You are about to read my honest review of Thesis Theme framework. This is something I always wanted to do, and I really blame myself having not reviewed Thesis before now since I have been using it heavily on my blog. I also depend on it to run several other projects, especially here at FamousBloggers.net and my other design project that relies on Thesis Themes 100%
So, prepare yourself, this won’t be a short review for thesis. I have tons of things to talk about as I will take it from my personal prospective and two years of experience with Thesis, mostly as a developer. I don’t have any intention to offend or annoy anyone, and I apologize if I do by accident!
I will tell you why I give it this sort of low rating, which could be shocking for all Thesis fans!
I am reviewing Thesis Theme as I see it today, time plays a big role here and reviews have to reflect the recent condition. I could give it a higher rating if I reviewed it two years ago, but today I am not so sure about that! However, my point of view may change any time, and you should see an update in the future.
Anyway, I worked hard enough with this theme to form an honest opinion, especially that there are a lot of crappy reviews on the web that have been published just to sell you Thesis and make commissions without even taking it for a test drive.
Before you continue reading, I will show you how much money I’ve earned in only one year of working and developing my Skins for Thesis Themes. As proof that I really don’t hate Thesis, I launched the ThesisAwesome.com site. I just feel uncomfortable with the way people think of it, so I want to make it clear to help you with your decision!
Report generated by aMember membership software
As you can see in the image above, I’ve managed to make sales of $30,000 last year from developing and selling Thesis Skins at ThesisAwesome.com. That is almost 50% of my online business income, and it’s clear that I wouldn’t be profiting if Thesis Theme didn’t exist!
However, this doesn’t mean I should rate it 5 out 5 just because I am making good money out of it. There are a few things that I don’t like about Thesis, and I will mention them in my review below!
So, read on…
[box]Update: The new version of Thesis has been released, Check out my Thesis 2.0 review.[/box]
Thesis Theme is my own Teacher!
I’ve learned tons of useful tricks being a Thesis Theme user, it helped me to enter the WordPress development world in a sweet way. Probably no other WordPress theme or framework would teach me all that and help me establish a design business, but there is always an issue. I didn’t buy this theme to learn how to design cool things, I also never thought that I would be so involved in it working day and night to get the look and feel I wanted for my blog.
I didn’t want a white page! I wanted something that really works out of the box!
To be honest, Thesis Theme actually works out of the box, exactly the way it was explained, and that’s why I ran and quickly bought it, I was convinced!
- No one told me that I need to hire a designer!
- No one told me that I need to get a developer
- No one told me that I will have to spend nights and days working my butt off to get a unique design!
I didn’t buy Thesis Theme to learn cool stuff and be a professional web designer, or an avid developer!
So, if you need to learn, and you have time, then Buy Thesis Theme, it will simply teach you!
There is a always a catch, and a lot more to do. Thesis Theme’s trick was actually in its marketing message! And, that’s another reason for me to rate it lower!
Why Thesis Theme is not getting any updates!
This is one of the most annoying things for anyone who becomes part of a membership site. They promise you will get updates, but no time line. That’s fine and accepted, but one year with no critical upgrades, that’s not good at all! I mean the world is changing!
People keep asking Chris Pearson every day when he will release Thesis 2.0, and Chris keeps telling them “Thesis 2.0 is coming soon”, 2011 ended, but 2.0 has not been released.
I thought maybe he doesn’t want to release 2.0 for the public, and prefers to keep it for his Best Damn Blog on the Planet.
At the beginning I thought those people are just silly, why do they need an update? What’s the point of getting a new update for Thesis? Are they having a problem or they are just asking because they paid for future upgrades?!
I really didn’t understand their point the whole time! I also didn’t understand Chris‘s strategy!
I learned a lot of things while giving support to my ThesisAwesome.com members. I realized some interesting stuff that are maybe facts, or maybe I am just imagining these are facts!
People all the time ask me for updates…..do you know why? Simply because they want “new features”!
They think if they pay $100 for a design, they will keep getting new awesome features forever, and to the end of days! I must say this is impossible, I can’t give you new feature updates for ever. I prefer to focus more on enhancing what I have and make it work better. I add new features only when there is a big demand. Then I make time and work on it, but if I see it’s unnecessary, why should I bother?!
You know what?
I just think that… Chris sees Thesis Theme as a perfect creation, why should someone come up with a new update for something is already perfect?! You won’t get another update any time soon!
But then, I think again, and again, and I remember the Headway 3.0 launch that was considered a big fail for Headway Themes by many of their members. Everybody says it was released earlier than it should be. I really don’t want to see this happen to Thesis, and I hope that Chris knows what he is doing, or it will be a big problem for everyone who depends on Thesis!
Anyway, what do you expect from the Thesis Theme next update?
SEO features, should I use a plugin?
That’s how Thesis could be sold to over 40,000 people. Thesis Theme has solid SEO features, so you don’t need to use any SEO plugin if you are running Thesis Theme on your blog. However, you may want to empower your blog SEO with some plugin So let me tell you this… You simply don’t have the choice!
I’ve tried WordPress SEO by Yoast, and it’s a really awesome plugin, and I see good potential in using it, especially if this gives you more control over SEO. However, it didn’t work well for me as I am using Thesis. SEO features conflict and duplicate in some areas, and I was about to mess things up by editing some part of the framework or disable its SEO functionality so I can use the plugin instead, but I changed my mind, I really don’t need more headaches.
I still see some people using the SEO plugin with Thesis, this is just not right!
