Thesis Theme For Food Blogs – Guest Post by D

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Hello all – D here.

As many of you may know, Vicky recently reopened her blog with a brand new Thesis Theme design and domain name. I remember the conversation when Vicky came to me and said she wanted a professional design for her blog and was expecting me to play the role of developer.

I dang near slammed my head against the wall.

I had just spent an arduous, no, PAINFUL, two months customizing our travel blog and was feeling the light at the end of tunnel. Was I really going to start all over with a brand new blog?

If I wanted to continue to be fed, the answer was yes. So I reluctantly obliged and waited for her to come back with the theme she wanted to install.

A few days later Vicky came back and told me she wanted to implement the Thesis theme. I had heard about it before but didn’t know a heck of a lot about it. She made her case, said she knew a lot of successful food blogs using it, so I said sure – whatever you want.

The girl did her research

When I sat down to implement this thing I quickly realized what a wonderful experience this was going to be. I want to share that experience with you, so I’m going to walk you through it in a somewhat backwards manner.


First we’re going to take a look at why this theme is so great.

Then we’re going to go over buying it.

Finally we’re going to discuss installing it.

Why so backwards? I figure it makes sense to make the case first before jumping the gun – agreed?

Why the Thesis Theme is a great theme

Easy to make design changes/customizations

The Thesis Theme does a wonderful job of bringing all the back end stuff to the front end so you can make alterations IN WORDPRESS. What does that mean? Well, I’ll show you – check out this image.

Thesis Theme for Food Blogs

As you can see on the left hand side, once you’ve installed the Thesis Theme it makes a new tab on your admin sidebar from which you have the design of your blog at your control. Check out all the different categories that are available to be altered:

  • Site Layout – How many columns do you want? What order do you want them in (sidebar, sidebar, content; sidebar, content, sidebar, etc)? How large do you want each to be (pixel width)?
  • Display Options – How do you want posts formatted  (author tag, date, comments)? Do you want to see the full post or just excerpts?
  • Home Page Display Options  – How many posts do you want to display? How many thumbnail images?

I could go through these all but that’s not really the point here. The point is that the vast majority of the design features are integrated right into WordPress and really simple to make quick edits. Now, I haven’t played with every theme WordPress has to offer, but I’m confident when I say that that is NOT typical – even amongst paid themes (it certainly wasn’t the case for the travel theme I bought). If you’re wondering what the norm is, well, in my experience it means going into the back end of things, like your hosting server, and accessing the CSS files directly.

This isn’t fun. This really. isn’t. fun.

For example, if I want to change the color of the font in my travel theme there’s about a dozen different places I have to edit and I have to track them all down through about two thousand lines of code. No joke. I can do this in Thesis probably by editing about 3 places all in that one tab.  This is why I was able to get this website up and running in a matter of days – not months.

You may notice there’s a bunch of other categories in that tab, not just design options. These are important as well. Site Options for example, allows you to handle some SEO related issues, whereas custom file editor is where you make your theme customizations. Yeah, it’s really all there in that tab, and to date I haven’t had to access the back end ONCE!

Resources. Resources. Resources

Another beautiful benefit of going with Thesis is that, as a result of the theme being so popular, there’s tons of resources on it. For example, Vicky said she wanted to have her most popular posts going down the sidebar (something she had seen on another Thesis blog). I did a quick search and in about 30 seconds found this tutorial.

Inevitably, I still had a bit of trouble. Our situation was a bit sticky because of the whole, “we imported this blog from another blog” factor. So, where did I turn?

To the Thesis Forums, of course.

Thesis has a very powerful support team, which is ready and willing to respond to your questions. In my experience they are usually very quick, like, a few hours. I think most paid themes offer some sort of support. I know that our travel blog does, but it’s not nearly as built out as the Thesis one. Check out these images showcasing all of the different sub-forums.

Thesis Theme Forums

Thesis Theme Forums

See? By comparison, our travel theme has like one, and it’s a couple of dudes responding to your questions. To be fair, they’ve done a great job and been REALLY helpful, but their scope is limited. They don’t really encourage questions related to customization or third party code, whereas Thesis has separate sub-forums just for those!

Now, just to wrap the last two categories together, here is a youtube video which is one of about 1000 showcasing how simple it is to design blogs with the Thesis Theme:

Everyone else is doing it

All the cool bloggers are doing it, so you should too, right? Blogger pressure? No, I guess that’s not exactly what I mean. I’m just trying to say that there are a lot of blogs out there that are using the Thesis Theme and are doing very well. There’s something to be said about knowing that a theme is established. It’s proof that it’s working for others and can work for you as well.

You may wonder, though, will my site look like everyone else’s site if I get the same theme?

No, not really – unless you want it to. As someone that is using the Thesis theme it certainly does have a bit of a “feel” about it, but I don’t think it’s anything insurmountable. For example, consider Vicky’s blog versus, say, this travel blog. They’re pretty different looking, but both use Thesis (see bottom right of home page). Moreover, we see that this theme is by no means JUST for food blogs. Food has nothing to do with it. That said, here are a bunch of blogs that are using the Thesis Theme (mostly food blogs but that’s because those are the blogs that Vicky reads).

