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I Upgraded to WordPress Thesis Theme

OK all you lurkers in the RSS feed – get over here to the Passive Income blog and check out the cool new renovation! Yes I haven’t been doing nothing much over the weekend – but decided to have a fiddle with the look of the blog and finally get around to installing a new WordPress theme  – Thesis.

Now if you have been living under a rock you may not have heard of Thesis – but otherwise you will have heard the a-listers – starting with CopyBlogger and ProBlogger telling you that thesis was the best thing since sliced bread – oh and here’s my affiliate link to buy thesis.

So in the passive income tradition – here’s my warts and all review. Its all entirely my own opinion, yes I do get a commission if you buy via my link, and no I don’t think everyone should rush out and buy it just to keep me rolling in online passive income!

What I like About WordPress Thesis Theme

  • it costs. Yes that’s right I like that because I really wanted a theme which has ongoing support – and I think this one has got the initial customer base to make sure that it has. When WordPress 2.8 came out they had the updated Thesis theme version out the same day.
  • it really is easy to change some of the layout features – the number of columns, the fonts, the top navigation. There is a cool and easy way to rotate photos in the sidebar (I’m not using it here).
  • all the customisation is done in two separate files (custom.css and custom-functions.php) – that means when you upgrade the theme you don’t have to do all that work again.  For example rather than changing the link to Thesis in the footer.php to add my own affiliate link I added some (to me incomprehensible) code  into the custom-functions.php – and that did it instead. I upgrade the theme – I don’t have to remember to do that! Oh and the code came from the support forums so I didn’t have to know what I was doing with php!
  • there is a growing community of designers developing thesis design skins – my design skills are limited and I can see the day when I am prepared to pay for professional help!
  • it was a very clean upgrade. I upgraded WordPress at the same time which meant I had to upgrade a number fo my plugins, but Thesis itself did a very good job about not breaking my existing functionality – my social bookmarks and related post plugins came through seamlessly – so did my photos and thumbnails.
  • the SEO is good. The person who had most influence on my buying decision was Justin at SEOZombie – if he says  the SEO is good – it is!
  • you can use the “honking big ads box” aka “multimedia” box at the top of the right sidebar for everything from photos, videos, ads (as I have at the moment)- and you can customise it for every post – if you like to make money from advertising you will like that – a LOT

What I Don’t Like About WordPress Thesis Theme

Original Header Image - Exmouth, Western Australia
Original Header Image - Exmouth, Western Australia

OK perhaps I should mention my skill sets, or lack thereof, because your mileage will vary depending on your technical skills more than anything.  I know WordPress well, I am passable on html – I can read html fine. I have been using ftp since before the Internet existed. I find php a wondrous  thing – but can’t read or code it at all. I finally decided that I needed to know some CSS so I bought a real life book – I certainly didn’t know anything about CSS before I bought Thesis…

  • WordPress is going away from making users upload themes/plugins using ftp – a good thing too – most geeks don’t understand how scary ftp is for normal people. The first thing I wanted to change on Thesis – was the header – isn’t that what most people want to change?  But I had to add custom code and ftp the image up! Thesis is definitely a programmer’s vision (Chris Pearson) but the marketing half (Bryan Clark) hasn’t had enough understanding of what users want to set the right priorities. I found the code here: how to customise Thesis – very useful blog BTW.
  • OK got the image sorted – now I want the background of the blog to match the photo – again a pretty reasonable request I thought!  Again I needed custom code.
  • Those were my 2 big grips but Thesis is squarely aimed at he “wannabe A-list blogger market” –  I would have thought it would have been out fo the box functionality to add 125ads to the side-bar – it was in my last fere theme… But no I had to add some code for that to.

Is WordPress Thesis Theme Good Value for Money?

Thesis costs $87 for a single user license or $164 for a developer’s license – which allows you to use Thesis on an unlimited number of your own sites – or, deploy it on client sites for  $40/site. Its not free, they don’t market it as free- the question is if its worth the price. I haven’t bought another WordPress theme but the price seems on the low-end of themes that are available.

I decided for me it was worth it. I wanted a theme I could learn and then reuse that knowledge. I wanted a theme which wasn’t going to break on the next upgrade of WordPress – or take me a bit of time to fix. I have a lot of sites – remembering to add in my stats monitoring code everytime I change a theme is a right pain!

Would I recommend it for someone who was nervous around ftp and CSS – probably not – there are easier themes to start with.

Would I recommend it for someone who is struggling and not making any money – no – there are far more important things to spend money on than a WordPress theme – good chocolate, passable red wine and the KeyWord Academy come to mind, not necessarily in that order.

Am I happy I bought Thesis? Yes I think I am – but it certainly wasn’t love at first sight- the relationship has developed over a few weeks -they’re the ones that last aren’t they?

Oh and can anyone tell me how to get a better match on the colour behind the posts – I want it to be the same as the sand on the left of the beach image – how do  I find the hex code for a spot on a photo? Fixed thanks to the colorzilla firefox plugin as recommended by Table Tennis Rubber