Thrive Themes Review (After 2 Years of Use & 25+ Websites)

Thrive Themes Review (After 2 Years of Use & 25+ Websites)

By: Corey Philip
Updated: November 6, 2020

100+ Landing Page Templates

11 Marketing Features

9 Website Building Tools & Plugins

35+ Marketing Platform Integrations

20+ Design Elements

Lifetime updates

Building a website isn’t as simple as formatting a set of pages, deciding on brand colors, and basically focusing all efforts toward design. With plenty of page and theme builders available that all have beautiful design features, it’s going to take more than aesthetic for your website to stand out.

A website that can convert visitors needs a page and theme builder that integrates real-life marketing strategies into its features. That’s what Thrive Themes is best known for. But are their features really all of the best things they say they are? In this post, I’ll review the Thrive Themes products and their capabilities, and give perspective if they’re really as useful for marketing.

What is Thrive Themes?

Thrive Themes is a product suite of tools used to create websites and build sales funnels within WordPress. It powers WordPress themes and plugins that are developed specifically to build conversion-optimized websites with no coding knowledge required. Their products include effective marketing features that integrate well together, but also function well on their own.

Almost all their tools can be accessed with the front-end visual editor, which allows you to see the final webpage as you build it. It’s a convenient all-in-one WordPress tool for people who aren’t well-versed with the traditional coding-heavy WordPress platform. Alternatively, they have extra tools that help complete novices who are not comfortable building from scratch.

What You Can Do With Thrive Themes: The Thrive Product Suite

Thrive Themes’ creators have made it so that this user-friendly page builder is equipped with essential marketing tools that are used for real marketing strategies. Here are the main products in their roster that are most commonly used...

Easily Create Your Own Theme


It hasn’t been that long since Thrive Themes started offering the theme builder, and it’s one of the main things people look for from Thrive. The theme builder, with its accompanying theme called Shapeshift, is a theme that allows you to build the major components of your website: header, footer, sidebars, and whole page layouts.

Unlike traditional WordPress themes that only let you add or edit certain aspects, the Thrive Theme Builder lets you customize up to the minute details, whether it’s just a certain area of your site or the entire page. You can even choose from template options for the headers, footers, and sidebars if you’re out of ideas and alter according to your brand design.

The Theme Builder also integrates well with Thrive Architect for an efficient workflow with drag-and-drop design features. And this brings us to the next product...

ShapeShift

Just to clarify, you install Shapeshift like a regular WordPress Theme and then that themes allows you to customize the header, footer, page layouts (you can have unlimited).  

👍 It's a game changer.

(you do not need the theme builder to use the other amazing elements of Thrive -- it will work with any theme you use).

Build Awesome Pages


Thrive Architect is the front-end visual editor that requires no coding knowledge. This is the main foundation of the entire Thrive product suite, as this will be what you’ll use to build and design landing pages and lead generation forms.

As it’s a front-end editor, Thrive Architect provides you with real-time previews of your edits as it will appear on your website. It gives you total control over the appearance of your pages with drag-and-drop elements on the right and an easy-to-navigate settings panel on the left. And the best part is you don’t have to type any kind of code to achieve what you envision.

Capture Leads


At this time, it’s almost useless to have a website if visitors are not even engaging with your content… And how do you know they are engaging? They must take action, which is to say you must convert them into leads.

Thrive Leads is the plugin that directly addresses this need. It’s a lead generation tool with the purpose of growing your email list through conversion-optimized forms and pop-ups. The most important aspect of lead generation is the call-to-action. Together with the design elements from Thrive Architect, or the pre-built opt-in form templates, you can indirectly push visitors into taking action, specifically giving you their email.

Thrive Leads is integrated with different email marketing platforms such as ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, etc. Thrive Leads also includes A/B testing and in-depth reporting, so you don’t have to manually run 2 forms or make use of third-party tools.

Give Users an Ultimatum (scarcity)


Thrive Ultimatum plays into scarcity marketing strategies, specifically displaying countdown timers usually in pages with high-value offers. Putting a time limitation on certain offers gives people a sense of urgency to act now.

This plugin includes a lockdown feature that prevents people from cheating the countdown by refreshing the page or using different emails. Thrive Ultimatum’s lockdown feature makes sure visitors won’t be able to access your offer after the countdown has stopped since they first reached your website.

You also have control over what type of campaign you want to run, whether you want it on a fixed date or to be a recurring one. The ‘Ultimate Evergreen System’ runs your campaign with real scarcity mechanisms to boost your conversions.

Create Quizes


Quizzes are fun and interactive content that you can add to your website to encourage engagement with less commitment than asking for visitors’ emails and other information. Additionally, they also discreetly provide insight into who visits your website and what piques their interest.

Most quizzes are also designed to be a gamification of surveys that make it fun for people, so they’re more likely to complete it. Quizzes can also be used as a gateway for opt-ins or organic social shares. Ultimately, quizzes are worth adding to your content strategy alongside blog posts and videos, and the Thrive Quiz Builder is a helpful tool to create quizzes that visitors want to complete.

Test & Optimize Your Content (pages/posts/headlines).


If you’re not A/B testing your website for optimization, you’re losing out on a perfectly good tool to make your website better and eventually sell more. A/B testing cuts the work in half when it comes to researching what your visitors want to see on your website.

