I am a self confessed WordPress theme junkie and buying a new theme for a website is like buying new clothes for me. I need to have the absolute best WordPress theme for my websites in order for them to have fast loading times and deliver a pleasant experience for my website visitors.
Over the years I have tried many WordPress themes and I have a huge collection of predecessors stored on a secure backup device. You see some were a purchased on a whim, while others were planned and cherished, but eventually most were outgrown by technology.
I actually started out using Microsoft Frontpage which seems extremely primitive compared to what I’m using today, the WordPress content management system, coupled with WordPress themes and plug-ins.
Life is easy for me today, when it comes to building a website, but the hard choice now is which WordPress theme to actually choose?
Genesis vs Thesis 2014
I have been using the Thesis WordPress theme for a few years now and you could not tell me that there was anything better available for my websites. I loved the way you could add some code to the custom functions file, along with CSS to style and come up with something awesome.
By using Thesis I learned how to create code that replaced the usual plugins I needed. For example in my Thesis theme I added code for the related posts, the author box, the social buttons, and so much more. That meant my site had less plugins and more functions.
You could call me a Thesis fan.
Recently I bought Genesis 2.0 and after a quick analysis, I have come to some obvious but sad conclusions.
The Differences Between Genesis 2 and Thesis 2
I feel bad about jumping ship, but the facts are here for you to see.
1. Out of The Box Design
Genesis has an awesome design straight up. Basic but not clunky and obvious like Thesis. I was amazed that I did not really need an added child theme straight away, but of course I added one anyway. Check out the screen shots below of the raw framework.
Another great thing about Genesis is that if you install a child theme and customize it, the actual frame work is unchanged and safe from your human errors. Then you can backup your child theme and use the same customizations on other sites. (If your license permits) The actual framework stays clean.
Genesis came with an awesome design so for starters there was a far less customisation needed. When I have changed WordPress themes previously, there is always approximately 2 hours of work to get the website back to what I needed. You know, all of the essentials. Genesis 2 came with many features inbuilt so as soon as I installed it, there was a decent looking functional website showing up.
A common customization is to change how many columnists your website has. In Thesis 1x it was relatively easy to change how many columns you had and the width of them, but Thesis 2 became harder. On the other hand Genesis was even easier!
In Thesis 2 if you wanted to customize your layout you would have to deal with boxes and css which is not always easy. I would rather click on my choice and be done with it!
3. Optimized Future Proof Code
Genesis 2.0 has been designed to deliver even better performance and it is what has been taken car of under the hood that counts.
- Support for HTML5 and schema.org markup. The HTML5 markup makes your site truly mobile-friendly.
- Better named loop hooks for HTML5.
- Network Upgrade now upgrades the Genesis database for all sites in a network when running WordPress in multisite mode.
- Widget classes are now coded in PHP5 format.
- Inline HTML comments have been removed to reduce page size.
- The Scripts option now has its own metabox when editing an entry.
- Custom Post Type archive pages now have a settings page so you can control the output.
- Genesis tracks displayed entry IDs so you can exclude entries from showing twice on a page.
- Entries without titles now display a permalink after the post content.
Changes like these are why page load times for sites built on Genesis 2.0 will be able to be measured and discussed in milliseconds …
4. Thesis 2 Made me Frustrated
I have tried to work with Thesis 2 but I was hitting road blocks, and far too many for my liking. I found myself wasting time just trying to get to know how to use this new framework. Don’t get me wrong though, it is an awesome framework but it turned out to be too technical for me. I could have taken the time to work it out, but time is money from me, and it also means less updates on my website. I need to create content and promote it, not design my own websites from scratch.
5. Fast Loading Websites
One of the reasons I decided to change WordPress themes is that some of my sites had slow loading times. I noticed that people were bragging about having a fast loading website and I was obviously jealous! See my friend Ana’s site, Traffic Generation Cafe. That is one site to be jealous of! Ana recently defected from Thesis to Genesis.
When I installed Genesis on this site (I had a Themforest theme installed at the time), my page loading time went from 58 to 79, without any customization and tweaking. Then after optimizing images on my website the score has gone to 84. I have a few more things I can optimize to gain an even better score.
I haven’t yet changed one of my Thesis sites to Genesis but Ana is very excited about how fast her site is loading and I agree, it is definitely faster.
Conclusion to Genesis vs Thesis
I was in love with Thesis 1 and I mean love. I spent years playing with it and I genuinely could see the potential for Thesis 2 but had no time to go that in-depth. When I installed the Genesis 2.0 Framework, within the first hour I knew that this WordPress theme was amazing!
If you are worried about changing WordPress themes, see my 39 point checklist for changing a WordPress theme. It even tells you how to import Thesis SEO details into Genesis.