Review: Thesis Theme by DIYThemes – Premium WordPress Theme

If you are using WordPress and you do not know what the Thesis Theme is…you have been living under a rock. For the past year or so, Thesis has climbed to the top of the “must have” WordPress themes on the market. With multiple features and an easy to use administration panel, bloggers have found that they can get up and running pretty quickly with something that is professional. So…let’s take a look inside and see what makes the Thesis Theme from DIYThemes click…

Installing Thesis

You install Thesis just like you do any other WordPress theme so that part of the equation is simple. Once you install, you have to change the custom-sample folder to just custom so you can edit, change and customize your theme. Once you have that done, the administration functions of Thesis are found at the bottom of your left hand toolbar. Within these options you are going to find the Thesis Options, Thesis Design Options and the Custom File Editor.

Thesis Theme Options

Thesis Theme Design Options

Within these screens, you can do everything from customizing layout and colors to adding in your tracking scripts from Google Analytics. Basically, if you have something you need to add or edit outside of your content…it is all here.

Within the post screen, you are going to find another box. With these Thesis administration boxes, you control the automatically placed image in your article. You can also specify a different thumbnail than the picture and the placement of those items if you want them to display differently than your global settings that you specified in the Thesis admin.

Post Options Thesis ThemeSEO Box in Thesis Theme

Making Thesis Look Unique

The Thesis Theme is built around DIY’s own framework. DIY uses a series of “hooks” that allow you to customize layout options and add in your own personal flare to the homepage, single.php, archives and others. By adding hooks, you are able to customize content layout and design. This video from DIY will show you the basics on how you can change colors, layout, etc.

Review Of The Thesis Premium WordPress Theme

For those of you that haven’t had any experience with Thesis, you now know the nuts and bolts that go behind the theme. So…not that all of the formal stuff is done, let’s take a look at what I think of the Thesis Theme from DIYThemes.

First, the base code for Thesis is very well written for a premium WordPress theme. What does this mean? Out of the box you are going to have a site that loads quickly, is efficient at handling the typical blogging tasks and is search engine friendly from a spidering standpoint. Clean code is an essential part of blogging as you are reliant on load times and spiderability to really see growth over time.

The backend management system within Thesis is extremely easy to use for everyday tasks. Simple things like excluding items from the navigation bar can be done by bloggers who have little to know WordPress or coding experience. This is huge for beginning bloggers as there are less questions you have to ask to get things up and running quickly.

The hooks system is easy for coders to figure out, but for those of you that haven’t dabbled in coding before…it is going to be extremely confusing at first. Luckily, there is a great support forum available that you can ask for help as you move along in the process. For most users (and you can see this throughout the Thesis sites online), mess with the hooks a little bit to get functionality of plugins…but that is where they really call it a day. For web coders, the possibilities are really endless using the hooks system just as you would with regular website coding.

The designers of the Thesis Theme want you to use their built in SEO functions within the theme. Personally, I strongly disagree with this method as it ties you to the Thesis theme for your SEO. By using a plugin like All-In-One or Platinum SEO, you are accomplishing the same task…for free…and just  as efficiently. But…when you go to change themes sometime off in the future, all of your SEO work is tied to the plugin you are not changing instead of the Theme you are. DIY has done a great job promoting the SEO aspects of Thesis as a selling point, but I do not agree with it.

Another thing that DIY has done a fantastic job with is marketing. With a great affiliate program and a big push by big name bloggers, the Thesis Theme has become big business. Great for DIY, but that also means that just about every blog reader on the planet has seen a Thesis Theme’d blog. While you can make Thesis look incredibly unique (almost to the point you do not recognize it anymore), most of the Thesis sites out there all look the same with a couple of different colors. This does not have to be a bad thing, but if you are looking for an original look, Thesis may not be where you want to head unless you are a designer or are ready to pay a designer.

Final Thoughts On The Thesis Theme

There would not be so many people using Thesis today if it wasn’t a great theme. It works for 90% of the bloggers out there by focusing on content and ease of use. While the hooks system does work well, beginning bloggers are going to have trouble understanding the coding (but they would with any theme). If you are looking for a lightweight, well coded option for your blog, Thesis is worth taking a look over. If you need something with more of a unique look…it might not be.

What I Like About Thesis
  • Clean coding and fast load times out of the box.
  • Easy to use backend management system.
  • Incredible support and affiliate program.
  • Price is average for premium themes.
What I Don’t Like About Thesis
  • Most Thesis based sites look the same.
  • SEO marketing ties you to theme.

Click here to pick up a copy of the Thesis Theme for your blog.

What are your experiences with Thesis?