Thrive Themes Review (5 Reasons to Make the Switch)

Having used several Thrive Themes products for my websites over the years, I thought it would be good to write a review about their WordPress themes and plugins.

I can honestly say that discovering Thrive Themes several years ago was a turning point in my online business. Using their products allowed me to improve my sites in different ways and increase conversions significantly.

This Thrive Themes review takes you through the company and their products, followed by five reasons why I believe you should consider making the switch to this well established WordPress developer.

In operation since 2013, Thrive Themes is a WordPress software development company founded by Shane Melaugh and Paul McCarthy. Both Shane and Paul have a long history in creating online businesses, with Shane being the marketing guru and Paul the tech head.

The core idea behind Thrive Themes was to develop WordPress themes and plugins with a focus on conversion. At the time, the market was flooded with fancy looking themes with tons of features, most of which the average blogger would never use. What the marketplace was lacking was clean, conversion focused themes.

The other issue Thrive Themes wanted to address was the limitations of the WordPress editor. Thrive believed bloggers needed a true WYSIWYG editor so that they could create content quickly and creatively.

As such, Thrive Content Builder was born, later rebranded to Thrive Architect. It’s currently one of the most popular and most advanced WordPress page builders around.

With quality products on offer and a solid marketing strategy in place, Thrive Themes has since its inception grown out to become one of the more respected WordPress developers in the industry.

Let’s quickly run through the core products offered by Thrive, starting with their latest theme builder.

1. Thrive Theme Builder

If you’ve been around for a few years, you will know that Thrive was once one of the most popular WordPress theme builders. Especially their flagship themes FocusBlog and Rise were super popular, especially in the affiliate marketing world.

I was also a huge fan and I had most of sites running on FocusBlog. It was a lightweight theme that was very easy to configure, free from unnecessary bells and whistles, and had a simple yet professional look and feel.

A couple years ago, Thrive made a decision to stop selling their individual themes, and instead they developed a theme builder product. It has taken a while for Thrive to release that product to the public, but it is now readily available.

Thrive Theme Builder is a visual theme builder that lets you build, edit and customize all aspects of your WordPress website with a visual drag-and-drop designer.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a chance yet to try it out. I switched all of my sites over to GeneratePress a while back, and I have no reason to invest in a new theme or theme builder.

All that said, based on the reviews I’ve been reading and the feedback I’ve been hearing, the new Thrive Theme Builder is an awesome product. The good thing is that if you purchase a license, it will come with a pre-designed theme called Shapeshift that you can use and customize to the way you want you WordPress blog to be.

2. Thrive Architect

Their flagship product is Thrive Architect, a WordPress page builder that is currently one of the best in the market for various reasons.

Formerly known as Thrive Content Builder, Architect provides a true WYSIWYG editor, meaning that you can see exactly what your page will look like in real-life while in design mode.

Thrive Architect has an incredible set of features, which requires a bit of getting used to. But with a very intuitive user interface and tons of helpful how-to videos at your disposal, it doesn’t take long for any user to turn into a savvy web designer.

3. Thrive Leads

One of Thrive’s most popular and most successful premium WordPress plugins is Thrive Leads, a powerful conversion-focused lead generation plugin that provides a complete list building and conversion solution.

I have been using Thrive Leads on two of my websites (including Blog Pioneer) for over a year now and am super impressed by its capabilities and performance. It truly is a one-stop shop when it comes to list building.

Thrive Leads also includes an A/B testing module and an advanced reporting and insights module, which really helps fine-tuning your list building campaigns for even better conversions.

I strongly recommend Thrive Leads if you’re looking for a solution that allows you to create great looking popups and other opt-in forms that actually convert. The powerful customization options and excellent reporting modules are an invaluable bonus.

The best thing about Thrive Leads? It’s incredibly affordable for what you get.

4. Other WordPress Plugins

Thrive Leads and Thrive Architect are their biggest WordPress plugins, but Thrive has lots of other successful plugins, all with a focus on increasing conversions.

You can either purchase these plugins separately or on a Thrive Membership basis. As a Thrive member you will get access to all their WordPress themes, plugins and also Leads and Architect.

Examples of other popular Thrive plugins are Quiz Builder, Ultimatum and Apprentice.

5 Reasons to Make the Switch to Thrive Themes

Here are 5 good reasons why you should consider switching your WordPress website over to Thrive Themes and use their products.

1. Lifetime Updates

Have you ever purchased a theme online and never received any updates after installing? Not even after several years of using it? Many people may not realize but WordPress themes and plugins should always be in ongoing maintenance.


The Internet changes everyday, HTML, CSS and JavaScript standards evolve, WordPress comes up with regular updates to stay ahead, etc. If you use a WordPress theme that doesn’t get any updates, then there is something wrong. This means the development team behind that theme is not looking after their software product.

Over time, this can potentially have severe consequences. Not only can your theme quickly get a dated look and feel, not updating it may also result in compatibility issues with WordPress, plugins and HTML and CSS standards.

With Thrive Themes you will always receive new updates to any product you have purchased in the past, whether this be a theme or a plugin. It’s reassuring to know that they will never stop improving and updating their products.

