Top 25 Tutorials for Thesis Newbies

The Thesis Theme from DIY Themes is hands down the most versatile WordPress theme on the market. There’s really no arguing that point. However, it can be a bit of a daunting task for newbies to get started. There’s a ton of information out there. Let me point you in the right direction!

I have a list of the top 25 tutorials for all of you Thesis newbies. They cover topics ranging from the basics to specific, commonly used blog design elements in Thesis. Let’s get started!

Installation and Optimization

Installing and Optimizing the Thesis Theme for WordPress – The first thing you need to do is install Thesis. This guide will help you install and opimize Thesis for the best possible performance in terms of your blog’s speed and search engine optimization.

Thesis SEO for Everyone – This is another guide to optimizing your blog for search engines. It speaks in-depth on both homepage and general blog optimization as well as optimization for individual posts.

Restoring Thesis to Default Settings – If you ever need to reset your Thesis options, we got ya covered!

What is the Thesis Full Width framework? – What’s the difference between the page framework and the full width framework? Which one should you use? This video tutorial has the answers.

Thesis Hooks

Thesis Hooks 101: An Introduction to Thesis Hooks – This is the Art of Blog guide to Thesis Hooks. If you’re a complete beginner with hooks, this is the place to start.

Hooks for Dummies – Another great beginner tutorial for Thesis Hooks.

Thesis Hook Reference List – This is a complete list of available hooks for Thesis with descriptions from the DIY Themes website. This is absolutely crucial for finding the right hook to place content where you want.

A Quick Introduction to the Thesis OpenHook Plugin – If hooks are a bit overwhelming for you, check out this tutorial. OpenHook lets place content just like you would with hooks, but without having to know any PHP. For the long term health of your blog, I don’t recommend using this, but in a pinch its a great solution.

Thesis Custom CSS

Customizing Thesis With Custom.css – This is a simple guide from the DIY Themes website to help you get started with Custom CSS in Thesis.

Introduction to Custom CSS in Thesis – This is another Tutorial you can find here on Art of Blog. It takes you through the basics of CSS, using custom CSS in Thesis, and offers a couple of very simple example tutorials.

Thesis Design Tutorials

Clickable Logo in Header – Want to replace that boring title and tagline with your flashy logo? Its as simple as a few lines of CSS.

Adding a Banner Ad to Your Thesis Header – You’ve got the logo, now ad the 468×60 ad to monetize your blog!

– Need to keep a certain category off of your homepage? Here is the solution!

10 Useful Answers to Common Thesis Questions – A collection of simple solutions to mostly simple Thesis problems. This one is also from Art of Blog.

Creating New Widgetized Areas – This tutorial will show you how to widgetize areas of your Thesis installation. You can apply the principles learned here to widgetize virtually any area of your blog.

Take Thesis from Standard to Unique in 6 Easy Steps – Need to make your blog unique? This tutorial offers 6 very easy ways to do so. You won’t need much coding knowledge to get these done.

How to Make a JQuery Image Slideshow in Thesis – This tutorial will show you how to create a slideshow in Thesis using JQuery. If you’re intimidated by javascript code, don’t worry. This is easy!

How To Add a Carousel To Your Thesis Blog – Have you seen those blogs with the post images and captions accross the top before the content? Pretty sweet for bumping your page views up a bit. See how!

How to Add Breadcrumbs Without a Plugin – Add simple breadcrumbs to Thesis. This is great for your blog’s SEO performance, and it cuts down on the plug-ins you’ll use.

Using the Thesis Feature Box – There’s not as much out there about the Thesis feature box as there should be. Its an extremely useful tool, and this will get you started.

Creating Useful 404 Error Pages in Thesis – You need to have a solid 404 page to direct visitors who find broken links on your site. Another Art of Blog tutorial has you covered!

How to Make a Cool Social Media Box for Thesis – Want to add links to your social media profiles to your the bottom of your posts? Its usually a good idea, and this tutorial will show you how to do it.

