43 Responses

  1. Kevin
    Kevin December 29, 2012 at 21:30 | | Reply

    The only thing good about Genesis is their price plans. The new drag and drop system for Thesis blows Genesis out of the way. It makes a beginner look really good. As far as convenience concern…Genesis has the upper-hand for now. They have themes ready to install. But there’s a lot of developers out there offering Thesis themes nowadays…

  2. Dave
    Dave December 30, 2012 at 00:41 | | Reply

    Nice job! But fair and balanced? My good man, we want angry demagoguery and fanboy-ism that passes for discourse nowadays! 🙂

    All seriousness aside, I enjoyed your article. I am a Genesis guy, so that’s where I voted. However, I have also used Thesis, and I like it, but pre 2.0. I even wrote a comparison article of them. I won’t link to it, because if a wee-weeing contest begins, that will be tedious.

    I have been intrigued by the Thesis 2.0 brouhaha, which will subside as they squash bugs and get documentation.

    Those who want to make sites with no CSS and PHP skills will have a shot at that with Thesis 2, and that’s what they’ll pay for. It will definitely help beginners. Genesis requires more basic skills. But the way it’s built, I can get all the precision I need very quickly and easily.

    I keep getting hired to fix themes that are built with drag and drop components and giant admin panels that still manage to leave the client wanting more than the theme can deliver. Because I like to write code, this is no problem. It will be a problem for a drag-and-dropper, no matter how cool and comprehensive the system is.

  3. David Bell (@Cape_Dave)
    David Bell (@Cape_Dave) December 30, 2012 at 03:04 | | Reply

    I use Dynamik Theme with Genesis. Gives me plenty to play with and lots to learn. Not a coder per se, and this combo gives me some serious power.

    After following the Thesis video for a 2 column site, after 15 minutes the page was still not complete and I was all iinds of confused about Boxes, etc.

    In Genesis, a 2 column site and responsive is 2 or 3 mouse clicks! Oh yeah! 1.9 is looking good!

  4. Michael
    Michael December 30, 2012 at 09:25 | | Reply

    In the ‘Design Options’ section of your post you seem to completely favor Genesis but have Thesis marked as the winner. Just FYI. I’ve used Thesis on sites way back when and was taken by surprise with the new Thesis. Totally different product. Ironically, my coding became good enough from figuring out T2 that I no longer need it as a framework. I still use both 1.85 and 2.0, but if I were in the market again, I’d personally look closer at Genesis.

  5. Chris Langille
    Chris Langille December 30, 2012 at 01:34 | | Reply

    I always love Thesis vs. Genesis comparisons, and nice post Jean.

    They are both outstanding frameworks, written and developed by talented developers, but I think that until Thesis 2.x has a more consistent ecosystem of devs, skins, boxes, etc., comparing these two is sort of like comparing apples to oranges in a way.

    Really, we should compare Thesis to Genesis w/Prose child theme.

    As far as what Dave said about clients “wanting more than the theme can deliver”, I’ve always felt that way about Genesis, mostly because I can’t code, and can’t make use of filters and/or hooks to really create the design I’m envisioning.

    I don’t mean that as a slight to Genesis, and I’ve used them a lot, but with them, (and in part due to my lack of coding skills) I’m very much stuck with the Genesis child theme, which up until about 3 months ago, many of them just look dated IMHO (although the recently released themes have been incredibly sleek and modern).

    I’ve never used Thesis 1.x, so I can’t relate to those who have and are now mad about 2.x, but I purchased the 2.x package a few months ago, and with a very basic knowledge of code, I’ve accomplished much more in two months, than I could ever accomplish with Genesis. Now imagine if I knew how to code!

    For a beginner, this is very satisfying, and WordPress is chock full of beginners and novices who can’t code. That’s why they (and I) chose WordPress in the first place!

    One must remember, frameworks and themes should be catered to the end user (beginner or not) not just developers, and quite frankly, although they both do many things well, both Genesis and Thesis cater to the developer more than the end user IMHO.

  6. Dave
    Dave December 30, 2012 at 22:48 | | Reply

    I noticed what Michael saw, too! 🙂

    Chris brings up a great point – at this time, Thesis and Genesis are parting company, so the comparisons may be apples and oranges now.

    One thing I thought was funny was that I’d hear people say stuff like ‘Thesis handles type better’. I thought, what?? I looked, and well, Thesis does have a pretty interface to lots of Google fonts, just as loads of themes do now. But I can get any Google font into Genesis with a 3-liner, so there goes that idea.

    I would actually like to see a comparison of Headway and Thesis 2. Headway has been doing the drag-drop thing for a long time now, so I think those two are coverging, and their potential clients (drag-drop fans) may find that useful. Jean, have you tried Headway?

