Thesis VS Genesis WordPress Themes

34 replies
Right now I'm in a dilemma of choosing a premium WordPress Theme...

Thesis has been around longer than Genesis, but I'm also hearing a lot of great things about Genesis, though I will say Genesis has better taste in design.

The way I see it is that Thesis is a PC, while Genesis is the Mac.

Any unbiased reviews? Advantage and Disadvantages? Pros and Cons?

If you had experience with them, please provide them.

Thanks!
#genesis #themes #thesis #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author AnthonyKrese
    I hate to give you more to think about but...you might want to (if you haven't already) consider Canvas from Woo Themes.

    You can try it out at test [dot] woothemes [dot] com

    I have a club sub with these guys. The thing I really like is the support. These guys are blindingly fast.
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  • Profile picture of the author scortillion
    Do these themes play nice with the newer version of Wordpress? I had some problems a while back with the white screen of death... it was a theme issue.
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  • Profile picture of the author monthlykash
    Check out 'flexsqueeze' WP theme...awesome theme with many options, built in AdSense and Splash page template. You can view it on my site in my signature.

    To your success!
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author scortillion
      Originally Posted by monthlykash View Post

      Check out 'flexsqueeze' WP theme...awesome theme with many options, built in AdSense and Splash page template. You can view it on my site in my signature.

      To your success!
      Bruce
      Had some time to check out flexsqueeze it look really good and easy to use. In your opinion is it as easy as they make it look? Or do you have to recode some things to get it to work?

      If no one has anything bad to say about it I might order it this weekend.
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      • Profile picture of the author Roy Penrod
        Originally Posted by scortillion View Post

        Had some time to check out flexsqueeze it look really good and easy to use. In your opinion is it as easy as they make it look? Or do you have to recode some things to get it to work?

        If no one has anything bad to say about it I might order it this weekend.
        I haven't used FlexSqueeze itself, but I have built several websites using the free Flexibility theme by the same guy.

        It's really easy to use. You just have to be willing to play around with it a bit to see how different changes will affect your design.

        You can download the Flexibility theme for free and try it out for yourself. It should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from FlexSqueeze.

        Roy
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    I was a Thesis user that has since switched to Headway and I like it a lot more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Incoll
    I'm using Thesis at the moment to build quite a few small to medium content sites and am reasonably happy with it.

    By that I mean there's some aspects of it which are great, and some which aren't so great. The biggest bug I have with it, is if you want to do something with the site that isn't part of their 'standard' design mods, it can take quite a lot of research and testing to change.

    For example, if you want to ad some code to the header or pages etc. it's not quite as simple as just opening the header file, and copying & pasting the code...but then again I guess once you're used to it, you might find it easier.

    Might have to have a look at Genesis...it sound good .

    Cheers

    Rach
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  • Profile picture of the author Abledragon
    I've used Thesis for a long time - and use it exclusively on all WordPress sites I build.

    But to get the best out of it you do need to know CSS so you can modify your custom stylesheet, and enough PHP that you can create and add functions through the custom functions file.

    The Thesis Openhook plugin does make using hooks a lot easier, (adding functions), although you still need to add your HTML/CSS/Javascript code into the hook boxes - so you still need to know some code.

    Cheers,

    Martin.
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  • Profile picture of the author J23
    I haven't really used Thesis yet, but I did just start using the Lifestyle theme from Genesis and I like it a lot. I don't know anything about php, css, or any of that and I found Genesis rather easy to work with.
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    • Profile picture of the author Piper Anderson
      FlexSqueeze is the only premium WP theme I'm using at the moment, but I've been seriously considering Genesis, and all the WooThemes in general. I've got the sites bookmarked, and I'll probably be making an investment in Genesis and/or a WooThemes membership pretty soon. I considered Thesis for a while, but ultimately went with FlexSqueeze. I do like the look of the Genesis theme, though. It makes a really pretty site.
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      • Profile picture of the author jeffreyanderson
        From experience I can say that thesis is easy to use, produces nice clean-looking sites, and seems to have good SEO built right into it. I've created a few websites using thesis and have had no problems, I do not on one hand have alot of strength in creating custom designs, so I have had to stick with a rather generic looking thesis theme.

