Yes – my getting-rid-of-plugins crusade just got another boost, thanks to the latest version of Thesis.
Please note: I give you both the good and the bad in my reviews (including this one), but I’m an affiliate for Thesis and that means I will get some commission if you were to buy Thesis through the links on this page.
See my Disclosure for more details.
OK, so the focus in Thesis 1.7 is on SEO and site management.
The Thesis admin pages in the admin area have been re-organised and added to.
So you now have a Site Options page which used to be Thesis Options. It does the same things as Thesis Options, but it’s been extended to include a lot of SEO controls.
You also now have a Page Options screen which extends your SEO controls to Category and Tags pages.
Rather than try to write about these, I’ve made a quick video to show you around the new SEO features in the Site Options and Page Options pages:
The Design Options and Custom File Editor pages are the same as before, but another addition is the Manage Options page.
I love this one because it enables me to export all the Thesis settings to an external file which I can store on my PC. I can then import these settings to another instance of Thesis 1.7.
I do Thesis customisation and implementation projects for people, and this feature means I no longer have to do the ‘on-site’ configuration steps whenever I deliver a new site to a customer.
I simply import the Thesis options from the development site that the client has already approved.
Also, using the SEO controls I referred to in the video above, I’ve configured my development sites to have the most effective SEO settings possible. So from now on I can ensure that every site I build for a customer is also fully optimised for the search engines – all pre-set in my development site.
Here’s a quick video tour of the Manage Options page:
Ugrading – How Did it Go?
I upgraded 5 sites the other day and 4 of them went without a hitch. But the 5th one threw up some problems:
For some reason the nav bar settings that were set up in Thesis 1.6 were not carried across to 1.7. The result was that the nav bar titles were all over the place and only 3 of the 6 pages actually appeared.
It was an easy enough fix – I just went to the Thesis Site Options page and re-set the settings in the ‘Pages’ section of the Navigation Menu.
The site in question is set up as a static site and I haven’t, therefore, given the home page a title. For some reason 1.7 freaked out at this and displayed an empty, half-width space on the Nav bar.
This, again, was pretty easily fixed by going into the ‘Home Link’ section and checking the box marked ‘Show Home Link in Nav Menu’ and accepting the default Home link text.
Easy enough fixes, both, but they shouldn’t have been necessary and didn’t arise on the other 4 sites I upgraded.
One more point: if you’re upgrading from Thesis 1.6 be sure to read the instructions for preserving your customisations, because they’re slightly different from before. Rather than simply uploading your saved Custom folder you now need to upload the contents of it.
Other than that the upgrades went without any hitches.
Overall, then this upgrade gives you a lot more control over the SEO elements on your site.
It completely removes the need for the All-in-one-SEO-Pack plugin (and Platinum SEO, Headspace, and other plugins that do the same). It also removes the need for the Robots-META plugin that I’d been using for a while.
However – a word of warning: if you’ve been using the All-in-one-SEO pack for a while and you deactivate it, all the Title, Description and Keywords tags on all your articles will be wiped out.
So, as much as I’d like to drop it from this site I can’t, because I’d then have to go through every single article and page and re-set all those tags – which I simply don’t have the time to do.
If you only have a few articles on your site then definitely I’d recommend making the changes and, for new sites, there’s absolutely no need to install any of those SEO plugins if you’re running Thesis 1.7.
Previous versions of Thesis introduced different areas of functionality and you can see the full scoop here:
I’ve written a series of tutorials on Thesis, which you can find here, and if Thesis sounds interesting get more details here.
Questions on Thesis? Or on upgrading? Leave us a comment.