How to Set Up Numbered Page Navigation in Thesis – Adding numbered page navigation will increase your page views which is always a good thing! This tutorial makes it as simple as copy and pasting!

Custom “After the Post” Box – Another tutorial for adding elements below your posts on single post pages.

How to Use WordPress Conditional Tags in Thesis – Conditional tags allow you to specify that certain elements of your design only appear on certain posts/pages of your blog. This tutorial will show you how its done.

Multiple Custom Page Templates in Thesis – Thesis allows you to create custom page templates to do just about anything you want. This takes a bit of imagination and a bit of coding knowledge, but this tutorial will get you started.

So that’s it! Thesis will let you do just about anything. The only thing holding you back is a lack of knowledge. Now you don’t have that excuse, so get after it!

Adam is a WordPress designer, Thesis specialist, and blogger from Indianapolis, Indiana. Check out his custom work here.

Written by Adam Baird

Adam is a Wordpress designer, Thesis specialist, and blogger from Indianapolis, Indiana. Check out his custom work here.



  • Chris Stroud says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I am building my first thesis site and this was handy.

  • Berchman says:

    Adam, Nice list of tutorials and a good foundation for anyone using Thesis. Thanks for including a few of mine. Appreciate it.

  • Thank you for listing these awesome tips. I am off to make use of several of them.

  • Suhasini says:

    You have nicely got all the articles here which will help newbies, Thanks for sharing this.

  • In the past 2 weeks, I’ve spent hours trawling thru tutorials looking for clear instructions about personalising my Thesis blog. Despite the plethora of sites out there -like the links you’ve given above- I’ve found that most ‘experts’ don’t understand what beginners want. It’s not how to use hooks or css! It’s how to make your blog look how you want it to look in the shortest time possible so you can get posting content!

    I am so frustrated, I’ve written a post asking experts to take a step back and start writing tutorials with a person who’s only interested in getting a blog up and being able to actually blog. It’s here:

    Have a read. I think there’s a market for someone who’s willing to take up the challenge.

    • Nick Reese says:

      I can see that you are frustrated and Art of Blog has made some tutorials you have requested your list. I suggest you poke around this site.

      Furthermore you have to understand for every tutorial we create one of two things happens. First we get very little feedback. Second we get 10 people wanting solutions custom tailored to their specific needs.

      I’m sure you can see how fun this is on our end. Frankly it seems that the people that comment wanting specific customizations (to the tutorials already written) act like they are entitled to it. Entitled to FREE help from webmasters and bloggers just because they bought Thesis.

      I know I myself have spent well over 80 hours, FREE time helping people with their Thesis customizations (not counting making tutorials).

      While you may not want to learn about hooks or CSS that IS how you customize Thesis and probably why you had a hard time getting started.

      Furthermore I try my best to make sure newbie solutions are available on this site. Whether that consists of commissioning them (often paying over $100 a pop) to have them created or creating them myself. Personally I think the tutorials that Adam has done are outstanding and several of my friends that are “Thesis Newbies” have been able to get started just fine.

      I suggest you check out these three specifically:
      Installing and Optimizing Thesis Theme for WordPress
      Introduction to Custom CSS in Thesis
      Thesis Hooks 101: An Introduction to Thesis Hooks

      Next I suggest you check out the Thesis forums where people are PAID to help you and stop ranting on other people blogs. I’m willing to bet most of your questions are already answered there as Girlie and Godhammer do an amazing job of helping people best the Thesis/Internet learning curve.

      You have quickly filed yourself in one of my top pet peeves, people who complain because they can’t do something instead of using the tools available to help them.

      I think you will quickly learn that a nice simple email to a few webmasters asking for basic tutorials would probably be your best bet. On the internet an sugar goes a lot farther than vinegar. Hopefully you learn this early.

