WordPress theme builders have been around for years, and I can’t muster up too much excitement for the well-known ones anymore. What I’m excited about is the new product offered by Thrive Themes which is called the Thrive Theme builder.
Today, I’m going to give you a complete Thrive Theme Builder review, so you can decide whether this new software is right for you.
It’s been ages since WordPress became the largest content management system (CMS) in the world. But, while acquiring and applying a theme is easy, customizing it is not.
Sometimes, some elements within your website just aren’t right. But you can’t change it so easily.
Or you can’t change them at all.
While writing this Thrive Theme Builder review, we found some things you can do with this software that you can’t do with other theme builders.
But we also found out that, because this builder was only launched recently, it’s not all that popular right now. So, before we get into what features it has, let’s talk about what it is.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through my link. Thank you.
What is Thrive Theme Builder?
The Thrive Theme Builder is not a workaround or a plugin. It’s a WordPress theme of its own, but that doesn’t really describe it. The phrase theme editor does a better job of describing it.
The Thrive Theme Builder is a theme editor that allows you to customize WordPress themes with a visual drag n’ drop editor. That is, you get full control of your theme’s elements.
If you’ve ever felt frustrated at the fact that WordPress themes come with elements that can’t be changed or rearranged, now you can make what you want out of your theme.
If you’re a bit confused about the relation between the themed Thrive Theme Builder and the fact that this software claims to build themes, let me break it down.
Thrive Theme Builder is a theme that integrates perfectly with WordPress. Once applied, it allows you the freedom to change any part of it, not just the content or pages. You can recreate your entire theme.
For an even clearer image, here are some elements that you can customize with Thrive Theme Builder:
- Search pages
- Page layout
- Category pages
- Sidebar, etc.
Thrive Theme Builder uses a drag n’ drop editor to make things easy for those of us who need websites but can’t decipher a single line of code. In this way, it allows you to easily and quickly edit parts of your site as required.
What makes it even better is that this software comes with templates. And they can be edited. You can have templates for posts, pages, and more.
Thrive Theme Builder vs. Thrive Architect
The two tools in the above heading are from a suite of tools made by Thrive Themes.
If you’re a Thrive Architect user looking to get more insight with this Thrive Theme Builder review, then you’ve got the right idea.
Because, eventually, the best course of action will be to integrate Thrive Theme Builder into Thrive Architect.
As a page builder plugin, Thrive Architect provides you with control over your pages, posts, and content.
The changes you make only happen on one page at a time, but this does allow users to create stunning content and layouts. You can get to know more about Thrive Architect in this Thrive Architect review.
However, Thrive Theme Builder allows you to implement ideas and changes that affect the entire website.
The two are meant to be a deadly duo: one allows you to create fantastic themes, layouts, colors, and designs to draw users in while the other keeps them, thereby helping to create and manage amazing content one page at a time.
To help make the integration easier on the users, Thrive developers made both software with the same editor but with different targets.
They both have a drag n’ drop editor and similar layouts. They’re so similar that a user may mistake the two interfaces.
All of this adds up to a website where you’re fully in control. There won’t be anything that you can’t change.
Steps are still being taken towards this goal but until then, let us show you exactly what Thrive Theme Builder can do.
Features of Thrive Theme Builder
Now that I’ve given you a base definition of Thrive Theme Builder let’s look at the features to see how this software works.
1. Site Wizard
This might be the best feature this builder has.
The Site Wizard is basically a Thrive Theme Builder tutorial. It’ll walk you through all the features of the builder.
Not only will you gain a general understanding of the Thrive Theme Builder, but the steps are also a series aimed at getting your first website set up in under 15 minutes.
In the Site Wizard, you can start handling the basic setup for your website. You’ll still be able to change them later on, but this eliminates the shock of having a completely blank start page.
You’ll be able to choose your brand color and upload your site’s logo if you have one or want to use one. You can also start setting up templates for some key parts of your website, like headers and footers.
