Seeking feedback on premium WordPress Themes

I was interested to read The 10 Biggest Mistakes Artists and Creatives Make at Internet Marketing (and How to Fix Them) by Mark McGuinness and to see that he advocates that creative businesses use a self-hosted WordPress platform with a premium theme/framework.

This reinforced an item high on my action list for 2011 – to upgrade the theme (template) of my self-hosted WordPress blog. When I first moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress four years ago (for similar reasons to those set out in Mark’s article), I restyled a free theme to generally match the look of my website in terms of layout, fonts and colour. Since then, WordPress has added new features and functionality and my theme is not coded to take advantage of this, the CSS is all over the place and the SEO is sub-optimal.

It’s time to invest in a premium theme/framework with a commitment to WordPress future proofing, built-in SEO and strong support. There appear to be three main contenders: Headway, Genesis and Thesis. Headway places a lot of emphasis on their visual editor that allows you to drag and drop design elements and to see what you are doing without getting down and dirty with coding. Then again, Thesis claims “Not a coder? Not a problem. The Thesis option panels allow you to command your site with ease, while Thesis does all of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.” And Genesis also offers point and click options with their Prose child theme. In any case, I’m up for dabbling with CSS so that’s not going to be the deciding factor.

Reading the reviews has not been an exercise in clarity. I’d still be interested to hear about the experience of others with any of these frameworks. I know Candy Glendening is a Headway fan while Lisa Call recently switched her entire website to the Thesis framework (but she’s a professional software engineer and I’m not quite in that league!) and Genesis enjoys high profile champions such as Darren Rowse from Problogger. If you’ve been through a similar evaluation exercise, let me know your experience before I take the plunge.

Comments

  1. Hi Brenda
    I am a number of steps behind you but am looking at moving to self hosting. Where you able to migrate your existing blog into your self hosted WordPress site or did you have to start again?

    Cecile

  2. Yes I was able to import all my previous Blogger posts. I see that you are on wordpress.com. You can migrate your WordPress.com posts to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. See, for example:

  3. I’m with Cecile … been looking into it, but not as thoroughly as you are. Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve gathered and for linking to Lateral Action … what a treasure trove of information! After reading your post and that site I’m reading to do the mental legwork to make some changes (I’m the least computer literate person I know … my legwork will progress very slowly).

  4. Hi,
    I just came across your site looking for quilting stuff and noticed your post. My husband and I have set up a number of websites for clients using wordpress now and we always go to http://themeforest.net/ and purchase a premium wordpress theme from them to build a site with. I’d encourage you to take a look. Many of them are fairly priced and work well. It makes a real difference having a site do what you want it to! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps.
    Happy sewing to you,
    Rebekah

  5. Here’s what I did – just click on one and bought it and didn’t look back.

    Decided if I spent too much time deciding I’d never get anything done. I think I spent a total of 5 minutes on the decision. ๐Ÿ™‚

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