Thesis 2.0 Guide – Getting Started Part 1 – Site Options

So Thesis 2.0 is finally here. This tutorial is going to cover some basics about this amazing theme.

But first I have something to say.

I have read many threads and apparent reviews of Thesis 2.0 slating it, some saying avoid at all costs. I have read threads about Developers saying it’s impossible to work with.

Let me put it this way, if a novice website owner can manage to build a site with it then what sort of Developer do you call yourself?

In the thesis forums I have been busy helping people out as I’m happy to do so. I have seen people who have no coding history build a site in a few days with this completely new framework. If your a Dev and your struggling with this theme then its time to take a look in mirror. Everyone moaned when CSS 3 came out, html 5, new google update, new chrome update, new Firefox update. Everyone seems to moan at everything that changes from what they are familiar with.

If you want to stay on top, then you better get learning. Thesis 2.0 has brought some awesome features to the table and runs them in an efficient and optimized manner. The new interface is very easy to navigate once you have got the hang of it. Trust me the old way will seem so primitive once you master this beast.

Here is what we are going to cover in the following  series:

  • User Interface
  • boxes
  • packages
  • skins

Thesis 2.0 User Interface

So here is where people are getting lost, they take one look at the interface see it’s different from the status quo and panic due to the unfamiliarity of it.

Take one step back and take your time to look at it all. Familiarize yourself with it.

So once you have installed thesis and activated it via the prompt in which I’m not going to go through as they have already been covered here, you will see a screen like the one above.

Any lost devs?

So now we need to look at the options so first head over to Site and a drop down menu should appear with 4 different menu’s.

You should see the follow:

  • HTML Head
  • Tracking Scripts
  • 404 Page
  • Home Page SEO

Now lets take a look inside these.


Inside HTML Head there are a number of options for us to look at.

This is my current layout, so yours may be in a different order.

All of these boxes are drag and droppable. They can also be removed if you do not require it to load in the head of your page.

Simply hold shift and drag the boxes to the box located in the top right hand corner and drop them here.

Now lets take a look at the boxes.

Stylesheet – Simply the location of the themes single CSS file. I personally placed mine at the top as tests have shown that adding the stylesheet to the top can decrease the time it takes to render the page. By how much depends on your server amongst other factors.

Thesis 2.0 now only has 1 CSS stylesheet which reduces your HTTP requests which equals faster loading.

Title tag – Here you can choose whether to append your site name to your pages and post etc. I can’t think of any reason to do so off the top of my head, but I know some sites do it.

You can also choose a spacer so if you do append the site name it will be separated by your choice of a spacer.

Quick Tip – see all the little + signs in the options boxes, they are tool tips, so if you don’t know what something is and you see the + sign click it.

Meta descriptions – when you write a post you will see the meta description box below the main text area. Whatever you put in there will display here.

Meta Keywords – Again when writing a post you will see an input area below the editor where you can add some relevant keywords. There is an option for you to automatically use tags as keywords. The use of this would depend on how you use your tags.

Google Rel Author – This is for google authorship, don’t know what google authorship is, well it looks like this when you search on google.

Before it was a pain to implement, with thesis 2.0 it’s easier than ever, all you need it your bylines to have the same name as your google plus page and display them on your posts.

To add the authorship all you have to do is go to your google plus page and select profile and you will see a link like this.

Copy only long number where you see x’s in the above example and paste it in to the google authorship box.

You will still need to authorize google authorship for your site which you can do here.

Meta Tags – Inside here is all the options you ever need to control indexation and how search engine bots crawl your site. The default settings should do you just fine though.

Favicon – here you can upload your favicon which will display in the search engine browser tab. Just select the image you wish to use and upload. Note the favicon is usually around 16×16.

Canonical URL – Thesis 2.0 has made it super easy to set these, although there are no options here to choose, if you create a page or post and scroll down past the editor you will see a section for canonical URLs. Chris explains it beautifully here.

RSS Feed – don’t want to use the default wordpress RSS, perhaps you would like some stats which you could get via something like feedburner. Thesis 2.0 makes that super easy too. Just enter the URL in the this box.

Pingback URL – No options to select here, those are found in wordpress settings > writing. What pingback does it attempt to notify other websites that you link to that a link has been added.

Head scripts – There are times when you require certain javascripts to load in the head to function correctly. Usually we try to avoid loading javascript in the head (“something that plugin devs dont do at all, even when it can happily load before the closing </body> tag“) and so the option is there if you need it.

Site verification – In the past, almost all themes would require you to edit the header.php file to add your verification code, or download a plugin to insert the code for you, well not anymore. Thesis 2.0 make this super simple too.

