So You Want to Remove that Attribution Link?

by Chris Pearson · 40 comments

Alright, I know many of you want to get rid of the attribution link in the Thesis footer, and I think that if I were in your shoes, I’d probably want to do the same. Problem is, that little link is an extremely powerful search marketing tool that works even while I sleep.

In order to recoup the value of the lost link, I had planned to offer an attribution removal option for a separate fee. I was never happy with that idea, though, because I don’t want any of you feeling like I’m bilking you out of cash at every turn. In fact, I want you feeling like Thesis is the best value of all time, and charging you a fee to remove a stinkin’ link seems to work against that goal. On top of that, keeping up with the fees and whatnot sounds like a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping, and frankly, I don’t want to mess with any of that πŸ™‚

I do, however, want to keep each and every one of you happy while helping you build stronger, smarter, better-looking Websites. In lieu of this, I’ve decided that anyone who owns a developer’s license is free to remove the attribution link.

Many people have shown interest in making Thesis a key component of their Web design and consulting businesses, and I want to do whatever I can to help those folks in every way possible. In order to maintain consistency and maximum credibility, they really need to be able to remove the attribution link.

So, to all you Thesis developers out there, thank you for being such pivotal members of the community, and I hope this will prove useful as you grow your businesses on the Web!

Not a Thesis developer yet? Upgrade your personal license or get a new developer’s license. For more information, read up on Thesis licenses.

About the Author: Chris Pearson, Thesis creator and DIYthemes founder, is obsessed with optimizing the web and making sure every last detail receives the attention it requires. You should follow him on Twitter here.

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I only removed it from the six other websites I made using Thesis.

Just kidding!! πŸ˜›

Honored and proud of the humble little footer down there. Represent’.

Chris Pearson

Michael β€” Awesome, man. I appreciate the props. And the link love, of course… but really more the props! πŸ˜€


Hi Chris. I was thinking about keeping the links in the footer, but adding nofollow to it. (As you have added everywhere.) That way you would still get the visitors, and I would be able to minimize site-wide links. (Not that I’ve purchased the theme yet, although I am planning to do so soon.)

Chris Pearson

Stijn β€” Adding the nofollow attribute to the link in the footer would defeat its purpose entirely. In all honesty, the search marketing boost is about 98% of my concern, while clickthroughs and visitors comprise the remainder. It would be nice if those links sent a bunch of targeted traffic with loose wallets, but in my experience, that’s simply not the case.

Jason Preston

Thanks Chris, we appreciate the flexibility.

We grabbed a developers license (I think I asked about it before you even HAD one) early on and it’s great to have the flexibility to use this awesome theme on our sites and with our clients.

My solution to the “link problem” was somewhat more simple – I left the link in, but styled the text to be white, like the background. So your links are there in all our sites (some with some good PageRanks) because I like to kick back where possible, but they are invisible to the casual observer.

May not be a bad solution for others as well.


Is there a way I can add an extra link to mysite? That’s how much I love thesis!


Chris β€” How about a dynamic footer? One that would serve a regular link on the main page (highest PR), but would contain a nofollow link on the remainder of the website? I do understand why attribution is of such importantance, but I’m also considering the disadvantage of site-wide links, as mentioned elsewhere.

Chris Pearson

Stijn β€” I realize that I preach the importance of containing PR leaks and the like, but in the big scheme of things, the footer link really isn’t that big a deal.

I have no qualms about leaving the attribution link on every page, just as I’ve got no qualms about people removing the link if they’ve paid for a developer’s license πŸ™‚

Chris Pearson

Jason β€” Your solution absolutely works, but it treads on some potentially shaky ground. For years, people have used that tactic to stuff pages with relevant keywords in an attempt to game search engines, and as a result, that practice is now considered “black hat” by many.

Personally, I would steer clear of doing this (even though it works), simply because I don’t want any of my sites penalized for something so trivial. I certainly wouldn’t want any customers getting penalized, either!

Miguel Wickert (Pineiro)

Hey Chris, I’m fine with the link. Thanks for your effort and support! All the best and continued success.

