From everything I have seen Genesis and Thesis are the two most popular premium WordPress themes out there. I use both of them regularly (this site runs on Thesis) and regularly recommend both of them (and not just because I get an affiliate commission).
Overall both of these premium themes are very SEO friendly, somewhat easy to use, flexible. But what makes me decide to use one vs the other? Here are a few strengths and weaknesses I see in each for different applications. And yeah, I know there are probably ways to make each of them do what I want in certain situations and from time to time I do mess around with the PHP code and CSS but for the most part I usually want to just install it and go. And keep in mind I am speaking in big generalities here. But here is when I use each theme and what makes me decide to use one vs. another:
1. If I am going to update the site on a regular basis (like this site) I will use Thesis. I think overall the layout is more conducive to a “real” blog. I like the nice, clean layout, I like how everything is displayed, and I like the simplicity. Order Thesis today
2. If I want something that looks a bit more complex I will use Genesis. With Genesis when you get the “Pro Pack” you also get access to 45 different child themes. These all look quite different, all have some cool widgets and features, and are all suitable for different projects. BTW, on February 1st the price of the Pro Plus pack will be going up. For the next few days you can get the Pro Plus pack which includes Genesis and 45 child themes (plus all future child themes) for $299.95. And if you use the code TEN you can save 10%. So if you are thinking about getting it do it now and save yourself a few bucks. Order the Genesis Pro Pack today.
3. For a datafeed based site I will usually use Thesis. I like the way the archive pages are displayed in Thesis and the layout is a bit more functional for me when I am dealing with a bigger datafeed based site. I do have some datafeed sites using Genesis but for the most part I use Thesis for those ones.
4. For a hand written content based site I will usually use Genesis. I really like some of the fancy widgets and sliders and stuff you can use on the Genesis pages with many of their child themes and think that in many cases it can add a nice finishing touch to a site.
But then again a lot of what I use is just based on what I feel like at any given time. And many times I will start building on Genesis but switch over to Thesis and vice-versa. I really do like having the flexibility of both premium themes at my disposal and I would definitely recommend having multiple options to work with whether it is these two or some other premium themes.
The Genesis Pro Pack is a bit spendy at $299.95 vs. $164 for Thesis but the abundance of child themes makes the price much more tolerable.
So what factors do you consider when deciding which theme to use for your affiliate sites? Leave a comment and let me know.