5 Common Problems Setting Up a Thesis-Themed WordPress Blog

Recently I moved my blog from WordPress.com to its own domain name. I set it up with WordPress and the Thesis theme. I wanted a more professional presence for my blog and a lot of business bloggers I respect (Chris Brogan and others) recommended Thesis. So I took their advice.  But when I did, I ran into these issues:  

  1. My links were no longer search engine friendly
  2. I no longer knew how many visitors my blog had or where my blog visitors were coming from. My site statistics were gone.
  3. All my videos and audios were no longer in my posts
  4. There wasn’t a place in Thesis to upload my professionally designed blog header
  5. Links from the search engines and other websites were sending traffic to my old blog. Not my new domain name.

At first these issues looked ugly. But in no time they were solved.

FIX FOR PROBLEM  #1– Create Search Engine Friendly Links in Thesis

Thesis automatically creates links to your blog posts like this:

http://www.yourblog.com/?p=123

There are no keywords in the link. So the search engines can’t tell what your blog post is about from the link. That’s a “no-no.” But you can change it easily.

First, log in to your WordPress Dashboard. Under “Settings,” choose “Permalinks.”

Next, uncheck the default setting. Then check the “Day and name” setting or the “Month and name” setting. That’s it.

Permalinks Settings in WordPress

Now your links will include your blog post titles in them.

FIX FOR PROBLEM #2 – Set-up WordPress stats plugin and Google Analytics

In your WordPress Dashboard, under “Plugins,” choose “Add New”

Then do a search for “stats.” You’ll find a list of plugins available. Personally I like the WordPress.com stats program because I’m used to it. You’re able to install these plugins by clicking the “install” link and following the directions. It’s real easy.

Next, install Google Analytics. Go to http://google.com/analytics/ and sign-up.  Once you sign-up and follow the instructions, Google will give you code to copy and paste into your blog.  See:

Google Analytics

Then go to your WordPress Dashboard. Click on “Thesis Options.” Then choose “Footer.” You’ll see a place to paste your Google code. See screenshot below:

Thesis WordPress Footer

FIX FOR PROBLEM  #3 – Embed audio and video files

I had to go back and enter all my videos and audio files again. It didn’t take very long. But it was a little annoying.

FIX FOR PROBLEM  #4 – Adding your branded header graphic to your Thesis themed WordPress blog

First, upload your header image to the /Thesis/Custom/Images folder on your server. Then place this code in your custom.css file (remember to insert your file name and the file dimensions):

.custom #header #logo a { display: block; height: 180px; width: 800px; background: url('images/IMAGE-FILE-NAME') no-repeat; outline: none; }
.custom #header #logo, .custom #header #tagline { text-indent: -9999px; }
.custom #header #tagline { height: 0; }
.custom #header {border-bottom:none; padding:0}
.custom #header { padding: 0; }

The code and directions above are from HowToMakeMyBlog.com

FIX FOR PROBLEM #5 – Redirecting your traffic from your WordPress.com blog to your new domain

WordPress.com gives you instructions for redirecting your blog here:

Redirecting Your Blog

But before you redirect your blog I recommend going through your most popular posts on your old blog. Then replace the content with text similar to “This post moved to” with a link to the post on your new blog.

You also want to create a new blog post on your old blog saying, “This blog has moved to “MyBlogsNewDomain Name.com.”

Do this for a few weeks first. Then redirect your blog through WordPress.com. If you skip this step, many of your old links will go to a “This page not found”  error on the new blog.

In spite of this extra work, I highly recommend moving your blog to Thesis. I bought their developer solution. And I signed up as an afilliate. The links in this post are my afilliate links.

  13 comments for “5 Common Problems Setting Up a Thesis-Themed WordPress Blog

  1. February 22, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I was looking for something to take care of the 404 error issue today and found a great Plug-in called Smart 404, http://atastypixel.com/blog/wordpress/plugins/smart-404/. I tested it on a couple of links that were getting 404 errors. It now finds and redirects to the new page very easily. Give it a shot.

  2. February 23, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Do people think that Thesis is too much trouble for your average blogger?

  3. February 23, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Hi Nils. Thesis is probably too much work for the average blogger. But why would you want to be an average blogger anyway? Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

  4. February 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I love, love, love Thesis. I totally disagree with Doug. I think it’s a great platform for the average blogger. There are a ton of Thesis tutorial bloggers out there who provide step-by-step solutions. I’ve never programmed or coded a thing in my life and Thesis has been awesome in that I can change format, colors, fonts, etc without having to wait 20 years for a developer. Great post, Doug.