How To Buy Thesis

If you’re interested in purchasing the Thesis Theme we certainly encourage you to go through our affiliate link! Simply go here:

How smart is your Theme?  How good is your support? Check out ThesisTheme for WordPress.

Or click on any one of the Thesis Theme links on this page.

Follow these steps:

  1. Hit plans and pricing (note the 30 day money back guarantee)
  2. You have the choice between the developer option and the personal option. In most cases you’re going to want the personal option, which means you just want Thesis for one site. You can upgrade to the developer option later if you decide you have other sites you want to use the theme on, and the difference in prices is the same as it would have been otherwise.
  3. Register, pay, and download. Thesis should be a zip file now on your computer.

How To Install Thesis

Installing thesis was really simple, unfortunately, now that I already have it installed, it’s somewhat difficult to go through the process in the way that I would have wanted to, which is visually through a video. From memory, however, what you would do is:

  1. In WordPress go to Appearance > Themes
  2. Go to the Install Themes tab
  3. Hit Upload
  4. Browse and find your zip file, then install it
  5. Back on Appearance > Themes you should now have it installed and be able to activate it – tada (estimated time 5 minutes total!)

There’s also this video on installing Thesis for the first time, though I think the directions I wrote above are simpler and clearer!

If this doesn’t work please, please write so in the comments and I will figure out the missing gap or find a tutorial that is up to date to refer you to.

That’s it!

(This post is shared on Shine on Friday, Works for me Wednesday)

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Comments

  1. says

    Hah! I definitely wanted to slam my head against the wall when I was editing code trying to get what I wanted with a free theme so I know where you’re coming from. I can’t say enough good about Thesis, especially for the price. Thanks for including me in your list! I actually added a couple blogs to my reader :D

    • says

      Absolutely, but the travel theme isn’t a free theme it’s a paid theme! Yup, even the ones you pay for don’t always come with all the glitz and glitter – that’s why I love the Thesis theme so much

  2. says

    Thank you for this post! I bought Thesis before I started my blog, but chose a simple theme in WordPress. I’m planning to play with Thesis when I’m ready to re-design. Appreciate your sharing the experience!

    • Vicky says

      Best of luck with Thesis when you get around to working with it. Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to help!

  3. says

    What I really want to know is this: Can I set up a test site to “play” with Thesis and not mess with the site that it already up until I’m ready to make the switch? Surely there’s a way to do that…I just don’t know how! (Learned WordPress in an 8 week online class and by the seat of my pants…) Any clues you can send my way are appreciated!

    • says

      Hey Mimi,

      I looked into this but unfortunately was not finding any great news. As far as I can tell, Thesis does not work for wordpress.com, which means that you would have to:
      1. Create a separate URL on which you could play with the theme. This would cost some money depending on your hosting plan. Then to switch over you’d essentially just want to capture the settings you were using on your current blog after installing Thesis (since presumably you want to keep the same domain name).
      2. You can switch themes back and forth with your current website by activating and deactiviating themes, but that means that while you were playing with Thesis – that’s how your website would look. Maybe you could fool around during the off hours, but I imagine this is less than ideal.

      I just haven’t come across any way around either of those – will be on the look out for it.

  4. says

    Thank you so much for reading and mentioning Magnolia Days! I agree completely about Thesis and love the theme and their incredible support.

  5. says

    Hi Vicky,

    Thank you for linking my site here. I love Thesis and can’t wait for Thesis 2.0, will be out tomorrow!

    I also checked your blogging tips, especially ‘How I tripled my traffic’. Man! it’s amazing! Keep going gal :-)

  6. says

    Hi Vicky & D,

    Thanks for mention my site! I love Thesis theme and been using since July 2010. Very neat and easy to customize. The support forum is awesome too! Today, the Thesis 2.0 will be out. Woohoo..

    I love your post about “How I tripled my traffic”. Really helpful and informative. Thank you very much sharing your knowledge with us. Appreciate it! :-)

  7. says

    LOVE this post! I met Chris Pearson in person at a food conference awhile back. He had a very insightful speech on how “less is more.” He provides alot of customization on this theme to accommodate a variety of designs, but he originally meant for Thesis to be a very minimalist design. Studies show that people get confused by cluttered bars.

    After that speech, my blog went through two re-designs, and I am finally settling with the recent one. It’s crazy how a simple change in layout (blowing up pictures, simplifying the sidebar and reducing it down to just one) can really drive traffic. And the best part was, all three themes looked different but they were used Thesis.

  8. says

    LOVE this post! I met Chris Pearson in person at a food conference awhile back. He had a very insightful speech on how “less is more.” He provides alot of customization on this theme to accommodate a variety of designs, but he originally meant for Thesis to be a very minimalist design. Studies show that people get confused by cluttered bars.

    After that speech, my blog went through two re-designs, and I am finally settling with the recent one. It’s crazy how a simple change in layout (blowing up pictures, simplifying the sidebar and reducing it down to just one) can really drive traffic. And the best part was, all three themes looked different but they were used Thesis.

    • Vicky says

      Yes I seriously love the Thesis theme – so much better than all the other themes I used before. And yes I too have found that just changing the theme can have a direct impact on blog views and engagement.

  9. says

    Hi D

    I love how the badges are displayed on your site (in the area where you would normally import html to the text section under widgets). It’s really sleek. Is it a plugin or was it a part of the theme design?

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