    • Berchman says:


      I want to follow up on this. I for one can appreciate your frustration. There was a time when I knew nothing about developing websites some 15 years ago. I learned early that in order to get what I needed done I either had to learn how to do it, or I had to pay someone to do it. In some cases paying for it was not an option and I had to learn.

      I have spent thousands of hours teaching myself how to program websites and hundreds of hours helping people for FREE either through tutorials, answering questions posted to those tutorials, or on public forums on topics related to web development.

      My point is this. If you want specific tutorials or help on a specific issue you can certainly find qualified, experienced professionals that can help. The rub is that professionals of this caliber are stretched for time. Their skills and expertise are in demand. Many are generous with time and provide tutorials FREE of charge. In order to get on their radar costs $$$.

      To assume that people of this caliber can provide hours of uncompensated time to provide specific tutorials and answers to your further questions when you get stuck using the tutorials is presumptuous. These professionals are typically independent, freelancers that are working hard to put bread on the table. If you can’t understand their tutorials you either need to look for another (as there are many), open up a book or browser and bring your skills up to the tutorials level, or pay them to do it.

      To throw all Thesis tutorial designers and developers into the same bucket and say “they make assumptions” is quite bold.

      If I cannot do something I research it, and find the solution. Sometimes this takes me minutes, sometimes is takes me weeks. I find people who know and ask questions. I sometimes share what I find, assuming I have the spare time to do it. Then, time permitting I provide answers to those who post questions to what I have written.

      If I don’t have the time or expertise I find someone I can hire who IS an expert, and if I can’t afford them I change my expectations.

      I would suggest:
      1. If you don’t know how to do it, research and figure it out
      2. If you don’t have the time, pay a professional
      3. If you don’t have the budget you may need to change your expectations, or return to number 1

      Oh, and Nick’s suggestion about sugar versus vinegar is spot on. ;-)

    • Adam Baird says:


      I feel your pain. Believe it or not, so do Nick and Berchman. While I don’t feel like their replies were necessarily appropriate, you have to understand its a bit of a touchy subject. I am a professional web designer as well. I often work long hours, and I have a wife who is disappointed when I do and she doesn’t get to spend time with me. I don’t like it much either, but that’s the reality of doing what I do. I’m sure the other two guys can completed relate to my situation. After having such a tough time for the last three weeks, you probably can as well.

      For the record, I have been paid for the tutorials I’ve written here, but the $/hour is nowhere near what I make with actual web design. I do it because I’m obsessed with Thesis, and I like helping people.

      We’ve all been in your shoes. Unfortunately, there is a certain learning curve involved with running your own website (especially doing so with Thesis). I can tell you when I setup my first site it took me about 4 times as long as its taken you. It is impossible to cover every specific of every situation you might encounter, so I for one try to cast as broad a net as possible. I have gotten a large amount of newbie feedback that indicates the tutorials I’ve written are awesome. I understand they might go over some heads, but I have to write tutorials that will help the most people.

      Stumbling in the dark is something we’re all sort of damned to. Its just part of the gig. Just about every successful webmaster started in the same boat. You just have to work through it and understand it does get easier the more you do it…or you can pay someone as Berchman suggested. Unfortunately, that’s really the best help I can offer. Sorry :(

      • Hey Adam,

        Thanks for the considered and courteous reply. I’ve emailed you, so keep an eye out for that.

        I wish I’d seen your Openhooks tutorial… but all the others didn’t tell me about this great little plugin. Roy the Blog Header Guy did -after I’d paid for a number of tutorial ebooks, and spent hours trying to figure our why the code I was cutting and pasting wasn’t working. Once I installed it, I could move the nav bar easily….but as I was earnestly trying to get across, a lot of the tutorials out there tell you how to move the nav header and then when you do it, it doesn’t work. You’re left feeling really dumb and like you just should pack up and go home.

        I think the best thing is for me to pay someone to help me with the more complex things that I need to do … which is exactly what I’m going to do.

