Review of Thesis Theme

Thesis makes some serious claims including having 25k + purchases. (At a minimum $87 license, assuming every purchase was through an affiliate, that’s $1.47 Million)  Here are some of them:

  • Separated HTML, CSS and PHP for superior SEO qualities
  • Robust theme options panel for style and layout customizations
  • A big time support network
  • A number of influential bloggers using Thesis such as Laughing Squid (Web Host endorsed by WordPress)
  • Child/Sub skins that can be applied with relative ease

After reviewing the claims made by others that used thesis (decreased bounce-rate, pagerank bump, etc.) I decided to give it a try.  I fronted the $87 and purchased the individual license.

As Thesis version 2.0 rounds the corner, here is what I found with version 1.7, the current stable release.

  1. Thesis installs fast, and is very small.  It uses minimal server resources because there is barely any images in the entire thing.  In addition, there was a noticeable loading time difference over most other themes I’ve used.
  2. Customization is pretty easy for the basics.  We’re talking changing navigation menu color, adding pages to the menu, and changing from 1, 2 and 3 columns.  However, this is where the simplicity stops.  Thesis was incredibly hard to customize as a non-coder.  Doing something as simple as finding where to add some custom code was incredibly tricky.  Granted, someone adept at coding PHP could probably fly through this.  But many people use WordPress because it is simple, easy and fast.
  3. The “skins” available for Thesis are quite lame.  I could find no skins that wowed me or offered any eye-pleasing design.  It seems that Thesis offered two possibilities: make my own boring design, or use someone else’s boring design.
  4. I liked the idea of using an premium SEO theme, one that would help me reach more people.  What I found was just that, a theme with major SEO muscles, but wasn’t much to look at or work with.  I spent two days trying to learn the inner workings of Thesis, and failed.

Regardless of your feelings on the matter, it is worth checking out Thesis Theme if you’re interested in converting your current theme to an SEO rockstar.  If you can code, try it out.  If you’re a novice at the coding side of things, you might want to check out Themeforest and get a shiny, out-of-the-box theme.

16 thoughts on “Review of Thesis Theme”

  1. Everything is great about thesis except the attribute link they add at the footer. I mean, one pays $80 or $90 for a single license and if he is putting his backlinks at the footer, that’s crazy. The ultimate blogging theme does the same thing

  2. Ajith,
    You’re absolutely right. $87 is a lot to pay for a footer link that can’t be removed. Purchasing the Developer package is the only way to remove the link.

  3. How often are the themes updated? This would be a concern to me with how much things in the SEO industry change. Outdated trends could hurt your site more than help.

  4. Hey Cyrus – great review. I’ve never used the Thesis theme but am very familiar with some of the Woo Themes and the Flexibility Theme (FlexSqueeze). I went to the Thesis homepage and one of the first things that calls my attention is that the theme is actually really attractive – for me that is important. From what I saw it seems that its fairly customizable as well. Thanks for your review – I’m definitely going to give this a try on my next website!

  5. Hi Geoff,
    A very good question. My guess is the theme is updated regularly. I definitely felt like they did their research when designing the theme from an SEO perspective.


  6. Thesis themes are really easy to use theme with many features and benefits that will help you make the most of your blogging experience.

  7. Thanks for a honest review. I was already getting kinda pissed @ the many glowing reviews regarding thesis. For some reason I just don’t like the way it loads in Opera. It first appears scattered then takes shape after a while. Something about it is so unsettling that I’d rather just stick to customizing out of the box themes.

  8. Nice review. Very honest indeed. I have heard alot about the Thesis but never really took the time to try out (although I have been to their website several times window shopping). I’m involved with a site that’s related to the trucking industry, truck drivers applying to trucking companies. I’ve definitely considered this theme for the SEO purposes, as our site relies heavily on being found by truck drivers. The ease of use that you talked about could be a problem for some of our administrators. I’ll have to look into it further to really know for sure if it will work for us. Thanks.

  9. I dont want to offend any of thesis lovers but I think thesis is just overhyped. WordPress itself is seo optimized at best and I dont think any theme could add much to its seo value.

  10. There’s no way I’d pay for a theme that I couldn’t remove the footer link back to the designer. I pay for the theme design but if you want me to advertise your services past that point with a link back to your site, you’ll have to pay me for that service.

  11. Thesis themes are always known to be a hassle free theme, they have always been good. But this one could use some more work. Not that its bad, just a little bit below the quality that thesis usually puts up.

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