If you’ve been blogging for very long, you probably realize that I just committed blogger blasphemy. You might have already clicked away in fear of your monitor bursting into flames. And while I understand, I still feel compelled to share this message: The Thesis framework for WordPress SUCKS.
Why I Hate Thesis
Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve seen Thesis blogs before. Most of them look exactly the same. Thesis is a framework (basically a theme) that claims to be the best in the universe. Every blogger who uses WordPress thinks they have to use Thesis because it’s the best. I’m here to tell you they’re wrong.
The accolades for Thesis always begin with, “It’s TOTALLY customizable!” That’s true. But the hassle you have to go through to make those customizations isn’t worth it. And that’s why, other than colors and simple changes that are available in the Thesis admin panel, most Thesis blogs look exactly like every other Thesis blog. Because it’s too complicated to do anything else.
There are millions of customizations for Thesis. But to find out how to make most of the changes, you either have to search the Thesis forums, spend time googling, or ask someone. Usually it’s a matter of inserting a prewritten bit of code called a hook, which isn’t that hard. That is, until you need to insert about 40 of them and get them all to work together.
Proof of the Suckage
This is a true story. Last week, I was working on a design for a client using Thesis. We spent about 4 hours trying to make what should have been small changes to the sidebar. As is usually the case when I work with Thesis, I was ready to have a stroke. Nonstop googling to figure out exactly which hooks to use, making sure they didn’t conflict with any other code, getting it to look the way she wanted….
I told the client I was taking a 30-minute mental health break. In that half hour, I proceeded to load Weaver II Pro on a test domain, rebuild her blog exactly the way it looked on Thesis, and fix the sidebar issue. When I showed her, she was blown away. She requested (and got) a refund for Thesis and is now rocking the Weaver theme.
Another true story: One of my friends is an internet marketer. He uses Thesis to build most of his sites. I was telling him about the situation above, and he decided to try out Weaver. Once he figured out the admin panel and where all the options were, he had to admit that it’s much faster and easier than working with Thesis. I don’t know that he’ll convert completely, but I think he’s becoming a fan.
The Bottom Line
For someone who is new to blogging (or new to WordPress), Thesis is an absolute nightmare. The Thesis website brags,
Not a coder? Not a problem. The Thesis option panels allow you to command your site with ease, while Thesis does all of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.
But unless you have an understanding of coding, you can’t make your site look much different than the rest. Fine for cookie cutter sites, but not for creating something that’s uniquely yours.
It is unnecessarily difficult to customize the look of your blog using Thesis (for most people). Some can use it with no trouble, but I design websites for a living and still find it more work than I’m willing to put in. I’ve heard many people say they felt stupid when they couldn’t figure it out. Why? Because the Thesis website makes using the framework sound much easier than it actually is.
If you’re a new blogger, don’t buy into the hype. (And if you’re a seasoned blogger, don’t be afraid to admit that Thesis isn’t as easy as it could be.) I love Weaver II Pro, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. Choose a theme that does what you want and is easy to work with – that’s the most important thing you can do for your blog.
Have you ever used Thesis? What did you think of it? Do you totally agree/disagree with me?