Joost says that SEO has to be controlled by a plugin, not a theme. or at least give users the option to enable/disable SEO options. Themes has to focus more on design and layout, I personally agree 100% with him.
Who won’t agree on that anyway?
P.S. that’s an old tweet, but nothing has been changed since that time. Chris won’t lose the marketing key and refused to respond while other frameworks like Genesis and Headway have responded nicely to Joost and to their members who simply asked to have the choice to decide which SEO feature to use.
That being said, it has just added another reason for me to rate Thesis Theme lower!
Another Story About Respect!
Ok, while it’s hot and I got your full attention, let me tell you what happened with me when I first launched ThesisAwesome.com
Actually this happened before I launched the site. I tried to get in touch with Chris, the person who I thought I will be working with and needed his advice, as my idea was actually to develop for Thesis, and only Thesis! So, I asked him to DM his email so I can email him privately because I had a very important question for him. I really really needed some business advice atthat time, and simply he was the only person I thought could help me out!
I got a reply from him on Twitter, he told me to send my email via the DiyThemes support email.
And, guess what?
One year passed and I never got an answer to my question! I never heard from him!
No matter what I say, it won’t express my feelings at that time. I was really upset, I mean how can someone contact you and ask for business advice, and you don’t reply to him? I am a Thesis Theme user, and I am part of your affiliate program, my idea should drive more sales. Any professional would reply to such an email!
There was no respect! And I won’t forget that!
Add everything to function.php file, what’s the problem?
You see, I put a lot of effort into this blog, I spent hours and hours coding for FamousBloggers.net. After two years of coding I ended up with a freaking scary and stupid file. I realized that not everything should be included in the theme’s function.php file, it’s not really the best practice. I have a lot of functions in that file and it became confusing. I didn’t know where to start, and where to go anymore, totally lost!
The best way to do this is to create your own functionality plugin.
I got this idea from Ryan Imel of WPCandy.com, and it makes a lot of sense. However, I haven’t had a chance to create my own functionality plugin yet, but at least I started with extracting my function.php file into a few small size file, and restructuring the Thesis Theme /custom/ folder to contain more files and folders that are simple to read, follow and understand.
Child Theme or Skin?
Call it whatever, but Thesis Skins are not Child Themes!
A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme.
I will stick with that because I trust what WordPress.org says!
Thesis Skins is far more than that, so I will stop calling it Child Themes.
Thesis Header Image
In my opinion, this is the worst Thesis option ever since 1.8, why? It says in the option page:
Based on your current layout settings, the optimal header image width is 949 pixels. If your image is wider than this, don’t worry—Thesis will automatically resize it for you!
It’s just silly to resize the header image and fix its width to 949px, and even worse, cropping a header image? Wow! This is amazing! But, what’s the point here?
P.S. don’t worry, I am the last person to worry about this feature because I will never have to use it!
The problem is this particular option gave me a lot of headaches. It forced me to code a new option to solve it for my best selling skin, the BlogSkin, simply because the page width I’ve chosen for the skin is 980px, which this amazing header option thing doesn’t support!
I really don’t have anything against the theme support, all people who are working at DiyThemes.com are cool and they respond quickly, and I appreciate all they do to solve problems and help members. I always appreciate support because it’s really a hard job, I am sure you will know what I mean if you have ever been supporting members in forums.
Let’s say they are doing their “job” perfectly!
If you are a Thesis member, then I am sure you’ve read some posts on their blog.
Maybe I am the only one, but I am sick of the same boring and repeated stuff that is published on the blog, too much triggers!
I don’t recognize DiyThemes blog anymore, I don’t know whether it’s a design blog or just another blog of Derek Halpern.
Don’t get me wrong, I like strong opinions, and I like Derek‘s work and appreciate the good advice, but the blog needs to have more fresh design related articles and tutorials written by professionals, not only marketing and converting tips. Here is a couple of suggestions:
- Having another player will spice up the blog and make it more exciting!
- Inviting more guests to write for the blog, add new blood!
I am sorry to say that, but this is by far the worst blog ever, I lost interest!
Seriously, Who Makes Thesis Theme Awesome
I think web designers and developers who work in Thesis Theme development are the ones who actually make it awesome, Thesis has never been awesome without their contributions.
You can see a post from the past where I got a few quotes from top niche web designers who develop for Thesis.
Final Thoughts about Thesis Theme
While Thesis Theme is very reliable, at least for me and my business, I make money by solving problems “Thesis problems”, and by developing skins that add additional functionality to Thesis, which makes it awesome, if Thesis was perfect, I wouldn’t be making $30,000 in only one year! Period!
My Thesis Skins are selling because I solve people’s problems.
Marketing Thesis Theme as the best SEO framework is an old idea, it’s not valid anymore, and it shouldn’t be your focus when buying a theme for WordPress.
I really want to see a huge change in 2.0, however I am not sure if there will be a 2.0! I don’t want to jump off the train unless I really have to!
I don’t hate Thesis!
I’ve said what’s on my mind, and what I kept in my heart for a long time! And, as you can see, this review is quite different than any other review that has been published about Thesis Theme. I haven’t paid too much attention to the functionality or features, simply because Thesis Theme doesn’t offer something different than other frameworks in the market, so I won’t be talking about the same thing over and over. And, as I mentioned before, I will be updating this review if I see it’s necessary.
I hope this helps you to make a better decision for your business.
Now it’s back to you, I will be glad to discuss this with you even more in the comments section, really!