  5. February 24, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I love Thesis too Michelle. Maybe I’m thinking about non-technical business owners who don’t use Facebook or anything accept e-mail. But they are starting to blog for their business. Typing in their posts and uploading photos is about all they really want to do. They don’t want to mess with the rest or they’re afraid they will mess up their blog by changing things. They don’t want to spend time watching tutorials or learning something new like this. Those bloggers can be intimidated by Thesis. But they shouldn’t be.

    It’s easy to use. Once the blog is set-up, it’s really easy to keep going like any other blogging platform. But moving from WordPress.com or Blogger to your own domain name can be frustrating. If they use the tips above, they shouldn’t have issues in the future.

  6. February 26, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Doug, I see your point. Thanks for the clarification.

  7. March 12, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    When I change my permalink structure to anything other than the default, my custom header image disappears from the permalink. Any ideas on why that’s happening and what to do about it? The header image is in custom images folder and has been working beautifully until I tried to change the permalink structure. Thanks

  8. March 16, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Linda, I’m not sure what is causing your custom header to disappear. Please contact me on LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/fightthebigboys. So we can go over the issue more in depth.

  9. April 27, 2010 at 9:20 am

    You’ve provided some decent solutions for these “problems”, but it is less than honest to suggest that Thesis is the cause for them as the title and leading paragraph implies. Aside from the custom header graphic, these are issues relating to setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog in general.

    – Thesis doesn’t do anything to permalinks.
    – If a person’s tracking is coded into their theme, switching to any other theme will require adding the tracking code to the new theme (or switching to a plugin)
    – Thesis doesn’t do anything to regular uploads
    – Regardless of what theme a person uses, moving a website will always require a little handiwork in getting everything pointing to the right location.

    This isn’t to say Thesis is the easiest theme to use. There is a little bit of a learning curve to switch from an average WordPress theme to Thesis. However, Thesis is a blessing to people who want the freedom to fine-tune their blog on their own, without diving into the mechanics of WordPress (or learning masses of web coding).

  10. April 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

    You make a very good point Marie. I didn’t mean to imply that Thesis caused these issues. Moving from WordPress.com to a “self hosted” solution was the primary cause of these issues. But I did migrate to Thesis at the same time I moved to a self-hosted solution. So everything happened together. I use Thesis and I’m happy with it. I recommend it for a lot of people. If you want a more professional blog, then Thesis is a great solution.

  11. May 3, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Hi Doug your views are exactly what i was looking for. I have built my own website for my travel company using the very basic apple application iweb. I am now having a “proper” site built but want to continue having the control and creativity of DIY. I have absolutely no knowledge of code. I like the look of Thesis and my requirements are blogging and good photo gallery. I am torn between playing it simple to begin with and going for a photo gallery themed blog, but then I am quite restricted and although my photography is important, the main purpose is travel and my trips. Or I go with Thesis and begin the learning process. Should I just go the whole hog and start with Thesis?

  12. May 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Hi Guy. Thesis will work for you. Here is an example of a realtor using Thesis effectively, http://okchomesellers.com/. Almost any WordPress theme will work for what you have in mind. The key for you will be choosing the right photo gallery plug-in. I also recommend using WooThemes and WordPress. This one would work great fo you, City Guide. I think a well designed WordPress Theme is a simpler solution than Thesis for someone like you. Again, the plug-ins will be the key. I’m writing a new blog post about plug-ins I recommend. Check back in the next day or two to read it.

  13. April 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I own several mini-sites based on XSitePro and I am currently learning and migrating to Thesis for which I have bought the developer option. The above website has hardly started, but I had some great advice that since all my sites have the theme of project management training, and all sell distinct but related downloadable video training products, it would be best to have one main site that branded myself. Here is one example: http://www.prince2primer.com. So I’ll be setting up the above for that. One question is that my previous ‘blogs’ were in fact hundreds of helpful articles relating to each product, so i would need at least 6 blogs on the new site each with resource pages tying together articles that help the reader study and learn.Probably the front page will be static with a menu leading to all the above. I’ll also add landing pages for the free downloads I offer in exchange for Aweber email stuff….any high level suggestions Doug/others?

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