In terms of support, both of them have really outstanding support. The place where Thesis is better than Genesis is that Thesis has this online user manual that is really spectacular. They’ve done an outstanding job with their Read Effen Manual Guide because it has lots of snippets in it for you to copy and paste into your site. It’s very well-designed, very thoughtful and an excellent user guide.
Genesis doesn’t have a corollary to that, there is no really good user manual for Genesis. Thesis has a world-class support forum and is the mother of all forums. Thesis has this spectacular huge forum community that was really the first in its field for this kind of support and that support continues to be excellent today.
Genesis essentially borrowing the idea from Thesis, also has, as you’ve seen, a very excellent world-class support forum. In terms of support forums, they’re going to be equal.
Genesis and Thesis Content on BYOB Website
If you’re a member of BYOB Website, there’s a huge body of BYOB content on using Thesis and we have a live call-in support for using Thesis.
On the Genesis side for the moment there’s limited BYOB content but there is the same kind of live BYOB call-in support. To the extent that you’re working with a Genesis theme and even if I haven’t covered the material anywhere else of the site, you’re certainly welcome to ask your questions.
One of the reasons why I can afford to get into the business of Genesis is that, as far as I’m concerned, and I mean no offense by this, but they do a crummy job of documenting how to set up a child theme. That job was done by programmers for programmers and an ordinary small business person working on their own site is going to find that process of setting up a mchild theme for the first time to be frustrating because they don’t do that job very well.
That means there’s a problem to solve and an opportunity to make money which is one of the reasons why we’re doing this because we hope to be able to teach a very clear instructions for ordinary people on how to set up Genesis Child Themes. That’s the comparison in support.
Finally, the comparison in license. Thesis has a limited GPL License which means that everything that has to be GPL is but everything that doesn’t have to be GPL isn’t. This is why Thesis can require you to have a developer’s license in order for you to have multiple Thesis sites set up and why Thesis cannot allow you to redistribute Thesis and require you to purchase a license for your clients’ sites.
On the other hand, Genesis is fully GPL. Absolutely everything about Genesis is GPL which means there are no limits on personal or commercial use. The license that you have with Genesis permits you to redistribute Genesis even so you can install Genesis on a client’s site without having to buy an additional license.
There’s no need for you to purchase additional licenses, you don’t need the developer’s license in order to use it on multiple sites for yourself. You only have to buy Genesis once and you can use it as often and as long as you wish.
In terms of license, I wouldn’t be surprised if Thesis changes over time to a Genesis style of license but whether they do or not, the Genesis license is probably a lower cost alternative for people who are using multiple sites and Genesis is firmly in the WordPress way of GPL.
Thesis was dragged in the GPL kicking and screaming. I think they preferred not to be GPL because they think of their effort as being worth-payment and they’re afraid that GPL means that their work will be stolen.
WordPress is in its first 10 years so it’s a very young technology and we don’t really know for sure what the economics are of GPL but Genesis seems to have built a very strong business based on making their themes fully GPL. In that regard, Genesis clearly carries the day over Thesis in that specific respect.
Conclusion on Genesis and Thesis Comparisons
If we can go back to my original conclusion based on everything that I’ve said here, either choice is an outstanding choice. If you’ve already made a choice, there’s no reason for you to change that because they are both excellent tools that will continue to grow with you as your business grows.
However, if you are a small business owner who is developing their own site and if you know a little of HTML, CSS or PhP but you don’t intend to code for a living and you’re making a decision about which one to go with, my recommendation to you is to use Genesis if you want a very polished look with a minimum amount of effort and if you don’t mind if your site looks similar to other sites.
Use Thesis if your site absolutely has to be unique in appearance and if you are willing to spend the time and effort to learn how to customize it. That’s the best way to sum up this presentation.
There may be people for whom there are other deciding criteria and hopefully some of the criteria you’ve seen presented today. If you haven’t, I encourage you to ask your questions during the Q&A session that follows this presentation.