Considering using Thrive Architect to build your WordPress site? In this hands-on Thrive Architect review, I’ll share my thoughts on the pros and cons of this popular page builder.
Thrive Architect is the evolution of what was formerly known as Thrive Content Builder. Thrive Content Builder was “solid”, but Thrive Architect is “one of the best WordPress page builders”. So Thrive Themes clearly did a good job of learning from their mistakes when it came to Thrive Content Builder.
Thrive Architect offers cleaner code, a better interface, lots of marketing features, and a set of great-looking elements.
Keep reading my Thrive Architect review for a general introduction to how it works, ten specific things you’ll love about Thrive Architect (plus one that you won’t), and some thoughts on the Thrive Architect pricing (and whether or not it’s worth it).
Thrive Architect Review: An Intro To How It Works
Let’s start off this review with a quick look at how Thrive Architect works at a basic level. If you’re already familiar with Thrive Architect and WordPress page builders, you might want to skip straight to the next section where I go into more detail about some specific pros and cons of Thrive Architect.
Thrive Architect is a visual, inline, drag-and-drop WordPress page builder. That’s a lot of adjectives in a row! Here’s all that means…
- When you’re designing your page, you’ll see exactly what your visitors will see. That is, you’re working on a live preview of your site (that’s what makes it visual).
- If you want to edit any text, you just click on the live preview and type. No need to work with any weird popups or text boxes (that’s what makes it inline).
- If you want to change the layout of your page, you just click on an element and drag it to the new spot (that’s what makes it drag-and-drop)
Put all those features together and you get a really easy-to-use editing experience that makes it possible for both casual users and designers alike to create beautiful:
- Blog posts
- Landing pages
- Content pages
Thrive Architect In Action – A Quick Look At The Interface
You can launch the Thrive Architect interface for any post, page, or custom post type by clicking the big ‘ole Launch Thrive Architect button:
From there, you’ll land in the Thrive Architect interface. And…you’ll probably instantly notice that it’s got a lot more going on than the regular WordPress editor!
On the right-hand side, you get a visual preview of your design (though there’s not much going on yet). This is also your canvas – it’s where you’ll add content and styling. Basically, you see exactly what your visitors will see once you publish your content.
Then, on the left-hand side, you have the Thrive Architect control panel (if you’ve used the Elementor page builder, you’ll notice the Thrive Themes team took a lot of…”inspiration” from Elementor).
By default, this sidebar displays a list of all the elements that you can use to build your design. But once you start adding some content to your page, it’s also where you can add styling and control how all the various elements on your page look and function.
For example, here’s how it works to simply add some text. You…
While some elements are just for content, other elements help you build the layout for your page.
For example, if you want to divide your page into different columns, you could use the Columns element:
And you can also add backgrounds to the sections that house your other elements:
Ok, so that’s kind of your primer on how Thrive Architect works. But so far, I haven’t shown you anything that any other quality WordPress page builder couldn’t do. So now, let’s get a bit more specific and dig into some of the pros and cons of Thrive Architect in relation to other WordPress page builders.
Ten Things You’ll Love About Using Thrive Architect
1. Thrive Architect Has One Of The Best Inline Editing Experiences
Many WordPress page builders don’t offer inline editing. That means, instead of being able to type on the actual page, you have to use some separate box or popup to control your text.
Yeah – that’s as annoying as it sounds.
While this is changing and page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi Builder now all offer inline editing, I still think Thrive Architect offers one of the best inline editing experiences of any page builder.
See, with all those other page builders, inline editing was something they added after the fact. And you can still see the remnants of the original text editing experience. For example, all three of those other page builders still offer a separate editing box in addition to the inline editing.
Thrive Architect, however, was built from the ground up to use inline editing. It’s baked into the core – and it’s the only way you edit text.
The fact that inline editing was always Thrive Architect’s sole focus shows in how smooth the experience is. There’s no glitches or delays – it’s super smooth.
With a lot of other page builders, the toolbar is always moving around and blinking in and out of existence.
It might seem like a small thing, but this makes it a lot easier to work with text in Thrive Architect.
2. Thrive Architect Makes It Really Easy To Pick Elements
Once you start building more complicated designs, you’ll find yourself always switching between a content element, the column that it’s in, and maybe even the full section that houses both the content element and the column.
To save you time while doing that, Thrive Architect added this neat breadcrumb navigation that makes it easy to switch between various nested elements:
3. You Have Tons Of Styling Options For Each Element
One of the reasons people love page builders is because of how easy they make it to style content without needing to write any HTML or CSS.
With respect to styling, Thrive Architect does not disappoint. It’s definitely got one of the deepest sets of style options of any page builder – I’d say only Elementor and Divi Builder match up here.
For each element, you get a set of accordion tabs that look roughly like below (though the exact options depend on the element):
Using these options, you can control stuff like:
I can’t show you every single styling option, but one of my favorite examples is how Thrive Architect handles custom margins and padding. It gives you this neat box model that makes it easy to control exactly how each element is positioned:
4. You Can Control Exactly How Your Site Looks On Different Devices (Responsive Design)
One style option that deserves special attention is Thrive Architect’s responsive controls, which let you control how your design looks on different devices (like a smartphone vs a desktop).
