Why I Won’t Be Using The Thesis Theme Anytime Soon

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blogging I received an email from a very frustrated blogger.

She purchased the Thesis WordPress theme through my affiliate link after watching my video I posted three years ago.

To put it mildly, she was NOT a happy camper, and was completely overwhelmed with how to customize her site.

The video she watched was for Thesis 1.0.  Since then, version 2.0 has been released and I’ve been reading through some of the reviews.

Overall, they haven’t been too great.

So What Happened?

If you were following me in 2009 you know I was a HUGE fan of the theme.  I was even lucky enough to have my demo video posted on the Copyblogger homepage for a short time.

Commissions were flowing and everyone was singing the praises of the Thesis WordPress theme (including me since I was using the theme then).

At the time, Thesis was revolutionary.  As far as I knew, there were no other themes with drag and drop features and the amount of admin panel customizations.

I was so stoked because I could actually select the number of columns I wanted AND set the widths to specific values.  Not to mention there were a handful of other admin options no other themes came close to offering.

Along Comes 2.0

In October, Thesis 2.0 launched.  The reviews were less than impressive, but I wanted to give myself more time to actually use the theme more before I decided if I was going to continue recommending it.

So after I received the email from the frustrated blogger, I performed a new install on a “dummy” site.

All I have to say is I was incredibly surprised and overwhelmed by how different Thesis 2.0 is from 1.8.   I can tell the framework is powerful — way more powerful than 1.0, but the user interface is confusing.

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn’t prepared to learn about packages, boxes, and holding down shift keys to drag containers.   Wow.

It’s one of those things where you can see the potential because there are so many options and details, but it was going to require way more learning than I was prepared to do just to get my site to look how I wanted.

It was nothing like I expected it to be.  Perhaps as more skins are developed and better documentation surfaces, things will get smoother, but I just have no intention of diving into it anytime soon.

For the record, now that I’ve had time to thoroughly test Thesis, I added an annotation on the video stating I no longer recommend Thesis except for v. 1.0 and removed the affiliate link from the description.

Bye, Bye Commissions

From an affiliate standpoint, it was quite disappointing to drop the theme because let’s face it, you can earn up to $65 per sale.  But I just can’t keep recommending something I barely understand how to use.

In fact, a skeptic thought I dropped Thesis in favor of the Genesis for higher commissions…

Thesis comment

Actually no, Ramsom.  I didn’t receive a better offer.  I earn a lower commission with Genesis since it’s cheaper, but Genesis is what I use now.

However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t salivating over the opportunity to make another Thesis tutorial video and hopefully rack in those commissions like I did in 2009.

Oh well, not this time.  :)

Still Want to Dive Into Thesis 2.0?

If you are interested in learning more about Thesis 2.0, there are some tutorials floating around from Kristarella that have helped people make better sense of the newer framework.

Hesham of FamousBloggers has produced some write-ups of Thesis 2.0.

He happens to be a fan and explains why some bloggers are having trouble wrapping their heads around the functionality of Thesis 2.0 in his article Why It’s Hard to Understand Thesis.

For now, I’ll just stick with the Genesis Prose Theme.  I love this theme. It’s mobile responsive (meaning the layout auto adjusts for smaller devices) and has a lot of the admin panel customization options that Thesis 1.0 had.

Although, I have a feeling there will be better Thesis packages, skins and releases down the line that will make Thesis 2.0 much more user friendly.  Perhaps I’ll give it another try later.

And from what I’ve read and seen, I actually do think Thesis continues to wear the revolutionary crown and is ahead of its time.  Unfortunately for the average WordPress user, this release may have been too far ahead.

What about you?  Have you made the switch to 2.0 yet?  What are your thoughts?

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  1. Emily Pham says

    Thanks for great post, Lisa!!! I love this site and http://napturallycurly.com/ as well. I have intention to open an Amazon store and I want to share my reviews about lot of products. Can you tell me which theme I should use to my site. Did you use Covert Store Builder Theme/ Pro Review Theme?

    • says

      What’s with the comments on this old post all of a sudden? Hmmm…. Looks fishy. Is someone paying you guys to come here and plug Thesis? Only kidding! (Sort of!) lol No, but seriously I did hear that 2.1 was better but I have no interest in it anymore. Glad you guys dig it though.

      • says

        I have to correct that statement actually lol, I checked into your Prose and found it fab, it’s the only one I like of Genesis though. It is much simpler than Thesis so I decided to use Prose instead. I now feel rather guilty for defending Thesis, I must admit though it’s isn’t for no newbie that’s for sure, even I struggled with a few years of WP designing etc, but I loved it’s cleanness. *I’m not sure if you want to delete my last comment.*

        • says

          Hi Sharon

          No problem. Yeah I like Prose because of the features, but I wish they’d update it to HTML5 so it has the latest “code”. They are in the process of updating all their themes to HTML5. I’m actually getting ready to switch over to Daily Dish (another Genesis theme) soon. I bought their developer package so I have access to all their themes.

  2. says

    Was this post recent or a while back? I remember this post, yet there two posts on it today? That said, when this post was written you were kinda right, it was a big change, however it was revolutionary, and over the past year, the evolution to 2.1 has made a MASSIVE difference. I still wouldn’t use anything else! My two pence for you. 2.0 is OOOLLLD!! 2.1+ is the best thing since sliced bread. :)

  3. says

    I discovered thesis 2 hard to use at the starting however in the wake of playing with it for some time it got to be not difficult to utilize and i could change over my configuration to thesis 2 inside a couple of hours.

    As per my assessment thesis 2.x is superior to thesis 1.x and its showing signs of improvement with the most recent rendition thesis 2.1 , however there is a learning bend to get used to thesis 2 schema. Novices may think that it troublesome as you said.but in the wake of learning it they will feel its the simplest topic to redo themselves.

    Much obliged.

  4. says

    i was using thesis theme from last 2 years and it was giving a good performance but from last 1 yr i switched to swift theme but performance is also not good will u suggest me some good seo optimized theme with gud page optimization technique and thnx for this info about thesis end..

  5. says

    Awesome article on Thesis Theme! I appreciate your points here. Indeed. Today’s Thesis Theme is so complicated and not easily usable or hard to understand. I’ve also give up this theme. Thanks to share your thoughts on this :)

  6. says

    Thesis 2.1+ for me is Way easier to use,
    once I find the boxes for the layout.
    If you find thesis 2.1 confusing, please search html CSS box theory.
    W3schools has a wonderful easy to follow tutorial with a try it out editor.
    Basically just think that each box is nested inside another box just like in real life how boxes nest with some inside others and next to another box.
    For design elements just pick the box you want the design element in and add it. No hooks needed.
    The biggest box is like the wrapper you add your background color.
    The footer box, you add you footer stuff.
    Code like center font color all work too.
    W3schools has all the code with examples you would ever need.

    • says

      Yeah good point Clay. I guess it helps to get your mindset into the html/css box theory, and also the DIYThemes docs for 2.1 are decent, when 2.0 launched there was nothing to help.

  7. says

    Was this post recent or a while back? I remember this post, yet there two posts on it today? That said, when this post was written you were kinda right, it was a big change, however it was revolutionary, and over the past year, the evolution to 2.1 has made a MASSIVE difference. I still wouldn’t use anything else! My two pence for you. 2.0 is OOOLLLD!! 2.1+ is the best thing since sliced bread.

    • says

      Thanks for posting, David. I honestly haven’t checked out 2.0 but I was so turned off I never looked beyond that. As you mentioned, not having any supporting documents really turned me off. Good to know things are better now.

  8. hans says

    I can’t believe that they ruined my favorite theme! It used to be so easy to use, now I find it confusing and impossible.

    Thesis 2.1 is a piece of crap.

    • says

      LOL, yeah I remember the days when Thesis was revolutionary and game-changing for WP users but something definitely went wrong with 2.0 — especially if you are not tech savvy.

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