2. A One-Stop Shop

Thrive Themes provides all the tools you need as a WordPress blogger to set up and build out your website. And while their themes and plugins also work really well with tools provided by other developers, it’s just as easy to stick with Thrive and have everything from one and the same reliable developer.

A theme, a landing page builder and a lead generation plugin are for many the core foundation tools needed to set up a professional WordPress blog or website. You can buy separate licenses for these tools, or you can sign up for Thrive Membership.

Thrive Membership

With Thrive Membership you get access to all of their themes and plugins, to be used on 25 of your own websites for a very affordable price of $19 per month, if paid annually. Thrive also offers a more expensive Agency Membership package that allows you to use their tools on websites of clients.

The conversion-focused tools developed by Thrive will suit any type of blogger, but in particular affiliate marketers and sellers of digital products will greatly benefit from using the Thrive Themes product suite.

3. Great Support + Tutorials

For a software development company such as Thrive Themes it’s extremely important to have a solid and well-functioning support system in place.

I have always found Thrive’s customer support to be very good. The response time is usually acceptable and most support issues get resolved in a timely manner.

One of the criticisms I’ve heard and read a number of times is that their support team too easily refers users to the knowledge base or tutorials in order to get things resolved quickly, without actually properly looking into the issue that was reported.

I’ve never had this experience myself but I can understand that this can sometimes happen, especially during busy times. What works best in these cases is to always explain your issue as detailed as possible, ideally supported by screenshots.

Member Dashboard

As a new Thrive customer you will get access to the Member Dashboard via the Thrive Themes website where you can find your license keys, download items and product tutorials.

The Member Dashboard is also home to the Support Forum where you can submit support tickets and read support tickets submitter by other users. Support tickets are grouped by product, making it easier to navigate through them.

Also accessible via the dashboard is Thrive University, an extensive library of useful courses around building successful online businesses (see below).

In addition, the Knowledge Base within your dashboard is a huge resource of tutorials, general documentation and troubleshooting tips.

In addition to all of the above, Thrive Themes also a very active blog that regularly gets updated with new content. And most of Thrive’s blog articles are actually very informative and practical.

4. Thrive University

How many WordPress theme developers also give you access to a huge library of online marketing courses in the form of videos and guides? Not many.

Thrive University is exactly that. The courses in this library are not so much focused on Thrive’s products. Instead they dive deep into all aspects involved in building successful online businesses.

It’s an excellent place to learn everything you need to know about things like website design, list building, landing pages, effective copy writing, building a sales funnel, maximizing conversions, and much more.

So much work must have gone into building this University, and as a Thrive customer you get access to all of this at no extra cost.

5. The Best WordPress Page Builder on the Market

As most WordPress bloggers will know, the default editor in WordPress is fairly basic and is not able to show you exactly what your page will look while in design mode.

Thrive resolves this problem by offering a WYSIWYG WordPress page builder that essentially replaces the default WordPress editor.

This may be a big call, but Thrive Architect is arguably the best WordPress page builder that you can currently find. There are a handful of big players in the market, such as Elementor and Visual Composer, but Architect definitely stands out in terms of user-friendliness, robustness, set of features and performance.

Thrive has managed to create a true WYSIWYG WordPress editor that is fast, reasonably lightweight and easy to use. There is definitely a learning curve, but that applies to all page builders out there. It simply comes with the territory.

Landing Page Templates

One of the best features of Thrive Architect is that it comes with a great amount of ready-to-go templates for landing pages. Choose a template, make some adjustments, change the wordings and you can have a professional looking page within 30 minutes.

What’s great is that Architect’s user interface has become a lot more intuitive and easier to use since the upgrade from Thrive Content Builder (TCB) in 2017.

While already powerful, TCB’s user interface did look somewhat dated. And in order to stay competitive in this tight market, a re-build was needed.

The Infamous 2017 Upgrade

However, the upgrade from Content Builder to Architect in 2017 was initially not well received by their customers, including me.

Thrive Content Builder was/is a hugely complicated piece of software and doing a complete re-build of complicated software can potentially result in a huge amount of issues. So when Thrive released the rebranded Architect to their customers, all hell broke loose.

Okay, slight exaggeration, but the Thrive support team got inundated with an endless amount of reported bugs. Not a good look. I also raised a few issues with Thrive’s support theme and I must say that had I lost some of my trust in Thrive after the Architect upgrade.

But the good thing is that Thrive acknowledged the problems with the upgrade. For several weeks, they worked around the clock to get everything resolved, and Thrive Architect is now a very stable, feature-rich and super powerful WordPress page builder.

While Thrive Architect is an integral part of the Thrive ecosystem, it can also be used as a standalone plugin working with a third-party theme.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this Thrive Themes review has given you some useful insights. If you’re looking for a new WordPress theme, I strongly recommend trying out one of the themes developed by Thrive. I have never looked back since making the switch and I’m sure you won’t either.

Once you’ve purchased a Thrive theme and you’re happy with it, it’s good to also check out their other products. In particular Thrive Architect is an excellent addition to your theme, allowing you to quickly produce visually appealing content.


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