Why you should be using the Thesis Theme

In a previous post I encouraged you to check out Woo Themes and peruse their excellent selection of affordable, yet professional looking, WordPress themes. So what is Thesis and why should you consider using Thesis for your site?

Cookie Cutter?
Buying an off the shelf theme and installing it only to find 1,000 other sites are using the same theme is a bit of a downer. Like wearing your brand new shirt only to see 5 other guys with the same exact shirt or attending the big dance where all the girls are wearing “your” same dress. The odds are slim that you and a competitor might share the same exact web “skin” but it could happen with a really popular theme and create a situation where you appear less than fully committed to your web presence.

How many times have you seen the default blue Kubrick theme and immediately lowered your expectations for the site or blog? kubrick

Thesis was designed to solve a common problem for free and purchased WordPress Themes – WordPress Theme customization .

I will admit the first time I bumped into the Thesis theme I really didn’t “get it”.
However after spending some time on the site I was a little intrigued. I watched a video. Looked at some showcase examples. Then I threw down my cash. Downloaded it. FTP’d it. Installed it. Activated it. Waited for my life to change. Nothing happened. No thunder . No lightning. I just had a really white, sterile web site staring back at me. Hmmm.

Months later I am now a fan and I recommend Thesis as an excellent solution to those that are dedicated to building a nice web site/blog for their personal or business site.

Here is why I like Thesis:
SEO – Thesis automatically handles header hierarchies, title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, rss feeds.

Isolated Theme Customization – Ultimately everyone wants to edit some part of their WordPress theme. Add a widget here, move that box there, change fonts, delete a sidebar, add RSS feed etc. Thesis lets you do this by editing 1 or 2 files.

Until Thesis I would have made these changes by editing the core theme files. That works fine until :

  • you decide to change themes
  • a new version of your current theme is released which overwrites the existing files
  • a new version of WordPress is released
  • someone accidentally overwrites your customized file(s)
  • the site owner wants to make more changes to core files
  • need to “rollback” last version of code edits
  • plenty of other use cases for why this ends up being an issue

So the brilliance of Thesis is the customization of the theme OUTSIDE the core files and simple storage of HTML/PHP and CSS changes. All PHP edits are stored in one file and all CSS edits are stored in another file. Two files to manage. Two files to backup. Two files to ship to client.

Other important Thesis features:

  • Easy management of fonts and colors
  • Magazine style layouts
  • Element control for posts and pages
  • Easy customization navigation menus

The folks at DIYThemes.com have put together a few educational videos on Thesis and you may find them interesting and helpful.

Watch Thesis Videos Now

What about Plug-ins?
Much of that can be done by Thesis can be done with plug-ins. BUT plug-ins tend to break on upgrades, plug-in writers get tired of supporting them and ultimately most of them FAIL. Plug-ins bring yet another chef into the code kitchen. All this code – written by who knows what in who knows where – is supposed to interact with no issues across varying versions of PHP on UNIX and/or Windows servers? Bottom line : Avoid plug-ins if and when you can.

Interesting to note that Matt Cutts runs his blog on Thesis.

One last note – your Thesis site will look somewhat plain vanilla until you customize it or hire me to do it.