If you’re a frequent visitor or reader of Magnet4Blogging, and you know me well enough too, you’re probably aware that over the years I’ve gone from using Genesis theme framework to Thrive themes, and recently back to Genesis again.
I’ve had ample of hands-on experience with using both of these company’s themes and plugins, which is why I’m writing this detailed comparison review of Genesis theme framework and Thrive themes.
I already wrote in-depth reviews of both of these themes in the past, so what I’ll be doing in this comparison review is comparing the following things:
- Customization ability
- Notable features
- Price and affordability
Now let’s dive straight in.
Genesis Theme Framework
I want to start with who I consider being the undisputed King of premium WordPress theme creators, StudioPress, the creators of Genesis Theme Framework and a whole bunch of amazing child themes to go.
Any website owner who uses Genesis will agree that it’s a powerhouse of a framework to work with. It truly makes building websites with WordPress an absolute joy.
As a WordPress web designer and developer myself, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on many client projects using Genesis.
The Genesis Framework software has been in the market for quite some time now. I personally started using it way back in 2010, when I launched my first blogging business.
The first theme I ever installed into a hosted WordPress site was the Freelance Child Theme.
StudioPress, again who are the creators of the Genesis theme framework software 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 tools and options.
- Mobile responsive designs.
- Ultra flexible foundation code.
I mentioned child themes for Genesis, well the StudioPress marketplace boasts a large library of these premium child themes. Each child theme looks sleek and professional just as they are, without additional customization.
So from my experience with using Genesis over the years, I think that some customization could be a little bit challenging for new users. Especially for those with no knowledge or experience with basic HTML and CSS.
That being said, you don’t need to be a developer to use a Genesis theme on your website, and once you start playing around with a little bit of CSS, you’ll soon discover that modifying a Genesis child theme isn’t actually that difficult to do.
In any case, StudioPress offer a dedicated plugin that allows you to customize child themes very easily called ‘Genesis Design Palette Pro‘. This is a premium plugin which gives you complete control over the aesthetics of your website. But it comes at an additional cost being a premium tool.
That being said, things like adding a custom header logo and site icon is very simple to do, amongst other basic customization.
If you wanted to take customization a step further, such as make changes to typography, background colors, link colors, adjust paddings and margins you’d have to either start hacking into the style.css file for the child theme, or purchase and install the Genesis Design Palette Pro plugin mentioned above.
Adjusting footer credits also means you have to install an additional plugin (Genesis Simple Edits) if you don’t know how to do it manually from inside your theme.
Other notable features of the Genesis software
Genesis is built on lightweight coding, and you immediately notice that when you download the software after purchase. It is such a small file compared to a lot of other premium themes out there.
The file size for most of the child themes is also relatively small. So faster page loading is a definite notable feature for any WordPress site that uses Genesis.
Lightweight code and blazing fast loading times are one of the reason’s why I decided to switch back from Thrive to Genesis.
Other features include:
- Custom widgets.
- Plenty of theme layout options.
- Comment functionality.
- Ready for advertising and monetizing your blog.
- Auto-sized featured images.
- WordPress and theme tutorials.
Installing Genesis parent and a child theme for the first time is ever so easy to do, and if you do happen to take the Genesis route, I’ve created a useful installation video you can check out here on my YouTube Channel.
The video is quite old now, but the installation process has not changed at all.
Now we get down to the cost of the Genesis Software.
Genesis theme framework alone (the parent theme) will set you back a cool $59. It has been that price for as long as I can remember.
You also have the option to purchase a theme package, (Genesis parent + 1 Child theme), which varies in price from $99.95 upwards.
Or you can purchase the Pro-Plus theme package (Genesis and all available child themes and future child themes) for $499.95.
The one thing I love the most about Genesis is that you get unlimited everything (updates and support) for what you pay.
There are no options to purchase a developer license, or no annual fee even. You can simply use your Genesis theme package on unlimited websites, your own or your clients.
Many other theme creators will have you pay for a separate developer license, not StudioPress however.
If you’re looking for an extremely robust, lightweight, flexible and affordable theme, Genesis is definitely one option to take.
StudioPress currently has over 50+ child themes available to choose from, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for your business.
You can check out my detailed review of Genesis here.
OK so you may or you may not have come across Thrive Themes before, I don’t know.
I used a Thrive theme for about a year before switching back to Genesis.
