When it comes to WordPress website drag-and-drop page builders, there's certainly no shortage when it comes to choice. Let's see now, we have Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi, Themify, Visual Composer, Oxygen Builder, and, of course, Thrive Architect.
Today, I'll be reviewing the Thrive Architect page builder plugin from Thrive Themes for 2020.
Yes, I know we're not quite in 2020 yet. But this is going to be a fully updated review of the current version of Thrive Architect, and I'll be sure to update this review throughout 2020.
What is Thrive Architect?
Thrive Architect is a massively popular DIY, point, click, drag-and-drop page builder plugin for WordPress. It is a true WYSIWYG tool.
Originally called Thrive Content Builder, when it was originally released back in 2015, it quickly became one of the first true successful drag-and-drop, DIY page builder plugins for WordPress. For many WP users, including myself, this plugin was a game-changer.
On the whole, Thrive Architect is a fantastic and powerful tool that will definitely save you an enormous amount of time and money when building simple, attractive, high-converting landing pages for your WordPress website. You can do it all yourself.
The features are in abundance, and the capabilities of this plugin are limited only by your imagination.
Despite being potentially one of the best page builder tools out there, Thrive Architect has some flaws, which I'll talk more about later on in this review.
What can you do with Thrive Architect?
In all honesty? You can do almost anything with this plugin, as far as creating beautifully designed landing pages go.
From your sales landing pages, lead generation pages, podcast page, video landing page, webinar pages, online course content pages, or even a full-blown, custom homepage.
This is a front-end page builder, so everything you create on a page is done visually on the front end and not the back end of your WordPress website.
Check out my quick and dirty 'behind the scenes' video below where you'll see me using the Thrive Architect plugin to update some content and design elements on my blog homepage. The video is a year old, but still very relevant in showing how Thrive Architect works.
Can I build an entire website with this plugin?
Yes and no. Let me explain -
If you only want to develop a single-page website using various page sections, some buttons, and a menu linking to those respective page sections, then yes, of course, you can.
If, however, you want to build an entire WordPress website, including creating a custom blog archives template and blog post template, amongst other pages and custom post-types, then no, you can't do that with Thrive Architect.
This is a page builder plugin, and this is one of the things I keep reminding people, including some of my clients, when they particularly request for their entire website to be built using Thrive Architect alone. It's just not possible.
You have to have an active theme to use Thrive Architect. It is simply not a theme builder or theme replacement, like Oxygen Builder is, although, Thrive Themes are supposedly working on a theme builder tool.
Thrive Architect is compatible with 99.99% of all WordPress themes. Well, I can at least say that I've had no problems using it on many sites using various themes.
OK, so what are the stand-out features
What makes this page builder easily one of the best out there is the array of built-in design elements and building blocks. Seriously, the Thrive team haven't left anything out here.
Here is a list of some of the notable features in Thrive Architect.
- Instant drag and drop - There are no lag or annoying elements misplacements (elements being placed in areas of your page you didn't want them to drop-in)
- Over 250 pre-designed landing page templates - You can access the template cloud and use one of the many templates available, and even customize those further.
- Customizable conversion elements - Items such as countdown timers, buttons, testimonial boxes, video player, web forms, credit card icons, guarantee boxes, etc. You don't need any additional plugins to add these to your pages.
- Integration with major services - Services such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, AWS (Amazon Web Services), and more.
- Mobile responsive editing - You can literally create a completely modified and optimized version of your landing pages for mobile (smartphones and tablets, see image below).
- Global settings - You can predefine things like headings, paragraph fonts, colors, etc.
- Advanced settings - You can view and modify the page HTML, add some custom CSS, set page events, install custom scripts, and more.
- Save/Import/Export landing page - You can import a template you've created in another website, or export templates too.
- No loss of content - This means if you decide to delete Thrive Architect in the future, your content/copy doesn't get deleted with it, instead, it is moved over to the default WP editor.
The list of design elements and building blocks are simply too many for me to list here, so I'd highly recommend you check out the Thrive Architect information page to see the list yourself.
