Premium WordPress Themes – What Do People Buy & Why

Last year, I wrote a huge comparison post on Thesis vs Genesis from DIYThemes and StudioPress. It’s been almost a year, and I thought I would share some stats of what people decided to buy after reading the post. Here are the results.

Number of Clicks


Here, you can see that the number of clicks to the StudioPress (Genesis) website is almost equal to the number of clicks to the DIYThemes (Thesis) website from both the post and the buttons on the sidebar.

Number of Sales


But when it comes to sales, StudioPress is the clear winner with 109 out of 124 sales. DIYThemes only received 15 sales.


At the end of the post, I also listed two additional alternative premium themes that I have used in the past – Elegant Themes and Press75. Elegant Themes has received 22 sales from the comparison post and button on the sidebar over the same time period.

Why StudioPress?

When trying to figure out why StudioPress took the majority of sales, you have to look at a few factors.


First is the pricing.

 Thesis by DIYThemes  Genesis by StudioPress
 Personal  Developers  Framework  Theme + Framework  Pro Plus
 $87  $164  $59.95  $79.97  $349.95

The StudioPress Pro Plus Package gives users lifetime access to over 45 of their current theme designs plus future ones. Thesis, on the other hand, comes with only one basic framework design. That basic design is great for those who either love minimalism or are good at designing around the framework.

Elegant Themes, on the other hand, is $39 per year for over 70 designs. But StudioPress and Thesis beat Elegant Themes in terms of search optimization and forum support.

Who Uses It

StudioPress is used by a lot of well-known bloggers including ProBlogger (Customized Genesis Framework), Jay Baer (Customized Streamline Theme), and Chris Brogan (Generate Theme).

The list of Thesis users isn’t too shabby either. It includes Neil Patel, Matt Cutts (yes, the Google Guy), Danny Sullivan (his personal blog), and one of my favorite sites, Cute Overload. I use it here on Kikolani as well.

Related Products

As far as famous products made by the same company, DIYThemes only has Thesis. StudioPress is part of Copyblogger Media, creators of Scribe SEO Plugin and Premise, a landing page & membership site plugin that works with any WordPress theme or framework.

Need a New WordPress Theme?

If you’re in the market for a new WordPress theme, be sure to check out my post on Thesis vs. Genesis. Or visit my favorite premium WordPress theme sites directly to learn more: StudioPress, Thesis, and Elegant Themes.

PS. Yes, links to all the themes mentioned are affiliate links. Since I’ve used them all on my own websites and various client projects, I am happy to recommend them all.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes     Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting


  1. says

    Hi Krisit Miss,

    Am really the biggest fan of Genesis Framework and all it’s child themes, from all them I mostly prefer three themes, News, Generate and Eleven40 the most.
    Thanks for these awesome and mind blowing stats, which clearly says that the Genesis is what a Premium Theme finder wants..

    Am using News Child Theme on my own blog, and trying to improve the design more with Premise, but sadly I don’t have bucks to make a purchase for premise. But no worry, I’ll purchase it in the future, when my blog will be the biggest blog on the web..

    The Stats really inspire me, I’ll share the images and post on my Facebook Wall, I always recommend everyone to purchase Genesis instead of Thesis, which comes with a Developer Package!

    But here’s a question about Genesis, Here I’ve purchase only one Genesis Framework with one Child News theme..

    Can I use these both themes on Multiple sites?
    Kindly, answer with satisfaction.. Great Post, thanks a lot.. Am waiting for your awesome response. 😀
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    • says

      Hi Mairaj! Yes, you can use Genesis and the Child News Theme on as many sites as you want according to their pricing page. They offer unlimited updates, support, and sites for each of their themes and the framework. :)

      • says

        Oh, Miss! Thanks a lot for informing me about this.. I’ve won 1 Genesis Framework and 11 Genesis Child Themes from a giveaway, but cannot use any one of them. Because I’ve already have an applied News Child Theme with Genesis Framework..

