Why I Switched to Genesis Theme from Thesis Theme


When it comes to the architecture of my blog, I prefer to use the best blogging tools I can find, whether the product is related to hosting, SEO tools or my WordPress theme. When we use the best products available, we are likely to have fewer headaches to deal with, and we can focus more on what we do best. I believe this is one reason ShoutMeLoud has won numeroud awards in past 4 years.

A few months ago I changed the ShoutMeLoud theme framework and moved to the Genesis WordPress theme. I had been using the Thesis WordPress theme since 2009. Back then, it was the best SEO theme available. But after a great deal of thought and planning, I moved to the Genesis theme framework. I have already moved  60% of my other sites to the Genesis theme, and all new sites are being developed using the Genesis framework.

In this article, I will share with you, my reasons for ditching the Thesis theme for Genesis, which may give you some insight into which framework is right for you.

What was/is wrong with the Thesis theme?

When the Thesis theme was launched on March 29, 2008, it was welcomed by the WordPress community with open arms. I was one of the early adopters of the Thesis theme, and I have been using it since mid-2009. Back then, Thesis was the costliest and best SEO theme ever made. The community was growing steadily, and we all were happy to be part of a theme framework that is constantly updated to remain compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

At one point, there was a major conflict between Chris Pearson (Thesis creator) and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress creator) regarding the GPL license. That conflict has since been resolved. As an end user, I was not concerned about that issue as long as the product was still awesome and was working well. At the time, Thesis was one of the few themes to offer built-in SEO options, and it created an industry standard with those features.

The Fall of the Thesis theme:

The downfall of the Thesis theme began to occur after another controversy, this time with @Yoast over the compatibility between Thesis and SEO by Yoast. This issue dragged on for a long time before being resolved, and in the end one thing was clear: Pearson had no interest in giving much choices to users.

Thesis SEO by Yoast conflict
  • Save

For a long time, I had wanted to switch my SEO settings to Yoast SEO, but there was no plug-and-play solution available for this. There is no doubt that the Thesis theme handles SEO quite well, but over time its creator failed to implement the much-needed social SEO settings. As an end user who used Thesis for managing my site’s SEO, I was expecting that feature to be integrated by Thesis creators before anyone else, and yet it never happened.

Thesis 2.x killed all hope:

Thesis 2.x was launched back in 2012, and that killed every last hope I had for Thesis to be the best theme available to me. There was no easy way to migrate our existing Thesis 1.8x design over to Thesis 2.0. Many long-time Thesis users like myself ended up paying extra money to developers, just to code the existing design on Thesis 2.x.

I’m not sure what Pearson was thinking, but he was evidently not worrying about existing users. He built an awesome framework with 2.x, but he apparently didn’t realize how many end users would be annoyed and frustrated with this move, in addition to the money we all lost in migrating our existing design to the Thesis 2.x version.

Thesis theme documentation
  • Save

Moreover, Thesis 2.x was launched without any proper documentation. Imagine being given a jet plane to fly without any proper training or even a manual!

Shown below is a search trend graph for the Thesis theme, which shows the slow death of one of the best WordPress themes of all time:

Thesis theme trend
  • Save

To summarize:

  • Thesis creators killed the very ideology that they stood for: that the Theme should handle the SEO.
  • They had no interest in making life easier for their loyal, long-time users with their Thesis 1.8X to Thesis 2.X migration.

Slow updates:

What concerned me most about the Thesis theme were the slow updates. They were not rolling out updates as they previously had been, which is an important part of adopting the latest practices. And what about social SEO, open graph integration, and schema integration?

These days I cannot imagine a blog that does not have integrated social SEO. Indeed, the lack of this feature is one of the main reasons why I ditched Thesis SEO for SEO by Yoast, and the Genesis theme.

Why the Genesis theme over Thesis:

When changing the framework of my sites I considered several  options, and Genesis seemed to be the best superior alternative to Thesis. Many professional bloggers like Syed, Chris Lima, and Darren are using the Genesis framework, and that alone was enough information to allow me to place my trust in Genesis. What I like most about Genesis is the feeling of the community. You can do anything with Genesis with the help of online tutorials, and I appreciate the fact that Genesis works out of the box with all popular WordPress plugins.

One of the biggest limitations of Thesis 2.x is the fact that you need to sweat blood to make changes if you are not a developer. With Genesis, you can upload and edit a new child skin to get started. Now all my new micro-niche sites are using the Genesis theme along with the SEO by Yoast plugin for SEO.

What did I learn after using the Thesis theme for five years?