The Thrive team are constantly evolving their plugin and adding new features, so be sure to check them out.
Each design element and building block you drop into your landing page comes with its own diverse set of customization options.
If you've never used a page builder plugin before, it will take you no time to get familiar with editing tools and options in the user interface. See image below.
When you drag and drop an element from the building blocks panel in the right sidebar, you can then double-tap on that element in your page to open up the left-side panel which houses all of the options for customizing that element.
The user interface features a more than useful 'breadcrumb navigation' at the top of the page. You can always see which element you're customizing. When you're using nested divs and columns inside of content-boxes, this is particularly useful. See image below.
Why should you use this tool in your business?
OK, so now the important stuff. Why should you even bother to be excited about Thrive Architect?
For several reasons, one of which I'm not a huge fan of, personally.
- Save time and money by not having to hire a web designer or developer to create attractive, high-converting landing pages for your site. You can do it yourself with the affordable Thrive Architect.
- The plugin comes with a lot of conversion-focused building blocks. These are essential if you're serious about growing your online business cost-effectively.
Can you guess which one of the benefits above that I'm not a huge fan of, especially as a web freelance web designer?
How much does Thrive Architect cost?
Thrive Architect is extremely affordable when you compare it with other similar page builders.
A single-site license will cost you just $67. For that, you get access to all the features, unlimited free updates, and support for 1 full year.
For the cost of a pair of jeans, you can get your hands on a tool that will enable you to develop beautiful conversion landing pages that will help you grow your online business.
There are other plans if you wanted to use Thrive Architect on multiple WordPress sites. There is a 5-site license pack at $97. And for just $19 membership fee per month, you can access all of the Thrive Themes conversion tools.
Is the membership worth it?
Well, I've been a paying Thrive Themes member for the last 3 years, so I can hand-on-heart say yes.
However, you have to decide yourself based on your own website and business growth goals and targets.
If conversion optimization and growth is important to you and your website, then how can 'investing' in Thrive's tools be a bad idea? It simply cannot be a bad idea. As long as you have the time to dedicate to learning how to use these tools to your advantage, you're going to win.
What are the pros and cons?
I've used Thrive Architect on countless projects over the recent years, here is a list of what I personally believe the pros and cons are if you really want to call them that.
Let's start with the pros -
- All the plans are affordable, and the monthly membership is a complete steal as you get access to not only Thrive Architect but also Thrive Leads, Thrive Optimize, Thrive Headline Optimizer, etc. All of the conversion-focused tools from Thrive.
- The plugin is easy to install and configure.
- The interface is extremely user-friendly.
- The plugin is loaded with tons of design elements, building blocks, and conversion tools and features.
- With the Thrive Optimize add-on plugin (sold separately), you can do simple A/B testing of your landing page design and conversions.
- First-class online support, forum, and info-packed blog at Thrive Themes.
- Frequent plugin updates with bug fixes and new features.
Now for the cons -
- Even though Thrive Themes claim that Thrive Architect is lightweight and built with performance in mind (the actual plugin), the size of the plugin file is quite large. You can also actually bloat your landing pages with a lot of code yourself. The more elements and building blocks you add, the more customizations you make, the more custom code you add, all push your pages to become bloated. At least, that's what I've found using TA on my own sites. The Thrive code can also appear messy at times. (Simply right-click to view page source on your site/page using Thrive Architect). None of this is bad as long as you have a good host provider with a decent amount of resource that won't cause your site to lag or load slowly. It might be a good idea to check the page speed load times of any page you build with this plugin.
- Mobile responsive design options limited to tablet and smartphone portrait only screen sizes. No options for landscape viewports.
- This plugin is screaming to become a full-blown theme builder, and again, I do understand the Thrive Themes team are working hard to develop.
Where can I learn more about Thrive Architect?
Click here to go to the Thrive Architect landing page, where you can learn more about this powerful page builder plugin.
Thrive Architect tutorials
If you need some guidance using Thrive Architect, check out my in-depth tutorial videos over on my YouTube channel.