When it comes to competition in an industry, we will have only 2 final big players in the game at the end. It’s true for every industry, like CocaCola and Pepsi, Comfort and Downy and even in premium WordPress themes market with two biggest and most popular premium WordPress themes: Thesis and Genesis.
They are all famous and endorsed by high profile bloggers in WordPress community because of the designs, functionalities and usabilities making it’s hard for new bloggers to choose one. Since choosing a right theme will play a key role in developing your blog, I want to share with you some thoughts from a normal user’s perspective which, I hope, will help you make a better choice.
I want to emphasize that this review is from a NORMAL user’s perspective (it’s me, of course), not a developer. If you want to have your theme built by a developer and just use it, you don’t have to worry or read this post.
The cost for Genesis is $59.95 and for each child theme, it would be $20 – $40 more depending on if the theme is from Studiopress or third-parties websites. To sum up, it will cost $79.95 for Genesis framework plus on child theme. Sometimes, you can save a lot more money if Studiopress offers discount code.
You can use these themes on every site of yours or even your clients’ sites without any additional costs. The update is lifetime, so when a new version of Genesis or of your child theme is coming out, you can get them for free.
Thesis is more expensive, let’s look at their pricing plans
As you can see, there are 3 different pricing options:
- Basic: Thesis framework + 12 months update.
- Basic Plus: Thesis framework + 12 months update + 2 Thesis skins.
- Professional: Thesis framework + unlimited update + 2 skins + 2 boxes.
The price is twice as much as Genesis. It is not to mention that if you are a developer and want to use Thesis for your clients, you must pay for additional cost at around $40 per client. They NEVER release any discount codes, so don’t wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
In terms of price, Genesis is much cheaper than Thesis.
Both of them have 30 days money back guarantee, so you can try and get money back if you don’t like.
Install and Use
Both frameworks can be installed like other WordPress themes. Download the .zip files, then upload and activate your theme. It’s pretty easy for users to install and start using these two frameworks.
Customize Your Theme
Thesis 2.0 was rolled out with a drag and drog site builder which is a controversial topic among WordPress community. While Thesis claimed that this new feature, which is built from ground up, will take Thesis to the next level and make it extremely easy for users to customize the theme, I found it very difficult to get used to.
When I want to add some new things to my website, I must open the builder and get myself buried with Boxes, Skins and Packages. To be exact What are they? A new coding type or a totally new platform beyond WordPress? I am a normal user, and I just don’t care about that. Developers may love it because it simplifies their works, but I can’t get anything and customizing with these settings is a painful experience.
I must say I love the old versions of Thesis much more than this new release.
Genesis, on the other hand, keeps up with latest WordPress updates and Studiopress team always make their theme clean and well-structured. You can search for several tutorials on the Internet to gear up your website with more powerful features and add these functions to the website easily like what we have already seen with Thesis 1.8 or less.
Genesis’s theme options doesn’t have too much choice. The default theme options contains pre-made color schemes, enable page navigation, choose to display full post or excerpts… At first, it provides less choices for users, but I strongly believe that the less choices you have, the more focused your are. I would focus on building content for my website rather than spending all day looking for adding new features to it.
Online Resources and Supports
Since Thesis and Genesis are the two biggest players in premium WordPress themes community, they provide outstanding support for customers.
Both of them have responsive support forums plus some dedicated blogs to talk about how to use them effectively. For Thesis, we have DIY Themes, Sean Davis, Kolakube. For Genesis, we have Brian Gardner, Greg Rickaby or Bill Erickson.
They are all supporting and adding quality contents and tutorials for Genesis and Thesis which helps them better and better everyday.
Moving Trends: It’s Not Only Normal Users
In recent months, I have seen many people are moving from Thesis to Genesis including top bloggers like WP Beginner or 2createawebsite. Sure, they won’t do it for no reason since their blogs are big and every move of them can affect their brand, readers and loyalties.
I am not advocate for Genesis, but a huge number of users are using this framework right now and more to come in the future. It is resulted from the endless efforts of bringing more high quality themes to the community. Studiopress also adapts with latest design trends like big email opt-in forms, tumblog and of course, responsive WordPress themes.
With all that said, if you are a normal user with no experiences with coding or so, Genesis is for you. It’s easy to use, cheaper and has more online resources.
However, if you want to have a good base and want to explore more features, you can try Thesis and find different ways to customize your website with drag and drop builder. I believe it would be an interesting experience for you.
How about you? What is your choices (Genesis or Thesis)? and WHY?