        So, all these themes are now going gonna be useless.. I also don’t have any other active site, where I could apply them.. SO, kindly guide me What should I do with them?

        May I sell them (this way, any other person can benefit from it)?
        Or, Can I share them with needy people (better, but not useful for me)?

        Please, help me out, so that I could get them being used.. Is Selling them allow(I don’t think so, but asking)?
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        • says

          I don’t know if you can sell them – I mean, you could sell the files of course, but the support might be an issue since it’s linked to you as the winner / purchaser.

  2. says

    Based on my personal experience as a full time WordPress developer, i think they are both different.

    StudioPress make child themes which they also go back over and improve so i give a huge tick to Brian for doing this.

    Some other theme developers discontinue them rather than make them more appealing which is a sore point for the users of those child themes.

    Thesis don’t make child themes or skins so you would need to go to someone like Alex Magnini at Kolakube who provides outstanding support with Sean Davis.

    You’ll get any custom coding you ask for from them which isn’t always the case at Studiopress.

    The only problem i had was with the forum support at Studiopress however it wasn’t all unsatisfactory and they have since created which is a great idea.

    On top of this you get excellent tutorials from Brian Gardiners site.

    The mistake Thesis made in my opinion is the choice not to make child themes and the slowness of the release of Thesis 2.0. They need to keep things happening.

    Excellent forum support from guys like Godhammer and Philip.

    Based on my stats, Thesis has been a better seller but unless you choose a Kolakube skin, StudioPress offer more for beginners wanting to create an instant quality website and blog.

    I own both frameworks and base my comments on my own personal experience over the last 2 years.

    Do you own both of these Kristi?
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    • says

      Hi Brad! I own the developers license for Thesis & StudioPress, and the regular license for Elegant Themes. I use Thesis here and on my photography blog, StudioPress on my personal blog and my husband’s photography site, and Elegant Themes on my freelance writing portfolio.

      Personally, I like working with all of them, but I have noticed when it comes to people who like design for their websites (like my husband), they lean towards StudioPress. People who like simplicity and minimalism lean towards Thesis. And people who just like design but want to keep their costs down lean towards Elegant. That makes them a good set to go with. Plus they don’t make any claims about being easy when they all have a learning code when it comes to figuring out how to customize them like some other premium themes do (that will remain nameless, but I’ve worked with them too).

      I have had a good bit of luck getting custom coding advice in the StudioPress forums. Haven’t done anything major to the themes but change the overall width, headers, and backgrounds though.

    • says

      Fortunately those sales were on autopilot since I did that post.

      StudioPress is definitely awesome – Elegant Themes are easy if you’re used to customizing in the template files themselves vs. using the hooks systems or plugins. They do have their quirks, but you can’t beat the price. :)

    • says

      I’m not really… there are other products I promote on my site that get a lot of clicks, rarely sales. But then again, I never claimed to be a great salesperson. :)

  3. says

    I’ve been using Thesis for almost a year now. After the initial growing pains I have grown to love it. And support overall has been awesome. But the entry fee to get Thesis is a big hit for those wanting to get into blogging on the cheap.

    My biggest issues with Thesis though? The lack of ability to fully integrate Yoast’s SEO plugin and the ability to disable the built in SEO. That and upgrading to newer versions are a pita.

    Genesis/Studio Press makes it just so much easier to create a clean looking layout right out of the box with minimal work. Plus the cost is a lot more feasible to more people out there trying to get started.

    I have a friend who had never used WordPress or any type of framework and was able to get his Genesis based site up and running in less than a week. If he were to have picked Thesis? I think he would have been pulling his hair out trying to figure everything out.

    If I create another blog (oh lord..) I would still end up using Thesis as I’m most comfortable using it. BUT if I could wind back time – I would have ultimately gone with Genesis.

    (And btw.. thanks for your tutorials. I’m currently using your Nav bar lol!)
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    • says

      I love their support – I’ve done some wacky things to their themes and they always help me out. Some premium theme providers don’t give you the time of day if you mess with their code.

