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Thrive Theme Builder vs Genesis Theme Framework: Which One Should You Use?

Last Updated on March 6, 2020 by Fabrizio Van Marciano

If you're deciding between Thrive Theme Builder and Genesis Theme Framework, you've arrived at the right post. In this post, we'll compare the two themes so that you can make an informed decision on which one to use for your blog or website.

If you've been following me since the very beginning, then you may be aware that over the years, I've made quite a few changes to this blog.

I started with Genesis and stuck with the same theme for almost five years. Then around 2015, I changed over to Thrive Themes.

In 2018, I decided to make the switch back to Genesis for a short while. Then in 2019, I finally ditched Genesis for a custom-built theme using Oxygen Builder.

So, what does all this have to do with anything? You might be wondering.

Well, what I'm trying to say is that I've had plenty of experience using both of these awesome themes over the years. This is why I decided to write this detailed comparison post of the Genesis theme framework software and Thrive Theme Builder.

Thrive Theme Builder, by the way, was released on the 2nd March of 2020 and completely replaces any previous themes created by Thrive.

You might want to check out my individual reviews of both Thrive and Genesis below.

Reead: Genesis theme framework review.
Read: Thrive Themes Membership review.

In this comparison review, we'll dive into each of the areas listed below for both Thrive and Genesis.

  • Standout features
  • Customizability
  • Performance and options
  • Ease-of-use
  • Installation
  • Pricing

OK, so let's dive straight into it.

Genesis Theme Framework

Thrive Themes vs Genesis Theme Framework: Which One Should You Use?

I won't go overboard here, as I said, I have already reviewed Genesis in the past.

StudioPress, the creators of Genesis is an industry leader when it comes to premium quality WordPress themes.

StudioPress's core product is the Genesis Theme Framework software. The StudioPress marketplace also boasts a vast library of premium child themes that work with Genesis. You will find child themes from both from StudioPress and third-party developers.

Genesis has been on the market for quite some time now, so they've circulated well. Half a million WordPress websites use Genesis.

If you've worked with Genesis yourself, I'm sure you'd agree that it's a fantastic framework for web design and development.

Over the years, I've enjoyed developing many websites with Genesis. The experience has enabled me to become a better developer.

My experience with Genesis

As I just mentioned, I started using Genesis way back in 2010. At the start of my blogging/entrepreneurial journey.

Over the years, I've watched StudioPress flourish into a reputable and reliable software company. It's clear to see that they have invested a lot of energy into developing what is today considered, the industry-standard in WordPress themes.

Standout features of Genesis

Genesis boasts the following features -

  • Rock-solid security
  • Blazing fast performance.
  • Out-of-the-box SEO tools and options.
  • Mobile responsive designs.
  • Custom widgets.
  • Ultra-flexible foundation code.
  • Minimal design child themes.
  • Ready for advertising and monetizing your blog.
  • Auto-sized featured images.
  • WordPress and theme tutorials.

Once again, when it comes to 'child themes', the StudioPress marketplace has a wide range to choose from. There's something for all types of businesses.

Each child theme is designed to make your website look sleek and professional, regardless of the type of business you have.

Customizability of Genesis Framework

This is where Genesis struggles just a little bit. There's certainly a learning curve when it comes to customizing your theme beyond anything basic.

For sure, you can change things like the logo, icons, favicon, etc, all via the Customize option. But, when it comes to detailed-customization then it can be challenging.

Changing things like font type, font size, margins, and paddings, background colors, all of these require a basic understanding of HTML and CSS.

As much as I love Genesis, there is that obstacle to consider when it comes to customizing your WordPress site, it's not 100% user-friendly.

Yes, there's been a lot of improvements made to how the child themes can be customized. Of course, you can also use Gutenberg to customize your home page and landing pages. But, it's still far behind when you compare Genesis with the rising popularity of drag-and-drop theme builders, especially the new Thrive Theme Builder.

Check out this post to compare theme builders on my main site over at FabrizioVanMararciano.com

There is one other solution -

For none-techies, there is another solution to make 'customizing a Genesis child theme simpler.

That solution comes in the form of a third-party plugin called Genesis Design Palette Pro. You can learn all about it here.

Yes, you are having to invest and install additional plugins, but it's one of the very few ways to get around the 'customization' obstacle.

Genesis Design Palette Pro makes it easy to customize things like background colors, typography, margins, and paddings.

Genesis Design Palette Pro Dashboard

So, all-in-all, customization with Genesis can throw up some challenges, especially for new users. But, if you have the time to learn a little bit of code, you can get past that obstacle, and customizing a Genesis theme becomes easier.

Performance and other options

Genesis theme framework is built on lightweight code. You immediately notice this when you download the software from the StudioPress website. The Genesis parent theme file is small, but of course, you will need a child theme to work with the parent theme.

Here is the page speed test for The Genesis Theme Framework. (Installed with no other themes or plugins activated using SiteGroung web hosting) -

Other options include -

  • Theme layout options
  • Comment functionality

Installing Genesis Theme Framework

Installing 'Genesis' the parent and a child theme for the first time is so easy to do.

If you do happen to take the Genesis route, I created a useful little installation video you can check out here over on my YouTube Channel.

Be aware though that the video is a good few years old now, however, the installation process has not changed at all.

Cost of Genesis Framework

Now we get down to the cost of using Genesis theme framework on your WordPress website.

Genesis theme framework alone, (the parent theme), will set you back a cool $59.95. Its been that same price for as long as I can remember.

You also have the option to buy a theme package, (Genesis parent + 1 Child theme of your choice), which varies in price from $99.95 and upwards.

Or, you can buy the Pro-Plus theme package (Genesis and all available child themes and future child themes) for $499.95.

The one thing I love the most about using Genesis is that you get unlimited everything for what you pay, including updates and support.

There are no options to buy a developer license, or no annual membership fee even. You can use your single purchased Genesis theme package on unlimited websites, your own or your clients.

Many other theme builder companies will have you pay for a separate developer license or monthly membership, so keep that in mind. For me, this is a huge bonus and speaks value for money.

I purchased Genesis way back in 2011, and here I am in 2020 still using it to build client websites.

Final Thoughts on Genesis Framework

If you’re looking for an extremely robust, lightweight, flexible, and affordable theme framework to work with, then Genesis is definitely one option to take.

Bear in mind that if you are completely new to WordPress and web design, there is a learning curve when it comes to some customization.

StudioPress currently has over 50+ child themes available to choose from, that's not including all the third party child themes available from independent developers around, so you're bound to find the perfect theme for your business.

Recommended reading: Check out my detailed review of Genesis here.

Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Themes vs Genesis Theme Framework: Which One Should You Use?

OK, so it's time to get excited about Thrive Themes and Thrive Theme Builder.

Thrive Themes have just launched a complete new drag-and-drop, Theme Builder tool.

If you're already a member of Thrive Themes, you can access the new Theme Builder for free. However, it is currently not available to buy as a stand-alone product.

Thrive Themes make more than just a theme builder. They are known for their range of premium conversion optimization tools for WordPress.

These popular tools include -

  • Thrive Leads
  • Thrive Architect
  • Thrive Optimize
  • Thrive Headline Optimizer and many more

For now, let's focus on Thrive Theme Builder. I'm not going to dive into great detail here because I've already reviewed Thrive Theme Builder here.

Let's take a closer look -

Standout features of Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Theme Builder boasts the following core features:

  • Complete theme builder with unlimited drag-and-drop customization options.
  • A vast library of conversion-focused design elements, templates.
  • Designed for none-techies and seasoned WordPress users. It's so easy to use.
  • Fast and responsive.
  • Powerful site creation wizard will get your site up and running in no time.
  • Mobile responsive design options.
  • Regular updates.
  • Rock-solid support, training, and tutorials.

Customizability of Thrive Theme Builder

This is where Thrive Theme Builder shines. Customization is beyond anything you can imagine.

Every area of your theme can be customized using simple visual drag-and-drop. After all, this is a WYSIWYG page builder, right?

Thrive Theme Builder replaces the theme altogether and gives you complete control over the design and layout of your site or blog.

The software takes the technology and intuitive user-interface from Thrive Architect. This means if you've used Thrive Architect before, then you'll be able to use Thrive Theme Builder, only not just for customizing pages and posts, but your entire website.

Performance of Thrive Theme Builder

I've not yet tested Thrive Theme Builder on a live site, however, I will be sure to update this post as soon as I do.

Currently, I'm testing and using Thrive Theme Builder on a test WordPress site on my local computer. With no additional plugins installed, so far it's working flawlessly with no lag, bugs, or issues.

Installing Thrive Theme Builder

Installing Thrive Theme Builder is very easy to do. If you are a Thrive Themes Member, you can access TTB via your Product Manager in WordPress admin. Once you're there, select Thrive Theme Builder with the Shapeshift theme to install them both.

Cost of Thrive Theme Builder

Unlike Genesis, where you have to pay for the parent theme and then the child theme separately, with Thrive Themes you can access Thrive Theme Builder by becoming a Member. For existing members, Thrive Theme Builder is free.

Prices start from $19 per month (Paid annually).

Again, as a Thrive Themes member, you don't just get access to the Theme Builder, but all of the Thrive Theme's conversion-focused plugins and marketing tools.

Conclusion of Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Theme Builder is still very new when compared to the Genesis Theme Framework. However, these are two very different kinds of WordPress themes. One is a 'very good' bog-standard theme with some customization options, the other is a full-blown theme design toolkit.

Which theme will you choose for your blog or website?

Before you make a decision on which theme solution is best for your needs, here are some comparison information for you to glance over.

Price comparison

Genesis Theme Framework: $59.95 on its own. $79.95 to $99.95 per theme package (Unlimited sites, updates, and support) – $499.95 for the Pro Plus All-Themes Package, no annual membership or developer license required.

$228.00 Thrive Personal Annual Membership ($19 per month). $588.00 Thrive Agency Annual Membership ($49 per month).

Genesis might seem like the slightly better value to go for as there is NO annual membership fee to burden you. However, with a Thrive Themes Membership, you get a lot more than just a theme or two. The membership includes the full suite of conversion business tools.

With Genesis, you pay a one-time fee and you get unlimited everything forever. Plus, you get access to all future theme releases.

In addition, you can use the themes you purchase not just on your own websites, but also your client's sites. For all you web designers and developers out there, this is a great deal, right?

With Thrive Themes, yes, there is an annual membership fee, but like I said, it's incomparable with the tools you get access to for your site.

It comes down to whether you only need a theme, or you need a full-blown website creation and conversion tools.

Theme choice comparison

Genesis Theme Framework: 50+ current available themes and growing.

Thrive Theme Builder: 1 current customizable theme available which is the Shapeshift theme. More will come in the future no doubt. Besides, you can create your own so what does it matter?

Key features comparison

Genesis Theme Framework: Custom widget areas, theme layout options, comment functionality, built-in on-page SEO options, ready for ads, auto-sized images.

Thrive Theme Builder: Theme templating, theme design and layout visual editor, conversion blocks and elements, fonts manager, built-in social sharing tools, website creation wizard, branding, typography, theme duplicate, import, and export.

Ease-of-use and theme management comparison

Genesis Theme Framework: Simple to install and manage. In-depth customization can be a little challenging even though Genesis comes with a lot of widget options and theme layout options. Also, a little knowledge of HTML and CSS will help you get the most from your Genesis theme, but absolutely not essential.

The StudioPress website has a host of resources, code snippets, and documentation to help you with the further development of your child theme. All that said, none-techies will find that there's a learning curve with Genesis.

Thrive Themes: Very simple to install. Website Creation Wizard designed for none-techies. The intuitive and advanced visual editor means now even grandma can create websites.

Final Conclusion

Both Thrive Themes and StudioPress's Genesis have a variety of 'unique' things on offer. But, let's be realistic. These are two themes in categories of their own. One is a full-blow drag-and-drop website builder, the other a powerful stand-alone bog-standard theme with few customization options.

StudioPress has been on the market for much longer than Thrive, where over 500,000+ website and small business owners trust and run on Genesis.

Thrive Themes are still relatively young with around 18,000+ members, but they're growing very fast.

I'm sorry if this comparison post is kind of "in the middle of the road" for you, but it really comes down to your preference and what you really want to achieve with your blog, website, or online business.

If you're trying to build a site or blog exactly to your specification, and you're passionate about conversions, go for Thrive Themes Membership, you get a lot more.

If you're looking for a more minimal and professional look and feel of your website or business, and don't care too much for branding and customization, then go with Genesis and a child theme of your choice.

I hope this comparison review has been helpful to you, I'll leave you to decide which is best for you.

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