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Thesis Theme Review

Thesis Theme Review: Why I Give it 3 out of 5

Review of: Thesis Theme
WP Theme:
Chris Pearson
Version:
1.8.2
Price:
$87
Thesis Theme

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On January 30, 2012
Last modified:October 7, 2012

Summary:

Thesis Theme is a great WordPress theme framework that I am personally using on my blogs and projects, but I've decided to rate it 3/5 for a few reasons, read my Thesis Theme review to know why.

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!

Thesis Awesome Income Report

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!

But…

  1. No one told me that I need to hire a designer!
  2. No one told me that I need to get a developer
  3. 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?

Yes…

Joost & Chris tweet about SEO functions

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!

Theme 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!

DiyThemes Blog

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:

  1.  Having another player will spice up the blog and make it more exciting!
  2. 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!

Thesis Theme is a great WordPress theme framework that I am personally using on my blogs and projects, but I've decided to rate it 3/5 for a few reasons, read my Thesis Theme review to know why.

I create websites with WordPress, and I develop Thesis Skins. I am a social network lover. I am also the night creature who works hard to keep this project up. Owner and founder of the Famous Blog.

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{ 71 comments… add one }

  • Dita February 25, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Hi Hesham,

    Thank you for your honest review of Thesis. I have been contemplating Thesis for a while. I currently use Canvas from Woothemes but I like some other features that Thesis offers and I thought that perhaps I should change.

    Interestingly, I could not find any contact info on Thesis homepage to ask pre sale questions and my search led me here.

    I certainly am not a designer or very technical and I don’t have time to learn it. I guess that your article has helped me make a decision. At this time I have to say NO to Thesis.

    Thank you for being honest. It is a rare trait among many marketers.

    Have a great day,

    Dita

    • Karen January 6, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Hi Dita,
      In response to your thoughts on moving to Thesis… I was on Thesis at one time, and made the switch to Canvas by Woo – so the opposite way to you! I found Canvas easier to get up and running with for a non-techy person, a breeze and more intuitive to get a unique look.

      I am currently using U-Design, and must say, the fantastic customer-service of the U-Design help forum blows everything else right out the water! I think the ability to get help is an important feature of a theme.

      I think you did the right thing, doing your homework, and coming to a well-considered decision. I wish I’d been less swayed by the raving Thesis reviews back in the beginning (which I came to learn are people who are acting as affiliates for the theme anyhow and thereby making money from promoting Thesis!). Things when you are new to the web, you don’t necessarily realise!
      Karen recently posted..New Year’s… growth and renewal in 2014My Profile

  • Shaikh Zafar February 7, 2013, 4:14 am

    Hi Hesham !
    I just got the thesis theme and have been ‘trying’ to create a landing page. I want to have a video and an opt in box with some words telling them what I will give them when they sign up.

    I have looked at a few thesis tutorials and written my first few bits of code. Is there a resource you can recommend to help me learn this? Or is there another program I can add on to Thesis that still lets me have a lot of control?

    Thanks SO much!

    Regards,
    Shaikh Zafar

    • Hesham Zebida February 7, 2013, 2:09 pm

      If you are going to use Thesis 2, then creating a landing page shouldn’t be hard, the classic skin that comes with Thesis 2 has a landing page template that you can use, the rest of elements like video and optin form can be done with some coding and styling skills.

      You may want to take a look at the Email Signup Boxes that is developed by DIYThemes.com (requires login), they’ve released Aweber and MailChimp Boxes, you can check them out and maybe customize them to match your requirements.

      • Shaikh Zafar February 18, 2013, 6:47 am

        Yes you are right Hesham, I did tried accordingly and got some positive results.

        Thanks for help !!

  • David October 12, 2012, 1:34 am

    Hi Hesham, Thesis 2.0 is finally here! Have you given it a go yet? Just wondering if your most recent skins eg: Avenger are compatible with the new thesis?

    • Hesham Zebida October 12, 2012, 9:03 am

      Hi David,

      Yes, I’ve done a walk though and review for Thesis 2.0 on the same day it was released, free skin and a couple free Boxes.

      I must say that Thesis 2.0 is a revolutionary theme framework for WordPress.

      At the time of writing this reply, non of my other Skins are compatible with Thesis 2.0, but working to make this happen (at least in a way of another).

      • David October 13, 2012, 12:20 pm

        Hesham, sorry, yes I realised that you had already done the review after I threw my comment in… anyway, it’s great to hear you are working on a solution for your thesis themes, cheers

  • Torben October 7, 2012, 1:28 pm

    I use thesis on all my websites – but I’ve also missed some serious critic of what I’ve actually bought. Yours is a very sound and sympathetic post.

    Here is another somehow critical review: (link removed by editor)

    Seems like we’re trapped once we get into it – looking forward to trying out the new 2.0 – and it’s out now.

    • Hesham Zebida October 7, 2012, 4:48 pm

      Hi Torban,

      This is what happen when you put feelings into it!

      I’ve done a quick review for Thesis 2.0 right after its launch.

      P.S. not sure why I should keep a link to another review in my review, so I removed it.

      • Torben October 8, 2012, 4:06 am

        He, he – I understand. Thanks for the 2.0 review. Interesting! I won’t update my websites quiet yet then.

  • Samuel Pustea August 23, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the heads up Hesham!

    Thesis themes is something I didn’t looked into since I am using a different theme framework.

    Anyways, good to know especially when I am recommending a product.
    Samuel Pustea recently posted..Top WordPress Plugins To Reach The Top!My Profile

  • Gouri August 14, 2012, 8:56 am

    Responsive design and drag & drop layout is what I miss most.
    Gouri recently posted..Make Your Life Easy with MyLife – Manage Multiple Online Identities at One PlaceMy Profile

  • Juan August 7, 2012, 5:51 pm

    i don’t know, until now i’m just using free theme. If my theme got anything problem, maybe i will switch it to premium theme. Some blogger suggest genesis, thesis and so on. But many of them will say thesis is a good theme for blogger when it come to SEO

  • Froilan Samonte July 5, 2012, 9:13 am

    I presently using Thesis theme starting last week with my website above. When I post a thesis abstract, I see forms for SEO powered by Thesis theme and below it is the Yoast SEO forms also. What I did is I only supply the forms with title, description, and keywords to the Yoast SEO and leave blank to each form in the SEO forms of Thesis. Will this confuse my site’s SEO?

  • Paul Salo June 29, 2012, 9:48 pm

    After reading these comments, I switched from Thesis to Genesis for my blog paulsalo.com I used Thesis for years and was waiting like a dog at the dinner table to 2.0

  • Toufiq June 21, 2012, 6:47 am

    Hey, can you suggest me the best SEO plugin for thesis, which will not contradict with Thesis’s own SEO or duplicate meta field?

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