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Thesis 2.1 Launch Party Replay

This is the first in a series of videos on using Thesis 2.1. It is aimed at the beginner who wants to learn how to use Thesis 2.1 without having to learn or know any code. The second series is aimed at the DIY Web Builder who wants to take Thesis 2.1 to the next level. The final series is designed for the professional Web Designer who is comfortable with CSS and wants to use the advanced features intended for them. 

Thesis 1 revolutionized WordPress themes by introducing world class SEO tools with extensive design and layout options.  Last fall Thesis 2.0 again revolutionized WordPress by creating a drag and drop template editing system that transformed the way we design and layout websites.  Now  Thesis 2.1 features the same unlimited customizability in a streamlined interface.  The videos below will introduce you to all the latest features of Thesis 2.1.

Six Reasons Thesis 2.1 Will Knock Your Socks Off

Thesis 2.1 is the most powerful, most customizable theme framework available for WordPress.  It gives very easy access to lots of customization options to the beginner.  It provides unlimited customization to DIY website builders who are willing to get their hands dirty and it provides incredibly powerful tools for the professional web designer.  It has something to offer everyone who is building a WordPress website or blog.  Here are my top 6 reasons why Thesis will blow your socks off.

1. Thesis 2.1 Makes a Responsive Site EASY

Thesis 2.1 comes with the new Classic Responsive skin, enabling your site to look good on all mobile devices.  Something that makes it stand apart from other responsive themes is that it empowers you to make changes to the appearance of the skin without breaking that responsiveness and without any special knowledge.  It includes code that automatically resizes elements like pictures and videos to make them fit within mobile device browsers.  It also include a very light weight and snappy responsive menu that works flawlessly even with several levels of navigation.

2. Thesis 2.1 Exploits the Latest SEO Strategies

If you are paying any attention to modern SEO you know that “Schema” is playing a huge role in helping search engines like Google identify the main content on your site and classify it.  Thesis 2.1 fully embraces schema and automatically embeds the appropriate codes into your web pages to help search engines figure out what your site is about.  In addition it still has the fullest complement of SEO meta tools available, enabling you to customize the SEO meta tags of every concievable type of post or page that WordPress creates.  Finally, new in 2.1, it makes establishing your Google authorship a snap.  No more code added to theme files or cross linking necessary.  Just enter your Google+ author id and Thesis handles all the rest for you.  It could not be easier.

3. Thesis 2.1 is Infinitely Customizable

This should actually be the title of this post because all of the videos below are about how you can customize the content, layout and appearance of your site using Thesis 2.1.  Thesis 2.0 offered infinite customizability but it required a certain level of skill in order to access that.  Thesis 2.1 has simplified the process and now offers varying levels of customization for varying levels of skill.

To the beginner or the non-techie type of person it gives complete control over every font on your site.  You can control each and every font family, font size and font color – all without using any code at all.  It now includes a hoopy new color scheme generator that allows you to test different color combinations, easily swapping colors to find just the right combination for your site.  It also gives beginners tons of control over the layout of their site, all while maintaining its ability to display in mobile devices.

To the DIY techie and  Web designers it blows out all the stops by demolishing all HTML limitations.  It gives them the ability to create custom templates for EVERYTHING.  You can create custom templates and apply them to posts, pages, custom post types, post type archives, category & tag archives, custom taxonomy archives – you name it.  Any template WordPress can understand can be created and customized using the new streamilined drag and drop interface.  This gives you the simple power of creating widget areas any where you want them and placing them in any template you see fit.  You can have unlimited widget areas and unlimited combinations of widget areas in any template.  The same thing is true for menus.  Create as many menus as you like and place them anywhere you want in the site.  This is all possible without writing a single line of PHP or HTML.

4. Thesis 2.1 Allows Very Complex Customization Via Drag and Drop

What?  No PHP or HTML?!  That’s right.  Thesis allows you to create very complex web pages simply from the drag and drop interface.  Remember registering sidebars, creating theme locations for menus, registering menus, writing custom secondary loops?  All of that is a thing of the past.  Thesis now does all the heavy lifting for you with the click of the mouse and a drag of a box.   Sure there may be some cases where you will still resort to good old PHP but that will be the exception and not the rule.

5. Thesis 2.1 Almost Entirely Eliminates the Need for FTP

It used to be that you needed to use FTP to install anything in WordPress.  Thesis 1 required you to be able to set file and folder permissions and rename the custom folder.  With Thesis 2.1 there is none of that.  All installation and configuration can be done from the dashboard.  This includes most code based customization you may be doing.  You will no longer be editing your custom.css file and then uploading that custom file to the theme using FTP.  That can all be done inside the skin editor.  Now I’m not saying it isn’t an essential skill to have.  Every WordPress website owner/manager needs to be able to use FTP.  However, you won’t need it for routine operations in Thesis 2.1.

