Having tried dozens of platforms and themes, I’ll chime in.
It was said, theme choice is not the make or break decision most people think. There are tons of good options. Your objective, funnel, copy, and process are far more important than the theme used.
For me the choice came down to: which facilitates my business without me becoming a web designer or having to invest a lot of time learning the technical components, e.g. CSS, hooks, html. What theme gave me the ability to blog and have landing pages facilitating a good funnel – all without deep technical expertise and cost?
The winner for me is Thrive Themes. I moved all of my sites to their themes and saw a dramatic improvement in load time, performance, and usability.
Remember this: you will spend days, even weeks, learning the platform you choose. All of that time is wasted when you change. I started with Thesis, moved to Headway and OptimizePress, and then Genesis. Tried several others. Learned them, then abandoned them. Terrible investment of time and effort.
Finally settled on Thrive because with their tools I won’t have to change again. Evaluate a platform on its overall capabilities, not on a shinny widget or a singular look that you like in the moment. If the platform is supported by a company that is growing, supports and advances the product, and has features aligned with your business, then select that one.
Don’t under-estimate customer support and the development plans of the vender you select. These are make/break elements that are not valued enough when making a selection. How large is the installed base and customer involvement? Can you get support? Is the vender improving the product to stay current with WordPress changes, html improvements, mobile technology, etc.?
I’ve found advice to be very conflicted because the advice comes from very different perspectives. Experts on all things ‘web’ tend to value technical features and programming very highly – so they offer advice as if others had the same technical prowess as them. IM guys like funnels, ease of creating landing pages, and the look of pages. Those type of sites, if they can even be called websites, are very different than those of us who want robust blogging and ‘thought leader’ sites.
Again, match your business needs to the theme and platform you select. Weigh advice from the perspective from which it comes. If you’re new, learning, or not interested in becoming a technical wiz, then factor in such intangibles as customer support, user group support, and overall functionality.
Shane at Thrive is a business person first, web marketer second. He constantly does training on how to build a business using the web. He is keeping Thrive themes updated in order to facilitate business. As the internet changes, so too does his plug-ins and themes. For me, his company and products aligned with my needs the best.