Bob Nolin

Hi Chris –
Sorry to use this comment area to contact you, but I don’t see any other way to do it (no email address given, can’t use forum unless paid user). I am very impressed with your work, and I’d love to use Thesis, because it’s just so darned well done (plus I’ve always been a sucker for gorgeous typography). The problem is I need a CMS style theme. Not a magazine, per se, more of a “A List Apart” theme. The site will be called Digital Image Magazine, and it will contain articles about making images on the computer. It’s not a news magazine, but the magazine themes are the closest thing to what I’m looking for. However, none of them seem as well-designed as your themes. They are mostly over-designed and overwhelming to the user. Any chance you’ll be coming out with a magazine theme? Soon?? Again, sorry for the OT post, but I needed to contact you.

Chris Pearson

Bob β€” The perceived differences between magazine style themes and Thesis are something that I really need to devote more attention to on this site. The truth here is that great themes are all about what they enable you to do, and Thesis is a platform that is intended to be the perfect foundation for any type of Website.

On the other hand, the magazine-style themes you see shoehorn you into publishing your content in a very specific way. This may not be a problem initially, but what if, three months down the road, you decide that you need to change things up a bit and publish in a format that you’ve now determined is precisely suited to your content?

From experience, I can tell you that every site ends up having a unique set of specific needs, and one of my goals is a developer is to provide folks like you with the platform they need to accommodate them in style.

Also, you mentioned that you intend to publish helpful, tutorial-esque articles about image-making. Certainly, this seems like an excellent strategy for developing cornerstone content, and one of the great things about content like this is its potential to serve as a long term asset in the search engines.

Because of this, you should really make search engine performance a primary consideration when choosing a theme for your site. I have always kept a close eye on in-site SEO techniques, and as my personal sites have grown, I’ve really benefited from rock-solid optimization. Thanks to Thesis, I’m now able to provide an expertly-crafted framework that anyone can use to absolutely nail their in-site SEO.

Finally, I just want to be clear that I’m not bashing any other premium themes in relation to Thesis. If one of those themes perfectly suits your needs, then that’s fantastic! Please do keep in mind, however, that Websites inevitably evolve over time. As Webmasters learn more and more about how to manage their sites effectively, they realize that they need to do certain things differently. Ordinarily, changes of this nature require both design and logistical modifications, and this can mean a much greater cash outlay over time.

By choosing a more robust, flexible framework now (and really learning how to use it effectively!), you’ll be in a much stronger position down the road! And heyβ€”if you don’t think Thesis has what you need right now, I’d encourage you to subscribe to the feed all the same. I’m going to be releasing version 1.0 in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully, that will blow you away πŸ™‚

Bob Nolin

Chris –
Thanks for the (as usual) thoughtful and intelligent response. Your points are well taken. SEO is extremely important to me, as I will be relying almost completely on search engines to drive traffic, at least initially. I see your point about a good solid framework to start with. No doubt that’s true. But for an absolute beginner, it’s helpful to buy a theme that’s as close as possible to what I need right out of the box. I’ve decided to start with Gridline Magazine, though I may abandon it once I’ve learned how to modify themes. Also, as you say, needs change over time. I’ve no idea where this venture will take me, and six months from now my initial structure will no doubt look very different. I will certainly keep an eye on your feed, and I look forward to Thesis 1.0. And I would recommend that you do address this magazine issue (pun intended) lest you lose out on what is already a hot area. Thanks for the response.


Chris –
I am so happy with the theme. I second Michael, I’m proud of the link.
Actually, I admire your politeness when addressing people that want to remove it. I would’ve banged my head against the wall if I were you!

Chris Pearson

Fabi β€” Thanks for the good word!


Chris and Bob: you might be interested in Jason Santa Maria’s personal site redesign and his thoughts on the whys and wherefores. (Jason did the A List Apart redesign, along with AIGA, which has a bit of the magazine style to it…)

Here’s the article:

Jennae @ Green Your Decor

I really have no problem with the link since I tell people about the Thesis theme all the time anyway. And as a designer myself, I’m a big believer in giving credit where credit is due. The link is very minimal, like the rest of my design after customization, so it’s not like it’s screaming “CLICK ME!” in bright red. I’m happy to have it.


Fabi Have you made your site membership only ?


Hi Chris,

I just tried purchasing this theme using Paypal and the moment I clicked the “Purchase” button, I was sent to a “Page Not Found” page in Paypal itself.

At this moment, I’m not sure if my payment has gone through, so if you would be so kind, could you let me know if you had received any payment on my end?

I tried finding an email to contact you personally but couldn’t find any, so I’m sorry if I had to get in touch with you like this.


Hi Chris,

I just called my bank and they did confirm that the transaction went through. Could you please send me an email to clarify my position for I am at a total loss as to why I still can’t seem to access your product in the member’s area.

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

Chris Pearson

Mikhail β€” I have checked both my membership software and my PayPal account for any record of your payment, but unfortunately, nothing has come through yet. Because there was an error within PayPal during the transaction, it seems likely that the payment would not have been accepted.

If your bank is correct in saying that the transaction went through, then your money is floating around in cyberspace somewhere. The second it hits my account, your DIYthemes membership will become active, and you’ll be able to login and download the theme.

In the meantime, I would suggest contacting PayPal about your payment because it’s clear that your bank and PayPal are showing conflicting information.


Hi Chris,

Thank you for your quick response. I have sent you an email with some details of my transaction and as you said, I will check with PayPal as well to clarify my situation.

Thanks once again for helping me out with this.

Chris Pearson

Mikhail β€” Sure thing. Problems were meant to be solved, and I’m confident that we’ll get this one figured out!


Thanks Chris. Since the time I’ve gotten in touch with you, I’ve had nothing but excellent support from you.


No, my site is not membership only. I put a password on it because it’s been “under construction”and I wanted to keep the mess private… πŸ™‚


Interested in the theme but wondered if I could get the personal license and rather than remove the footer link, nofollow it. Would that be acceptable. please email me so that I know. Also, I take it that the theme of this site is the demo for the theme? Was a bit confused about that. Thanks.

Chris Pearson

Mark β€” Yes, this is the demo site, and no, you can’t add the nofollow attribute to the link in the footerβ€”that would defeat the purpose of the link entirely!

Jaan Kanellis

Chris why in the world do you have nofollow on the Home link? How do we turn it off?

Chris Pearson

Jaan β€” When I initially developed the Thesis navigation menu, I chose to nofollow the home link because the site title (which is linked) is more keyword-relevant and keyword-rich than “home.” For users who are obscuring the title, however, there is no followed link back to the home page, and this is obviously a problem.

I’ve discussed this very issue with quite a few friends in the SEO industry, and the consensus opinion is that I should probably remove all nofollows outside of the comments portion of the site. Because of this, you should anticipate a template that is free from nofollows in the next interstitial release of Thesis.

In the meantime, if you want to remove the nofollow attribute from your nav menu, open your header_functions.php file (located inside /lib/functions), locate line 228, and remove the following:


Jaan Kanellis

I would just give us the option of adding it or not adding it Chris. It is a great tool. For example I would love to be bale to nofollow my cat or tag links from your backend.

Another recommendation I would have is to added the ability some sort of title and/or link to the media that is upper right hand box.


I love this theme, and as footer link without nofollow may be an attribution for you. anyway, how about create the magazine style wordpress theme? i would love to wait for the theme. Hehe..


Hi Chris,

I’ve just started to put together my membership site and I’m loving the theme – it’s so perfect for it!

I got a developer’s upgrade even though I’m not a developer, so I could remove the att. link. But as I’m not a dev. I’m not sure how to do it. Could you point me in the right direction?

Rob Holmes

It’s your brand, man. You need to promote it.


i find it a bit suspicious that none of the above commenters thinks this is nuts – yes, Thesis is a wonderful theme,but given how many wonderful themes are out there (many of them free /and/ relatively configurable), it’s totally ridiculous that you pay $87 bucks and /still/ can’t remove the freaking attribution link.

if you ask me, either we’re all a bit deluded or Chris is doing some censoring… πŸ˜‰

let me be clear, i’m not trying to be a jerk – Chris i’m grateful to (and very impressed with) you for making the web easier for so many people – but Thesis has earned its reputation by being /good/, not from pagerank – and given its current popularity, at $87 a pop, i have to imagine you’re doing fine by now.