DIY Themes is not your run-of-the-mill WordPress Theme Website. Developers from this company (with Chris Pearson as lead developer) have taken the concept of “themes” and taken them to the next level, with the help of Thesis. It would probably not serve this incredible feature justice to call it a theme, because it is much more than that, it is a framework. In other words, its purpose is to help you design and maintain your web pages a lot easier, even if you don’t know how to code! Let’s be honest here for a second, there are only two real competitors when it comes to WordPress Frameworks: Genesis and Thesis. Granted, there are other interesting user-friendly interfaces that you can experiment it, but they cannot hold a candle to Genesis and Thesis (most of them are too bulky). Also, because we do not want to start a “Which One is Beter: Genesis or Thesis” debate, I will simply suggest reading two extremely thorough articles written on the subject, which will also help you better understand their capabilities.
- Thesis and Genesis Compared by Adam Baird is one of the most balanced Framework reviews I have ever read, and even though it is a little outdated (it compares the Thesis 1.8 version, although the 2.1 one is already out), it is a great resource for new developers. As a bonus, the big names from both StudioPress and DIY Themes have also shared their feedback in the comment section.
Thesis vs Genesis – Comparing Premium WordPress Themes by Kristi Hines: I honestly do not know if I have ever read a post on Kikolani that I did not find useful. In this review, Kristi compares the two frameworks after having experimented with both of them. If you read through both articles you will see that there is no ultimate winner, because while Thesis is more suitable for newbie programmers (thanks to is user-friendly interface), Genesis might appeal to programmers.If your plan is to never see a line of code in your life, then Thesis is the framework for you. It is definitely one of the best possible premium WordPress themes and it has tones of features. Granted, the developments may have been a bit slow, but it is clearly understandable, especially considering that Chris Pearson is ‘obsessed’ with the details. This is what he said in a comment from his blog:
Quality takes time, and I’m not willing to sacrifice quality in the name of getting things out simply to appease people
Here’s a sample of Boxes that are currently available for free to Thesis Professional license holders:
AWeber — drop customizable Aweber forms in your templates
MailChimp — drop customizable MailChimp forms in your templates
Twitter — Tweet button and Twitter card functionality
Facebook Like — full open graph capabilities
Google +1 — Google +1 button
LinkedIn Share — share button
Pinterest Pin It! — Pin It! button
Thesis Developer Tools — unleash advanced Thesis functionality
Thesis Framework Pricing:
Is it Really Worth the Money?
I would say “hell yes”. Not only will you be benefiting from the world-renowned Thesis framework, that will take care of SEO issues (such as Schema.org integration, 404 problems, and Google Authorship Markup), conversions and design, but you will actually be getting two things. The first is the Thesis framework, which is basically the skeleton of your site, and secondly, you receive the theme (or several themes) which represent the visual part.
Layout Generator: Thesis comes with a layout generator that automatically reformats your site! Experimenting with this can give you more efficient-looking site.
Award Winning Customer Support: to be completely frank, it would be madness to purchase a product that you don’t exactly know how to use, if you can’t rely on customer support. Luckily for you, the customer support offered by DIYthemes will make sure that you are never alone. Once you purchase your subscription you will also gain access to the member’s only forum.
Font Controls: quick menus for changing font appearance, color and style.
How to Install Thesis:
Installing Thesis requires an FTP program and some permissions changes. You cannot do it through the WordPress dashboard. The following are the latest directions from the DIYthemes website.
Upload the new Thesis 1.8.2 folder to your /wp-content/themes folder.
Locate the /custom-sample folder and change its name to /custom.
Locate the layout.css file inside your newly-renamed /custom folder, and change its permissions to 666.
[optional but highly recommended] If youâ€™d like to give Thesis the ability to auto-crop thumbnail images for you, then youâ€™ll want to change the permissions of your /custom/cache folder to 775.
Inside your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes, and then activate Thesis 1.8.2.
If you don’t follow these directions exactly, your theme will not work correctly. Also, for those that can’t change the numbers for the permission settings, 666 is RW-RW-RW and 775 is RWX – RWX – RX (Source: Kikolani)
Introducing the Promo Skin for Thesis
In a recent blog post, Chris announced that they will be releasing their first official add-on for Thesis. It is called the Promo Skin and it is basically a collaboration between top Thesis designers and the Thesis creator.
The result is a Skin that has everything you need to build an audience, promote yourself, and look like a pro in the process.
Its main features include a header promo bar for driving blog traffic, social media profile icon links, which can be placed in the footer, sidebar etc, the tabbed posts box, business or personal logo, and meticulously optimized responsive design. Truth be told, Thesis is all about the little details, and you can be sure that your investment will be a good one.
