Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Day Thesis Abandoned Me and My Blog

My Happy Time With The Thesis WordPress Theme Might Be Coming To A Crashing Halt!

For the last few years, I've been using the Thesis theme on a different site and I have been pretty happy with it.  Even though it wasn't the most automatic theme to be able to install or update, the instructions were clear and simple.  You do everything right, like back EVERYTHING up, follow the instructions, and you're upgraded.


Thesis has been touted as an SEO efficient template theme for Wordpress.  And I can definitely attest to how paying for a professional theme does wonders for your website in terms of page speed loading, Google recognition, and what not.  I have no complaints what so ever about Thesis 1.85 and earlier.

The control panel is the best. Everything is so simple to go through that it was silly.  Even when I had to learn how to create a few CSS or other code snippets to modify my site, it was not very hard at all.

And when they announced an entirely new, rebuilt version of Thesis, promising even better SEO, I was pretty excited.  I mean, it's been awesome and user friendly up to this point.  Why not jump on the bandwagon?

I signed up for the developer's version early, getting that "early bird" discount and my anticipations started to grow.  But that was part of my problem.  That my excitement levels were pretty high as I settled in to wait, and my expectations built me up and I was buzzing, waiting.

And then release day came and it wasn't out yet.  They were still adding finishing touches.  I don't remember exactly when it came out, but I think it was a few days after the fact.

But who cared, right?  Thesis 2.0 is supposed to be so much better.   And then it came out and I installed it on a different test site I run.

Oh my.  What kind of foreign world have I stepped into?
It seems, like how Google is starting to dis-favor the little guy on the web for the bigger entities, the guys behind Thesis seemed to have redesigned it in such a way that it makes zero sense to the newbie webmaster.  It seems to be designed for people with moderate and above programming experience.

This new interface no longer has template pages or menus that help the user select options.  I have odd looking boxes and in the beginning, very little documentation to support your need for help.

Now, one has to build the site template from the ground up in some blank looking control page that offers nothing for the user to understand.  I now have boxes, packages and skins.  But no options, no questions... just a blank page looking back at me.

On October 2, I was told how to get Thesis 2.0.  Then they launched some basic question & answers.  Yes... they started getting that many questions, that fast.

On October 24th, they started telling us how awesome it will be. 

On December 4th we got a compatibility blog post from DIYthemes.

On December 7th we got a post telling us how "Santa Claus has nothing on Thesis 2.03."

{Update 4-2-13:  That December 7th post, to this date, has been the last post they've put up about the new Thesis.  I'm pretty disappointed that the little guy has been left out in the cold like this.  Time to ponder the Genesis theme!}

Did you notice the how it came out on Oct 2nd and yet, by Dec, well, now it's January, 3 months later, there are still no mention of manuals, no solid help for the uninitiated?

What saddened me even further is that on the posts noted, people like myself were asking about basic help.  In the early stages, folks were referred to some video tutorials.  But like me, many would love to have manuals to go over and not spend the time watching videos, waiting for the right moment we needed to help us set up our websites.

And in the last post over there, I questioned when the little guy would get some basic help.  No response.  Well, unless you count comments being turned off as a response.

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So tutorials did start to populate the support site.  Two months after the release.

That's been a long time waiting for support for those of us who don't have the time to figure things out.  I'm not a full-time guy.  I have a day job and a family.  And now, I'm a bit disadvantaged here.

At least I sent it to a test site.  And oh, BTW, that test site, the traffic has slowly dropped since I installed Thesis 2.0. By about 30%, despite trying to populate it more regularly since installation.

That alone, is pretty interesting indeed.

But when I try to figure things out... well, here's one instruction on "boxes:"

Upload a Box

in Thesis 2

    Upload the .zip file (provided to you by the box's author) via Thesis > Boxes > Select Boxes > Upload Box.
    Once the box has been uploaded and appears in the list of available boxes, select its checkbox to activate it, and then click Save Boxes.

That so doesn't help me.  What the hell is a box?  And back then I could not find what anything is about... I'd love to know what a "box" or "template" or "package" is.

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It's bad enough that Google has slowly been fazing out the little guy when they started restricting access to the lead traffic sources and how their updates have been squashing the little guy in as much as how reporting on other sites original content does one less good than it used to.

Fine, be that way.  I think I'm getting the drift.  Google is making the web a hard-core business site and it will no longer be up for grabs by the little guy.

But I was hoping for some help from the much-touted Thesis framework that promises great things in the world of SEO.  And yet, where I installed 2.0, my traffic has dropped by 30%.  Boo.

And therein lies my issues and how I'm almost being driven back to Google's Blogger platform.  Ease of use, no hollow promises and just a little bit of work on my part, versus trying to understand all the programming needs necessary to adapt to the "latest and greatest" what what I thought would be my salvation from the demise of the personal blogger on the web.

'Nuff Said! 

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce