Thrive Themes have finally released its long-awaited new visual WordPress Theme Builder. So, was it worth the wait? Is it all that it's hyped up to be? Is this the best theme builder now available for WordPress? Or, is it just another 'brick in the wall' - Let's find out!
I remember the first time I discovered Thrive Themes for Business way back in late 2014. To be honest, I didn't really pay much attention to them. I just thought they were 'yet another WordPress software company.'
My first real experience with a Thrive Themes product came with the launch of Thrive Content Builder. That experience blew my mind and I began to pay closer attention to Thrive Themes.
Thrive Content Builder was an early version of what is now known as Thrive Architect. At the time of its launch, it was the most powerful visual page editor! Nothing else like it existed.
In fact, I'll put my neck out and say that Thrive Themes put out the first-ever page builder plugin that soon became a household name in the WordPress community.
You can check out my review here of Thrive Architect here.
Since that time, the company has developed and unleashed a suite of unique, conversion-focused marketing tools for bloggers and businesses. Thrive Themes seem to be going from strength to strength.
Every single website and business that I manage now use Thrive Suite to some degree, and I couldn't be happier. One of the best decisions I ever made was to invest in their tools.
OK, so far so good, right?
When I heard that Thrive Themes were working on a potential Theme Builder, almost two years before it was actually launched, I got very excited.
I was a massive fan of the original Thrive Content Builder, and then Thrive Architect came along and blew me away, so I was ready to fall in love all over again!
I know what you're thinking: Just get on with the review already...
Bear with me.
So, now that Thrive Theme Builder is finally released, I've been able to spend a few weeks playing around with it.
Am I still as excited as I was two years ago?
Well, I'm somewhat still excited, but you should be very excited, especially if you haven't used it before!
I know, I know. I should be ecstatic, right?
Well, I've used quite a few WordPress theme builders and drag-and-drop website tools over the years. For the most part, this technology is still quite new in the WordPress community. I've tried Beaver Builder, DIVI, and Elementor.
Recently, I discovered another theme builder called Oxygen which has had the same effect on me as Thrive did when I first discovered it.
Nowadays, I only use Oxygen. However, as a freelance designer and front-end developer, it's always nice to have those extra tools in your toolkit. So, I wasn't hesitant to include Thrive Theme Builder in my bag.
(Update for 2023: I no longer use Thrive Theme Builder, though I continue to use all the other Thrive products in my business)
The other reason why I'm only 'somewhat' excited about Thrive Theme Builder is that I consider myself to be reasonably savvy when it comes to WordPress.
Not to blow my own trumpet here, of course, but I enjoy writing code and combining my workflow with visual design, which is why I'm a big fan of Oxygen Builder.
Thrive Theme Builder is very similar to Oxygen, in that it lets you combine coding with visual design.
That said, if YOU are totally new to WordPress and website design, you should be very excited about Thrive Theme Builder.
Well, for one, this plugin was designed for non-techies. Not everyone is a web designer or developer.
Even so, I think techies and freelance web designers working with WordPress will also enjoy using Thrive Theme Builder too.
By far, Thrive Theme Builder is one of the easiest website builder tools I've ever used for WordPress.
Yes, there's a little bit of a learning curve involved in using anything new for the first time, but I'm pretty positive that you'll get to navigate this new theme builder in no time.
OK, after that long waffle, let's start this review properly, shall we?
It's in the name. Thrive Theme Builder, or TTB for short is a fully-loaded drag-and-drop visual theme builder tool for WordPress.
It was created by Thrive Themes, one of the most reputable software companies in the WordPress community, based somewhere in Europe.
Thrive, Theme Builder, has been in the works for almost two years before its launch.
This was quite frustrating, to say the least, because other similar WordPress software companies such as Elementor, Divi, and Oxygen Builder have been out for some time, gaining traction and momentum.
I remember first hearing about TTB and being part of the Alpha Team testing the software on some dummy sites in the early stages. That was a lot of fun, and I got the chance to watch the software development into the final release today.
Thrive Theme Builder brings you the technology and familiarity of Thrive Architect into a super user-friendly drag-and-drop front-end visual theme builder.
Literally, every page component of your WordPress website can be designed and customized using drag-and-drop editing. TTB is truly the WYSIWYG design tool for WordPress websites in 2023.
The software works with WordPress-hosted sites and not WordPress.com sites. This means you'll need to have your own hosting plan, a domain name, and WordPress installed. Click here to learn how to get all these.
Firstly, and probably the most important factor is that Thrive Theme Builder can be used by anyone.
None-techies will find this tool very appealing and a huge time saver.
Its user-friendly and intuitive interface boasts all of the features you need to create a personalized website or blog from complete scratch. Zero coding skills are required.
This solves a second problem:
You won't have to fork out thousands of dollars to hire a designer or developer to build your website; you can do it all yourself without waiting around.
So, to summarise its uses. Thrive Theme Builder will -
Now, let's take a quick look at the awesome features that Thrive Theme Builder has to offer -
Now, let's take a closer look at Thrive Theme Builder's core features.
Thrive Theme builder comes with a powerful site wizard feature. Many of the theme builder tools that I've used are missing a feature like this, which makes Thrive Theme Builder appealing to non-techies.
You first begin with the 'Site Structure.' You can upload a logo, then choose a predesigned header, followed by a footer. Next is the homepage, and for this, you have several options -
The next step in the Site Wizard is selecting the Single Blog Post Template and the Blog Post List (Archives). After this, you can select a template design for your page.
Finally, the Wizard will walk you through selecting menus for the header and footer.
You're done! Your site is ready for launch.
Again, for none-techies and business owners that don't want to spend a great deal of time getting their site up and running, this is ideal.
However, the more time you spend using Thrive Theme Builder, the better you will be at improving your site customization over time.
Next up is the branding feature.
Branding is an important element of making your website or blog unique. A lot of bog-standard WordPress themes make it difficult to customize simple things like colors and backgrounds.
With Thrive Theme Builder, you can easily set your theme colors and add a dark and light version of your logo and a Favicon with just a few clicks.
In the typography options tab, you can create and edit your website's fonts. You can edit every part of your typography, in fact -
You can also select the font style from web-safe fonts and a full library of Google fonts.
Templates are another one of Thrive Theme Builder's core features. Here you can manage your theme's templates all in one place. These are all of the pages used on your site, essentially.
The Shapeshift theme, along with all the other themes, comes with essential pre-designed templates for you to use.
These are also customizable, or you can create your own from scratch. The custom templates you create can be used on different types of posts and pages and list pages.
The template editor is where all the magic happens.
Thrive Theme Builder's visual editor takes the technology and familiarity of Thrive Architect. All of the essential building blocks are included here, and many more new additions.
You can click on any of the pre-designed templates in your template manager to customize, or you can create your own from scratch.
Once again, if you are familiar with the Thrive Architect plugin, then you'll find your way around the Theme Builders editor quickly. If you are brand new to the software, the editor is very user-friendly and you'll be able to learn your way around within a few hours.
On the right-hand side of the screen, you have your main tabs for accessing the elements and blocks, as well as the style editor and reset button.
On the left-hand side, you have the edit options tab for each element. Depending on which element you click on, the design options will change accordingly.
Here is a full list of design blocks included in Thrive Theme Builder -
#6. Content Block - Content block is a new feature that allows you to easily add a custom block with a pre-designed conversion or CTA element.
The Shapeshift theme includes a 'Content Marketing Pack'. This is a large library of blocks ready for you to drop into your page. You can also customize these blocks to match the branding and goal of your site.
Thrive Theme Builder elements are organized in categories -
Theme Elements category includes -
Article Components category includes -
Foundation category includes -
Building Blocks category includes -
The categories that are available depend on which template you are editing.
It's also worth noting that if you don't have the full version of Thrive Architect installed, you won't be able to access some of the pre-designed elements, such as testimonials, tabs, etc.
Theme Manager is a useful feature that gives you options to duplicate, export, preview the currently active theme. You can also add a new theme.
OK, so there's a lot to get excited about with Thrive Theme Builder.
Having used it for a few months now, testing out the features, there's not much I can say that I don't like.
Also, it is very early days, and the software can only be improved over time. That said, here are a few things that I like and don't like about Thrive Theme Builder, so far.
Don't like (This was hard, but here goes) -
Pricing of Thrive Suite -
What's the deal with these membership prices?
Well, you don't just get access to Thrive Theme Builder, you get access to all of the Thrive Theme products. And if all you want is the Theme Builder, well you're pretty much stuck because it's not available to buy on its own, sadly.
So, to wrap up this review of Thrive Theme Builder, this is a super positive start.
Things can only get better from here on, and no doubt that the Thrive Themes team will make small improvements in good time.
The ability to customize pages and posts via the Site Wizard is not available at this time, but it's coming soon, it would appear.
I, personally, would like to see more options added for responsive design and additional breakpoints for screens. In particular, a landscape mode.
Working with the Thrive Theme Builder installed on a local WordPress test site, with no other plugins active, is fine, and I ran into no bugs or lag issues.
It will be interesting to see, however, how stable and compatible Thrive Theme Builder will be in the real world. Installed on a site with other plugins active, and also, the page load time as well.
I'll be sure to update this review in the future, especially as I use Thrive Theme Builder more.
I will also be creating new tutorial videos in the coming at some stage, so if you're not subscribed to my YouTube channel, be sure to do so.
Thrive Theme Builder is a rock-solid theme builder for non-techies wanting to create and launch a custom website quickly and effortlessly. It's a great start.