  7. Robert
    Robert January 1, 2013 at 03:13 | | Reply

    From a user’s perspective, my choice would be Genesis since Thesis has lots of functions that I don’t care and can’t get all of them. Genesis, on the other hand, has few options, but they are great and easy to use. I don’t know how developers think of these frameworks, but configuring Thesis 2.0 is really difficult and Genesis is easy and clean to find, spot the code and customize your theme

  8. Puneet Sahalot
    Puneet Sahalot January 1, 2013 at 18:49 | | Reply

    Really good comparison, Jean. I use both Thesis 2.0 and Genesis for my client sites depending upon their requirements and choices.
    One thing worth mentioning about Thesis 2.0 is that it gives me complete freedom to build the layout from ground up. I can hookup existing grid systems like 960, 1140, Gumby, Bootstrap etc. with my design. I have complete control over each element’s ID and CSS class. I haven’t used other drag and drop frameworks so not sure if they provide this flexibility or not. But, Genesis doesn’t.
    Genesis child themes offered by StudioPress are undoubtedly excellent for use on client and personal sites. With some styling changes you can make them look unique.

    1. Chris Langille
      Chris Langille January 1, 2013 at 20:27 | | Reply

      Great point Puneet,

      I don’t think the average WP user has yet discovered the true power of Thesis 2.x

      I think a lot of folks who have tried it, log in, see that the new interface is totally different from 1.x and immediately log out without really “digging in”.

      The options you have are literally endless. I’ve discovered this already, and I’m just scratching the surface of what I can do with code.

  9. Lyn Leon
    Lyn Leon January 30, 2013 at 06:07 | | Reply

    Our website agency is based in Genesis. I agree with you about speed and Seo friendly structure. Studio Press need open the door to different child theme designer, is oka for micro niche. In our case we needed to work very hard in “corporate child theme” to transform in actual web. Genesis at this moment is good for blog, no for websites.

  10. Kevin Trye
    Kevin Trye February 27, 2013 at 21:29 | | Reply

    Genesis is the standout winner. I build a new genesis child theme for each and every job, sometimes using a purchased child theme where appropriate and can save coding time. This allows me to build a new website in approx half the time and get exactly what I want for my clients, usually the designs being based upon a supplied photoshop file. Other developers using other platforms and frameworks often can’t believe the relatively small amount of effort it takes me to come up with a stunning new website or storefront, typically 30-70% less time, which means I get higher margins. And being WordPress, with the yoast seo add-on and my interest in Google, these sites tend to get more traffic too which clients certainly appreciate.

    Tried thesis for a few sites and really hated the experience. Far too restrictive in terms of design and they tended to break when WP or plugin upgrades came along, which I’ve yet to see with any of my 50+ genesis sites. The support from the genesis community is amazing with useful tips always at hand. There are some very smart people using genesis.

    The entire drag n drop thing I hate, but I can understand why amateurs and those that can’t code like it. Thesis and others like them (woothemes, elegantthemes, rocketthemes etc) certainly have a place, but not in the professional arena for those making a living out of website building.

    1. Doris Edwards
      Doris Edwards March 9, 2013 at 20:55 | | Reply

      Dear Kevin,
      I’ve been a Genesis fan since it’s beginning and agree with all you say. Even if I’m not a coder. One thing that intrigues me. I get rather good SEO results just by using the Genesis SEO features. Why do you use the “yoast seo add-on ” ? (which I had not heard about before). Greetings from Geneva in Switzerland.

      1. Rudd
        Rudd March 25, 2013 at 02:43 | | Reply

        Hi Doris,
        I’ve been using Genesis for about 3 years (and their built in SEO features). Few months ago I tried WordPress SEO and I never look back.

        Genesis SEO feature is OK, it has all basic needs for on page SEO. However, WordPress SEO is much better as it has few advance features. One of the great features is the plugin will have a checklist of on page seo every time you want to write a new post. Try it out and you’ll know what I meant 😀

        ps: There are also a plugin called SEO Data Transporter to help you migrate from Genesis SEO to WordPress SEO. I also have written a tutorial about this in my blog.

  11. james
    james April 11, 2013 at 01:43 | | Reply

    I love Genesis, cringe on TF themes they are terribly coded. Thesis are boring. I use the original Lifestyle and have modified it so much you wouldnt know its a Genesis theme.

