Ok, i”ll get straight to the point with this one: I paid for my wordpress theme. Why I did this? Well, if you’re a blogger – or want to become one – I would suggest you take 15 minutes off right now and read this article to find out more.

Why Paying For A WordPress Theme?

Good question. There are thousands of free wordpress themes on the internet. Some of them are pretty nice. Catchy. Good looking. And, of course, free. So., why spending money on a wordpress theme?

The answer is simple, yet difficult to grasp: because a paid theme cost less than a free theme. Yes, that’s right. A professional theme, like thesis[], for instance, cost less than a free one. How this is possible? Free is, well… free. Like in free beer.

Let me explain: I had an online business for more than 10 years. I’ve built from the ground up sites with hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. If you do things for 10 years, sooner or later you learn something. And one thing I learned damn well while I was doing online publishing was the cost of opportunity.

In earthlier terms, the cost of opportunity means: “how much this thing will cost me overall“? Yes, it might be free in the beginning, but for the lifetime of my project, how much I will really spend? Believe me, I learned a lot about things apparently free which ended up costing me thousands of dollars or even more. The cost of opportunity is something you should take into account every time you’re serious about doing business, not only on the internet. Many people overlook this, but do you have to be one of them?

And how does this translate to our little wordpress theme situation? Well, simple: a free theme is usually something that will make you spend money. Not upfront, but later on. You will spend some time customizing it, you will spend some time installing SEO plugins, you will spend some time tweaking the fonts or trying to add a new column or to change a little bit, just a little bit the layout. That time is money. You maybe don’t realize it, but whenever you spend some of your time, you’re taking money out of your pocket.

Thesis is different . It has out of the box SEO built in, a modifiable layout and the best admin interface I ever saw. And believe me, in 10 years of doing online business you get to see a lot of stuff. Thesis is at the very thin line between a wordpress theme and a content management platform. It is called a wordpress framework rather than a wordpress theme for a reason, right?

Who’s Using Thesis?

Ok, maybe you don’t know who I am. Maybe I’m not the authority for you when it comes to blogging. I may be using thesis but maybe I’m just deluding myself. Well, let’s see who else is using Thesis, just to give an idea about the felxibility and reliability of this framework:

Remarkablogger by @remarkablogger
Chris Brogan by @chrisbrogan
Twitip by @problogger
CopyBlogger by @copyblogger
Sugarrae by @sugarrae

Unless you’re living on planet Mars for some time, you must know at least one of those bloggers listed above. And they’re all using Thesis.

Ok, ok, it might be something for the big sharks and not for me, you might say. My blog is something very specific, and I need something customized for it. Well, let me introduce you some very specific blogs from the personal development niche (incidentally, the niche in which I am activating too):

AttractionMindMap by @evelynlim
RatRaceTrap by @ratracetrap
AdvancedLifeSkills by @mrJwells
DanielBrenton by @danielbrenton
Kikolani by @kikolani

All of them using Thesis. Do I heard “I want it too?”. Good. Because we’re just starting with this thing.

What’s This Thesis Package?

I’ve been waiting for the question. What you get with Thesis?

  • a full featured powerful SEO optimized wordpress theme
    • conditionally add noindex to some of all of your pages
    • fine grained in-post options for modifying your post title and meta data
  • modifiable layout
    • one or two sidebars
    • left, right or centered content column
  • a multimedia box (which can feature whatever you want: a movie, an iframe, advertising, whatever)
  • post image thumb
  • featured post and customizable front page
  • customizable menu
  • widget integration
  • in-depth customization with hooks

Will talk about hooks in a moment, for now I just want to stress that you have ALL of this in a visual interface. That’s right, you don’t have to tweak code, work on terminal on remote servers, it’s all in your WordPress admin interface. You can set up your layout to have two sidebars, with the content column in the middle, or you can have only one sidebars on the right. Everything is done from the admin interface.

Extending Thesis

Now, what’ the fuss with the hooks? Thesis features a unique approach in modifying your blog, without touching the core files. Which means you can upgrade to newer versions and keep all your customizations. Now that’s something!

An ind-depth discussion about hooks would be too long here. I suggest to read my post about how to extend Thesis with hooks for StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit, that will give you a general idea, not to mention that the source code is available as a free download.

But here are just a few things you could do with Thesis hooks:

  • add conditional content to your multimedia box, based on your post id, title, category or tag
  • add conditional content to your sidebars, to the start of the post, to the end of the post
  • add conditional content to your header

You got the idea: add conditional content. That means you can fine tune your content to an unbelievable degree. Have a post about iPhone? Well, the multimedia box will be about iPhone, the sidebars will feature some links for the iPhone and the end of this post can have some links to your other posts about iPhone. Not to mention your advertisement which can now be placed when, how and whatever you want.

The latest version of Thesis features something even more appealing, called filters. Filters are different from the hooks in the way that they are returning some of the content you’re processing. This feature is so cutting edge that I’m still pondering some of the best ways to use it.

Professional Blogging

If you’re just reading this for the fun of it, I hope it was a nice reading. But if you’re here to learn something new, to be sure you’re becoming a better blogger, well, you should go right now and buy yourself a copy of Thesis.

Did I say Thesis has an affiliate program? No? I though so. I always leave the good stuff to the end. Like this, I’m sure that only the brave enough to eat the whole stuff will get the cookies. Well, yes, Thesis do has an affiliate program and I’m in it. And I’m making money out of it. And I’m making decent money out of it.

That affiliate thing is the missing link, if you ask me. It closes the business model behind Thesis so round and so logical that I just couldn’t help riding the Thesis wave.

Now, let’s ground ourselves a little. So, what’s the next step?

1. Go buy a copy of Thesis. That’s all 🙂

Congratulations for making an important step in becoming a professional blogger. 🙂