  • Um guys… you’ve missed the point!

    Sorry if I’ve caused offence – it wasn’t personal. It was an honest, genuine cry for help. There is no venom or malice in my post or comments. It was just: this is my experience.. here’s some reflections, and some suggestions.

    My post was a plea, a clarion call, a sincere and honest down-on-my-knees begging for help post! It’s also an opportunity for people to develop products and make money from them – if they’re willing to listen what the end user/beginner is experiencing. As I’m a pet peeve, I’m obviously not the only one out there have the same bad dreams.

    The point is that I did spend hours and hours on the forums and web, asking questions. Some of my questions were answered. And you might note, that I did engage an expert and pay them, to design the blog header.

    I came here asking for help and feel hurt that the experts I turned to ripped my arms out of my sockets for daring to ask for help.

    Sorry guys. I’ll won’t dare ask another question ever again.

    • Berchman says:

      Definitely not taking it personal and I do hear the cry for help.
      If I made you feel like “your arms were ripped out” I apologize. My reply was about clarifying that a disproportionate amount of tutorials are written and shared for free and with that comes varying degrees of quality, and base knowledge. There will always be tutorials that are over our heads. :-)

      The key is to keep asking questions and to keep searching for answers. That’s how we all advance our collective knowledge and wisdom with what we do.

      The rub is figuring out how much of your valuable time you want to invest in the pursuit of a “do-it-yourself” approach versus hiring a professional, or if budgets don’t warrant that re-evaluating your goals, expectations, and how you are going to get where you want.

      Definitely dare to ask questions. There is no other way to find the answers.

  • Kitty says:

    Bottom line – if you can’t afford to spend the time learning through the great tutorials between the WP site and the Thesis forums & numerous blogs like this one, maybe you should stick to the self-hosted blogs such as or Blogspot. Seriously. Maybe you’re just not ready to learn what you must do in order to get the look & function that you want.

    I have some experience with web stuff, yet I struggled when I first tried Thesis. I haunted the DIY forums and looked up everything that I possibly could. Yes, it took a LOT of time on my part, some things I have yet to understand but that certainly isn’t the fault of all of the people that took time to write tutorials & answer the same questions ad nauseam on the forums. It simply takes time and effort to learn.

    There just isn’t an “easy answer” when it comes to telling someone how to add buttons to a sidebar. First you have to know about widgets & html & css to put stuff IN the widgets. Trust me, I’m trying to tell my mother how to do it, and until she knows those things, I can’t simplify it any more than I’ve already tried to, OR, by showing her physically (which I am resigned to do – I suck at tutorials!).

    You gotta do what you gotta do Amanda. It’s just not always as easy as you would like it to be.

  • Dan Rippon says:

    Nick, Adam et al,
    Just an idea to float that may help those such as Amanda. While I realise it would be somewhat subjective, maybe attaching a number code to the tutorial to indicate the general level of experience required to follow it could be useful? It’s something that IT companies have been doing for their technical seminars for a few years now, and is a quick and handy identifier to know what you’re going to be getting into – e.g.

    Level 100 – Beginner (1 instant coffee),
    Level 200 – Intermediate (1 espresso),
    Level 400 – Advanced (Leave the machine on, I’m coming back).


    • Berchman says:

      I like your idea. The key would be evaluation. How do we remove as much subjectivity as possible to provide an accurate assessment to apply the proper “level?”

      I would do this to my tutorials without question.

      Perhaps it could be something like a prerequisite scale?

      “To complete this tutorial you need the following:
      1. Basic PHP knowledge
      2. FTP skills
      3. Familiarity with HTML
      4. Advanced CSS skills”

      Let me know what you think.

  • Ioan Nicut says:

    Hi Adam,

    I was wondering how do you add that author box. Is it a plugin that you are using? Please can you give me a little hint?

    Thank you!

