Want to save yourself a few minutes? Just go purchase Thesis and don’t bother reading the rest of this post. No? Ok, then, let me begin by introducing myself. Some of you might already know me. I’m Norcross, the tattoo’d surly guy who built the Untemplater site you all know and love, and keeps an eye on the back-end stuff of this site. A few of us may have met in person (probably SXSW, unless you live in Florida), chatted on Skype, or maybe I’ve helped you out via Twitter on some nerd-related project. It’s what I do. But we’re not here to talk about me. We’re here to talk about Thesis. For the record, I’m clearly not the first person in the world to write about using Thesis for your WordPress site. It’s been done before. Hell, you might have even seen one already, with the release of the newest version 1.7. There has certainly been a a lot of buzz about it. But let’s get down to the details, shall we? I’m sure you’re busy.
What the heck is Thesis?
The short answer: Thesis is a combination WordPress theme and coding framework in one package.
The not so short answer: Thesis is what happens when WordPress (a pretty awesome blogging / CMS platform on it’s own) decides to go Rocky montage style and get ready for the fight. Remember the running mountains and boxing sides of beef while a short guy is yelling at him? It’s like that, only instead of fighting Apollo Creed or a Russian it’s running your website. Here’s just a few things Thesis can do that your regular WP theme can’t.
- Complete settings panel for customization
- Pinpoint SEO settings on a per-page and per-category level
- Built-in functions that reduce or eliminate the need for extra plugins
- Streamlined code structure
- Built-in simple 301 redirects (for affiliate links, etc)
- Custom functions to turn your site into something beyond awesome
- A built-in support community second to none
Now, how much of this stuff matters to you? Hopefully all of it. Because as we all move on from the Facebooks of the world and start establishing ourselves online, the appearance and functionality needs to be rock-solid. The days of glitter and animated GIFs are over (thank god), and using Thesis is simply the best way to do it. There are two different versions: single use and ‘developer’ version, which is a weird name for ‘multi-user’. If you run more than one site, go for the developer version. It’s worth it. You can run multiple sites without having to search for a new ‘theme’ each time. Because let’s face it, Thesis is the only theme you’ll ever need.
But other WordPress themes are free. Why spend money on Thesis?
We’ve gotten used to everything being free, haven’t we? Well, in some cases, you get what you pay for. Sure, you can find a free theme, find out that you don’t really know HTML and CSS well enough, load your site up with plugins in an attempt to get it working the way you want.
Or you can just purchase Thesis and get in the ring.
It’s your call.
I’m also a fan of Thesis, however I find it uncomfortably “sticky”. Say it gets more popular… you’ll find more blogs look like Thesis, and you may start to whittle away the visual identity of Thesis in favor of only the SEO parts so that yours does not. Recent features (for example in 1.7) certainly cater to changing the visual identity, however every new setting is pulled from database during render (where it’s not of much use to anything but Thesis platform) vs. the same great UI, but a more efficient and portable Custom CSS and Export-Settings-To-Custom CSS system. Here’s to a more portable approach in 1.8!
I take a different approach, however, my views come mainly as a designer / developer. When building a site, I do everything I can to get rid of the ‘Thesis’ look to a site, and try to give each design it’s own personal look and feel, tied to the client’s needs and goals for the end product.
That being said, I think the scope of available changes gives each person the ability to make it look ‘personal’ and less of a default look. If you look at any of the premium frameworks (Headway, Genesis, Thesis, Builder, etc) they all strive to do this.
As for portability within the CSS, that would be difficult to achieve in any platform. It’s rare that I’ve seen two separate themes / frameworks use the same HTML markup, so migrating the CSS wouldn’t really do anything. You’d essentially have to export the entire markup (both HTML and CSS).
I’m honestly disappointed by this post. Perhaps you’ve had good experiences with thesis and that’s why you’re recommending it, but it really just looks like you’re trying to get affiliate sales. I can’t say I approve.
I know I’m just a lowly reader and this is my first time even commenting, but I don’t understand why you would be pushing this product. It would be a costly investment for anyone looking to untemplate, so it seems contrary to your overall site message.
Maybe it’s a really good product,but I’ve never tried it. Based on my research though, it’s nothing more than a fancy wordpress package that is advertised as SEO friendly. There’s nothing in it that can’t be done in regular wordpress.
I suppose I’m just rambling…the post just seemed really out of character for this site.
I see your point, but I’m not sure I agree. Just about anyone who’s trying to do their own thing (business or otherwise) is looking to have a web presence. I can’t count how many sites I’ve personally had to repair or fix to get them up to what the person wants. And I can tell you my hourly and flat fees are higher than the cost of running Thesis.
And on a personal note as a web developer using WordPress as my primary platform, I’ve found Thesis to be great for building and then handing over to a client. If you know your stuff, then you can obviously ‘roll your own’. I’ve done it. And it certainly isn’t the only option. But most folks don’t want to mess with code. They want to showcase and promote themselves.
Great inspiration to get serious and train to fight! I don’t think I’ve heard a naughty mention, snarky remark, or pernicious drubbing about Thesis yet (and I don’t imagine I will).
I’ve come to expect a little more from Untemplater than straight sales letters. Perhaps a little disclosure is in order? http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=202503&u=405978&m=24570
That’s what the disclosure page is for. It’s also in the footer. See our disclosures
Thanks for this post. It is good to learn more about Thesis. I have heard a lot of good things about Thesis and also Headway and haven’t decided yet which one to go with. What I am not sure about is whether by buying Thesis I would be able to create a customized header myself?
Assuming you can create the graphic you want, making a custom header in Thesis is no problem. That’s one of the great things about Thesis: there is a large community support base and a wealth of tutorials online that are specific to Thesis. In addition, the support forums (which you get access to once you’ve purchased it) have a lot of info as well, and a place to ask questions.
I’ve only worked with Headway on one site, and personally found it a bit ‘clunky’. However, there are certainly those that like it. I’m just a Thesis guy, what can I say.
Tim Jahn says
I love your bio above. 🙂
Yeah, I figured it’s better than making up new titles for myself. I am what I am.