  12. Turnip
    Turnip April 15, 2013 at 17:58 | | Reply

    I am at a cross roads and not sure which path to take on this. I have read about Gensis and Thesis and still not sure which way to go. I do not have html or CSS skills nor a lot of money to pour into this. I have had two blogs in the past with blogger templates. What I find is that I can tweak a bit here and there but many times I try to tweek and add CSS or html as folks say and it doesn’t work. It is hard to believe much that is being said about what can be done with these templates with “simple” html or CSS additons.

    I just bought a new domain name and straddling the fence on which builder to buy. I might want to add my own store front and forum down the road to my blog. I am not sure which one of these would work best in allowing it. Would I have to pay more for adding such features on to a template? Is it expensive? Would they be easy to install and REALLY be a drag and drop type of proposition with either Gensis and Thesis?

    The devil is in the details with all of this. Only until I am up to my elbows in this do I realize too late that it isn’t as simple as many claim. I am glad there is are drag and dop wordpress options now since I tried WordPress years ago and just left since there was no way I was going to learn html on top of everything else for my blogs. I couldn’t understand how blogger was able to do this much simplier and wordpress didn’t have anything comparable. Just as I never wanted to do dos neither do I want to do CSS or html.

    My site will be a teachers site so Gensis may have more template ideas for me.

    One thing no one has addressed here from what I can tell is….. if one did go with Gensis or Thesis is a basic package enough or will it be better to upgrade to the professional packages. Would I actually be able to utilize these professional features enough to justify the expense? Are these packages really designed for those who like to tweek big time with html and CSS?

    I see Thesis says it has many features for professional but two have asterisks by them indicating these features have yet to be released. Does Thesis drag their feet on their promises? Why pay now and maybe way down the road I may get that feature and by that time will I even want to bother with it? They really should drop the price and just sell what they have. If I were going to go with Thesis I am thinking long term that Professional will offer me unlimited upgrades and that seems wise but too steep at $197.00.

    Gensis also has a Pro Plus for $349.95 with unlimited upgrades with all their templates now and in the future. But regular Gensis Frame Works offers unlimited upgrades for only $59.95 without templates which seems like a better deal for me since I do not plan to open multiple sites so if I were to buy one template it probably would be much less than $349.95 minus the 59.95. I would like to create a brand per se and not interesting in changing templates endlessly either.

    I tried to search Studiopress.com for these templates folks here mentioned like Dynamik etc but Studiopress doesn’t even have a search box on their site to search by template names! Ironic isn’t it? Makes me wonder about their ability to understand their customer’s basic needs and actually provide them.

  13. Reginald
    Reginald May 21, 2013 at 15:18 | | Reply

    Hi Jean!

    First of all, thank you for your comment. I came across this as I had just got serious with some internet business 🙂

    Personally, I used Genesis all my life (8 years blogging). Pretty used to it but I am no developer. So, playing with these codes could sometime be pain in the @#$. However, after some time, pretty used to Genesis. Honestly, Genesis served me well. Very well honestly.

    I came across Thesis 2.0 recently and was really wow-ed with it. No hands on yet but thinking of buying. I am pretty happy with what being said and looks good if you ask me. Why?

    Because I am tired of Genesis! Haha!

    No offence but after building up a lot of sites with Genesis, it felt…old. Who knows, I will try my hands on my new site and we will see huh.

    Nonetheless Jean, nice writing and IMHO, Genesis is still the clear winner for now (bias-one-sided of me) due to the fact that I have yet to try on Thesis 🙂


  14. Arafin Shaon
    Arafin Shaon May 22, 2013 at 13:20 | | Reply

    I’ve been a fan of thesis from the very beginning and almost used 2 year. Recently I’ve switched thesis to genesis. Because thesis 2.0 seemed too complex to me. But I love thesis too. Both are the best of frameworks.

  15. Michelle
    Michelle July 4, 2013 at 22:49 | | Reply

    I am a newbie in training to this world, and I wasn’t completely happy with my Genesis experience as compared to my experience with Thesis. I unfortunately picked a Genesis theme through the StudioPress website which said responsive or to be technical mobile responsive, but it really wasn’t up to standards. There were actual flaws in the theme itself when it was viewed on anything other than a desktop and iPhone. It’s my fault for picking a bad theme, and I learned quickly! Support for StudioPress sent me to the actual developer which has been hard to get a hold of. I guess I expected more quality from the talk I heard about Genesis so I figured all the themes would be fully tested. Lesson learned.

    I will say the people in the support forums of StudioPress are very nice and super helpful. There are very smart people using Genesis.

  16. projectheresy
    projectheresy September 4, 2013 at 02:59 | | Reply

    My take.

    Thesis 2 was great once the learning curve was covered.
    Thesis 2.1 retrograde because as usual some good ideas are poorly implemented (like editing boxes, but the box items are a list and you’ve no idea which page they belong to = painful).
    Thesis skin community is poor thus far.