Once you create you account for google and bing/yahoo then just insert the verification codes in to the relevant text area.

Once you have made all your changes just hit the save button and your header is ready to rock.

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the options available to you in the HTML Head menu so now we can move on to Tracking Scripts.

Tracking Scripts

Like site verification the traditional method of adding these scripts would be to copy and past a code that google gave you and edit header.php or use a plugin which means you need to rely on the plugin to be maintained and if you update your theme after editing header.php well, say good bye to your ga script.

Surely it makes sense to do it just once.

So here thesis 2.0 makes that super simple, just copy the code, not the whole script, just the id and paste it in to the text field.

Using clicky? Just add the script here. Simple.

404 Page

Now this is just awesome, say goodbye to the crappy old 404 pages.

Say hello to custom 404 Page in just 2 steps, create the page, select the page.

Here you can select the page you want to use as your 404 page, then edit that page however you like. But we can go one step further than that.

Why not create a template which we will be looking at in a later series and get rid of all the unnecessary html markup, perhaps even display some posts or categories to help your users on their way.

Then instead of having disappointment when you made a boo boo with your link you can throw the best damn 404 page they have ever seen. Go on, go nuts with it.

Home Page SEO

This is  the most important set of options you will need to configure.

Here is the first thing the search engine is going to see and you should ensure that this is as optimal as can be. Now some people have said Why would you add options such as:

  • NoIndex
  • NoFollow
  • NoArchive

Well think about it, what if wordpress isn’t your home page? What if you are using it as just a blog you wouldn’t want the blog dominating your SEO would you? Many people use just the blog functionality of wordpress and use other website software for there other pages which is why sometimes you may see sites with a permalink structure like this:

To conclude this section, there is a reason behind everything, as mad or as different as it may seem, everything has a purpose in thesis 2.0 and that is just one of the reasons why it is the best framework on the planet. While your here, don’t forget to get the free logo Box for thesis 2.0.

Proceed to – Thesis 2.0 Getting Started Part 2 – HTML Editor
Don’t have Thesis check it out here

Meet the Author

Matthew Horne

Matthew Horne is web developer who specializes in optimized development. He also builds custom solutions instead of reverting to plugins. Matthew Has a strong understanding of PHP, JavaScript, jQuery.

37 comments… add one
  • Jean Morgan Oct 7, 2012, 8:42 pm

    Many, many thanks for this. I am looking forward to seeing more in this series. I am not a developer, don’t pretend to be, just an ordinary middle aged woman trying to run a website for my business. I really needed someone like you to come along and show me what this stuff means and does. Don’t understand the boxes and packages at all and no clue about making a skin.
    With your posts holding my hand I will use this on a test site and then be set to go with my site I’m sure. You are a valuable guy to people like me. Thanks for being there and explaining this stuff. I’m excited to start using the new Thesis.

    • Matthew Horne Oct 7, 2012, 8:48 pm

      Thank you, my hope is to explain all the options and features one by one for all to see and explain what they do and why. Then you will have a much better understanding of what your working with, why your doing it and be able to make a decision about whether to use it or now.

      It is the ordinary web user that is making me hopefull about thesis 2.0, because you guys have the courage to give this very new concept a go, some devs has heavily critized this framework, but you know why, because it’s different and not familiar to them, outside of there comfort zone.

      I apload any normal web user who gives this a shot and makes something awesome because you guys are willing to learn and be the future of web development.


  • Sherie Oct 7, 2012, 9:07 pm

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial, printing it out for when I do my upgrade to 2.0. I appreciate how you have laid it out step by step. It took a while for me to get used to Thesis in the beginning (it’s the only theme I have used) and so it might take some time for this, too!

    From what I have seen, there are great possibilities for those of us who don’t have a developer background and I am grateful for it! Thank you again, I will be following your series. : D I am looking forward to learning so much more!

    • Matthew Horne Oct 7, 2012, 9:10 pm

      Excellent im glad it is very helpfull to you. Just to reassure you once this new concept clicks you will be throwing up a website in no time. As long as your not afraid to try new things then you will love the experience of learning about Thesis 2.0 and trust me things will only get better. I have a few more boxes to create that will be released some free some paid, but only paid if the time i put in justifies it and it’s unique and cool enough. Even then it will be cheap.

  • Murray Oct 7, 2012, 11:36 pm

    Matthew, I have read your posts on the DIY forum and see your desire to help out us non-developers. Right now I am taking baby steps on my test site at

    Waiting for your next article.