  • […] look as if Apple’s crowd of software artists/engineers thought of and executed them. There are numerous Thesis tutorials that can make features that seem advanced look like child’s play in no time. This is not only […]

  • nd says:

    Hi. I’m very interested in using Thesis. I would however like to have a flexible or fluid content area. I’m told that this is possible by customizing Thesis (either the css or one of the other templates.) But I note that it is not in fact an option on the Thesis options pages. This leads me to wonder if there are reasons why a liquid layout with Thesis isn’t advisable — I don’t mean the pros and cons of fluid vs. fixed in general, but rather specific practical issues of doing this with Thesis while retaining full use of Thesis’s other options and maintaining stability of the Thesis structure.

    Thank you.

    • Adam says:

      What do you mean by fluid or flexible content area? Just because its not an option doesn’t mean it can’t be done (it most likely can).

  • Don Campbell says:

    Great list of tutorials Adam. I posted it to ThesisNinja.

    I wish you would have included my How to Create Small Business Websites Using the Thesis WordPress Theme in your list!

    • Adam says:


      I wish you wouldn’t blatantly spam links to your ebook. We can’t always get what we want I suppose.


  • nd says:

    Hi Adam. Thanks for the reply.

    What I’d like to do is create a layout where the width of the main content area will expand and contract, and reflow the content, as the width of the browser changes.

    For an example, see the F2 WordPress theme.

    • Adam says:

      This is entirely possible with Thesis…not going to attempt to explain it in a comment, but maybe I’ll write a tutorial on this in the next few weeks…

      • Jean Layton says:

        I’m just wondering if I missed an update on this topic? Did your write a tutorial about how to make the layout fluid?
        Thank you so much for your help

  • nd says:

    That would be awesome! If you do, perhaps you can post a link in this thread.

  • Thanks for your info, i am new with thesis. This is what i looking for

  • Mike Carlson says:

    Perfect Perfect Perfect! This is EXACTLY what I needed. I’ve done a few Thesis sites but still don’t feel like I really know what this theme is capable of. I’m starting right at the beginning and working my way through, with a practice site open so i can mess around at the same time.

    Thanks for compiling this stuff!

  • Shelly says:

    More questions about Thesis: does it require and not


  • Thesis Should Become the New Default WordPress Theme Options Page says:

    […] […]

  • indotopnews says:

    I’m not sure about the thesis, but many of the people who talk about it, then I should find out first before

  • […] written by community members. This is not because I’m biased, but because there are an abundance of community-written tutorials for Thesis, and there are virtually none for […]

  • Hey Guys, I found this really useful. I am a healthcare professional with hardly any knowledge of PHP, or CSS. I think I have got a decent blog started with the knowledge I gained from various tutorials.

    Thanks for this nice list.

  • Scott says:

    Would Thesis be right for me if I don’t want to do any type of design work? Id rather work with the structure and function of the blog and not have to bother with the look of it. Should I use a framework that offers different say, child themes, or does Thesis offer that also? What are your thoughts about Genesis in this respect?

    • Adam Baird says:


      Google “Thesis Skins”

      You’ll find plenty of free and premium Thesis designs that are easy to implement.

  • Wordpress Plugin Reviews says:

    One of the best Thesis tutorial collections I have seen, was wondering if you know how to add a place for widgets at the bottom of Thesis?

  • muazfaris says:

    im searching for easy breadcrumb n found this blog that was full of usefull things.. thank you Adam!

  • Leny Anggita says:

    I want to create a membership site with Thesis theme and Wishlist member plugin. How to create Inner Page/Member Page Homepage and customize the layout? the member page is only visible for member only, I know the setting for content level is on Wishlist member plugin. But I have no idea how to create, design and customize the inner/member page. Any Tutorial for this? thank you in advance.


  • Tutorial Adobe Photoshop says:

    All about thesis theme on this blog, the tutorials are easy to understand, it is very helpful for Newbies. thank you