Well, it was one of the toughest decisions I made for my business. I’ve been a die-hard Thesis fan and an affiliate. I was using Thesis on Problogging Success as well as all my other sites (including Tech Buzz Online, Diet Fitness Deck, Merry Relationships, Jane Sheeba and a few others).
So this post is not about how bad Thesis is or calling names. I am not going to criticize anybody or any company for that matter. The switch is totally my personal preference.
Having said that, I wish to openly discuss what factors made me switch – from my perspective this is a BIG decision since I was using Thesis for a long time, I was actively promoting it and I was using it on multiple sites of mine.
So, it was not an easy job to make the switch. Yet, I was kinda forced to do it.
Without further delay I’m going to jump in to the details of it.
I had to wait looooong
Yup. I know it’s not just me. The blogosphere is sort of filled with people who had been complaining about DIY Themes taking so long to release an update to Thesis (the update being version 2.0).
I was waiting, and waiting and waiting and nothing happened. All my sites were stuck at Thesis 1.8.x (I don’t exactly remember the last version of Thesis I used), while the other sites in my niche were moving ahead with Genesis or other themes that were catching up with the rest of the world.
I felt I was left out, seriously. But I was hoping to the last breath that something will happen. But to my disappointment it took a very long time for DIY Themes to release an update, finally.
Was my wait worth it?
NO. That is a BIG NO. I would have stuck with Thesis *if* I got an update. But what I got was a surprise package! On the outside it had many shiny promises, but on the inside it was totally an alien to me.
Now, I know many Thesis lovers will jump in to argue with me about the goodness of Thesis 2.0. OK, I totally agree that DIY Themes might have made a total makeover with Thesis 2.0. But seriously, who has got the time to learn all the new stuff?
I would have dove in to learn if Thesis design is my business. But I have a different business and I used Thesis framework as a tool that helped my business (a framework and theme for my business website). So I was not ready to invest time on that.
Thesis Vs Genesis?
OK, the comparison between Thesis and Genesis is no longer valid. But let me point out some of the things I want you to notice.
1. One of the things I found to be a pain was updating Thesis (while I was using 1.8x). Every time a new update pops up (it wasn’t that frequent though!), I had to Google “How to update Thesis?”, and follow the steps – I guess there are 7 steps (involving FTP and all).
Genesis allows WordPress dashboard updates. That takes ONE click and a couple of seconds. So which one will you prefer?
2. Coding and Documentation – When Thesis 2.0 was released it came out with no documentation (or probably very little to help me and I had pretty good knowledge on coding!). Now, I was a serious Thesis user. I had customized many sites based on Thesis theme using Hooks and custom coding. I was offering Thesis Customization as a service. So I know Thesis pretty well. But even to me, Thesis 2.0 was a total stranger. So think about the other bloggers who just want to blog rather than spending days and nights in figuring out how to use Thesis theme.
With Genesis I have a forum where people talk about issues and there is response from the pros. Plus, they have loads of code snippets for just about anything! So you can totally customize your site the way you want.
And in the StudioPress support forums, people talk a lot about customization and issues with the custom codes rather than talking about how to make the skin work, or why the box is not showing up or why the box breaks the site or how to code something!
In my opinion, Do more, code less – the slogan of Thesis didn’t make much sense to me.
3. Skins and complications – Now, I LOVE Genesis for this. I’m not lazy but when I’m given an option to choose from, I’ll choose that. Genesis gives me loads of Child themes that I can choose for my sites – there is a child theme that suits any niche.
I know many people will say that their site is going to look like one of the many sites that are using the same child theme as theirs. Of course!
But what do you want?
Spending hours, days and weeks on making your site look unique?
Grab a professionally looking child theme, customize it (optional) and go concentrate on building your business?
I’d go for the second options by all means. However, as I said earlier, you can still do lots of customization with Genesis child theme with their support, forums, Genesis plugins and code snippets.
And with Thesis you have skins (they launched a few recently), boxes, etc. The terminology scared me. I want to keep things simple. And it is not like, install and start blogging. There is quite some misbehaviour and you will feel frustrated to make your site look like how you wanted it to look like.
When I buy any product, I mostly pay for the support rather than the product itself. I found Thesis support to be quite mediocre. On the other hand, Genesis provides top notch support! I can say that again if you wanted to hear.
Plus there is a great community of folks at the support forum who are willing to help you.
Here, Genesis wins, certainly. I’ll let you look at the screenshot rather than me explaining it to you
Just in case you’re wondering what the 1, 2, 3…. are here are the details
Now, the Thesis basic option sounds reasonably low priced, but it doesn’t come with any boxes or other frills except for the Classic skin. And you get only 12 months free upgrades and 12 months support.
You might have mixed opinion since every business and its requirements are different. In my case I have a bunch of sites and I plan to launch a few more sites. So apparently I want more different themes to suit different niches. So I went for the Pro Plus All-Theme package.
But if you have only one site and if you need only one theme, you can buy Genesis framework + 1 child theme.
Now, you can get a 25% member discount on any purchase once you’re a member.
Without membership discount:
With membership discount:
Other major stuff I love about Genesis framework
Well I’ve spoken a lot already about the various features of Genesis in comparison with Thesis, just above.
But what I like the most about Genesis (StudioPress Themes) is they keep up with the changes in the web world. Be it HTML5, Responsiveness, Schema Markup – you name it.
They’ve got it all covered.
I must also say that I was bit afraid when Genesis 2.0 was about to be released But to my goodness, the StudioPress team did a big leap indeed with 2.0. Schema markup is now automatic!
And most of the child themes already support HTML5 as we speak!
Since I started using Genesis, I ditched the plugins I was using for mobile responsiveness.
And I find the framework to be very light for the user (suits both advanced and newbie users) yet, has some very advanced functionalities at the backend. And unlike the Thesis options screen, I am not presented with too many complicated things to configure. Genesis settings panel is very simple yet very effective.
And did I mention that Genesis makes your site SEO friendly?
Let me put a big disclaimer here!
This post is not to bash anyone. But I’ve been getting emails from people every day since I switched to Genesis asking why I switched and many have also asked me to write a post about how I feel about the features of Genesis.
I didn’t mean to sound harsh but I’ve just spoken what worked for me and what didn’t work, in this post.
I really hope I answered the questions I received from my readers.