        If you are going more for content sites and originality isn't as much of a factor, thesis will work just fine. On the same note, if you are creating simple content sites and that's it, there are tons of awesome-looking themes you can get for free if you look around.

        Good luck in your decision.
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  • Originally Posted by Jason H View Post

    Right now I'm in a dilemma of choosing a premium WordPress Theme...

    Thesis has been around longer than Genesis, but I'm also hearing a lot of great things about Genesis, though I will say Genesis has better taste in design.

    The way I see it is that Thesis is a PC, while Genesis is the Mac.

    Any unbiased reviews? Advantage and Disadvantages? Pros and Cons?

    If you had experience with them, please provide them.

    Thanks!
    I have nothing against Genesis but I'm using Thesis now and I'm with Thesis all day. It's the best investment I've ever made in my life. So go for Thesis theme. You can check out my blog on the signature and see for yourself...
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    • Profile picture of the author JSC_TX
      I am new to Thesis but so far I really like it.
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  • Profile picture of the author JesseGuthrie
    I feel that the evolution of wordpress makes these other themes absolute.. other theme companies.. (I have over 200 themes I have bought) are continuing to push the envelope

    I can get an already customizable theme with alot less time from me doing it..
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    • Profile picture of the author Roy Penrod
      Hey, Jason ...

      I've never used Thesis, but I have Genesis. It's a solid theme framework.

      It's not a point-and-click website design tool. You need to understand HTML and CSS to use it effectively.

      If you understand how to dig into a css stylesheet, you can customize it pretty easily by creating a child theme and editing just the stylesheet.

      I just finished working through a good book on building child themes in Wordpress using a theme framework. It's called <i>Build Your Own Wicked Wordpress Themes</i>Build Your Own Wicked Wordpress Themes . It covers the basics and more advanced stuff like how to add your own shortcodes to WP, how to create your own widgets, and how to add options to the admin area of WP.

      The examples in the book use the free Thematic theme framework, so you can work through it without purchasing anything.

      If your looking for something that's drag-and-drop, check out Headway. I've never used it, but it looks very interesting and I'm considering picking it up even though I can write my own code.

      Roy

      P.S. None of the links are affiliate links.
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  • Profile picture of the author sridhar
    Check this out: Build WordPress themes smarter: 19 theme frameworks compared | WPCandy

    If you want flexibility to create multiple layouts for multiple pages and template views (like search page, archive page) of your site, consider iThemes Builder.
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    • Profile picture of the author Roy Penrod
      Originally Posted by sridhar View Post

      If you want flexibility to create multiple layouts for multiple pages and template views (like search page, archive page) of your site, consider iThemes Builder.
      iThemes Builder looks pretty cool. Have you used it? What did you think about it?

      Roy
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  • Profile picture of the author fivestarexec
    I have used both and I have found Genesis to be a little bit more user friendly.
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    • Profile picture of the author mrdomains
      I prefer Genesis. I also like Frugal
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      • Profile picture of the author RealExpert
        Thesis assumes a certain level of CSS knowledge. so if you really want to take it to the next level, read up a little on CSS and PHP. You don't need to be a pro but an intro will definitely help.

        I have been using Thesis for quite some time now and am happy with it.

        Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Curt7
    Originally Posted by Jason H View Post

    Right now I'm in a dilemma of choosing a premium WordPress Theme...

    The way I see it is that Thesis is a PC, while Genesis is the Mac.
    I'm surprised that no one has said anything about this. WP themes have absolutely nothing to do with your operating system. They are on the Internet.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken
      I'm a FlexSqeeze fan also. Simple, easy to use and versatile.