6. Thesis 2.1 Almost Entirely Eliminates the Need for a Separate Code Editor

I didn’t see how this could possibly be the case when Chris first suggested this.  Now I’m sold.  In the first place you will almost never need to write any PHP because all of the things people have done that for in the past have been replaced with drag and drop.  In the second place, Thesis 2.1 comes with a shiny new CSS editor that includes syntax highlighting.  It even includes some totally cool point and click code completion features that developers are going to love.

The Thesis 2.1 Interface

Introduction to Customizing the Thesis Classic Responsive Skin for 2.1

Add a Header Image to Thesis 2.1

Set the Site Colors with the Thesis 2.1 Color Scheme Generator

Set Your Heading Styles with Thesis 2.1 Design Options

Add Sitewide Video, Images or Text with the Thesis 2.1 Text Box

Add Your Own Copyright with Thesis 2.1 Attribution

Create a Widgetized Footer with the BYOB Simple Thesis Classic Responsive Footer Widgets Box

Stye Your Widget Areas with Thesis 2.1 Design Options

Remove Author and Date References with Thesis 2.1 Content Options

Launch Party Session 1 Q&A

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  • Gerald Lopez June 27, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Thanks Rick, this is so helpful! I almost had a spaz when I saw the beta version; it takes someone like you to take the time to sort it out. I’m very grateful.

    • Rick Anderson June 27, 2013, 2:07 pm

      Gerald, I’m delighted you got benefit from the videos.

  • Jared July 4, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Problem following Part 3 above:
    1) Installed Thesis 2.1 beta on fresh site.
    2) Set the Font & Size to match you: Ariel 16 pt.

    3) HERES the problem:

    Saved Layout & Dimensions to your example specs no work like shown .

    Here is what I did:

    Tried to set layout & dimensions to match you:
    checked content on left
    Set content width 654 px
    Set Sidebar width 354 px
    Hit Ok & Saved Design Options.
    Presto: Sidebar is not sidebar. Sidebar is underneath the content.
    How to fix this …please tell???

    • Rick Anderson July 11, 2013, 4:36 am

      Jared, I would need a link to the site in order to diagnose the problem.

  • Jared July 8, 2013, 10:14 pm

    Rick …cancel my comment above. Cuz …now it is working ok. Amazing.
    site is

  • Tony July 12, 2013, 4:24 am

    As someone who only just got my head around T 2.0, I was kinda apprehensive of the new version. Thanks to your clear vids, this version seems pretty neat!

  • Gouri July 16, 2013, 11:43 pm

    Some awesome features there. Thanks for the detailed tuturial… especially videos.

  • Frik Jansen van Rensburg July 17, 2013, 5:15 am

    Thanks Rick this is really great. You are doing a wonderful job.

    • Rick Anderson July 17, 2013, 3:22 pm

      Frik, I’m glad you are getting benefit from the site.

  • Leah July 18, 2013, 10:16 am

    Hey Rick! Great job with this, haven’t gotten through it all but hope to soon. I heard you may be coming out with a series about upgrading. I updated my own site and didn’t have any problems but haven’t yet updated the to the classic responsive skin because I’m afraid of loosing stuff. I have just started a few client sites on 2.0 and now at a loss whether I should start over in 2.1 or just continue because with the learning curve for 2.1 I might not be able to hit deadlines. I don’t want to run into problems later. Would love to know when your second set of tutorials comes out. Thanks!

    • Rick Anderson July 18, 2013, 12:10 pm

      Leah, The seminar on upgrading from 1.8.5 to 2.1 using Classic Responsive will be posted early next week. If you are using Thesis Classic in 2.0 you will need to start from the beginning with Classic Responsive in 2.1. You won’t however lose any work you have done in Thesis Classic. If you are comfortable with 2.0 the learning curve is tiny moving up to 2.1 and there are tools in 2.1 that make moving well worth while,

      • Leah July 18, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Ah ok, the seminar is on 1.8.5 to 2.1….I was more worried about switching from 2.0 to 2.1 Classic Responsive and how the ‘reponsiveness’ will appear with all my crazy packages and such. I’m not the best troubleshooter. I’m very comfortable with 2.0 so I’m glad you feel the learning curve is tiny. Thanks so much for your hard work in this community- don’t know what we’d do without you!

        • Rick Anderson July 20, 2013, 7:06 am

          Leah, I will be sending out an announcement about a seminar like that soon. However, when you upgrade it won’t affect what you’ve done in the 2.0 Thesis Classic Skin. Thesis 2.1 comes with a NEW skin, Classic Responsive. When you upgrade you will have 2 skins to choose from. The old Classic skin and the new Classic Responsive skin. If you want to use the new skin you will need to recreate what you’ve done in the old skin.