    • Matthew Horne Oct 8, 2012, 12:23 am

      Thats the best way to do, thats what i did, but a bit quicker, i carefully analised the theme, how it works and all the settings.

  • Mireille Oct 8, 2012, 4:23 am

    Thank you Matthew for this tutorial. You and the other DIYthemes forum members who are helping others like me are fantastic. It is much appreciated and you will be responsible for part of the success I have no doubt Thesis 2 will enjoy.

    • Matthew Horne Oct 8, 2012, 12:23 pm

      That’s not a problem, the community around thesis is the best one ive seen.

  • Matthew Horne Oct 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

    thank you I hope to continue to provide great information for all to enjoy. New boxes, skins tutorials etc are coming so things should get better 🙂

  • Martin Oct 9, 2012, 9:13 am

    Hi Matthew, thanks for this tutorial. Guess the best way to learn the new Thesis is to just get stuck in and have fun, which is exactly what I’m going to do today, cheers!

    • Matthew Horne Oct 9, 2012, 3:39 pm

      Certainly is, ones you get you head round all the features its just amazing, it has no more options than a site with lots of plugins, because you can substitute the plugins with boxes and create you own unique plugin(box).

  • Adolfo Oct 10, 2012, 12:47 am

    Thanks Mattew .. i was usefull for me. initially at first it looked very difficult, but after your help is easier to configure thanks.. mate

    • Matthew Horne Oct 10, 2012, 12:55 am

      No problem that is the result i was hoping for. Some people are a little wary about change. But once you get it, you love it.

  • theWebalyst Oct 10, 2012, 1:57 pm


    Thanks for your posts on Thesis 2.0. I bought it on impulse (having decided a few days earlier to try Genesis) and have to say I have been very disappointed with the launch (lack of documentation, bonuses, support etc.) so it is encouraging to hear your enthusiasm and constructive offerings.

    I’ve been building WP websites for a couple of years now, still learning WP theme development, and trying to put together a range of WP based website setup products for small business. So far I’ve been customising the Atahualpa theme or using ThemeFrame, but each approach is so different I’m now collecting info on many more themes and frameworks so I can offer the best solution for each customer based on goals, features & budget.

    So with Thesis I’m starting from scratch and not yet convinced of its value. I’ll be reading your posts though. I’m also finding the videos listed on the forum useful here:

    Thanks again, off to read part2 now!

    Mark (in London)

    • Matthew Horne Oct 10, 2012, 2:04 pm

      Thesis 2.0 is fundamentally different to other frameworks. Once you learn this Framework there is no going back. Think of it this way, if you have a Thesis 2.0 Dev licence, you can purchase client licenses, 1 framework that can be molded in to any theme you wish to build. In terms of cost, it is better than buying lots of themes. When you can make themes with thesis 2.0 and sell them or offer as part of a package to your clients.

  • Bob Hafemeister Oct 11, 2012, 7:19 pm


    Great work, thanks so much!

    Thesis 2.0 is definitely an incredible framework, it took me a bit of getting used to and I admit
    at first I was turned off. Once I started really giving it a chance the light went on and I’m very impressed.

    Again thanks for your contribution, this is what makes the Thesis community so good.


    • Matthew Horne Oct 11, 2012, 7:23 pm

      It most certainly is, I would not use anything else, as a man of speed thesis delivers.

      All you have to do it take your traditional theme glasses of, and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Pre-conceptions will just make you confused as its not what your expectations percieve.


  • Mark Oct 15, 2012, 11:51 pm

    Nice generic spam comment Candice… I don’t think you read it at all!!!

    Moving on…
    … Thanks Matt for your tutorials.

    With Thesis 2.0 documentation lacking, it’s great how people like your self have stepped up to the mark.

    I’m patiently waiting for skins now

    • Matthew Horne Oct 16, 2012, 11:56 am

      No problem, I have been working around the clock to bring your guys some more guides and boxes.

  • Frank Oct 26, 2012, 5:30 am

    I am actually new to Thesis in general and can’t find anything about client licensing. If I develop a theme and deploy on a client’s website, does my client have to pay? and which level? Any special client licensing? DIY doesn’t seem to have any such information on their website or an e-mail that I can ask questions.

    • Matthew Horne Oct 26, 2012, 1:09 pm

      When you log in to diythemes, and go to myaccount, some options will be available to you.

      Inside there you can purchase client options.

      You can buy a single, 5 pack or 10 pack for clients and use them on any clients site.

      If you own Thesis Professional licenece and you own the domain you can install thesis as many times as you want.

