If there was ever a boilerplate theme for WordPress that people turned to for style and simplicity, it was Thesis, among many others. This little doozey allows you to build a professional-looking blog with little or no coding. Many top bloggers such as Adam Baker and James Allen use it, not to mention its praise by the ultimate ‘Problogger’ Darren Rowse.
But there is a downside to all of this. You see, in order to create a fully-functional website with no coding necessary, you have to pay. And pay big you will — $87 to be exact. However, I have found a free alternative WordPress theme clone of Thesis which is almost identical, but it’s only for those of us who aren’t afraid to get our heads stuck into bit of HTML snipping and altering.
It’s called ‘2 Column Neoclassical’ theme and it’s available to download at the end of this very long post. It looks almost exactly like Thesis. Below is a screenshot of my blog with the theme running. As you can see, it has the same fonts, format and style that Thesis has and I paid exactly $0 for it all.
Making A WordPress Thesis Clone
I customized my theme in three main ways. The first, and perhaps the most obvious was to change the header image to something more appropriate for my blog. With most themes, the code to do this is in the Header.php file so it knocked me off balance a little to discover it wasn’t. But never fear, in keeping with the Thesis ‘customization’ calling, the changes have to be made to the Custom.css file around halfway down.
You’ll see the following area of code which I have highlighted. By standard, it will be like “˜themes/neoclasical2/header.png’.
Enter in the location of your image (which you will have already uploaded using the ‘Add Media’ function in WordPress). It should be the URL from the ‘/wp-content…’ part onwards. You can also adjust the dimensions of the picture using the code directly above the highlighted section. The standard dimensions are “width: 910px; height:200px;“.
The second change you may wish to make is to the sidebar; a place where many of us put most of our functions, feeds and fun stuff. Anyone who has used WordPress before will know that this can be done by accessing ‘Widgets’ under the ‘Appearance’ tab in the WP Admin screen. As you can see, I have inserted images (Twitter badge and RSS icon) which are hyperlinked to their respective accounts. I also added in some counters (still shamefully low as it’s in its first month!).
Another thing you may want to add to your blog is advertisements. The bulk of services (such as AdSense) serve you your ads in HTML code. To add this to your sidebar (or indeed anywhere on your site), simply paste this code into a text widget on your sidebar (or elsewhere, into a code file if you want it somewhere else, such as in the header).
Finally, if you want to spice your site up a little and boost traffic, add social media such as Twitter, Digg and Stumble Upon. For this task, I’ll direct you to a previous article of mine here on MUO which covers the subject in depth.
What do you think of the FREE Thesis WordPress theme clone? Which is your favourite professional-looking WordPress theme?