First off, Thrive Architect lets you show or hide individual elements depending on a user’s device:
But you can also go further and actually change how an element is styled or positioned based on a user’s device.
All you need to do is use the responsive preview, and then any changes you make while in that mode will automatically apply to that device! For example, look how the font size changes when I shift from mobile back to desktop:
5. Thrive Architect Makes It Really Easy To Grow Your Email List (Or Market Other Offers)
Thrive Architect has a few unique features that make it really useful if you’re trying to build your email list or otherwise promote offers.
Second, Thrive Architect makes it really easy to create two-step opt-ins using the built-in Leadbox feature.
You can also use this to display other stuff – like an image gallery that appears when a user clicks a button.
Finally, you can also create these awesome page events, whichare a unique feature that you can set up from the Thrive Architect sidebar settings:
They let you open a leadbox based on exit-intent or how long a user has been on the page:
6. It’s Really Easy To Edit CSS Or HTML (If You Want To)
If you like getting your hands dirty and actually editing HTML or CSS directly in some spots, Thrive Architect makes that pretty dang simple.
First off, you can easily apply a CSS class or ID to each element:
But beyond that, Thrive Architect also includes a built-in HTML and CSS editor that you can use without having to leave the editor interface. The editor even includes some validation, which is helpful:
With that being said, my favorite approach is still Elementor Pro’s option to add custom CSS directly to individual elements.
7. You Get Lots Of Landing Page Templates If You Don’t Want To Start From Scratch
If you want to save some time, Thrive Architect comes packed with hundreds of pre-built landing page templates that you can easily import and customize to your needs:
What’s nice is that the landing pages come in themed sets. So you can, for example, create both a landing page and a thank you page based on the same theme. This themed approach is something a lot of other page builders overlook.
8. You Can Run A/B Tests Using Thrive Architect
Beyond Thrive Architect, Thrive Themes also makes a number of other plugins and themes. One of these plugins – Thrive Optimize – is built specifically to let you run A/B tests for your Thrive Architect designs.
You will need to purchase the separate Thrive Optimize plugin. But as long as your budget can handle it, it makes it super simple to set up A/B testing with Thrive Architect.
9. Thrive Architect Automatically Imports Regular WordPress Content
One of the things that’s annoying about some other page builders is that they only work well if you start using them as soon as you create a new post. That is, they won’t import your existing post content. Instead, they make you start from scratch or copy and paste it yourself.
With Thrive Architect, however, you can easily take a piece of content that you’ve created with the regular WordPress editor and convert it to a Thrive Architect design.
10. Thrive Architect Leaves Behind Clean Code If You Ever Want To Switch
One of my big peeves with the older Thrive Content Builder is that it left behind an ugly mess of code if you ever deactivated it, which meant there was a high degree of lock-in.
Thrive Architect fixes that and now leaves behind 100% clean HTML, just like Elementor or Beaver Builder.
Of course, you will lose the actual styling if you deactivate it, but that’s true for every single page builder.
One Area Where Thrive Architect Could Be Better
While Thrive Architect does give you a lot of templates, some of the designs are just…not that good.
Thrive Architect has made improvements from the templates that were included with Thrive Content Builder.
But still…the templates that you get with something like Elementor Pro blow Thrive Architect’s templates out of the water.
The Thrive Themes team would probably say the templates are focused on conversion rate instead of looking pretty. But…I still think a lot of them look like they’re from the year 2000!
Thrive Architect Pricing: Free Lifetime Updates
Thrive Architect has one of the most generous pricing models of any premium page builder plugin.
Thrive Architect comes with lifetime updates. With the exception of Divi Builder, most page builders require you to renew your license every single year to continue receiving support and updates.
So that’s a huge benefit to going with Thrive Architect.
As for the actual pricing, Thrive Architect starts at $67 for use on a single site. You can also purchase a five license pack for $97. That’s definitely more than competitively priced, especially when you factor in lifetime updates.
Or, you can subscribe to the Thrive Membership and get access to every single Thrive Themes plugin and theme for $19 per month (billed annually).
Should You Buy Thrive Architect? Final Thoughts
If you’re more of a marketing-focused content creator, I think Thrive Architect is probably the best page builder for you. For example, if you’re big into:
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
Then you’ll probably love the focus Thrive Architect puts on conversion optimization.
I’m putting my money where my mouth is, too. I only use two page builders across my sites, and they are Thrive Architect and Elementor.
For sites that are more marketing focused, I prefer Thrive Architect, in part because of its features like easy email opt-in forms, two-step opt-ins, page events, etc.
On the other hand, for sites where I’m more focused on general design, I prefer Elementor.
All in all, if you want a WordPress page builder to help you market your products or services more effectively, you’ll be happy with Thrive Architect. Thrive Themes offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you won’t be out anything if you try it and don’t like it!
Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.