      Ken
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    • Profile picture of the author minsight
      Originally Posted by Curt7 View Post

      I'm surprised that no one has said anything about this. WP themes have absolutely nothing to do with your operating system. They are on the Internet.
      I believe that poster was speaking metaphorically.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nickolie0990
    Dude don't sweet the small things, just make sure the design looks good and professional. My only sticking point is make sure the links on the blog is blue.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisCree
    From my perspective having been working with WordPress for 5+ years and getting paid to build sites for over 3 years I don't think you can go very wrong with any of the themes mentioned here. My own favorites right now are Genesis and Headway.

    Thesis is popular in IM circles mostly, I think, because it's perceived to have better SEO characteristics. While it is good, I think Genesis and Headway are just as good when it comes to SEO. Any minor differences between them are far outweighed by the ability of the user to publish SEO friendly content.

    You can modify more of the theme without needing to muck about with CSS & php with Headway than with Thesis. And Genesis has a bigger support community to get your questions answered than Thesis does.

    Because I'm comfortable with CSS & php I prefer Genesis myself. For those who aren't Headway will give you more control over your design without having to code.

    I find it interesting that one of the sites in the Thesis showcase right now is actually themed with Genesis. Oops!
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    • Profile picture of the author Zen2health
      I can code and I've made child themes before, but I'm lazier now.

      I would actually recommend Solostream. For those that can't code, they have tons of theme options and the new DaVinici Framework rocks.

      They also have a pre-configured squeeze page layout which should be useful for Warrior Forum members.

      Solostream themes look great and are very easy to setup. You can see 2 layout examples of the Davinic framework in my footer link.
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    • Profile picture of the author LittleMike
      Originally Posted by ChrisCree View Post

      And Genesis has a bigger support community to get your questions answered than Thesis does.
      Chris, I disagree. Thesis has been around for 3 years and Genesis just over one. Thesis has over 33k users and Genesis 39k. I think they are pretty much on par with each other as far as how many community members they have. Now in terms of actual support, Thesis gets the edge if for no other reason than if you're looking to do something with Thesis, someone has probably done it before because it's been around so long. Genesis is definitely faster on the growth chart, but everyone is still kinda new at programming on the platform.

      Originally Posted by ChrisCree View Post

      I find it interesting that one of the sites in the Thesis showcase right now is actually themed with Genesis. Oops!
      The one site you're talking about is Authority Rules which doesn't even really have much in the ways of content either. It looks like they were looking for some quick lead captures and not delivering value. I find it interesting that they're pushing CopyBlogger who, incidentally, merged with StudioPress, the owners of Genesis. Sounds fishy to me.

      There's also two parked domains and one that switched away from WordPress altogether and is using Joomla as their CMS. The point is that the internet changes by the second. Sites come and go, and people change their minds. I wouldn't put much worth in the fact they have a site that switched to the product "the other guy" made.

      I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here, so please don't take what I'm saying as a personal attack. It just sounded to me like you were bashing Thesis and so I wanted to take up the argument for the other side

      Comparing Genesis to Thesis is like comparing apples to oranges, though. Brian Gardner himself (the developer of Genesis) even said this:

      Think of a Honda Odyssey. Now think of a Ford Mustang. Both are vehicles, and that's just about the extent of their similarities. Yes, they both have 4 wheels, a steering wheel and a few doors, but other than that they serve two very different purposes - and therefore cannot be compared to one another. One was designed to accommodate a family, take them to and from McDonald's for nightly Happy Meal runs and also has a DVD player in it to keep parents sane. The other was designed for high speeds, for guys who are experiencing mid-life crisis and also for them to woo the ladies.
      Someone earlier in this thread hit the nail on the head - it's like the Mac vs. PC debate and people will always argue for one side or the other. To simplify this for everyone, here's a quick breakdown of what each of the two frameworks does and then you make your own decisions:

      Thesis
      Uses it's robust Design Option panel and layout generator to customize the look and feel without touching any code. I believe there are 400 customizations you can make in total. It's also ensures that your site is HTML5 and CSS3 valid from the get go. It's benefits are ease of use, incredible documentation, stellar community, and the ability to change almost anything on your site with just a few clicks of the mouse.

