minimalistic design
  • Search Engine friendly and optimized
  • Make easy theme customizations without touching any code
  • Streamlines with custom child themes
  • Relatively cheap developer license

Thesis WordPress Theme Disadvantages

  • Cost
  • Plain and simple default design
  • Blogger layout – may not be as good for businesses without a child theme
  • CSS knowledge is still highly recommended to be able to make design changes to your site

How Much Does It Cost and Is It A Good Deal?

There are 2 pricing options for Thesis, the Developer option and the Personal option. The developer license costs $164 while the personal one is only $87. And while this may seem expensive, especially in comparison to the price of other themes, it is in fact a very good deal for what you are getting. You could spend over $500 paying someone for a custom designed website or you can buy this theme for $87 and customize it yourself. If you want your site to look and function great as well as rank on search engines, then it may be worth the money.

Below you can see what each of the different plans comes with…As you can see, if you are planning on using this theme on multiple sites, the Developer option is still cheaper then purchasing 2 personal option licenses!

Developer’s Option $164

  • Unlimited use of Thesis on sites that you own1
  • Access to all-new beta versions of Thesis before final release!2
  • Access to Client Site Options, which allow you to deploy Thesis on sites for clients3
  • Access to members-only Answers and Forums
  • Lifetime Thesis upgrades
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Personal Option $87

  • Use of Thesis on one live website and one localized development server
  • Access to the Developer’s Option Upgrade for only $774
  • Access to members-only Answers and Forums
  • Lifetime Thesis upgrades
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Paying For A WordPress Theme

I remember when I first started with WordPress I was very skeptical and reluctant to buy any template and there are thousands of people out there that currently do not like the idea of paying for a theme when there are thousands if not millions of free themes out there. However, I have changed and hopefully I have somewhat convinced you other wise as well.

When you think about the TONS of extra features you will get by paying a little but for a Premium template. Think about it…If purchasing a premium theme helps your search engine rankings and increases even just a few more conversions from your site’s advertisements or products than it has been totally worth it.

And best of all with Premium Themes you do not need to worry about having to keep any footer links, spam that could have been added to a free theme, and most importantly you will be able to edit your site much more easily so you can avoid tons of hardship when trying to customize your site.

Should I Buy Thesis?

Of course since I am trying to make some affiliate sales here I would say YES click on the link below and buy this wicked-awesome theme. However, instead I want to give you a list of some things you can think about and possibly write down your answers so you can see if it really is worth it for your. And if you do consider purchasing this theme, you can do so through my links and I will get my respective commission. Thanks!

Things To Think About Before Purchase

  • $87 for a theme you can easily customize and make it look like anything, is that a good deal?
  • If you are a developer could Thesis make your life easier by providing you with a faster way to create client sites?
  • Thesis has some great SEO features and comes with a nice clean code. Is SEO a concern for you?
  • Would editing one theme over and over again be more efficient that buying or finding a new free theme for every new site or whenever you want to change the look of one.
  • Will Thesis make your life easier? (it has for many)
  • “22,100 savy webmasters rely on this framework” would you care to join?
  • If you buy it and it wasn’t as cool as you thought it would be, was $80 worth the try? (there is a 30-day money back guarantee)

Thesis Now With A Split License

For those of you concerned about the GPL license of WordPress, DYI Thesis announced just a couple weeks ago that they have added a split license to their theme making everything to do with WordPress GPL and all the Thesis Framework code to be the property of DYI Themes.

Visit Thesis To Learn More & Purchase Today

AJ Clarke
Post Author: AJ Clarke

Hey. My name is AJ and I am the boss around here. I own and operate WPExplorer. A website dedicated to everything I love about WordPress.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.

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