There are many templates available for these parts. For example, header templates include:
- Logo — Menu — Search
- Menu — Logo — Social
- Logo — Burger(menu)
- Logo — Menu — Call to Action, and more.
There are also several footer templates like Centered Logo, Multiple Columns, Contact Info, etc. When you’ve chosen your header and footer templates, then you can focus on your homepage.
Templates for the homepage are categorized into:
- Personal Branding
- Local Business Focused
- Service Businesses; and
- Content Focused.
The above are the options for pre-made templates for homepages. You can also have one of your existing pages or a list of your blog posts as a homepage.
After your homepage is decided, you can now choose templates for your single blog posts, blog post lists, and pages.
This will be your starting point for your new customized theme. If you feel like you need to start again, you can always choose the option that says Restart the Wizard.
2. Global Settings
While you’re reading this Thrive Theme Builder review, please note that when I say global settings, we mean settings that apply changes throughout your entire website.
That is, by making a change on one page, this change will happen across all pages. Other than the Site Wizard, there are only four menu options that can do this. You can access them just below the Site Wizard.
They are branding, typography, templates, and site speed.
If the goal of your website’s customization is to turn it into an online store, you should pay more attention to the Branding button.
This option allows you to customize your theme according to your brand’s color scheme. That is, you can change the theme colors, logo, and favicon (a logo that identifies your site in browser tabs) to match your brand’s.
If you made full use of the Site Wizard, you should already have your theme colors as the site colors. Your icon may also be uploaded.
However, within Branding, you can still make these changes and even add a light and dark version of your logo. The Thrive Theme Builder will automatically use the right ones in places that fit best on your site.
Your favicon is an image or icon that represents your site. It can be your logo or perhaps a simplified version of it. Once you upload it, you’ll be able to see it in the browser tab whenever you open your website.
This option is directly below Branding. Through it, you can customize all the typography on your theme in one spot.
You can customize all the headings, H1 to H6. It’s possible to customize all of them as a group or just make changes to individual headings. You can customize the font, color, alignment, formatting, font size, line height, line spacing, and more.
You can even add a shadow to the text if you want.
This is another option that you should know how to use if you followed the Site Wizard tutorial. The Templates option has several default templates, but they’re categorized under two types.
Under the first type are the templates for Single Content. Single content includes blog posts and landing pages, which have only one type of content or topic.
The second type is the Lists templates. These have content that includes many options like blog lists pages, categories pages, and archive pages.
These settings allow you to apply one template for one type of content throughout your website.
For example, an applied template for single content posts will be applied for all blog posts without you having to oversee the process on every page. The same goes for the Lists.
Although there are Thrive Theme Builder templates for content, you aren’t bound by them. You can create new templates and add them under whichever type you choose.
You can also create templates and apply them to different places under the same category. For example: creating a template for how-to blog posts and one for comparison blog posts.
You can do this by either editing a template or starting one from scratch. They’ll both be done from the Template Editor, which looks a lot like Thrive Architect’s interface with the same drag n’ drop editor.
Theme Builder will let you preview your template by using content from one of your posts or pages. This is done so you can see how your template will look when filled with content.
- Site Speed
Did you know that a two-second delay in web page load time can lead to a 103% increase in bounce rate? Site speed is an essential factor to consider when building any website.
Fortunately, Thrive Theme Builder has created an option to help optimize your website’s speed.
Under this option are three steps that help to optimize site speed. And under the steps are plugins.
Thrive Theme Builder allows you to preload the plugins and exact settings that Thrive recommends for websites running their Theme Builder to get an extremely speedy site.
- Minification and Caching: The recommended plug-ins here are WP Fastest Cache and W3 Total Cache. Thrive has a one-click setup with these tools, so all you need to do is install them and select Configure for Optimal Caching with Thrive.
- Image Optimization: Your choices here are Optimole and Smush for fully automated image optimization.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages: This third option is still in beta testing, so it’s not recommended for live websites as of January 2021. However, as a feature that promises to serve webpages quicker on mobiles, we’re looking forward to its full release.