Five years is no small term, and it takes more than just loyalty to stay committed to anything for that long. I believed the Thesis theme would be able to handle SEO settings. But that is not the case. One would do better to use a plugin for SEO features, as a dedicated plugin will be updated in a timely manner to adopt the latest SEO practices.

I’m grateful to have learned SQL back in college, which helped me to migrate all my SEO settings from theme to plugin. The SEO Data Transporter plugin was also of great help in migrating SEO values.

Thesis Vs. Genesis: Which one is right for you?

I’m sure based on all of information noted above, you know which theme’s framework is the best for you.

Let’s look at a Google trend graph for the Thesis vs. the Genesis theme, and see which one is growing and which one is not:

Thesis vs Genesis
  • Save

Result: The Genesis theme search is growing, whereas the Thesis theme has indeed lost the market.

Is Thesis a bad theme?

Not at all. Thesis remains one of the well-coded, developer-friendly themes, but it offers far less for an end user with little to no coding knowledge. Having positioned itself as the best SEO theme in the market, Thesis surely failed to live up to its reputation.

Genesis, on the other hand, is a user-friendly, well documented theme, which can be used by anyone with basic WordPress skills. I have made this video showing the difference between the Genesis theme and the Thesis theme:


Should you switch from the Thesis theme to Genesis?

I would recommend that you make the switch so that you will not be stuck in a closed eco-system. The switch would also allow you to start using all of the amazing plugins such as SEO by Yoast and many others which do not have straightforward compatibility with the Thesis theme. The Genesis framework comes with a price tag of  $59.95, and you can use any free skin, or buy a premium Genesis skin.


If you are someone who creates multiple WordPress sites, I recommend that you buy their pro-plus package as I did.  This package will give you access to all 38 Genesis child themes.

I’m glad that I made the switch from Thesis SEO to SEO by Yoast SEO, as it has helped me to integrate all required updated SEO practices on my blogs. I would suggest the same to you and to all other ShoutMeLoud readers.

Have you also gone through a similar transition with the Thesis theme? I would love to hear your viewpoints and expert opinions.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Subscribe on YouTube

  • Save
Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

36 thoughts on “Why I Switched to Genesis Theme from Thesis Theme”

  1. Paul

    Hi Harsh,

    I used Thesis from 2007 until I switched to Genesis (Prose) in 2013. I haven’t had any problems with Genesis but recently, as a novice, nervously delved inside the database using phpMyAdmin and noticed remnants of Thesis. There is a table – wp_thesis_terms. Also, six rows in wp_options with thesis_ in the option name. And in wp_postmeta there are 359 rows with thesis_ in the meta key.

    Do you think I should delete all these remnants, or, since I don’t know anything about MySQL, would I be well advised to leave the database alone? (The reason I started looking at the database was because at 430MB my host said it was getting too large for a shared server. I was able to resolve this issue by using the plugin Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions which reduced it to 116MB.)

    Thanks for any suggestions,

  2. Sharique

    Hello Harsh, Sorry to ask but can we all know what Genesis Child theme you use? I guess it’s the sample child theme?
    Looking forward to getting a wonderful reply from you!


    1. Harsh Agrawal


      I am using customized Genesis child theme.

  3. Carolyn

    Genesis is easy to use but for some reason, the sample theme (or
    maybe something else) has disabled the comment form.

    Is anyone having the same problem as mine?

    The odd thing is, the comment form is working with a premium Genesis Theme.

  4. Pramod

    Hello harsh!
    How did you manage to keep the look and feel of your thesis theme on genesis framework? I’m curious to know the answer

  5. Jesse Hackshaw

    Thanks for the breakdown. I think I’ll give the Genesis theme a run on one of my blogs to see how it fits.

  6. pdvor

    I was and I’m still using regular WP theme. I was about to switch to Genesis, never did though. But from what I know about Genesis framework, it’s not for someone who has no idea about coding. Be prepared to do some tinkering with code, in order to tailor Genesis theme to your needs.

  7. Ngan

    I was an ex-thesis theme user too. The new Thesis 2.0 is so confusing and it is so hard to modify the layout without really understand how it works.

    Glad that i migrated away from thesis to something simpler. my advice is, stay away from these complicated themes.

  8. Nijinsha

    I am planning to get a new theme for my website. I was very confused with Thesis and Genesis. Thanks to your post now I can go with Genesis!

  9. Jankii Ahir

    “One of the biggest limitations of Thesis 2.x is the fact that you need to sweat blood to make changes if you are not a developer.”
    I agree. I’m facing the problem. It’s not easy to modify the settings.
    It’s not user friendly like earlier 1.X versions.

