Best WordPress Theme for SEO – A Thesis Love Affair

“Your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners come home and **date** the prom queen.” – Sean Connery, The Rock

Best WordPress Theme for SEO - Thesis

A SEO Love Story

When I build websites for people, one of the most common comments is “This needs to be optimized for search engines.”

Duh.

When I'm working with someone who knows their stuff, they'll ask some more advanced questions like “Which wordpress themes are the best for SEO?” and the like.

Now we're talking.

This is something that I've been working to pinpoint for a while now and finally pulled the trigger on what is easily the most marketed, highly publicized WordPress theme out there – Thesis Theme. From their website, Thesis is described as:

“The Thesis Theme framework is a premium template system for WordPress that is designed to serve as the rock-solid foundation beneath any kind of website.”

And right they are – this framework packs in an insane amount of customization and flexibility for anyone looking to drive huge traffic to a website. One of my goals for 2012 is to have 1,000 visitors a day by the end of the year and I knew I needed to make some changes to the architecture to make that happen. Here's what I did.

The New Kid on the Block

Here's a side by side of what my website used to look like versus what it looks like now:

After Thesis Theme goes up

The old website, built on a more traditional corporate framework, did a great job getting my business started – it was very linear and navigation driven, allowing me to showcase services and portfolios very well. It did a great job at looking professional and being a static experience. The new website is much more focused on the information my company is learning about every day – it is dynamic and integrated with social media, and is designed to really promote the articles.

It has all the same professionalism and service showcasing, but my credibility is sold in my ability to share. This is very important to me, because I think the best marketing is proving that you know what you're talking about, not just saying who you've worked for in the past.

The best way to describe the re-design is that the old website was great at showcasing what Bluecloud is, the new design illustrates where Bluecloud is going.

Freshly Shaven – The Ecstasy of Clean Code

In SEO, there are three major buckets – site architecture (how it's built, tags, etc), content, and links. I've got a good handle on content and have a solid link building network (Contact me if you're interested in a link exchange 😛 ) and realized that I needed to give my site structure a face lift. I had all the title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords dialed in, but there was SO much garbage javascript and CSS in the old framework that wouldn't minimize the way I needed it to. It was slowing down my site and causing the Google spider to index things that I didn't want it to. That's one of the most attractive elements of the Thesis Theme – the source code is simple and clean. Here's a side by side of both websites' source code as seen in FireFox (without any plugins):

Clean Code in Thesis

If you're the Google spider looking to index a page, which would your prefer? Not only do you have less to load with Thesis, you get to the content much faster. Similarly, browsers love Thesis more than my old template because they can load it about 40% faster (negligible javascript rendering) and and parse the CSS at lightning speed. The old site required a 75K image per page to act as a “header” image that was great for illustrating the theme of the page, but terrible for SEO factors. Bottom line – the new code slays the way all minimalist programming does. Steve Jobs was known for locking his design team in a room for a days on end not to come up with new ideas, but to strip down a product to it's core necessary functionality. Touchdown.

Hooking Up – The Bluecloud Website Makes Out With Custom Functions

Custom Functions for Thesis Theme

I'll admit it – the custom hooks/custom functions area of Thesis was a turn off at the beginning. I wanted to control the style.css file the way I usually do and do all my editing the PHP editor area of the site. But, the more I explored Thesis, the more I realized how the custom functions editor was really the most remarkable part of the entire thing – I could essentially make it do anything just by adding to this box instead of re-writing the whole framework. Better yet – if anything went awry, the reset is a simple delete. Thesis can update to new versions seamlessly and every piece of custom CSS, font replace, javascript, and custom hooks will be untouched. This liberation felt amazing.

I'm going to keep this section short because of the geekiness of it, but my goodness does this get me going!

Traffic Cialis – The Numbers Just Keep Going Up

Traffic Increases With Thesis Theme

In the grand scheme of things, the content is what's gotten me to the next level in traffic, without question. But the metrics I'm seeing on a day to day basis with the new Thesis theme are incredible – the long tail keywords are expanding rapidly, the metrics are increasing, and the site is overall just flying in growth. It's been about 2 weeks and I just saw the  latest Google ranking updates which is why the traffic spiked so much. It's on track to continue this growth as I focus on internet marketing and iPhone application marketing topics that genuinely interest and help people.

I could go on and on about the different parts of the Thesis theme and how you can literally do anything you want with it, but I'll stop here. I definitely recommend this theme if you're in the blog world or even if you just want to get on one of the most powerful platforms out there. Hell – that's why I'm using it! If you want to learn more, you can click here for pricing and more information.

Keep rocking,

Carter


COMMENTS

  • Nissim March 23, 2012

    Hello Carter
    Great site with very interesting knoledgable content.
    I just got today seeing it, and registered for your ebook.
    However, the link I got on your “Welcome to Bluecloud!” mail is not working with me, as I constantly get this Windows Network Diagnostics message:
    ”clicks.weber.com is not set up to establish a connection on port World Wide Web service (HTTP) with this computer.”
    Any ideas to overcome this issue?
    Thanks,
    Nissim Elias

  • Carter Thomas Carter March 23, 2012

    Nassim,

    Thanks for the note. Sounds like you have some sort of software blocking the click. I’m going to email you a direct link to the ebook.

    Carter

  • InformAfrica September 28, 2012

    Great post Carter. I have a question though. In regards to SEO, would you recommend an SEO WP theme or an SEO WP plugin? I’m quite sure both have their varying features/benefits but would like to know which you prefer most from your point of view and experience.

    Thanks
    Henry

  • Carter Thomas Carter September 28, 2012

    Hey Henry,

    Answer to your question is to go with an SEO theme before a plugin. I had an SEO plugin on my old site, then when I switched to Thesis, there are areas built in for the meta data. Because these are both competing for the areas in the code, I had to fill out both. PLUS plugins, especially SEO plugins, will drain your site load time faster than most other plugins, which is ironic since that’s a big part of SEO.

    Thesis is releasing 2.0 next week, might be good timing for you. I cannot recommend it more highly.

    Good luck,

    Carter

  • Jemick May 14, 2013

    I like this theme

  • WPZee March 15, 2014

    Nice post Carter. Thesis is good seo optimized theme.

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