5 Simple Changes I Make to My Thesis Theme Installations Right Out Of The Box

This post was written for Thesis 1.x. You can find Thesis 2 here.

It’s no secret. I love Thesis. The flexibility is amazing.

I’ve developed a rhythm for most of my Thesis installs. Before I have content… before the blog is public… before everything else, I consider doing these 5 things.

Take a look.

Move the NavBar Beneath the Header

Nothing special, right?

By default, the navigation bar is located above the header. I’m not a huge fan of that arrangement.

To change that, I use hooks in PHP to move my navigation bar beneath my header.

Here’s the code that I paste into my custom_functions.php file:

// --------------- NAVBAR BELOW HEADER
remove_action('thesis_hook_before_header','thesis_nav_menu');
add_action('thesis_hook_after_header','thesis_nav_menu');

Really, that code is pretty easy to understand even if you don’t know PHP.

The first line is simply a comment. The second line “removes” the “Thesis Nav Menu” from the location called “Thesis Hook Before Header.”

The second line “adds” the “Thesis Nav Menu” to the location called “Thesis Hook After Header.”

How simply is that?

Set up a dynamic Feature Box

I’m fancy. The default Feature Box settings aren’t enough for me. I’d rather have my Feature Box content change from page to page.

Lucky for you, I’ve already written a tutorial on how to do this.

If you are familiar with how PHP works already, and you are comfortable with pasting code into your custom_functions.php file, go ahead and use this code to set up your dynamic Feature Box:

// ---------- CUSTOM FEATURE BOX
function custom_feature_box() {
if (is_front_page()) { ?>
	<!-- START HTML - FRONT PAGE OF YOUR BLOG OR YOUR SITE'S FRONT PAGE IF YOU USE A CUSTOM PAGE FOR THE HOMEPAGE -->

	<!-- END HTML -->
<?php }

elseif (is_home()) { ?>
	<!-- START HTML - IF YOU DO USE A CUSTOM HOMEPAGE, THIS IS THE MAIN BLOG PAGE -->

	<!-- END HTML -->
<?php }

elseif (is_page()) { ?>
	<!-- START HTML - ALL INDIVIDUAL PAGES -->

	<!-- END HTML -->
<?php }

elseif (is_single()) { ?>
	<!-- START HTML - ALL INDIVIDUAL POSTS -->

	<!-- END HTML -->
<?php }

else { ?>
	<!-- START HTML - EVERYWHERE ELSE... LIKE ARCHIVES, SEARCH RESULTS, ETC. -->

	<!-- END HTML -->
<?php }
}
add_action('thesis_hook_feature_box','custom_feature_box');

If you already use something like OpenHook to input Feature Box content, this will not override that content.

Instead, the content you already have will show up everywhere it is supposed to based on your settings in WP Dashboard => Thesis =>Design Options => Feature Box. The above code will display content as you have specified within the designated HTML areas. If there is an overlap of content from both methods, all content will show without conflict!

Custom Byline and Comments Link

The byline is the area beneath your post headlines.

Normally, this is controlled through WP Dashboard => Thesis => Design Options => Display Options => Bylines.

I uncheck everything!

Then, I paste the following code into my custom_functions.php file:

// -------------- CUSTOM BYLINE
function custom_byline() {
if (!is_page()) { ?>
<p class="headline_meta"><?php thesis_author(); ?> on <abbr class="published" title="<?php echo get_the_time('Y-m-d'); ?>"><?php echo get_the_time(get_option('date_format')); ?></abbr> · <span><a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>#comments" rel="nofollow">
<?php comments_number(__('0 comments', 'thesis'), __('1 comment', 'thesis'), __('% comments', 'thesis')); ?></a></span> · </abbr>Follow (YOUR NAME) on <a class="twitter_byline" href="Your Twitter URL">Twitter</a></p>
<?php }
}
add_action('thesis_hook_after_headline', 'custom_byline', '1');

This will create a brand new byline using PHP and HTML, which can be customized however you’d like. Paste that code into your custom_functions.php file and view your new byline. Make adjustments as needed.

Also, I am not a huge fan of showing the number of comments on my posts from the blog pages. So, I remove that link.