Pricing for the Promo Skin Package:
One would think that the Promo Skin would be free once you have paid for subscription, but it’s not. Nevertheless, the price is pretty decent. For only 57$ you can get all the features +updates.
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Best Websites for Thesis Skins:
Sadly, DIYthemes doesn’t offer anything outside of the Thesis framework, and this means that you will have to look toward outside Thesis Skin developers. Let’s take a look at a few websites that offer Thesis skins and themes.
KolaKube has been featuring Thesis themes created by different developers for quite some time now. They are also responsible for the Marketer’s Delight, a powerful responsive skin which is focused on generating leads and conversions. This skin also includes custom leads (email signup form, feature box) for any page, visually appealing elements like “orb leads”, and fully-customized landing pages with persuasive design elements. Now, back to themes. Kokalube offers one three Thesis skin, which you can check out after paying your subscription. The other skins are are 37$ but you can also buy a six months access for all their skins for 77$.
#2 Thesis Awesome
Thesis Awesome has some interesting themes. Here they are:
BlogSkin: Download link
iBlog Skin: Download link
Templatica offers one free Thesis WordPress theme. It is called Somara, and you can check it out on their website. Here are other great themes that you can use:
Quizz Responsive Thesis 2: Purchase Link
New Chapter Thesis Theme: Purchase link
News Responsive Thesis Skin: Purchase Link
Artifex Studio Thesis Theme: Purchase Link
Themedy offers an impressive array of Thesis 2.1-ready skins. The website is led by Matt and Mark Hodder, two designers who have extensive knowledge in the field. There is a skin for everyone on Themedy, and we will only showcase a few, from different categories.
Plans and Pricing: 99$ yearly plan, 179$ for the Forever plan (=all current themes)
Free Themedy Themes:
Tote Free Theme: Details (download by subscribing)
Fremedy Free Theme: Details (download by subscribing)
Readyfolio 2 (Fully Responsive Theme): Details
Splash (Responsive Design – for blogs): Details
Stage 2 (Responsive Landing Page template): Details
Other Sites for Thesis WordPress Themes and Skins:
Wp Thesis Skins (Pricing and Memberships)
Rick Anderson, who is the man behind BYOB Website and also the best Thesis teacher on the planet, has created a collection of Thesis resources that includes some seriously powerful Skins.
I Customize Thesis — Puneet Sahalot creates responsive Skins for Thesis and also offers design customization services.
Thesis Love – Thesis addict Raaj Trambadia offers a growing selection of Skins and Boxes on his site.
Even more Thesis 2.0 and 2.1 Skins can be found here.
As you probably already know, all WordPress Themes from StudioPress are powered by the Genesis Framework. If you didn’t, it’s high time you found out. We have already mentioned the Genesis Framework in the previous point, but let us detail it a bit. The Genesis and Thesis systems are the most popular, and efficient tools for optimizing websites, attracting traffic, tweaking design etc. The Genesis Framework in particular, was designed with simplicity in mind, so even if you are newbie, you will be able to understand and utilize it to its full potential. Oh… just one more thing before we begin.
StudioPress was built from ground up, a few years back, by Brian Gardner. By the time the company started to make thousands of dollars a month, he relinquished his titles and merged with CopyBlogger Media. CopyBlogger managed to promote them, and since then developers had more time to focus on creating a powerful framework. Here are the major benefits of Genesis:
- Genesis has incredible Built-in-Features which include powerful SEO options, custom widgets, state-of-the-art security and many more.
- If you ever decide that you no longer want to continue with this framework, you will discover that the common coding language will make it easier to transition.
- The Genesis Framework is constantly being upgraded, and the same way that WordPress evolves, so does Genesis. The framework is built on a child/parent structure. The child is the theme, and the parent is the skeleton.
- “Building with the Genesis Framework gives me an incredible head-start on deploying websites. Built in layout options, powerful custom widgets and beautifully marked-up code means that I can deploy a website in nearly half the time it would take me to create it from scratch. In turn, this also reduces the cost of projects using the framework.” (Chris Storm)
The thing that I appreciate most about Genesis, is its incredible community. Just take a look at the #genesiswp hashtag on Twitter, and be amazed. Most developers and designers are constantly tweeting new tutorials. On the official website you can find a great library of tutorials, and guides, and there are also the Support Forums for questions that you couldn’t find answer to.
How to Use Child Themes for WordPress
According to WordPress, a child theme is:
“A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme.”
