Thesis: The WordPress framework focused on SEO

The selection of WordPress themes is huge: Practical layout templates for the popular content management system that differ considerably in terms of design, functionality, and price, make it possible to implement an extremely diverse array of web projects without barely a single complication. Ever since version 3.0 was released and the API theme was introduced, frameworks have come to the forefront. These basic frameworks – standalone themes with basic core functions – form the basis for new website layouts that are referred to as child themes in WordPress. One representative of this is Thesis, the framework of DIYthemes whose purpose is to visually change your WordPress project and optimize it for search machines.

What’s behind the Thesis framework?

In 2008, the website developer Chris Pearson published his Thesis theme for WordPress on DIYthemes.com. The basic principle behind the layout template: to make the possibilities of theme design accessible to a wider majority of WordPress users. His basic template was quickly accepted, so Pearson was able to pursue consistent work on the theme. With Thesis 2.0 and the available child theme technique, the initially simple template has finally grown into a true kit for the development of versatile website layouts. For this reason, Thesis theme is included today as a WordPress framework.

What differentiates Thesis from other WordPress frameworks

Thesis may be a framework for WordPress themes, but it’s very different from the structure of the content management system in comparison to other parent themes. With three toolboxes, skins, and site tools, the people in charge of Thesis deliberately use terms that are just as foreign to a WordPress developer as to an inexperienced user. In terms of the functionality of the tools, nothing is different: when working with Thesis, users feel less like they’re working on a WordPress theme, but instead – as already mentioned – feel like they’re working on a homepage kit. This is why Thesis should be differentiated from other platforms as a WordPress framework. This concept ensures that even a proven WordPress programmer correctly understands how the individual components function and are used only after a certain period of training time – a fact that has already drawn some criticism.

Once you’re a bit more familiar with the three features for layout, design, and page management, you’ll quickly recognize the advantages that the strictly separated blocks provide for your web project.

1. Boxes

Thesis boxes are basically the widgets in the building kit. Every box, which you can easily drag-and-drop to the layout of your page in the visual template editor, expands your project by the respective function. Using boxes you can implement, for example, an e-mail contact form in your sidebar, social media buttons under a post, or a list of the most popular posts at the end of a page. You can determine the exact placement without have to write a single line of code. In addition to the standard boxes, there are many other function templates that have been developed by members of the Thesis community or professional programmers.

2. Site tools

An important component of the Thesis framework philosophy is search engine optimization. The parent theme is therefore designed to support your WordPress websites in the fight for the best possible placement on Google and other search engines. For this reason, all Thesis themes benefit not only from modern HTML5 technologies, but also from clean code and the bundling of HTTP requests. With the site tools, you can also implement a variety of essential SEO features, such as the ability to create mark-ups based on Schema.org, register your project with Google and Bing, create alternative 404 error messages, or set meta tags for individual pages and articles.

3. Skins

Thesis Skins determine the design of your WordPress project. The developer team themselves refers to them as improved versions of the standard child themes. Unlike a lot of standard themes that are sold separately, Thesis Skins are by no means rigid and can be modified using various presets and options – without the need for programming knowledge. You determine the positioning of sidebars, the colors of individual objects, or font style and size with just a single click. The “Classic Responsive Skin” comes installed standard with Thesis, is automatically optimized for performance and search engines, and displays well on mobile devices as well as on desktop PCs. Alternatively, you can also choose “Blank Skin” and design your own template entirely from scratch. Users of the Basic Plus or Professional Edition also have access to the “Pearsonified Skin” and “Social Triggers Skin”, both of which are based on the classic skin. More templates are available from third-party vendors such as wpThesisSkins.com.

Terms of use and available Thesis packages

To use the Thesis framework you need a valid license. Considering your plans and objectives, you can choose one of the following three packages:

  Basic Basic Plus Professional
Licensed Domains 1 1 Unlimited
Product Updates 12 months 12 months Unlimited
E-Mail Support 12 months 12 months Unlimited
Access to the Member Forum 12 months 12 months Unlimited
Classic Responsive Skin Yes Yes Yes
Pearsonified Skin No Yes Yes
Social Triggers Skin No Yes Yes
E-Mail Opt-in Boxes No Yes Yes
Social Media Sharing Boxes No No Yes
Thesis Developer Tools Box No No Yes

As a developer, the Professional Edition is an excellent choice. You get the full range of available features and all of the Thesis Skins. In addition, you can integrate the framework into all your WordPress projects and use it for all domains that belong to you. If you want to use the Thesis framework as the foundation for your customer’s websites, it is necessary to purchase a client site license as well. In addition, you have full access to the member forum, e-mail support, and all current and future updates as of Thesis 2.0.

The Basic Plus license also contains all of the skins, but only applies to one domain at a time, contains fewer templates, and has to be renewed after twelve months. The Basic variant is also supported by DIYthemes for one year at a time and requires payment to be renewed. The inexpensive license offers only the fundamental skins (“Blank” and “Classic Responsive”) and boxes, and is aimed primarily at operators of simple WordPress projects. You can upgrade both licenses to the Professional license at any time.

Conclusion

Thesis strives to be different from comparable frameworks with its skins, boxes, and site tools, and is generally quite successful. This deviation from the WordPress platform is comprehensible, but in some cases, because of the necessary training time, is a seemingly avoidable hurdle that is perhaps not suitable for every developer and website owner. The change to other themes away from the Thesis framework is also not necessarily easy to accomplish. But if you look behind the scenes and get familiar with the basics of the theme framework, you will quickly learn to appreciate its benefits.

  • All finished templates as well as original designs offer numerous options for search engine optimization by default.
  • Themes can be created quickly and easily according to the building module principle.
  • Themes also automatically adapt themselves to mobile device screens and are optimally equipped for the future with HTML5 support.

The excellent visibility that the Thesis framework gives your WordPress project isn’t its only feature. With little effort and no coding knowledge you can add functionality to your pages, change the positioning of individual elements, adjust colors and fonts, or customize the appearance of your error code pages. Designed skins exist parallel to the framework can easily be updated without losing your adjustments. On the official homepage, you can also get a more detailed picture of how your WordPress website could look based on Thesis. In the Skin demo, you can see an example website including useful explanations of the individual elements. With this you have the choice between six different skins as a layout basis.