Benefits and Drawbacks of Thesis
This past week, I had the “privilege” of completing a project working with the Thesis WordPress Theme. It had been a while since I had seen the back-end workings of this theme, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the improvements. Thesis has always been a decent, robust theme for beginners to work with. Would I recommend you buy it for your website? No, I really wouldn’t.
- The Drawbacks
- You can end up looking like everyone else if you don’t take the time to customize.
- It starts you out with two sidebars side by side. (Two sidebars make usability more confusing for most web surfers.)
- It has its own set of hooks to learn about.
FYI for experienced web developers
Leaving any WordPress theme at its default layout is guaranteeing that your site will be the exact carbon copy of thousands of other websites out there. When it comes to learning about new features like hooks, you just have to dive right in. Hooks can be very helpful, or they can just be a royal pain.
Even if you know plenty about hooks, I recommend installing the Thesis OpenHook plugin. In Thesis, you are working with the custom-functions.php and custom.css files to do a lot of your changes. Because Thesis has an unusual (at least unusual compared to most themes I work with) of requiring you to use hooks instead of editing a header.php file or footer.php file.
The Benefits of Thesis
The idea behind it is that anyone can customize it, but it is not fully customizable like it boasts to be unless you really know what you are doing.
- Thesis is:
- SEO Friendly (This should be number one concern on any website owner’s list.)
- Semicustomizable (and hooks don’t make this much easier in Thesis, even for seasoned developers)
- The Featured Box (nice, but you still need to use a plug-in or write some serious PHP functions to get it to do anything cool)
- 4. Post Excerpts (I really like post excerpts with thumbnail sized images. : )
You are able to change fonts and background colors (background images are another story). See the screenshot:
Any real changes that you want to make to a professional website, you really have to jump through some hoops to get it done.
Popular and Not-So-Popular Examples
The most notable example site that I can think of who definitely use Thesis is: CopyBlogger. They have definitely customized Thesis with their custom navigation bar and homepage post excerpts.
The site: Simple Mom (which I love) is a less edited version of Thesis. If you are a WordPress designer and happen upon this website, you instantly know it is a Thesis Theme.
A classically generic Thesis themed site: Stephanie Woods. This site has some decent content, why do you think she would be OK with blending in?