(Source: OnlineBusiness About)
Unlike the Thesis framework, which uses third-parties to deliver themes, StudioPress creates its own themes. This is great news because it means that whenever there is an update, the child themes will also receive support from developers. At the moment you can find themes for Business, Photography, Art, and other.
Let’s take a Look at the best Themes: (you can download all of them here)
THE 411 THEME
SIXTEEN NINE THEME
OUTREACH CHURCH THEME
BLISSFUL CHILD THEME
How to Install Genesis:
The first thing you should know is the fact that it is a lot easier to install than Thesis.
WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload and Select Genesis.zip > Hit install Now and activate (same rules apply for themes)
Pricing and Plans
For all the services it included, the pricing and plans are very reasonable. Any of the below options will ensure that you receive a lifetime access to support forums and upgrades.
Basic Genesis Framework (59.95$): allows access to an unlimited number of websites for you and your clients, with genesis framework.
Theme + Genesis Framework: with it you will also receive a Child Theme that you can use on an unlimited amount of sites.
Pro Plus Package ($399.95): probably the best choice for entrepreneurs and businesses. It will enable you to use one of the over 40 theme designs, for an unlimited number of websites.
Honesty, we couldn’t find very many reviews for Dream-Theme, but with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Theme Forest, and over tens of thousands of downloads for their themes, we can safely say that they know what they’re doing. The company has a personal site, but all the purchases can be made via ThemeForest, and the prices for their themes vary from 10 dollars to 55 dollars. Here are our favorite themes and a little bit about them.
themes valit HTML5 code meets best SEO practices, Theme is 100% compatible with industry-leading SEO plugins like “SEO by Yoast” and “All in One SEO Pack”.
WOO Commerce Support Out of the box
compatible with WordPress 3.8 with Responsive, Fluid, Retina-ready
six ready made skins, exclusive slideshows, multiple header options
Unique page template: Microsite
This theme, is without doubt, one of, if not THE best theme I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The support/updates are excellent. So easy to use and work with. If you are ‘thinking’ of purchasing this theme, think no more and hit the buy button!. After my previous purchase from another developer turned into a lemon, this theme and the development team have restored my faith. Thank You guys! Cypher UK
WordPress 3.6 ready!
Multi-language and translation ready
Extended support for most popular plugins like WooCommerce (supports v.2 !), WPML, SEO by Yoast and others.
Retina-images out of the box – no need to install any plugins! (all images except OneByOne slider)
Deep inner optimization. Now caching plugins will make Nimble work even faster – jet speed!
Here are other themes worth mentioning:
AppThemes is a privately funded startup that focuses on designs and professional WordPress applications. The company is based a few blocks away from Automattic, in the heart of San Francisco, and it shares spaces with other 20+ incubator startups. Like several other companies before it, it also focuses on high-quality, extremely efficient WordPress themes (but this is not it). They have taken the term of premium WP theme and transformed it into Premium WordPress Application. By creating this unique niche they have managed to become clearer about where they stand. They consider that theme development is headed towards the development of apps to run business. At the moment they have created approximately 80 themes that you can choose from, and the prices vary from 9 to 59 dollars a piece.
Pricing and Plans:
Access to all our themes and AppThemes-built Marketplace items. ClassiPress, Vantage, JobRoller, Clipper, Quality Control, Ideas, and 15+ Marketplace items – all for one incredible price! A id=”mce_marker”,000+ value for only $249!
Access to all existing AppThemes child themes. Spice up your site with our child themes. AppThemes Club includes all AppThemes made child themes available in our marketplace.
All new themes and AppThemes-built Marketplace items released during your membership period. As an AppThemes Club Member, you’ll get any new theme, child theme, and plugin released over the course of your membership.
All updates released during your membership period. New features, maintenance releases, compatibility updates with each new WordPress version release, you’ll get them all with your AppThemes Club Membership.
Unlimited access to our support forums. Get help from the best support people in the business. The AppThemes support team is ready to help you get the most out of your themes.
[highlight color=”black”] CLASSI PRESS [/highlight]
[highlight color=”black”] JOB ROLLER THEME [/highlight]
[highlight color=”black”] CLIPPER THEME [/highlight]
[highlight color=”black”] VANTAGE THEME [/highlight]
The name of the company may sound mysterious, but there is nothing mysterious about what they are doing. Since their release a few years ago, UFO Themes have released a nice collection of themes, with a minimalist design. They prefer simple colors, which are perfectly blended with one-another. Furthermore, the classic minimalist tradition, combine with the beautiful colors are built on the iCore Framework, which makes them super easy to manage.
Every theme costs 49$, which is pretty decent considering that it includes life-time support and upgrades. Here are our favorite themes in the collection: