3 Things To Know Before Buying Thesis Theme

I’ve used the Thesis theme for the last few years and for the most part, I’ve been really happy with it.

Clean code, good SEO control, and a great support forum with very helpful users. And if there’s one feature I’m repeatedly glad for with this theme it is the fact that there is a responsive support forum, because I’ve spent a huge amount of time in the trenches there.

Nothing but love for the gods and girlies on that forum.

So without further ado, here are 3 things that I wish I would have known before jumping on the Thesis theme bandwagon. I won’t try to talk you out of Thesis, but depending on what kind of person you are, what you’re looking for, and how much you love to tinker, there may be better options for your first (paid) WordPress theme.

1. Thesis is Ugly

Right out of the box, the thesis theme is pretty darn ugly. It is minimalism at it’s finest, and the simplicity of a fresh install may be quite underwhelming for some new customers.

If you’re looking for a theme that impresses, visually speaking, right out of the box, you’ll want to look elsewhere, because to make your Thesis theme you, you’re going to need to get your hands dirty, or pay someone else to do the customizations for you. Which leads me to my next point …

2. You Need to Know Code

Or at least be comfy copying/pasting it, and or manipulating it. I guess this argument could be made against most all themes if you want customization of any sort, but I’ve probably learned more code trying to modify my various Thesis websites than I learned from reading my first big HTML coding book several years ago.

If you decide to run with Thesis, you’re going to be copying, pasting, modifying, and experimenting like crazy. The good thing, though, is that there IS a lot of code out there that’s easily accessible. And the Thesis site has tons of tutorials that do a good job at telling you what code to put where. The thing is, most of my Thesis sites have turned into massive code playgrounds.

I’ll spend night after night modifying code: php, html, css, etc… and finally get the right mix for the look I’m trying to put forth. The bad thing is though, that I’m not a designer, nor a coder, so my website usually reflects my skill level with both. So I usually get to a point of discouragement, and I go around searching for other good-looking thesis themes that I can mimic … and then I usually discover that there aren’t many that are all that impressive. They all wreak of the same relatively boring layouts, choppy typography, and boring nav bars. Sure, the nav may be located above the header on one site, and below it on another, but that’s usually the extent of their customization.

I’m just being honest.

Take these sites for example. They are even featured on the DIY Themes (Thesis) home page as some of their best examples.

  • http://daggle.com/
  • http://6767.com/
  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/

Impressed? Meh, me neither.

To be fair, here are some of the better looking ones:

  • http://www.nerdist.com/
  • http://www.spring.org.uk/
  • http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/
  • http://mattbites.com/

But they obviously spent some time & no doubt money, customizing the bare bones Thesis design. And to be fair, thesis never claimed to be good looking. They focus on building a solid framework so that you can build on top of that.

3. Their Marketing Advice is Priceless

Here’s the deal.

Even if my two previous points made you think twice before getting your hands dirty with Thesis, you should not think twice before checking out & subscribing to their blog.

They consistently post incredibly helpful articles dealing with wordpress seo and modifying your site for better marketability.

These are just some things to think about.

As for me, I’m taking a break from Thesis (at least on this site). Right now I have an out of the box studiopress [affiliate link] theme installed. I think it looks at least as good as, if not better than, the Thesis theme that I was running here a few weeks ago.

About Jeremy Blake

Jeremy is a self-proclaimed socially-awkward penguin living in Utah. He makes money online. As he sleeps.

  • John Hopkins

    Very well put. I’ve made some great-looking sites using Thesis, but you really should know some CSS at the very least or expect to be underwhelmed. It IS a great tool if you start on paper and design what you want. Then use Thesis as the framework to make it happen. Without a strong understanding of CSS, you’ll be up the creek without a paddle. Headway is another Premium, framework theme that is similar, but with a bit better system for tweaking the CSS.

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  • Jody Heath

    Hey Jeremy, Sorry If I double posted, not sure if the last one took. Regarding your post on Shoemoney’s redesigning his site with Thesis. I’m relatively new to internet marketing and I’m on the verge of deciding on a wordpress theme myself. I’ve looked at blogs by: Shoemoney, John Chow, Darren Rouse (problogger), Jonathan Volk. I like Problogger’s and Shoemoney’s layouts, but I like Shoemoney’s the best. And from your posts on his site and yours, I’ll take-it he is using Thesis. I read your sentiments how Thesis was plain out of the box and would require lots of tweaking, while studiopress looked better out of the box without the as much tweaking. Do you still recommend that studiopress over Thesis. And if so, which them could give me more of a look of Shoemoney.com? Thanks

    • Hello Jody – I still personally prefer Studiopress over Thesis as of right now. I just find it easier to work with in general and they’re always updating and innovating. That being said, if you’re really a fan of Shoemoney’s blog, I’d go the Thesis route. His blog is nearly bare-bones Thesis with very minimal modification, so I don’t think that would be a bad choice if you’re going for that look. Let us know what your site is once you decide and get it launched! Best luck!