    Genesis stock themes are horrible, seriously. I looked at swapping but the Studiopress themes are god-awful, seriously.

    Some of the Themedy themes are great but their pricing model is hopeless. You want to buy one theme? Sorry, you must sign up to be a premium member for $99. WTF? How many people besides devs, need that access? Not many. Many people want one theme, that’s it.

    It’s why I am sticking with Thesis for now (with Marketers Delight) and using themes from Themeforest when needed.

    Also looking at Headway (which I used a long long time ago) but the themes are pretty much non existent.


  17. Fajar
    Fajar December 13, 2013 at 00:10 | | Reply

    Thesis verry hardly understand, but complete design tools. Genesis verry userfriendly, easy to use, easy to customized. However, I’m likely thesis 2.0. I knew thesis is better theme for SEO Rank 🙂

  18. Rob
    Rob January 16, 2014 at 17:38 | | Reply

    I’ve got lots of love for both at this point. Thesis 2 with boxes and the drag and drop (it’s not really a drag and drop as most people thing of it, just an easy way to do your html structure) is pretty awesome and I’ve made some great looking sites with it.

    I think Thesis 2 got a lot of undue slack when it first came out, people just didn’t “get” it. But if you spend a bit of time with it, it’s hard to deny how really powerful it is.

    Genesis is clean as a bean and very nice as well. Probably my go to for a lot of projects because of the licensing and how quick and easy it is to use.

    My suggestion – get both, depending on your client one will be the obvious winner.

  19. Abhirath Mahipal
    Abhirath Mahipal January 20, 2014 at 09:09 | | Reply

    Which framework is good for a multi niche site?

    I want to create a blog with 4-5 topics…

    Which theme should I use?

  20. mithunbaiju
    mithunbaiju March 3, 2014 at 05:51 | | Reply

    Okay, cool post but I am a bit confused now. 50% of the people who are commenting thesis. Being a genesis lover I only have to say one thing “Genesis totally depends on its child theme to hook something out of the framework.”

    Let’s say you want a magazine theme for your framework, you need to get it from studiopress and believe me the look of that theme sucks and you have to do tons of customization.

    Other than that, studiopress recommends to use plugins like genesis simple headers, genesis simple hooks, simple edits etc. etc. etc. but I don’t think that it would be a nice idea to use thousands of plugins just for the sake of customization.
    the thing that I love about genesis is that It disables all its seo options as soon as it detects an external seo plugin like wp seo by yost. Real smart.

    Even if you are a developer (Like me), you may have to spend at least one week to study genesis hooks and the way it grabs things 😛 (May be I am a bit dumb).

    Thesis on the other hand is recommended by various groups of people but I am really afraid to use this framework as you can never tell what will happen when the next framework update comes 😀 . Actually one of my friends was crying because his site was actually broken just because the update and he had no idea how to fix them.

    I have heard, unlike genesis, thesis totally depends on the framework and you only have to tweak some css. Sounds cool but when it comes to updates, your site may be broken because thesis developers may have put in some serious codes within the framework but like I said above “Nobody knows what their next update will look and feel like”

    What I hate about thesis is that It loves its own SEO options and even if you want to use an external seo plugin, you’ll still see those seo options that thesis provides. This brings up a problem. suppose if some one wants to drop the framework or switch to a standalone theme, he/she will loose all the seo settings, which sucks big time.


    It is not fair to compare to giants because both of them have something that blows away all the standalone themes out there.

  21. Stephen Brian
    Stephen Brian March 22, 2014 at 01:45 | | Reply

    I was a fan of Thesis up to 1.8 but when Thesis 2.0 rolled out, I was completely upset! I couldn’t find from where I should start the customization. Your comparison is awesome between both, so I am thinking to purchase Genesis now. Thumbs up for the nice review.

    1. hanskoevoet
      hanskoevoet March 20, 2016 at 12:34 | | Reply

      I second that. It took long before Thesis 2.0 was issued, so the expectations were high, but in my view it was a complete disaster. I spent two days trying to understand the new concept, but even after that I didn’t see the point of it, and I’ve never looked at it since.

  22. akismet
    akismet March 30, 2014 at 16:23 | | Reply

    Thesis is extremely annoying theme. Very incompatible with most of the famous plugins. It is very hard to customize. Hated with everything about thesis. It was big waste of $197.

  23. Rahul Yadav (@rahulyadavblog)
    Rahul Yadav (@rahulyadavblog) February 15, 2015 at 15:34 | | Reply

    Honestly after having tried both, I can say, I love genesis Genesis Framework.

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