About a month ago I decided to purchase Thesis Theme for WordPress. I had been hearing a lot of hype and finally took the plunge. I read a lot about the flexibility it allows for search engine optimization, ability to quickly make changes to your layout, image settings, etc… Well, it definitely lives up to the hype.
This is not a paid post. I’m just a fan of Thesis.
SEO for Your Blog and How Thesis Can Help
Regardless of whether or not you’re a marketer or if you even care about search engine optimization, you need to make sure you take the right steps in making your blog search engine friendly. It doesn’t take a lot of work, especially with Thesis. By selecting a few checkboxes you can choose portions of your site to block from being indexed by the search engines, preventing bloat and diluting results. You can also check a box to use canonical URLs.
In general, editing title tags and meta-data is simple however Thesis allows you to do this even easier by expanding a menu within your Thesis Options in WordPress and entering your title tag and meta-data in a provided field.
A side note on SEO for your blog:
Here’s a video of Matt Cutts at WordCamp in San Francisco earlier this year. Matt leads Googleâ€™s Web Spam Team and in this presentation he provides pointers on optimizing your blog for the search engines (Matt also uses Thesis for his blog). The presentation is entitled “Straight from Google: What You Need to Know“. It’s a bit long at 46 minutes, but contains a lot of great information that you can implement immediately.
Getting a Little More Technicalâ€¦Using Thesis OpenHook
Once installed youâ€™ll also be given access within WordPress to “Thesis Custom Styling” where you have quick and easy access to your “custom.css” file to add and edit styles. In addition, you’ll also have access to “Thesis Custom Programming” where you can edit your “custom_functions.php” file. You can make changes to functions right in the custom functions file or simply add the needed function within the Thesis OpenHook interface. So to recap, these “hooks” allow you to easily insert content into various blocks of your site. For example, “thesis_hook_after_post” allows you to add standard content after each blog post. This would be where you would add your share icons that appear at the end of each post.
Designing/Editing Your Blog Using Thesis
Within “Design Options” you can edit fonts and their sizes across various sections of your blog and also easily set the number columns, their order, and the width of each.
You can also set preferences for Posts that are displayed as Teasers and select the information you’d like to display for each such as Post Title, Author Name, Date, Number of Comments, etc… In addition, you can select the date format, specify the text for your “Read More” link for each teaser and the font sizes for the various elements of the teaser.
Within “Thesis Options” you can edit the way in which the Header, Bylines, Posts, Archives, Tagging, and Comments are displayed.
For the Header you can determine whether you’d like to display the site name and tag line in the header of your blog. You’ll probably want to add a custom graphic for your header so in that case there would be no need to enable the displaying of “Site name” and “Tag line” for your header.
For Bylines you can edit various information you’d like to display for each post, along with adding or removing “no follow” for author links.
For Posts you can edit preferences for your “features” teasers such as whether you’d like to display the full post or an excerpt, set the Read More” link for your post and choose whether you’d like to display links to the previous or next article.
For Archives you can easily select the display format for you posts. You can choose whether you’d like posts displayed as Titles only, all Teasers, the same as Your Home page, or as excerpts. Sidebar and Administration options are in this list as well. Not much to talk about with these. You can simply choose whether you’d like to display the default sidebar widgets and show the admin links.
Under Tagging you can edit where tags will be displayed (on single entry pages and/or on index and archives pages) and select whether you’d like to add “no follow” to tag links.
There are a number of other settings within Thesis Options such as defining the positioning and size of thumbnails and post images. In addition, you can edit the pages to include in your primary navigation, their order, and the text for each.
Before using Thesis I was still concerned about the flexibility and if you could really customize it to look the way you wanted. But as you can see from the examples below, you can rip it apart and really customize it any way you wish. The support has been great as well and there is a community of users who help each other get the most out of Thesis no matter if you’re a newbie or an experienced coder.
Below are a few examples of sites running WordPress with Thesis:
If you aren’t very technical, or if you are but want to make editing and optimizing your blog a heck of a lot easier, I would seriously recommend checking out Thesis Theme (non-affiliate link).