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Thesis – a WordPress Theme Design Worth Considering

Thesis.pngWhat do you get when you take one great blog designer and match him with a fantastic blogger with superb writing ability and marketing skills?

Not it’s not the start to a bad joke and yes the answer could be many things – but today I’m excited because one of my favorite blog designers, Chris Pearson has teamed up with one of my favorite bloggers, Brian Clark from CopyBlogger to put together a fantastic Premium WordPress theme called Thesis.

This theme is already getting some great reviews around the blogosphere (you can see some testimonials here) and it is no wonder – because it’s got some great things going for it including:

  • SEO – WP is generally pretty well optimized to start with but Thesis takes it a step further and gives you every chance of ranking well in Google.
  • Accessibility – this theme will be able to be accessed by those using all kinds of browsers, mobile browsing and those with special needs
  • Customizable – you don’t want a design that looks exactly the same as everyone else’s – Chris has put together a theme that can have different backgrounds, has support for custom CSS and more. You can have rotating images to make your design even more unique. Alternatively you can use this multimedia box show six 125×125 ads, a video or even disable it. All this is done from within WP’s admin (see picture below) – very cool. Check out the ‘showcase‘ page on the Thesis site to see how others have been using the theme already.
  • Feature Rich – it plays nicely with Google Analytics and Mint, manages your RSS feed for you, separates comments and trackbacks, gives you lots of control over whether to show dates and author bylines on posts and much more.
  • Well Laid Out Design – Thesis is easy to get around and quite intuitive for those arriving on your site of all levels of web experience
  • Simple to Use – Thesis is easy to use and while I’m sure Chris will continue to add features and ways to use the theme it’s quite intuitive to get up and running and looking the way you want it.
  • Support – one thing that I love about Thesis is the support forum that Chris has built for those who invests in this theme. It’s already pretty active and covers a lot of the questions that you’d have as someone using it.
  • Free Upgrades – Chris has already released an update to Thesis which gives an indication that he’s still

You’ll want to check out Thesis for yourself – a good place to start is on it’s About Page.

Thesis comes with two license options. The personal license is $87 and the developer’s license is $164. The main difference is that the dev license allows you unlimited use of the theme across as many sites as you like.

If I were starting out today with a new blog and didn’t have the budget to get a custom design or the ability to design my own – Thesis would be something I’d serious look at investing in. In fact if I were starting a blog network today it’d be an ideal investment to grab the dev license as it is a great way to have a variety of blogs that share a similar look yet are customizable.

PS: here’s a look at the fantastic options panel that gives you control over many aspects of this theme (click to enlarge).


About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Very cool. I especially like the Big A$$ Save Button. :)

    OK, the rest is incredibly cool, too. I’m wondering how long they spend creating this.

  • Looks very simple, even though it has lot of features.

    Will be purchasing this theme when I start my next blog project.

    Thanks for sharing your views about this theme, Darren.

  • I will definitely be taking a look at this – Blogger is just not as expansive as I’d like. As it is word press offers posting of photos in a larger format, which is something I have been wanting. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Thesis is a beautiful, functional theme. When I started my newest blog ( I went with one of Chris Pearson’s free themes (which are themselves a step above average). But when I saw Thesis had been released I was very strongly tempted to immediately buy it. I’m still struggling with it, as my blog isn’t intended to be income producing, at least in the short run, so I’m cautious about spending money with it. But Thesis is so compelling that I am definitely wavering on my usual fiscal caution.

  • I have been following the thesis for quite some time now .. it has good SEO, ( thats what users say and I believe it .. from the experience that I have using his free themes )

    but the lay out is not promising :( I am waiting for the new magazine layout to be released .. and the first premium theme I will be purchasing, is Thesis for sure :D

  • I like that Big Ass Save button :)

    BTW, I think it’s time the Revolution theme by Brian get an options page. It’s costed me $80.

  • I saw a review of Thesis matched against Revolution the other day – can’t remeber the site. Thesis just pipped Revolution, though I’m not sure it isfair to compare them both as Revolution is a magazine style theme compared to the more traditional feel of Thesis.

    Having looked at both, they look to be very well executed and should be checked out by anyone who wants to make the step up from a free theme.

    Sounds like there is a Thesis Magazine Style theme in the pipeline, so I hope that is not too far into the future.

  • Like an iceberg, 90 percent of the power of Thesis is unseen. As in other instances, the reason why we purchase one product over another also goes unaware by most consumers. Chris, through building the framework for some of the most popular sites online is aware of those two principles – and they are blatant in Thesis.