  4. says

    Wow, interesting analysis of sales. When it comes to buying themes, pricing is one of the major things that will sway my decisions. And seeing the data you put up, I can clearly understand how StudioPress got a majority of the sales.

    • says

      Never tried Woothemes, but Themeforest drove me bonkers. I tried to get support for three themes I purchased from different creators, and none even bothered to reply to their emails. With exception to one that had an autoresponder that essentially said that they were too busy to respond to support requests.

  5. says

    You have an interesting analysis what people are buying. I have seen these 2 themes rule the blogs. Almost all top bloggers are using it. I have seen the themes on Studiopress and undoubtedly they are great. Elegant themes are very good, I have seen many bloggers using it. Didn’t realise that Matt Cutts was also using the Thesis theme.
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  6. says

    Hi Kristi
    What a great idea to show the ShareASale stats, kicking myself for not thinking of it!

    I have used Elegant Themes in the past and Nick Roach does produces stunning themes, but they can be a bit bloated and slow to load.

    I bought the Pro Plus package from Studiopress and it was the best thing I ever did.

    I can now use all their themes on my sites and client sites, and that applies to all themes they produce in the future – difficult to beat a deal like that.

    The Studiopress forum is pretty good (could be better for non PHP coders) and they appear to have great plans for the future.

    You can probably guess from that that I am a Genesis man through and through.
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  7. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I recently switched to Genesis after using Thesis for almost 2 years. I remember the time when Thesis was “The” theme framework for WordPress.

    Then Chris Pearson shot himself in the foot by entering in GPL debate with Matt! CopyBlogger used to recommend Thesis at that time. After the debate, they moved away, went to StudioPress, added them to CopyBlogger Media and boom.

    Thesis is almost dead with no major updates for more than a year and StudioPress is going strong.

    I am also a WordPress developer and these days, Thesis is not a recommendation for anyone. Genesis is much popular!
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    • says

      Hi Ishan, at the time of that debate going on, CopyBlogger was also in talks with it’s associates about forming CopyBlogger Media. The fact they no longer work with Thesis was nothing to do with the GPL discussion. This was discussed a lot in the Third Tribe forum when people were interested in why they no longer worked as closely as they did. It was just business, nothing more, nothing less and nothing to do with GPL.

    • says

      I never got around to figuring out what Chris Pearson did… I had eyeballed StudioPress for awhile, then my hubby decided he liked one of their designs. Now I’m a happy Pro-Package owner, but still alternate to Thesis for simple site designs.

  8. says

    I’ve started using StudioPress more and more for projects as it’s easy to upgrade Genesis. I’ve also started to use the Dynamik theme for Genesis (via the Catalyst community). All the customisation of Thesis with the easy upgrades of Genesis :)

    Now Elegant Themes have brought out their short code plugin, I think I have all the parts of the themes that I love in one place :)
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  9. says

    Hi Kristi,
    It’s been a while since I left a comment here. This was a very useful post and excellent info. Where the dollars are spent provides some clear data on how people voted. I’ve been using Thesis for 2+ years but will be giving Genesis a good evaluation based on the positive things I’ve been hearing/reading.

    I’m a bit disappointed in the slow pace of progress at DIYThemes. Do you have any plans to do a comparison been Genesis & Thesis & Headway or any other frameworks?
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  10. says

    From my experience in using Thesis, Genesis, Elegant Themes and Woo Themes, it is all a matter of preference. Like you said in one of the comments, those who expect minimalism and simplicity go for thesis, while those who want beautifully designed sites go for studiopress themes.

    The main drawback of Thesis is the absence of child themes from the developers. And of course the lesser upgrades they’re releasing. In addition, one should always expect over the top design costs if they want to make their site beautiful, if using Thesis.

    With Genesis, a lot can be done with the help of support forum discussions, tutorials, and exclusive Genesis plugins.
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    • says

      Yes – you can get some great “child themes” for Thesis, but they are all from third-party developers. While I love what some of them do, you are at their mercy if WordPress does an update and breaks your website – you can’t just go to DIYthemes for support anymore. At least with StudioPress, the framework and child designs are all supported under one big roof!