// ------------------- REMOVE COMMENTS LINK
remove_action('thesis_hook_after_post', 'thesis_comments_link');

Single Post Footer

Right after someone has read your great content is the perfect time to ask them to take an action.

Personally, I like to ask for a subscription at that point.

To create an area directly beneath your single blog posts, paste the following code into your custom_functions.php file:

// ------------------- SINGLE POST FOOTER
function single_post_footer() { if(is_single()) { ?>
	<!-- Start HTML for the single post footer -->

        <!-- End HTML for the single post footer -->
<?php } }
add_action('thesis_hook_after_post', 'single_post_footer');

Simply input whatever HTML you’d like between the comment lines to create your single post footer. Too easy.

Kolakube Skins

Perhaps I should have said this first?

Kolakube is a business dedicated to making Thesis even more amazing.

My friend, Alex, is currently an 18 year old kid who has been doing his thing online since before a lot of us cared to own a website.

Through Kolakube, he distributes some of the most amazing Thesis designs I have ever seen for an affordable price.

I have been a huge fan for quite some time now.

However, I am officially part of the Kolakube team at this point. How cool is that?

I don’t always use Kolakube skins, as you can see here.

I do, however, think about what it is that I need out of my blog design to best compliment the overall vibe of my site. If a certain Kolakube skin fits my needs perfectly, much like the what the Chronicl skin did for my motivational blog, You Set the Pace, I will make the purchase.

I now use my own custom design on You Set the Pace. After all, I’m a designer too. ;)

Stop by Kolakube and check out the skins. If you have any questions, head to the support forums and ask whatever it is you’d like to know.

Chances are, I’ll be the one to answer the question. ;)

There’s much more

There are many more things you can do with Thesis. It’s so freakin’ flexible! These are just a few of my first stops.

Stay tuned for more Thesis tips in the future. :)

12 Comments:
  1. Great work here Sean!

    I didn’t know you were part of the Kolakube team. I have seen Alex’s work and I definitely approve his work. He freaking rocks at design and no wonder why you raise the bar so high on your own sites.

    Keep up the amazing stuff, I’m sure you’ll be starting a massive following really soon, I’m already a fan! ;-)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Sergio! I just joined Alex a little over a week ago. I’ve been a fan of his for a while and I guess it paid off. We’ve got some BIG plans for the near future! So, as you would assume, I’m terribly excited.

      I just started writing here… it’ll be all about Thesis ;) I’m doing a few small articles like this one to build the archives and then I’ll start getting fancy with it.

      Thanks again for reading, man. Shoot me an email and let me know if you’re headed to Blog World Expo NY in June. I’ll be there… my first!

      • All about Thesis here? Love it man!

        Never been to NYC before, my girlfriend is so eager that we should go, I’ll let you know in case I can be there, I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

        Already saw a lot of familiar faces (speakers).

        PS. Funny to watch Chris Ducker as a speaker since he just went under spinal surgery but who knows, it’s two months from now. ;-)

        •  I think it will be fun. The funny thing is that I am not really there to see any of the speakers. I’d much rather meet people like you and the other folks around the blogosphere making moves.

  2. Awesome article Sean!

    I think more Thesis tips would be greatly appreciated :)

  3. No doubt that Kolakube makes a perfect set, yet it needs to come up with more cool features and should tailor fit each and every purposes of the blogger.. hope it will be able to cater all very soon.. 

    • No doubt! It’s funny that you say that because that’s actually one of Kolakube’s new goals. Right now, there are just a few skins and Marketer’s Delight is pretty much the only one that serves a specific purpose. Well, that’s about to change in the coming months. We plan to have a full line of skins that all have a purpose much like MD’s purpose is marketing.

      Stay tuned, Raj! ;)

  4. Hi —
    Bought Thesis last year and have been slow (read: uhm, slightly intimidated) to play around with it. Stumbled across your blog through a link in the comments on the DIYthemes blog, and I hear angels singing! Thanks so much for writing in laymen’s terms. I will be back!

    • Awesome, Sandee! So glad to hear that!

      Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or if you want to request a specific tutorial. :)

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