    I am a customer and supporter of Thesis, by the way.

  • You’re good :-) Just convinced me to buy the developers package – I’ve been waiting to hear more about this after being burned on several premium theme purchases – you convinced me that this one is worth it, can’t wait to play with it!

  • Awesome features on the manageability of this wordpress theme. There are so many people out there offering wordpress themes that are just crap.

    And for those still using blogger. It’s time to switch.

    Thanks for all the great posts Darren.

  • I love this. Will definitely take a look. I need all the help I can get!

  • Wow this is impressive. I have not actually even considered *paying* for a wp theme until now. The Big Ass Save Button may be the clincher though ;)

  • It seems like a very functional theme, for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. I was esepcially impressed with the Options page.

  • An interesting note: Brian Clarke, the man behind the popular Copyblogger site, is Chris’ partner in DIYThemes, the company releasing Thesis.

  • @ Michael

    Yes !!! I think Revolution is stagnant now .. staying where it actually started from

  • Wow, I love the options page – talk about user friendly!

  • I have to disagree about Revolution. Brian Gardner sparked the entire ‘magazine’ theme craze and was at the cusp of premium WordPress themes at a time when free themes dominated. What has happened is premium themes have matured to the point where highly-demanded designers now see it as a profitable avenue. This will create in the premium WordPress theme marketplace the same stratification we see in free themes — different levels of quality attracting different consumers.

  • I think that Thesis cannot match, and Revolution too, the SEO power of Semiologic Pro. Semiologic Pro has proven time and time again, that it is the best SEO wordpress CMS around.

    You need to remember, that you get what you pay for. Semiologic, imho, is the best for results.

  • Awesome, I really like the clean and very simple look.

  • Justin

    Very cool! Simple, yet it has a ton of useful features.

  • You know Darren, usually I’m on your side but this just seams like your trying to sell us your friends crap. In my opinion the Options theme by Justin Tadlock is way better and free. (Plus Justin is a champion for free WordPress themes and the death of the premium theme market, and considering the licence WordPress uses calls for derivative works to be distributed under the same licence (The free one) I think he’s fighting for the right side)

  • Excellent look in the design specially the Big Ass Button

  • Ilove the Big Ass ave button and I noticed it right away.
    I think it says something when a good portion of the audience zooms in on that clever and humorous trait.

    Wish I read this article yesterday.
    I’ve been reading this blog and this morning I started a new blog…on Blogger! (which, ironiclaly, seems to be tied up this afternoon for I cannot get back into the dashboard to make more edits!) That’ll teach me! :(

  • Duhh, you’d better check your facts with an intellectual property attorney (who is not retained by WordPress). You have very little idea what you’re talking about when it comes to derivative works.

  • Free WordPress themes are great. Designing your own theme is even better. But let’s not confuse the issue: for many professionals, the name Chris Pearson carries cache — for which they are willing to pay. It doesn’t hurt the design is top-notch, either.

  • I looked up the Thesis vs Revolution blog, it’s found on Technosailor.

    Personally I don’t think it’s a fair match as they are quite different themes. I would definitely consider Thesis to be the front runner for personal blogs, which is why I might be picking it up soon!

  • Why shoul i give : “”Personal License $87” fot one theme ?!?!?!?!

  • It’s a lovely theme, I’ve just used it to create my new tropical aquarium fish site AquaDaily. You can get an idea of how it looks here (

    My only worry is that everyone will start to use Thesis… ;-)

  • I have Thesis- bought it a couple of months ago. I can not say HOW MUCH I love this theme. I mean, I could say it, but then I would take up all the comments and people would get sick of me babbling.

    The theme is great, the customizable features are great, the design is great, the back-end stuff is great. It’s just, you guessed it, fantastic.

    It is so worth the money, especially for people like me who are only just learning about php and css and wordpress and design etc etc.

    It’s worth the money, and this is not a case of trying to sell us his friends’ stuff- this is, yup, a great theme.

  • I’m already using it and the only thing I have to say is that it’s wonderfuly customizable and that Chris’s support is the best I’ve ever had. Even though everybody would start to use it, it can be a completely different theme.

  • Hmmm nice theme but nothing special for my taste.

  • I bought Thesis when it first launched a few months ago, and my blog has soared. I know it’s not exclusively because of Thesis, but I’m sure it has played a part.