  11. says

    What my mentor says is that Thesis is little better than Genesis because it is super fast and all the big bloggers whom I know are using Thesis on their blog.

    But that doesn’t mean Genesis isn’t good, Genesis is also good option after Thesis and it is also low price than Thesis.

    I’m not using any of them on my blog, What I’m using is a simple SmartBlog theme from Junkie Themes and I’m happy with that.
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    • says

      The base Thesis framework is pretty fast because it doesn’t have much going on in the way of graphics or heavy coding in design. Of course, I haven’t seen StudioPress be that slow either just because of their child themes.

  12. says

    Great post again and an update on how the major WordPress premium theme providers do. I have all of the themes listed above and I can see you’ve done an excellent job highlighting the pros and cons of each theme. From my WP experience I can say:

    Genesis-Great framework and I love working wit it. I become a Pro Pack member almost 1 year ago and by far this is the best purchase I’ve made in terms of WordPress themes. For $250 at the time I could play with all StudioPress child themes and some other Genesis child themes. Genesis made me want to learn more and if you are passionate about WordPress you’ll learn a lot of tricks using Genesis. The support forum is brilliant, answer is quick and satisfactory.

    Thesis-this one I got it as a present for my birthday! Yes, it looked a little bit too much and the child themes called skins are not that many on the market. Thesis is something to play with and learn from. I can write an article about Thesis…you can do amazing things with it but I really hate the way they handle images.

    Headway Theme: I’m a member of the basic framework but did not work too much with it. Very flexible and nice to play with it if you have some spare time.

    Elegant Themes-did have a membership and renew-it for the second time but cancelled after took the guys 3 days to answer my question in forums. Refunded straight away, no problem.
    Elegant themes are more for people that like colors, effects and gradients, fade-in and fade-out of images…not quite my type. And I found a really flawed thing in their themes SEO: the use of H1 and H2 tags. The control panel is a little bit complicated, it takes a while to get use with it. The price is quite a bargain so this is something good.

    • says

      Thanks for the rundown with your experience with these themes. I’ll have to look into the use of H1 and H2 in Elegant, but I have never used it on a site that I needed that much search optimization either. :)

      • says

        I should say a big Thank You for your blog post in which you were comparing Genesis and Thesis-brilliant!
        I think you should do the same when Thesis 2.0 will come up…probably by 2020 I guess :-)

  13. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I most commonly use Elegant Themes. I think that’s because I tend to be a visual person and I think the Elegant Themes are more stunning in that regard. I do think the other themes have a bit of an advantage in terms of SEO, but I keep telling myself that it’s not a big enough advantage to switch all my sites over. I could be wrong about that though.
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  14. says

    Hi Kristi

    Really a nice comparison between Genesis & Thesis. Currently i’m using Woo Theme on my blog but i’m not satisfied with it’s look & limited features. I’m not good at customizing the themes. Somebody suggested me not to go with Genesis as the framework requires knowledge of coding. So i’m planning to go with Thesis, what do you suggest. Please reply.
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  15. says

    I mostly prefer Premium WordPress theme is because of its user-friendly nature and i recommended every one to use premium theme instead of free themes because its always good to invest in something to get revenue and income in future, now a days every one is trying to get free premium themes which i think is not a good idea because it consist on many hidden scripts and hacks which may leads your theme and website into disaster so always try to get premium themes from good authority and developers website.

    I hope my comment will add some value to this post and will help others to find the better way of leads toward success in blogging. Thanks alot.
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  16. says

    Kristi, I have been using Thesis theme on my WordPress blogs for some time now. With Thesis, as I had experienced, we need to make some early invest anyway between $200 to $1000 type to give it a truly professional look. And you cannot do much customization from your end. I’m looking for a WordPress Theme where I can all the customization I want with simple drag and drop only. With Thesis, no doubt there are tutorials available for adding lots of features, but I will hesitate in touching its code especially when I don’t know its a b c even.
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