Are you struggling to decide which premium theme to use on your WordPress website? Is it going to be a Thrive theme or a Genesis child theme? Before you make your decision, let’s compare the two.
If you’re a frequent reader of Magnet4Blogging, then you’re probably aware that over the years, I’ve made quite a lot of changes to this site.
In addition, I’ve drifted 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 great themes, which is why I decided to write this detailed comparison review of Genesis theme framework and Thrive themes today.
I’ve already written an in-depth review of both of these themes in the past.
So, what I’ll be doing in this comparison review is comparing the following elements of each theme –
- Standout features
- Performance and options
OK, so let’s dive straight in.
Genesis Theme Framework
I want to start with who I consider being the undisputed King of premium WordPress themes, StudioPress, the creators of the Genesis Theme Framework software, and not to mention, a whole bunch of amazing child themes to work with it.
Any website owner/developer who uses Genesis today will agree when I say that Genesis is a powerhouse of a framework to work with.
So, the Genesis Framework software has been on the market for quite some time now.
I started using it way back in 2010 when I started my first blogging business venture.
StudioPress have put in a lot of time, money, and research into developing what is considered ‘the industry standard’ in premium WordPress themes.
Let’s dive deeper –
Genesis boasts the following qualities –
- Rock solid security
- Blazing fast performance
- Out-of-the-box SEO tools and options
- Mobile responsive designs
- Custom widgets
- Ultra-flexible foundation code
- Minimal design child themes
- Ready for advertising and monetizing your blog
- Auto-sized featured images
- WordPress and theme tutorials
When it comes to ‘child themes’, the StudioPress marketplace has a wide range to choose from.
Each child theme is designed to make your website ultimately look sleek and professional, regardless of the type of business you have.
So, from my experience of using Genesis over the years, I honestly think that some customization could be a little bit challenging for new users.
Using Genesis doesn’t require you to have knowledge or experience with code, however, knowing some basic HTML and CSS will help you make the most of your Genesis powered website.
If you love using Genesis but despise the complications of customizing areas of your theme to get your website looking the way you want it to look, there is another solution.
That solution is called Genesis Design Palette Pro, and you can learn all about it here.
With a Genesis child theme, you can do simple things like upload a custom logo and change the theme color, as well as do basic customization.
If you wanted to take customization a step further, however, such as make changes to the typography, background colors, link colors, adjust padding and margins, border, etc. you’d have to either start hacking into the style.css file for the child theme, or, install more third-party plugins and maybe invest in the Genesis Design Palette Pro plugin too.
Even adjusting something simple like the footer credits usually means you have to install an additional plugin (Genesis Simple Edits). Unless, of course, you know how to hack into a theme yourself to make such changes.
So overall, customization can throw up some challenges, especially for new users, but once you get past that obstacle, and install a few additional plugins and so on, customizing a Genesis theme becomes easier.
Click here if you need a developer to help customize your Genesis child theme for you.
Performance and other options
Genesis theme framework is built on lightweight coding, and you immediately notice that when you download the software after you purchase it.
The Genesis parent theme file is relatively a small compared to a Thrive Theme file.
Ultimately, that should help improve page loading times, right?
Well, here is the page speed test for The Genesis Theme Framework –
Other options include –
- Plenty of theme layout options
- Comment functionality
Installing ‘Genesis’ the parent and a child theme for the first time is extremely easy to do.
The video is a good few years old now, however, the installation process has not changed at all.
Now we get down to the cost of using Genesis theme framework on your WP website.
Genesis theme framework alone (the parent theme) will set you back a cool $59.95. Its 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 and 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 literally get unlimited everything for what you pay, including updates and support.
There are no options to purchase a developer license, or no annual membership fee even. You can simply use your Genesis theme package on unlimited websites, whether they’re your own or your clients’ websites.
Many other theme builder companies will have you pay for a separate developer license, so keep that in mind.
I purchased Genesis way back in 2011, and here we are in 2018 and it’s still proving to be a rock-solid investment for my online business.