    I get compliments at least once a day on my blog’s design. Chris Pearson is a genius.

    I love how SEO it is while still being user-friendly.

    I highly recommend it to anyone! It’s easily customizable.

  • this article is very useful.Thanks..

  • All those custom features must have taken a while and some serious PHP knowledge, kudos to Brian and Pearson!

  • Looks very interesting, especially the work done on the backend – the Options page. I’m looking forward to see if a magazine-style version comes out – that might tweak my interest. :-) Pearson has always done his best work behind the scenes – under the hood, imho.

    BTW, the “free” argument is frustrating. If you’re a serious professional blogger – in fact, in any business – you get what you pay for. You’ve got to spend money to make money.

    I think blogging has matured enough to have such a premium themes industry growing. I’m looking forward to more choices and competition in the market.

  • I’ve been using Thesis WordPress theme for more than 2 months and I’m impressed at how it improved my Google index rate.

    Thesis is simple, elegant, flexible and the best (search engine optimized theme).


  • As always , the themes we see around here are by far above the rave reviews.

    Thanks for sharing these themes and the admin page of Thesis looks like it needs quite a steep learning curve.

  • This theme looks quite classic but nothing outstanding.

  • Ok, so Darren is promoting a theme a friend created. So What? Does that put a damper on the reliability of his review? I personally think this is a wonderful theme. Options is a great theme as well but the simplicity and opportunity for expansion entices me.

    I’ve been looking for a theme to use for my blog networking’s homepage and I’ll be giving this a consideration. I’ve always tweaked themes to my liking and this ones leaves a lot of options open.

    Good theme, thanks for referral.

  • Having so many options is fantastic. I recently updated my template for my financial blog. Much better template, easier to use, easier to read, prettier.
    Thanks for the post

  • I’ll say that it is a very good theme templete for WordPress. Simple and clean cut design, very attractive. The build in feature of SEO in theme make it well ahead start the SEO game.
    I still will not buy it because I’m not running a make money online blog.

  • I LOVE the look of thesis, but I do have to agree with Duhh, that this article does sound a bit like a sales pitch…. but, you are a man of high integrity, so I’ll probably buy it anyway. :)

  • Ok, I caved in last night and bought it. Someone out there’s making a lot of money this week. I’m still in default mode but will be experimenting around. Here’s mine to add to the showcase… :)

  • I’ve been using Thesis for a while, and I love it! It took me a while to customize it and make it look exactly the way I want it to, but from all the compliments I’ve been getting on it, I made the right decision. Of course it helps that I’m a graphic designer, but in truth, I knew a whole lot more about print design than I did CSS when I started my blog. With a little doing, you can literally make Thesis all your own, and I’ve gotten a lot more hits due to the built-in SEO. My blog is featured in the Thesis showcase, Green Your Decor.

  • A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a theme for my first WordPress blog. I took my time reading through Thesis’s site.
    First time I hear of Chris Pearson. I was so impressed that I was confident I was making the right decision with Thesis. Not only is it gorgeous but Chris’s support is one of a kind. He is so on the ball. When does this guy sleep?!

    About Darren Rowse giving a sales pitch:
    Darren is successful and does great work, which makes it very likely he’ll have friends that are the same way… so If Darren has more friends like Chris P, I want to hear a “sales pitch” for each one of them!

  • A very interesting theme and I don’t mind paying for the effort they have put in the development, but right now I’m trying to focus on photography and not on restyling my blog over and over again. I saved this link in my bookmarks though.

  • Hi Darren: This is a GREAT theme! I just moved my blog from Blogger to this theme on WP and I love it. My tech guy, Joel ( says it is a bit tricky to learn at first but that, ultimately it’s a very, very good theme with great features. Even tho’ I chose this theme before you reviewed it I feel even better about my choice now that you’ve given it a positive review!

  • Hi! :-)
    I joined the Thesis Theme affiliation program few days ago and I just wrote a little review, using this article as the main origin of my content. Sure, I also wrote my personal thoughts about this product, but Darren’s articles give always a good inspiration to me!

    Keep writing in this way Darren! ;-)

  • They should allow me to use the Theme on at least 3 of my blogs after buying a personal license. Hopefully, they shall make the Theme XHTML compatible soon.

  • Just a short note to thank you for your recommendation. I ended up buying the developer version, based largely on your review, and I’ve been very happy with it. Not only does the Thesis Theme look good out-of-the-box, but it takes care of all the SEO requirements with no effort on my part at all. Gotta love that.