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 with 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’m writing this detailed comparison review of Genesis theme framework and Thrive themes today.
I already wrote in-depth reviews of both of these themes in the past. You can read my detailed Genesis theme framework review here.
So, what I’ll be doing in this comparison review is comparing the following elements of each theme:
- Notable features.
OK, so let’s dive straight in.
Genesis Theme Framework
So, folks, 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 go 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.
The Genesis Framework software has been in the market for quite some time now. I started using it way back in 2010 when I started my first blogging business venture.
StudioPress, once again, who are the creators of the Genesis theme framework software and a host of quality 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 quality child themes.
Each child theme is designed to make your website look sleek and professional, regardless of the type of business you have.
So, from my experience of using Genesis over the years, I 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 hate the implications 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 theme, you can do simple things like upload a custom logo and change the theme color.
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, 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 means you have to install an additional plugin (Genesis Simple Edits). Unless, of course, you know how to hack into a theme to make such changes.
So overall, customization can throw up some challenges, especially for new users, but once you get past that obstacle, install a few additional plugins and so on, customizing a Genesis theme becomes fun and easy.
Other notable features of the Genesis theme software
Genesis theme is built on lightweight coding, and you immediately notice that when you download the software after you purchase it.
It is such a small file compared to a lot of other premium theme frameworks out there.
The file size for most of the ‘child themes’ is also relatively small. So, faster page load is a definite notable benchmark for any WordPress site using Genesis.
Incredible performance was one of the reason’s why I decided to switch back to Genesis from using Thrive.
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’ the 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 created a useful installation video you can check out here on my YouTube Channel.
Please note, though, the video is quite old now, but the installation process has not changed at all.
Now we get down to the cost of using Genesis theme framework.
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 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 get unlimited everything (updates and support) for what you pay.
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.
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.
In addition, there are many independent WordPress developers out there that are creating high-quality child themes that will work with Genesis.
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 for about a year before deciding to switch back to Genesis.
Thrive Themes make more than just themes. The company is well known for its wonderful suite of marketing tools and plugins for WordPress, such as Thrive Leads, Thrive Architect, and Thrive Headline Optimizer.
When it comes to Themes, however, Thrive doesn’t really have a great deal on offer. In fact, to date, they still only have 10 premium quality themes to pick from.
That being said, the Thrive Architect plugin makes up for that.
Thrive Themes boasts the following qualities:
- Themes are built for speed.
- Conversion optimized elements.
- Designed for user engagement and improved readability.
- Easy page generator.
- Customizable elements, fonts, and layout.
- Mobile responsive design.
- Frequent updates.
- Built-in options and features, eliminating the need for installing additional plugins (Features include: built-in social sharing tools, built-in related posts, image optimizer, galleries, and custom fonts manager).
- Support, training, and tutorials.
Customizing a Thrive theme is a lot less challenging than customizing a Genesis child theme, however, to make the most of customizing a Thrive theme you still need to have some basic knowledge of HTML and 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.
Sounds like less work for you to do, right?
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 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.
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 final decision on which theme is best suited for your needs, 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 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.
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.
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.
To be very fair, both Thrive Themes and StudioPress’s Genesis have a variety of ‘unique’ things to offer.
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.
It all 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.
If you’re looking for a more refined professional look and feel to 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.