Thrive Themes make more than just themes. The company is well known for its powerful array of marketing tools and plugins for WordPress, such as Thrive Leads, Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Headline Optimizer.
When it comes to Themes, however, Thrive doesn’t really have a great deal for you to choose from. In fact, to date, they still only have 10 premium quality themes to pick from.
That being said, the Thrive Content Builder plugin makes up for that.
You can use the Thrive Content Builder tool to create custom pages, for instance, a static custom homepage for your website.
Thrive Themes boasts the following qualities:
- Themes are built for speed.
- Conversion optimized elements.
- Designed for user engagement and readability.
- Easy page generator.
- Customizable elements, fonts, and layout.
- Mobile responsive design.
- Frequent updates.
- Built in features eliminating the need for additional plugins (Features include: built-in social sharing tools, built-in related posts, optimized image
- galleries and custom fonts manager).
- Support, training, and tutorials.
Customizing a Thrive theme is a lot less challenging than customizing a Genesis child theme, that I will say.
This is because each Thrive Theme comes with tons of customization options, in addition, you also get a custom CSS box which you can add your own CSS rules to override the theme’s default CSS.
Things like adding a custom logo, uploading a custom Favicon, changing footer credits, adding custom menus, changing typography styles, changing font sizes and color, background colors can all be done easily using the built-in style and layout settings, and without the need for installing additional plugins or writing new code.
Installing a Thrive theme is very easy to do, just like you would install any other bulk-standard WordPress theme.
Unlike Genesis, where you have to pay for a parent theme and then a child theme, with Thrive Themes you can either purchase a single site license at $49 per theme, or an unlimited personal site license at $67 per theme.
Or you can signup for the Thrive Themes annual membership at $228 per year for a Personal license, or $588 per year for an Agency license (Paid annually).
As a Thrive Themes Member, you get access to all of the current themes, all future themes, and all of the Thrive conversion focused plugins and marketing tools.
So, if you’re looking for a very clean and professional looking, very fast premium theme for your website, choose a Thrive theme.
Which theme will you choose for your blog or website?
Before you decide on which theme is best suited for your needs or your business, here are some comparison information for you to glance over.
Genesis Theme Framework: $59.95 on its own. $79.95 to $99.95 per theme package (Unlimited sites, updates, and support) – $499.95 for the Pro Plus All-Themes Package, no annual membership or developer license required.
Thrive Themes: $49 per theme (Single site license) $67 per theme (Unlimited personal license) – Or $228.00 Thrive Personal Annual Membership ($19 per month). $588.00 Thrive Agency Annual Membership ($49 per month).
Genesis might seem like the slightly better value to go for as there isn’t an annual membership fee to burden you.
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 client’s sites. For you web designers and developers out there, this is awesome news, right?
With Thrive Themes, although you pay a $228.00 or a hefty $588.00 annual membership (even more if you decide to go for pay monthly option, $300 per year and $708 per year), you do get a lot of bang for your buck. Themes plus award winning plugins.
Theme Choice Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: 50+ current available themes and growing.
Thrive Themes: 10 current available themes and growing.
Key Features Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: Custom widget areas, theme layout options, comment functionality, built-in on-page SEO options, ready for ads, auto-sized images.
Thrive Themes: Custom widgets, theme layout options, landing page templates, fonts manager, built-in social sharing tools, related posts feature, Favicon uploader, custom footer/credits, lazy loading comments functionality, image resize and optimization, custom 404-page text editor.
Ease Of Use And Theme Management Comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: Simple to install and manage. In-depth customization can be a little challenging even thought Genesis comes with a lot of widget options and theme layout options. Also, a little knowledge of HTML and CSS will help you get the most from your Genesis theme, but absolutely not essential.
Thrive Themes: Very simple to install and manage. Simple layout options for site customization, without needing to install additional plugins.
To be fair, both Thrive Themes and StudioPress (Genesis) have a variety of ‘unique’ things to offer.
StudioPress have been on the market for much longer than Thrive, where over 200,000+ website and small business owners trust and run on Genesis.
Thrive are still relatively young with around 12,000 members, but they’re growing at an alarming rate.
It all comes down to preference and what you really want to achieve with your blog, website or online business. If its conversions you’re after then go for Thrive, you get a lot more than just themes.
If you’re looking for a more refined professional look and feel to your website, then go with Genesis and a child theme of your choice.
I hope this comparison review has been helpful to you, I’ll leave you to decide which is best for you.