Almost every site I build is on wordpress software because I find it’s easy to use and I can spend more time designing and writing, not writing code to accomplish the basic functions I want in a website.

There are so many WordPress Themes available, that choosing a theme for wordpress can take a bit of trial and error to figure out. Finding out which theme will do what I want it to do and look the way I want can often take as much time as building a website from scratch.

After a of a couple of years trying out many different free wordpress themes I’ve stopped. No longer am I filling up my hard drive with junk or wasting my time trying to find that perfect free wordpress theme.

I do realize that even though WordPress is free; and it works great for me, often when it comes to free – you do get what you pay for!

There have also been many Premium WordPress Themes which I have bought with full developers licenses and I’ve found there are 3 frameworks which I use often and keep coming back to over and over again.

This post is the first in a series of three posts about Choosing A Theme For WordPress and focuses on The Thesis Theme. Next up will be The Genesis Framework and the last in the series will be The Catalyst Theme Framework.

So lets have a look at Thesis.

Thesis Theme Framework

This site is run on the The Thesis Theme for WordPress and it has so many great features I’d never get them all in one post. Let me explain some of the features that make The Thesis Theme great for anyone that wants to have greater control over their WordPress Blog.

Thesis Theme SelectorAnyone familiar with wordpress will tell you that the ability to edit many of the basic design elements of a theme will require some knowledge of html, CSS and php. As a result you’re stuck with design elements already packaged with the theme.

With the Thesis Theme there are many design features which you can easily access and alter without knowing any code at all. In the image to the right, the selector panel in the wordpress dashboard presents you with various options. As you can see the Design Options are selected in this instance.

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

Thesis Theme Design Options

When you select the Design Options for Thesis you get the panel shown below.

If you’re familiar with basic wordpress themes, you’ll immediately see how many more options the Thesis Framework offers up in the Design Options panel alone. There is a huge opportunity for you to totally customize your install in the design dashboard.
Thesis Design Options Dashboard

Site Layout

The site layout panel is really straightforward and works like a charm. Forget about having to change your stylesheet for these specific options.

Site Layout Options in Thesis ThemeWhen looking at the options presented here it’ll seem like the natural order of the universe has just been restored.

But seriously..

In a wordpress install, why is it so difficult to have these basic layout options available in every theme?

I’ve never been able to answer that question but Chris Pearson gets my genius vote for providing very simple and elegant solutions to major sources of frustration that turn up in many wordpress themes.

For example!

To get a 3 column layout you have to find a theme. In Thesis, just use the drop down list. Change your widths and decide the order for your sidebars and content. Done and dusted! Don’t like it? Change it! It’s a designers dream!

You can play around with these settings until you get it just the way you want it without touching one line of code.
How simple is that?

As you can see I’ve chosen a 2 column layout for this blog but I can change it anytime I feel like it.

You might think this functionality would be in every wordpress theme, but you don’t have this level of control in the vast majority of themes, free or otherwise!

Same goes for white space around your content.

No need to play around with your stylesheet, just choose from the drop down list.

These basic settings for your site layout in Thesis will make your life so much simpler.

Fonts and Colors

This panel gives you a chance to customize the font and color selections for various elements.

font and color choices in Thesis ThemeAgain, Thesis helps you choose some very basic design elements quickly and easily without having to comb through a stylesheet and replace code snippets.

To begin with, you get a choice from over 50 fonts and over 30 of them are web safe and can be found in Googles font directory. You also have great flexibility over colors. With such amazing control over the way your text is handled, it’s easy to coordinate the basic look and feel of your site.

This is especially convenient when it comes to the color setup in your navigation bar.

As you can see in the image to the left, each section expands when you click the + which will allow you to define the font, font size and font color for each area of your theme; it couldn’t be easier.

Color glues your whole theme together and The Thesis WordPress Theme makes it really simple to find just the right combination.

Thesis Custom File Editor

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

One of the coolest functions included in Thesis is the ability to code directly to your css and php functions files. Thesis actually has created custom versions of these files which your theme automatically uses in conjunction with the default files. Any changes you make are included in the functionality of your theme.

Why is this cool? With the addition of a custom.css and custom_functions.php files, you don’t have to alter the core files, you just add changes to the custom files and Thesis includes the changes in your themes behaviour.

Obviously this feature is for users with knowledge of php and css but don’t be intimidated, there is a real vibrant and helpful support forum and when you purchase the thesis theme for wordpress, you’ll have access to all the experience of the Thesis community.

These are just a few of the amazing features delivered in the Thesis Theme and if you want a rock solid WordPress Theme with incredibly easy-to-use options, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Check out the purchase options here.