Thesis WordPress Theme Review: A Drug Free Experience

 

With all of the seemingly ‘free’ and exceptionally beautiful WordPress themes out there, the question of the day is this:

Bottom line. Is it worth it to pay for a WordPress theme? Err.. Have you ever felt the overwhelming need to break things when creating a blog? Have you refilled your anxiety medication prescription as a direct result of CSS involvement? If not, never mind… We will just stick to the review of the Thesis theme.

The first time I saw or heard of Thesis was while I was looking over some tutorials on freelance writing. I just so happened to notice the crisp, easy to read and navigate site and scrolled down to the bottom to see if I could find the theme name: Thesis.

Ok, so that was about a year ago. Ever since then I have seen the Thesis theme on countless, well put together professional sites.

After acquiring it myself, and realizing the power of the open hook plugin (all advanced changes can be made right from the WordPress panel) I began to like the ease of use and style capabilities more and more. Truthfully, the possibilities for customization are endless.
Here is a rundown of the PRO’S:

Thesis is a beautifully laid out theme. It is magazine-like, yet simple, with just the right balance of white space. Having a prior career in journalism, I am quite familiar with the purpose of whitespace. (Did you know that besides looking cleaner, a reader actually can stay on a site with plenty of white space longer without experiencing eye fatique?)

With one click, Thesis can be a one, two or three column blog with variable column width choices. Each configuration retains a professional and balanced look.

You can also change the fonts and their sizes just as easily (for the body, headlines, sidebars, etc.)
SEO Optimization….Oh it’s so Google friendly

In my opinion, one of the top selling points of Thesis is the fact that it was created with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. WordPress by default is one of the most search engine friendly blogging platforms out there. However, it’s still not perfect and how your theme is laid out affects how search engines see, and ultimately rank your site.

Thesis presents your content well and I’ve always had excellent Google rankings since I made the switch. I still use my own configuration of plugins to optimize my blog, but overall, Thesis one of the best themes for SEO right out of the box.
Bells and Whistles

One of the coolest features of Thesis is the Multimedia Box, which lets you put rotating pictures or a videos in your posts. There’s a default option for all pages, but Thesis uses WordPress’s built in custom fields function to post specific photos or videos for any page or post you wish. This is great for YouTube videos, photos, and even page-specific advertising.

If that’s not enough:

You can replace your default feed with your feedburner link

You can specify which pages appear in your navigation menu. This part is really flexible – you can even use a specific category’s posts or add a custom blogroll to it.

You’ll get lifetime upgrades for free and a constant support system through “members only” forums and even direct answers from Chris Pearson (Thesis creator). On the other hand, I once tried to email the creator of a free theme (for weeks) with a simple question….Did I get an answer…oh sure I did.

Add Mint or Google Analytics tracking code without messing with your files.

Thesis Cons

Thesis is probably the most impressive theme I’ve seen as far as SEO, complete customization capabilities, support and features. It will be the base theme for almost all of my blogs.

Here are a few of the honest annoyances:

The multimedia box could be easier to use. I didn’t like having to search out a tutorial to figure it out. Definitely not a deal breaker, but I wish it was easier.

I wish it had all the social network sites in the custom panel with little check boxes just like it does for other things. How cool would that be?
Ruthless Rating:

Is it worth it? Honestly, in my opinion, yes. $87 is not a lot to spend for something that will save you a ton of time, even if you end up customizing it until it is almost unrecognizable as a Thesis theme.

If you have, or plan to have more than one blog site at any time, pay the $164 to be able to use it on multiple blogs.

If you’ve messed around with free themes as much as I have, you soon gain this huge appreciation for well thought out, well supported themes.

Stay tuned for more info on Thesis and reviews of other themes.

Purchase Thesis Theme Now
Excellent Tips and Tutorial Sites for Thesis:

How to Make My Blog – Step by Step Setup Guide and Plenty of Customization Tips not found elsewhere.

Thesis Theme HQ – You can spend hours…and hours on this site. A gallery with instructions of what other Thesis users have done with this versatile theme.

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