  • christina August 20, 2013, 9:38 am

    thank you for this! i am a beginner on thesis, and your tutorials have helped me tremendously!

  • Steven Fox September 6, 2013, 11:06 pm

    This was extremely helpful to me as a new Thesis user, thanks Rick!

  • andy fenner September 10, 2013, 3:43 am

    Hello Rick!
    Thanks very much for the videos, help a lot!
    Problem though?
    I’ve tried to install a sign up form into the sidebar but it doesn’t sem to load into
    the sidebar or show up in there!
    I’ve checked the code for the form and it will load into the content section but I would like it to be in the sidebar? Any suggestions?
    Secondly, does Thesis 2.1 allow you to set the pages up with 2 sidebars, one either side of the content being in the middle? Thesis 1.8.5 allowed this but I can’t seem to find this feature on the 2.1?

    • Rick Anderson September 11, 2013, 4:26 pm

      Andy – part of the signup form issue depends on the tool you used to insert it in the sidebar. Are you using a piece of code that is inserted in a text widget? That will work. It should work to insert it in a Text Box as well. I’d need a URL with the form added to it to see what is going on.

      In terms of 2 sidebars, Thesis will let you do ANYTHING you want. However, you have to do it inside the skin editor and you will need to over ride the default CSS in order to accomplish it. Either that or use Agility (which is available here free)

      • Andy September 12, 2013, 6:58 am

        Hi Rick!
        Many thanks for that! I have installed the form onto my site!
        I’ll take a look at the Agility!
        One other thing, where do I learn how to move the nav bar?

        • Rick Anderson September 12, 2013, 7:03 am

          Andy, watch the second Launch Party Series – Thesis 2.1 for the DIY Web Builder

  • Andy September 12, 2013, 7:10 am

    Great Thanks!

  • Andy September 13, 2013, 2:07 am

    Hello Rick!
    The thesis colour scale system doesn’t seem to work when I use it to change the colour scheme!
    What do I need to do to enable it to work?

    • Rick Anderson September 13, 2013, 4:36 pm

      Andy, it sounds like you have a permissions issue that is preventing Thesis from writing the CSS file. What skin are you using? Have you tried this in other skins with the same result?

      • AnDY September 17, 2013, 4:06 am

        Hi Rick!
        I’m using the classic responsive skin as on the thesis download!
        It did eventually change to the new colour scheme but it doesn’t change it instantly as the video tutorial explains. Just tried it again and the same result.
        Very interested in learning about the 3 column layout as you say you’ll be releasing a video tutorial this week?
        Many thanks,

        • Rick Anderson September 17, 2013, 5:13 am

          Andy, if it takes a while to show up, that means you must be using some form of caching on your site. You should deactivate any caching plugin you are using while you are developing your site.

          • Andy September 19, 2013, 12:27 am

            Hi Rick!
            I’ve seen on one of the tutorials about the meteor sideshow!
            Is there a tutorial where you show how to set up and load the images for the slideshow so that it operates correctly?

          • Rick Anderson September 21, 2013, 10:50 am

            I do have tutorials on the site about using the Meteo slideshow. Just search the site for Meteor and you’ll find them. However, the trick to any of these slide shows is to:

            1. Make all the images exactly the same size
            2. Make all of the images the largest size that will be displayed
            3. Set the image size in the plugin to be the size of the largest displayed size – make sure that size matches the image size

            If you do that, the slideshow works fine. However if some images are tall and others are short, some a square and some are rectangular – it will never look good.

  • Brad Krause September 14, 2013, 9:27 am


    Thanks for the tutorials, extremely helpful!

    This might seem a little basic, but since downloading 2.1 I have had trouble setting up a new site with a three-column layout. (Classic responsive theme.)

    Any thoughts?



    • Rick Anderson September 14, 2013, 10:43 am

      Brad, Thesis Classic Responsive does not have a 3 column layout option. I just demonstrated yesterday how to create a 3 column version of Thesis Classic Responsive. It will be posted on the site in a week or so as the Beginner’s Guide to the Thesis 2.1 Skin Editor.

  • joe November 10, 2013, 5:35 pm

    What version are these vids for? I’m trying to learn 2.1 but it does not look like what you are using in the vids.

    • Rick Anderson November 13, 2013, 1:40 pm

      Joe, the 2.1 launch party videos are for 2.1. Some skins look a little different, depending on their options but the seminar was taught in 2.1 and Classic Responsive.

  • stevie May 29, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Thank you for some much needed tutorials – I’ve still a long way to go but getting there thanks to you!

    One big problem don’t know where the ‘Home Page’ is!!!! I’ve created other pages but site coming-up on the search engines with nothing showing on the Home Page – back to the drawing board or content editor!!!!

    Thank You.

    • Rick Anderson May 29, 2015, 1:09 pm

      Stevie your home page is either your blog posts page or a static page. You set that in Settings >> Reading.