Thrive Optimize is the tool for A/B testing landing pages with an easy setup, unlimited variations, and detailed reporting. What Thrive Optimize DOESN’T do is create multiple URLs for different variations, take a long time to conduct the testing, and ask you to write code. The ease and simplicity of Thrive Optimize is what separates it from other A/B testing plugins available on WordPress.

Best of Thrive Themes: What I Like Most

Learning how to use Thrive Themes isn’t a steep learning curve. The creators did a good job in honing a seamless user experience. Before we get to the actual products, these capabilities are worth noting if you’re considering to use Thrive Themes.

Pre-built templates

As much as Thrive encourages you to use their expansive tools to create impressive pages from scratch, they also know it can be daunting for most. Thus, they also provide base templates for almost every kind of webpage you can think of: webinar registration pages, landing pages, sales pages, homepage, and even simple blog posts. Within Thrive Architect, there’s even more templates for different kinds of content you want to add.

Aside from this, they have a plethora of resources to learn how to create your own templates. Thrive Themes have quite a good method of documentation. If you encounter a problem with something, you can easily search for your specific dilemma and there will most likely be a support or tutorial video that addresses it.

Global styles for consistent appearance

When formatting a page, you can set global settings to some elements that will apply to all pages you create in the future. This includes brand colors, fonts and sizes, page layout, among other things. This cuts down time spent on editing because you don’t have to set some elements to the default setting you want every single time.

Custom page layouts

Aside from the templated elements, you can also create a template page. You can set the width of the page, the header and footer appearance, or if you want to include them at all. You’re literally starting from scratch, and you can use this for pages that you intend to have the same formatting. For example, this is useful if you want blog posts to look uniform, or if you want all sales pages you create in the future to stay on brand.

Integration between Thrive products

The advantage of Thrive Architect against other page builders in the market is that it integrates well with other Thrive tools and products. As a package, Thrive Themes will cost less and have better return in the number of features and functionalities you can do with it inside WordPress. And they were all designed to function as a unit.

If you decide to use Thrive Themes, you can implement a whole marketing sales funnel using the Thrive product suite. They have tools for every stage of the buyer’s journey from lead generation and conversion up to customer retention.

Mobile Responsive

Since first starting to use Thrive Themes, I’ve always seen the importance they put on mobile responsiveness of all their products. When you format something for desktop, it will automatically be optimized for other types of devices, particularly for tablet and mobile.

The preview is also readily available as you edit. Rarely have I ever had to edit the mobile view as it’s almost always what I envision when I format it for desktop. If I had to edit the mobile version, it was only a few elements.

Optimized for conversions

Shane Melaugh, one of the creators of Thrive Themes, has thorough knowledge of marketing from years of business experience. He’s the one behind the marketing aspect of the Thrive products. Thankfully, because they included a lot of marketing features that are already used by marketers – only they made it accessible even for people with no previous lead generation or sales background.

Lifetime updates

It goes without saying that a Thrive Themes membership allows you access to their products and every update henceforth. However, you can also get the main Thrive products, which we’ll get to later, at a one-off price AND future updates as well.

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Other Things You Should Know About…

Aside from what’s already mentioned, here are more features that Thrive Themes offers...

Thrive Ovation


Social proof is another important marketing aspect that can increase conversion on your website. Thrive Ovation is the tool that helps you manage testimonials by automating the process of gathering them and displaying on your homepage, or wherever you designate them to.

Thrive Apprentice


Selling your own online courses? Thrive Apprentice is the learning management system that provides developer-level features for creating your online courses, complete with lessons, chapters, and modules.

It also provides an intuitive interface for your students, so they can go through your courses with ease and little to no technical difficulties. Important teaching tools like tables and lists are also available to make your course coherent and easy to follow.

Thrive Comments


The Thrive Comments plugin incorporates the best parts of commenting from other social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit to encourage engagement and interaction, not just between you and your visitors but visitors among themselves as well.

Badges, likes, upvotes, and featured comments are incentives that spurs on your visitors to contribute to the discussion. This plugin also allows you to manage comments as there can be a lot of spam and also integrates with Thrive Ovation to automate comments into testimonials.

Walkthrough Wizard


If designing and deciding the visual layout of your site is still too intimidating without much experience, the Walkthrough Wizard is a feature that guides beginners through the initial steps of building a website. It will help you set up your logo, site structure, header, footer, homepage and blog post layouts in a foolproof step-by-step interface.

Pricing

Thrive Themes membership costs only $19 per month if you choose annual billing, and $30 for quarterly billing. The entire Thrive product suite for that price point seems worth it if you are looking to take advantage of their products together.

However, if you’re planning to buy Thrive Architect on its own or select Thrive products, you might as well look at other page builder alternatives. Prices for the individual products can range from $39 to $147. For that, you can probably get the same features and capabilities without having to spend on different products.

Recommended or Not?

Thrive Themes is not as well-known for their design features as much as they are for their marketing features. If you’re planning on using just a few Thrive products, like Thrive Architect for its design elements, you might be well off using another alternative. Thrive Architect on its own seems lacking in the design aspect.

When it comes to substantial marketing features, however, Thrive Themes offers the best suite of products that addresses marketers’ needs. They’re all designed to be used together and can be applied for real-life marketing strategies.

Corey Philip
November 6, 2020
Corey Philip

Founder of a home service / specialty trade contracting company (think patio's and deck) with a focus on customer experience. Quantitative investor. Data driven marketer. Runner.