    1. Teo in Brazil

      To put it in a nutshell… Thesis Su**cks. Ive got proof from almost 3 years experience.
      Its a perfectly marketed Idi0t catcher. Read my comment below… Clap clap for Pearson and Halpern

      They do not explain from the start that Thesis is no user friendly and you have to be a coder to play with it. IF NOT prepare to drain yr wallet … hundreds to get things sort of smooth and compared to any premium theme it really is out of any question to buy it. EVEN IF YOU ARE A CODER.

  10. Felix B

    Thanks for this Awesome Post. Was making a decision between Thesis and Genesis.
    Finally made a decision after reading this so much detailed post. It is really good.
    Now I am going for Genesis Theme with Dynamik Builder Child Theme.

    Thanks Again Harsh for this Awesome Post 🙂

  11. Ngan Son

    Thesis 2.0 now thesis 2.1 is not good as Genesis. I used Genesis long time ago. I work very well for my blog. Now I still like to use it for another niche site projects.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      That’s true about Thesis. Where as Genesis makes it easier to start a niche site within minutes & with a decent free design.

      1. henrykene

        Please i run a celebrity gossip blog and am currently using Thesis skin on it which i migrated from Genesis theme, so what do you suggest in my own case?

        1. Harsh Agrawal

          Until it’s working fine, that’s good. When in near future you need to spend money on upgrade or change, move to Genesis or top theme of that time.

  12. Mustafa

    What I kearned from this post is that never purchase any lifetime plan for anything including Genesis.


    I believe it took you courage to leave your beloved theme.

    I also once used Genesis and trust me bro. It’s awesome with Yoast.

    Goodluck in the future bro. and pls update us on any future changes concerning genesis on your blog.

  14. Giri

    “One of the biggest limitations of Thesis 2.x is the fact that you need to sweat blood to make changes if you are not a developer.”

    I agree. I’m facing the problem. It’s not easy to modify the settings.

    It’s not user friendly like earlier 1.X versions.

  15. Siddaiah

    Hi Harsh,

    As of now I am using free theme for my blog and planning to migrate premium theme, Thesis and Genesis are in my list, after reading this article I will stick to Genesis.

    Thanks for sharing info.

  16. Ricardo Schillaci

    Thanks Harsh

    Your post came just on time because till now I am using a free theme and cecided to go for something fully customizable.

    Best regards

  17. Imran Nazish

    Well, Another great article. Thanks Harsh for sharing your experience with us. Of course I will go for Genesis Soon.

  18. Piyush Ranjan

    Hei Harsh,
    I am using the genesis framework from the past 6 months and I don’t know anything about the html and css. But you can check my site and genesis is hell easy to optimize. I am satiesfied with genesis and probably I will not choose any other theme.

  19. Mohanraj

    Genesis is the best thing when comes to WordPress. Initially i used one brand’s theme for my sites. Though its good but not looking visually good.

    But when it comes to genesis all the themes are visually eye catching and I moved my sites to genesis few months back.

    So Finally welcoming you to Genesis family 🙂



  20. Teo in Brazil

    Hi Harsh,
    IM BECOMING AN ADDICT TO YOUR POSTS!!! They are all so useful and detailed. Im handicapped and gone thru a health situations for more than 6 months but those times the internet didn’t exist. I’m 44 and this was back in the 90′.

    Awesome post just when times of Thesis are almost gone for me.

    Can you imagine what a nightmare has been to launch my first blog without understanding code just in September 2012 one month before 2.0. Ugly, the worse thing of my life. To make things worse, when I wanted to migrate… no one does that, no coder I mean, for less than 250 USD!!
    Crazy game!

    And to make things worse an Indian developer sold me a poor performance skin back in 2012 http://www.wpthesisskins.com which he not finished to install correctly with some customizations I paid and left me without finishing things. So be aware of the guy there. And in the Thesis community they just told me its not the first time this guy has left things unfinished and cashed all the money.

    I was so frustrated that left the blog unattended for more than 2 years. I was really fu**ed… Figures in Dollars for me are not easy. I’m Argentinian.

    I ended up asking on Thesis forum why the he** I was running thesis if there were not really benefits and the stethics/look and feel of Thesis 1.0 was really ugly. No one answered…Hmmm
    Perhaps for a coder it does make sense, but for someone who is not, Thesis is really as pain in the neck. Left aside that Thesis 1.0 IS NOT RESPONSIVE.

    So 1 month ago I solved the SEO side of Thesis with a plugin you promote and that was it. SEO MEAT TAGS were kept and launched a demo version with Vuala!! I have the site running as a clone with the new fantastic Magazine theme from TeslaThemes.com here http://teotrainer.com/new/ .

    Thanks for your post!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top