Hey troops, I’ve been putting off publishing this post for about a month now, only because since switching over to Thrive Themes, I wanted to really experience all of the cool features and functionalities, before comparing it with what I was using previously to that, and what is probably still the most popular and most powerful WordPress premium theme available, Genesis framework by StudioPress.
The reason behind this comparison review post is so that you can get a better understanding about each of the themes below, and make a better choice for when the time comes in investing in your blog or website’s design, so let’s begin.
Genesis Theme Framework (The undisputed kings of premium WordPress themes)
I hope I’m not going to annoy anyone with that elaborate and almost biassed title, but in my opinion and I’m sure I write for many other users too, Genesis is the powerhouse of premium WordPress themes.
I already wrote an in-depth review of Genesis which you can find here, so what I’m going to do in this comparison post is talk about some of the qualities that Genesis has to offer, as well as features and options and cost.
Genesis have been in the market for quite some time now, I started using Genesis back when I launched my first blog in 2010. I think the first theme that I came to use was the freelance theme.
StudioPress, who are the creators of Genesis theme framework and Genesis child themes have put in a lot of time, money and research into developing what is considered ‘the industry standard’ in premium WordPress themes.
Genesis boasts the following qualities:
- Rock solid security.
- Blazing fast performance.
- Out-of-the-box SEO features.
- Mobile responsive designs.
- Ultra flexible foundation code.
StudioPress has a large library of premium child themes that you can choose from to work with the Genesis parent theme, and each child theme look professional just as they are, without additional customisation.
From my experience with using Genesis, some customisation can be a little bit challenging, especially if you’re new to web design and don’t have much knowledge or experience with basic HTML and CSS. StudioPress do have however a dedicated plugin that allows you to customise child themes easily, but that comes at an additional cost.
You can certainly add a custom logo in your header and choose from different available preset colour styles quite easily, but that’s as far as customisation goes with most Genesis child themes.
If you wanted to change the typography style, background colours, paddings and margins, or even change the footer credits and upload a Favicon, you’d either have to invest in the Genesis Design Palette Pro plugin and install some other dedicated Genesis plugins, like Simple Edits and Simple Scripts, or add your own code into your theme.
Other notable features
Genesis is built on lightweight coding, and you immediately notice that when you download the software after purchase, the file size for most of the child themes are relatively small. Page loading is quick too for any WordPress site that uses Genesis.
Other features include:
- Custom widgets.
- Plenty of theme layout options.
- Comment functionality.
- Ready for advertising and monetising your blog.
- Auto-sized featured images.
- WordPress and theme tutorials.
Cost wise, Genesis alone (parent theme) will set you back a cool $59, or you have the option to purchase a theme package, (Genesis parent + 1 Child theme), which varies in price from $79.95 to $99.95.
One notable benefit that I love most about Genesis is that you get unlimited everything (updates and support). There are no options to purchase a developer license, you can simply use your Genesis theme package on unlimited websites, your own or your clients.
So if you’re looking for an extremely robust and affordable way to add some professional touches to your WordPress blog or website, using a premium theme, Genesis is definitely one option to take.
StudioPress currently has over 50+ child themes available to choose from.
Installing Genesis parent and a child theme for the first time is ever so easy, and if you do happen to take the Genesis route, I’ve created a useful installation video you can check out below. The video is a couple of years old, but the installation process has not changed.
Thrive Themes (The underdog of WordPress themes making some serious noise in the market)
OK so you may or you may not have come across Thrive Themes before, but if you’re a regular reader here, you may know that I’ve talked about Thrive quite a few times already.
Thrive Themes is what I’m currently using myself for this blog, the theme is called ‘Rise Theme’ with some of my own customisation. I switched over from Genesis a few months ago and I’m very happy with that decision. I explained why I made the change in this post.
I should mention that the homepage is NOT part of the Thrive Rise blog theme, I built that homepage from complete scratch using the content builder plugin by Thrive, custom graphics and some coding work.
I haven’t had the chance to review Thrive Themes independently, but I am using and have reviewed all of the other amazing products that Shane Melaugh and his team over at Thrive have released, including Thrive Content Builder, Thrive Landing Pages and more recently Thrive Leads.
I first learned about Thrive Themes back in the summer of 2014, I know they haven’t been in the market for very long, theme building wise, but I’m also aware of the excitement and curiosity they’ve been stirring in the marketplace, and how popular their products have quickly become.
Thrive Themes is a company that focuses on creating not just amazing looking professionally designed themes and functional plugins, but all of their themes / products are conversion focused, that’s the companies’ focus.
So what does this mean?
Well this means that they’ve done most of the leg work of designing themes and plugins that is ready for you to use, to help you convert more of your blog visitors into subscribers, customers and clients.