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, that’s not including all the third party child themes available from independent companies and developers around the web, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for your business.
Recommended reading: Check out my detailed review of Genesis here.
OK, so you may or you may not have heard about Thrive Themes before, I don’t know.
I used a Thrive theme (Rise theme) for about a year before deciding to switch back to Genesis.
I wanted to really give them a good try before deciding to give my honest opinion about them.
Thrive Themes make more than just premium themes. The company is well known for its wonderful suite of conversion marketing tools and plugins for WordPress, such as Thrive Leads, Thrive Architect, Thrive Optimize and Thrive Headline Optimizer.
When it comes to actual Themes, however, Thrive doesn’t really have a great deal on offer. In fact, to date, they still only have 10 themes to pick from.
Let’s take a closer look –
Thrive Themes boasts the following standout features:
- Themes are built for speed, though, the theme files are anything but lightweight
- Conversion optimized elements
- Designed for user engagement and improved readability
- Easy page generator
- Customizable elements, fonts, and layout
- Mobile responsive design
- Frequent updates
- Support, training, and tutorials
Despite the limited choice of themes, customizing a Thrive theme is a lot less challenging than customizing a Genesis child theme due to the available customizing options.
However, to make the most of customizing a Thrive theme, you still need to have some basic knowledge of CSS.
With each theme, you get lots of options to able and disable elements and features, as well as a Custom CSS box where 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 either.
Sounds like less work for you to do, right?
From a development standpoint, if you plan to develop the theme further it could prove to be quite challenging.
Thrive Themes CSS appear to be a completely different language than what a Genesis child theme would have in its Style.css file. So it takes some time to get used to.
As I mentioned earlier, Thrive Themes are built for speed, so taking into consideration the size of the theme files and amount of code for each theme, here is the page speed test for the Thrive ‘Rise’ theme –
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 the parent theme and then the child theme separately, 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, plus all of the Thrive conversion focused plugins and marketing tools.
Thrive Themes are still fairly new when compared to Genesis, however, even though you have a small choice of themes, you can’t really go wrong with a premium theme that has so many built-in options and features that it eliminates the need to install additional plugins. That’s the Thrive theme.
If you’re looking for a very clean and professional looking, fast loading theme for your website, choose a Thrive theme.
Which theme will you choose for your blog or website?
Before you make a decision on which theme is best for your needs, here are some comparison information for you to glance over.
In the page speed test, the Thrive theme loaded much faster than the Genesis theme, however, there are a lot of other factors that determine page loading speed, not just the size of the theme files.
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 is NO an annual membership fee to burden you.
You pay a one-time fee and you get unlimited everything forever. Plus, you get access to all future theme releases.
In addition, you can use the themes you purchase not just on your own websites, but also your client’s sites. For all you web designers and developers out there, this is a great deal, right?
With Thrive Themes, on the other hand, although you pay a $228.00 or a hefty $588.00 annual membership (even more if you decide to go for pay quarterly option, $360 per year and $828 per year), you do get a lot of bang for your buck. All the themes plus award-winning conversion marketing plugins.
Theme choice comparison
Genesis Theme Framework: 50+ current available themes and growing.
Thrive Themes: 10 current available themes and growing, maybe?
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 though 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.
The StudioPress website has a host of resources, code snippets, and documentation to help you with the further development of your child theme.
Thrive Themes: Very simple to install and manage. Simple layout options and custom CSS box provided for site customization, many built-in features removing the need to install additional plugins.
Taking customization to the next level with the further development of your theme can prove to be challenging.
To be very fair, both Thrive Themes and StudioPress’s Genesis have a variety of ‘unique’ things on offer when it comes to their premium themes.
StudioPress has been on the market for much longer than Thrive, where over 210,000+ website and small business owners trust and run on Genesis.
Thrive Themes are still relatively young with around 14,000+ members, but they’re growing very fast.
I’m sorry if this review is too “in the middle of the road” for you, but it really comes down to your 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 by the way.
If you’re looking for a more minimal and professional look and feel of your website or personal brand business, 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.