      Diythemes, like many dev sites prefer of forum support enviroment because it would cost a fotune to staff a support team via phone or chat, email ect.

  • Ben Neale Nov 6, 2012, 5:11 pm


    Many thanks for this guide to Thesis 2.0. It’s been invaluable in the absence of official documentation. I may be an exception to the rule here – I am a web developer, and I really like Thesis 2.0 so far. Then again, I’ve always been open to new ways of working. I’m building a commercial site from scratch. Sure – it’s taken me longer than it would have done before, but as I’m understanding key concepts, it’s become more intuitive to use and I’m starting to speed up. I’ve even modified your logo box to allow you to add alt and title tags, so the next step will be to build a box from the ground up. I’ll look forward to your upcoming posts…

    • Matthew Horne Nov 6, 2012, 5:59 pm

      Not a problem, there will be more to come but im just finishing up some work on a few sites for my clients before I carry on writing more guides.

  • Jan 27, 2013, 1:32 am

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Your step by step tutorial is the very best out there. I’m so new to web design but I knew that I wanted to create a more personalized blog than what was offering. So I jumped into Thesis without having a clue what I was doing. I almost gave up before I found your tutorials. Thank you for helping us baby bloggers out there.

  • Jay Prewitt Jan 29, 2013, 1:36 am

    I do not have the logo box. Where do I download it? I have the 197.00 package, and it says it is up to date.
    Thank you,

    • Matthew Horne Jan 29, 2013, 7:23 am

      You can download it by going to to the forum area and then the downloads section.

  • Lorenzo Emden Feb 14, 2013, 5:11 pm

    Matthew, very interested in how you set up the HTML Head Editor. Do you still use the same order and why? Where in that order would you add “meat character encoding”, “meta viewport” and “site verification”. Looking forward to your answer. Thx, Lorenzo

    • Matthew Horne Feb 15, 2013, 9:15 am

      Typically the default order is fine, you could place your CSS at the top so that it is loaded a fraction earlier. Meta tags would typically go after the title and description, tags etc. The main thing is that the style sheets are above the scripts.

  • Alison Moore Smith Feb 20, 2013, 9:10 pm

    Great tutorials.

  • Alison Moore Smith Feb 20, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Didn’t mean to post that yet! These are great, detailed, tutorials. Thank you.

    Wanted to give some feedback. I love the power of the new Thesis and started converting my second site a few days ago. (FTR, the upgrade is easier now than it was in October, when I did my first site.)

    I don’t think the distaste for the new Thesis is necessarily because people are lousy developers. In my experience it’s for three other reasons:

    (1) The promotion doesn’t match the product: Thesis has always been a “mod your brains out with zero coding” solution. But there are now FAR fewer things that can be done with zero coding. And some things that used to take just a couple of clicks, now require multiple screens and multiple entries.

    (2) Many things are utterly nonintuitive and some outright unfriendly to the average user. (Yes, lot’s of web developers have never used the term “compile.” I have complied when programming, but can’t think of a time I did it in web setup.)

    (3) Many Thesis users — like ALL my clients — are NOT developers at all. They have used Thesis because — ad advertised — they could do lots of mods easily. I set it up and they may call me to do a few things, but for the most part, they can tweak it without hiring someone. That is now out of the question. NONE of them want to upgrade to 2.0 and most are looking for other frameworks. (And I don’t blame them.)

    In other words, 2.0 is, IMO, geared to a different market than 1.x. I think it’s a valid market and I’m excited to work with it, but the “upgrade” has abandoned a huge portion of current Thesis users. I’m not sure how that will come out in the wash.

    Anyway, thanks for doing such a service to the Thesis community.

    • Matthew Horne Feb 21, 2013, 6:55 am

      Thank you for this amazing feedback and I would like to assure you that this information has been listened to and changes are coming that will make it much more user friendly to non devs. Also devs are working on providing new skins that come packed with all the options ppl love in one place.

      The next update will also make some other changes that again will make things much easier but the underlying concept of thesis 2.0 will remain so. Its just going to be rewired slightly according to user feedback.

      I myself have about 10 – 15 new boxes to release after the update, they will all include an update system so that will eliminate the need to download and upload for each update. It is a matter of time, in the very near future, you will be able to find components to build any websites you can imagine by dragging pre made boxes. With options, skins will come with custom options for each skins, but that depends on the dev. Myself, when I do find some time to work on a skin, I will always include a master options page.

      But I am not alone in that for sure.

      When the update comes, it will become much easier.

  • Manoj Jun 3, 2013, 6:10 am

    A great but simple explanation, thank you very much

Leave a Comment