Just add content right? Absolutely!
Really? Is that true or is that just another statement of intent?
Well since using Thrive products myself, my email opt-in conversion rate has exploded, check out this post for validation of this.
OK, so Thrive Themes boasts the following qualities:
- Built for speed.
- Conversion optimised elements.
- Designed for user engagement and readability.
- Easy page generator.
- Customisable elements, fonts and layout.
- Mobile responsive design.
- Frequent updates.
- Built in features eliminating the need for additional plugins (Features include: built in social sharing, built in related posts, optimised image galleries and custom fonts manager).
- Support, training and tutorials.
Customising a Thrive theme is a lot simpler than customising a Genesis child theme.
Simple things like adding a custom logo, uploading a custom Favicon, changing footer credits, adding custom menus, changing typography styles, changing font sizes and colour, background colours can all be done quite easily using the built-in style and layout settings, without the need for installing additional plugins or coding.
There is an area where you can add your own CSS to the theme, which is very useful if you want to add more personal touches to your site.
Unlike Genesis where you have the price of a parent theme and a child theme, or all-themes package, with Thrive Themes you can either purchase a single site licence at $49 per theme, or an unlimited personal site license at $67 per theme. Or you can become a Thrive Themes Member and pay $228 per year for a Personal license, or $588 per year for an Agency license.
As a Thrive Themes Member you get access to all of the current themes, future themes plus conversion focused plugins by Thrive Themes.
I hope you got all of that.
Currently Thrive Themes have 9 themes to choose from, more will be added in the future.
So, if you’re looking for a very clean and professional looking, very fast premium theme for your blog, with lots of options, and the opportunity to check out all of the conversion focused features and tools that Thrive have to offer, then Thrive Themes Membership could be for you.
Installing a Thrive responsive conversion optimised theme is very easy, just like installing any other WordPress theme.
Which theme will you choose for your blog or website?
Before you decide on which theme is best suited for your needs, here are some comparison information to glance over.
Genesis Theme Framework: $79.95 to $99.95 per theme (Unlimited sites, updates and support) – $399.95 Pro Plus All-Themes Package, no annual membership or developer license required.
Thrive Themes: $49 per theme (Single site licence) $67 per theme (Unlimited personal licence) – Or $228.00 Thrive Personal Annual Membership ($19 per month). $588.00 Thrive Agency Annual Membership ($49 per month).
Genesis might seem the slightly better value as there isn’t an annual membership fee, you pay one fee and you get unlimited everything forever. Plus access to all future theme releases, in addition you can use the themes you purchase not just on your own sites but also your clients sites.
With Thrive Themes however, although you pay a $228.00 or $588.oo annual membership, and you get a lot more than just high quality themes. The Thrive Themes membership includes access to 9 themes plus any future themes, Thrive Content Builder, Thrive Landing Pages and the amazing Thrive Leads plugin.
Theme Choice Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: 50+ current available themes and growing.
Thrive Themes: 9 current available themes and growing.
Key Features & Elements Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: Custom widgets, theme layout options, comment functionality, on-page SEO features, ready for ads, auto-sized images.
Thrive Themes: Custom widgets, theme layout options, landing page templates, fonts manager, social sharing features, related posts feature, Favicon uploader, custom footer / credits, lazy loading comments functionality, image resize and optimisation, custom 404 page text.
Ease Of Use And Management Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: Simple to install and manage. Customisation can be a little challenging although Genesis comes with a lot of widget options and theme layout options. But when it comes to adding simple things like Favicon, custom footer credits / copyright amongst other things, you’ll need external plugins to achieve that. A little bit of knowledge in HTML and CSS will also help you get the most from Genesis but absolutely not essential.
Thrive Themes: Very simple to install and manage with very simple but essential site and layout options. Lots of easy customisation options, with little need for additional plugins or coding.
So as you can see that each theme provider offer a lot of great value. It’s important for me to stress that I have only compared Thrive Themes (not the content builder) with Genesis Themes.
StudioPress have been in the market for much longer than Thrive, where over 130,000+ websites trust and run on Genesis.
Thrive are still young with around 2,000 members, but that number will rise immensely in the future without a doubt, it’s really a matter of preference and what you really want to achieve with your blog or website, if it’s conversions you’re after then go for Thrive.
Which is my personal favourite at the moment? That would be Thrive Themes.
I hope this comparison review has helped you in some way.
The best of luck, your blogging friend – Fabrizio Van Marciano
Let’s build an awesome homepage for your blog! – I can help you design the best looking, conversion optimised homepage for your blog ever! It’s you and me, so let’s get to work and make your WordPress blog or website homepage look awesome! Get started here.