      Some of it's drawbacks are that if you can't find the customization that you want, you're going to have to know how to code in CSS and do it yourself. That means cracking open the built-in editor and writing your own hooks and functions into the thesis_hook_custom_template file. One other huge drawback for some is that it doesn't use native WordPress functions like post thumbnails and custom taxonomy although this has kind of been countered with version 1.8's introduction of the Loop API which enables you to use WordPress's conditional template tags. So basically it's great for some good looking simple sites, but falls short if you're looking to make a complex feature-rich site unless you're not afraid to dig in and write some code.

      Genesis
      Uses a parent/child theme structure for incredibly simple out-of-the-box functionality. With over 30 killer child themes available, you'd be hard-pressed to not find something that you'll like and you'll have your site up and running in minutes. One of the benefits would be that it is non-coder friendly - just plug in a child theme and you're done. It does have customizations but not nearly as much as Thesis has. However, being able to visually see the design through the use of the templates is a huge bonus for those who just want to set it up and go. Like Gardner says, they're "turn-key designs." It also uses native WordPress functions, so you don't have to custom code nearly as much as you do with Thesis. Things like post thumbnails and custom taxonomy is built right in. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of all is that you get to use it on *unlimited* sites. There's also no restriction on usage, so if you have a site you're doing for a client, you're allowed to use the Genesis framework. Another benefit is a very active community. Like Thesis, it's over 30 thousand members strong and they have devoted support staff. Unlike Thesis, Genesis has built up their numbers in just over a year versus the 3 years or so that Thesis has been around. Finally security is one of Genesis' best features. Audited by WordPress designer Mark Jaquith, you should never have to worry about your Genesis site being compromised.

      Okay, now on to the drawbacks. Documentation is almost non-existent. If you don't mind asking the member forum for help, then you're sure to find someone to fix whatever ails you, but on your own it's abysmal. Design options are fairly limited. This is offset a bit by the themes they offer, but keep in mind, you have to buy each one separately (as you also need to do with Thesis) though the Genesis theme comes with your purchase.

      *takes a breath*

      I think I've pretty much covered everything. Sorry for the walls of text. It's late and I'm tired and I'm going to have to dig my car out of 8 inches of snow in the morning because it's not enough for us to close the office yet just enough to make my morning suck. Haha. The whole point is that they are designed for entirely different reasons and so people who use them will generally have entirely different needs. Both are excellent platforms and really, competition is good. Thesis paved the road for premium WP frameworks like Genesis and Genesis offered competition to Thesis as well as a model based on different principles that happens to serve a similar function.

      And just remember, folks, at the end of the day it doesn't matter which of the frameworks you use, it's the CONTENT you put on your blogs that will ultimately drive your traffic, not the tools you use to make them. Happy marketing!

      -LM
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  • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
    I have yet to try Genesis although I'd like to. There are a few other themes I'd like to try as well, but Thesis is my main headbanger.
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    I Go Hard = "Slanguage" for putting forth a lot of effort.

    Don't be an arse and try to flip something you clearly have no knowledge of against me.

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  • Profile picture of the author karenhudson
    Thesis is more flexible from a developers standpoint especially with the addition of the loop API and offers significantly more design capabilities for a novice user who may not be familiar with CSS, HTML, etc. You also get a framework that is blazing fast and built with SEO and content consumption in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author Summer1
    I vote for Thesis, you can modify as you like with custom file folders. Genesis comes with its framework, if you want to have a different look, you have to purchase child themes.

    With Thesis, you buy the framework, and modify as you like without buying child theme.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
    I have not tried Genesis so I can't comment on that but I will say that I have used Thesis on many blogs and absolutely love it.

    Thesis does need a TINNNNYYYY bit of tweaking but nothing you can't figure out by asking here or from your good buddy Google!
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  • Profile picture of the author cbjack
    For me thesis is best than all others. It's only my personal opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mountainbird
      I found a really nice comparision of Thesis vs. Genesis here.
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      :)

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