3. Lead Generation Elements
Thrive creates software that is primarily focused on lead generation and conversions, so it’s no surprise that Thrive Theme Builder has lead generation elements available.
There are elements like opt-in forms and contact forms available for use.
Although this is a Thrive Theme Builder review, I have to mention other Thrive tools for lead generation. If you want more of these options, you can use the in-built Thrive Architect Lightbox to change the lead settings.
You can also use the other Thrive plug-ins like Thrive Leads, Thrive Ovation, and others to generate leads.
4. Unlimited Design
Other theme builders have several themes. Thrive Theme Builder only comes with one companion theme called ShapeShifter. Don’t feel bad about it because one theme is all that’s needed.
There’s only one theme, but there are hundreds of design options, templates, and elements to add to your website. Just one section can have several templates; for example, the homepage has five for different purposes.
There are also Page Blocks that you can add wherever you want. Simply choose the kind you want from the template library, drag and drop it where you want, and it’ll transform to match your theme.
Apart from these, there still hundreds of other elements available. Plus, you can change the settings of each element without going to any menu. Just click on the element you want to change.
Or you can just choose a blank page template and build from the ground up.
5. WooCommerce Integration
Yes, you can integrate WooCommerce with Thrive Theme Builder. There are templates for you to create different page types like product, account, shop, cart, and checkout.
And thanks to the December 2020 update, you can add a new Product Categories element anywhere on your site.
This will give your buyers a better view of your store’s categories and options. You can also edit the design of your WooCommerce checkout fields so they match the rest of your website.
6. Other Integrations
Apart from WooCommerce and other Thrive tools, Thrive Theme Builder is also integrated with many other third-party tools. You can find the list of eligible services on the official Theme Builder website.
Thrive Theme Builder Compared to Other WordPress Theme Builders
For now, Thrive Theme Builder is the only WordPress theme builder that uses an actual WordPress theme.
The only other tool that could be said to somewhat follow this approach is Divi. And I say somewhat because their theme builder is not as powerful, and it only works on Divi themes.
The other popular approach is by making a theme builder plugin. This is the way Elementor has made its theme builder.
Thrive Theme Builder vs. Elementor.
The WordPress theme approach (which Thrive Themes Builder uses) is a lot easier for casual users to make sense of.
There’s always a complicated division between elements of theme plug-ins and off-the-shelf WordPress themes. This approach removes that.
There’s also the fact that everything is integrated into one place and can be implemented simultaneously — for example, templates for headings.
The plug-in approach (which Elementor uses) is a little more difficult for new users to grasp but has the advantage of being specific.
That is, you get to decide what pages will benefit from the theme builder plug-in and where the WordPress theme is good enough.
It is possible to like your theme but want to change some elements for particular pages. This is the flexibility that the theme builder plug-ins at once.
There are no clear winners between the two approaches because each approach has its pros and cons. Your choice should depend on what you want your website to look like.
However, in the Thrive Theme Builder vs. Elementor comparison, we prefer the Thrive Theme Builder.
It has the option to change elements globally or by section, and there are options for WooCommerce. There’s even a Thrive Theme Builder Child Theme and an option for custom CSS!
Thrive Theme Builder Pricing
Thrive Theme Builder offers one license for $97 and five for $127. You can get access to all 10 of Thrive Themes’ tools, including its Theme Builder, for $19/month (billed annually) or $30/month (billed quarterly)
- Allows you to customize your entire website.
- The website can be set up in 20 minutes through the Site Wizard.
- Hundreds of templates available — categorized for different elements.
- Comes with a front-end visual editor.
- Integrated with tons of tools.
- No coding experience necessary.
- Conversion-focused templates are available.
- Free for current Thrive Themes members.
- Great for both newbies and advanced users.
- A large number of features can mean a steep learning curve for some people.
Please remember that Thrive Theme Builder is not a page builder but a theme.
As such, it cannot take the place of page builders like Thrive Architect. What it can do is make editing pages easy for anyone willing to try it.