In this article I explain the move away from Thesis to Genesis. Its going to be ugly too. No happy endings or bright rainbows and unicorns here. I’m giving it to you straight. Read on to see why I switched from Thesis to Genesis. .
Thesis 1.8x to 2.0 – A Horrible Transition & Even Worse Business Practice?
OK, I know I’m just the little guy. I’m not a web developer. I don’t plan on ever becoming a web designer. But I was really happy with Thesis. Here was a framework that allowed me with my half-assed skill set to make WordPress into what I wanted it to look like. And it wasn’t even really that difficult. So I had my site running on their old version 1.8 and then they finally made the announcement to release Thesis 2.0. Yay! Or so I thought….
Thesis 2.0 Release Woes
When diythemes released Thesis 2.0 I quickly downloaded it from diythemes and was hoping to see some feature updates and maybe some minor changes to the UI for the framework. What I got? A page with a few tabs. And literally no documentation. And nowhere to turn except one website that created a video tutorial on how to do the basics. I even tried to remain upbeat in a quick article I did about it:
I even ran through the tutorials and although it wasn’t as horrible as I initially thought. I immediately came to a few conclusions:
- diythemes had a half-baked product I was going to finish Beta testing for them when it was released.
- diythemes should have never released it until they at least had a basic how-to FAQ/Documentation for it.
- I have NEVER liked WYSIWIG User Interfaces.
- I didn’t want to have to re-learn everything again just to use a Framework.
Thesis 2.0 Has Improved
Now to give diythemes credit – they have rolled out a few updates since then. And if you like the thought of using something akin to Microsoft’s Front Page – then you will like Thesis. It does have some innovations and the general idea is you aren’t supposed to ever need to touch an FTP or text editor again.
What finally killed it for me was their price re-structuring on top of it all:
Limited Membership for the ‘Non-Designers’
As a relatively new blogger I had already shelled out money for the $97.00 (now $89.00) non-developer license. That now only gets me 6 month of support/updates and none of the extras you would get if you go with the full developer license. And if there are any updates after the 6 months? I’d have to still have to pay the money to re-subscribe or up my membership then. While although this is possibly a smart decision for their business. It wasn’t a smart one for me.
While although this is possibly a smart decision for their business. It wasn’t a smart one for me.
The Sites Look Like Junk
OK, this is just my opinion. But I haven’t found a Thesis site example anywhere where I like the appearance of it. No I won’t post examples as that just isn’t nice. You can make your own opinion of your own. I would point you to the diythemes page for examples – for the few that are up most are still on the older framework.
Note: They really need to clean up their portfolio.
Genesis to the Rescue?
To tell you the truth? I wasn’t initially happy about switching over to Genesis. But I felt I was under the gun. On one side I had WordPress pushing out updates that were going to end up breaking the site and on the other side I had diythemes putting the virtual thumbscrews on me to update my current package to a developer license to get basic features/extras that I used to receive for free. Then the nightmare of having to try and migrate to Thesis 2.0. So I decided to jump ship and move on to Genesis.
Not a Smooth Migration
It wasn’t a great transition from Thesis to Genesis. I like to think of Genesis as “Thesis 1.8 Light”.
- Gone is the Big Ass Save Button.
- Gone are all of the basic UI features I loved with Thesis.
- Gone were the quick changes for font sizes/types on one page instead of hunting them down in the CSS style sheet.
- Gone is the Media Box that allowed me to easily add whatever I felt like in it – or turn it off based on the settings it had.
- Gone is the built in functionality to have your CSS Style sheet automatically ‘minified’.
- I could go on and on – but the good news is there are solutions for all of the above at least.
I felt like I was presented with a blank piece of paper and a pen and was told to go write something.
The Good News About Genesis
The good news is it is a lot like Thesis 1.8x in a some ways though:
- The use of hooks to unlock/add features to your site much like Thesis hooks.
- The use of the CSS Stylesheet that allows me to easily change the sites appearance.
- Extras and Genesis Plugins that open up additional functionality and appearance easily and quickly.
- Oh, it plays nice with Yoast’s SEO Plugin which Thesis didn’t want you to use.
Plus there are a lot of other features that the older version of Thesis couldn’t do like Responsive design for mobile users. To see the entire list you’ll have to check out their site to see what I mean. (That would be the huge affiliate link above the comments btw.)
Working With Genesis
Working with Genesis is a lot like the older version of Thesis. A royal pain in the ass at first. Especially if you don’t want your basic “cookie-cutter” site that looks like everyone else out there. If you are a blogger looking for a framework to use? Sure I suggest getting Genesis. I suggest choosing one of their already put together child themes and work from there. Unless you hire an expert to design it for you. You will save yourself a lot of time if you do. Not to mention they can look awesome if you do!
Genesis Costs and Support
Well the other thing that had sold me on Genesis? The price. Sure they have the super mega pack where you get all of the themes etc. if your a developer with a large clientele or a lot of different sites you manage. If you opt for just Framework and a Child Theme it was $79.00. That is almost
$20.00 $10.00 cheaper than Thesis basic plan at $89.00 (The price has since been reduced)! The other great thing? You get lifetime support and updates!
Speaking of Support
The support site page at Studio Press is probably the easiest most comprehensive support page I’ve seen. They are easy to navigate and follow. Plus there is an online forum. Not to mention the bajillion articles you can find on Google for just about anything Genesis related.
I Wasn’t Alone Apparently
But don’t take my word on it. Go out to your favorite bloggers and visit their sites. I’ll bet 99% of them are currently running Genesis too! Although a lot of them have that “cookie-cutter” issue I mentioned earlier? They all have a pretty clean layout and you have to do a lot to make them look bad. Plus if Matt Cutts switched his site to Genesis? There might be something to all of this mass migration going on.
I really did want to like the new iteration of Thesis. I did try very hard to like it in fact. Every time I went into the Framework I left it in frustration. In the end Genesis was the only way to go. Although it isn’t Thesis 1.8 it is still better than their 2.0 Framework. It is missing a lot of the things I liked about Thesis that was built in but it is still a great framework. If you were thinking of moving off of Thesis? Then I would bite the bullet and do it.
What Do You Think?
If you think the same way I do? Then please make sure to share this. If you don’t? Let me know in the comments below.