Creating WordPress content just got a heck of a lot more fun with Thrive Architect. What is this amazing tool and what can you do with it? Well, the question really is, what can’t you do with it!
Way back in 2015, I invested in a WordPress tool/plugin that literally transformed my online business. That plugin was called Thrive Content Builder.
In its day, TCB was a powerful drag-and-drop, front-end page builder plugin for WordPress. The bad news is that now the plugin is no longer available.
The good news is that it’s been replaced by a brand new plugin called Thrive Architect.
Above: The old Thrive Content Builder Plugin was an amazing page builder tool!
I have used TCB for literally every type of landing page design project I’ve undertaken in the last 3 years, whether it was for myself or for one of my lovely clients.
Honestly, I cannot even begin to imagine what I would have done without the TCB plugin over the years. It truly has been a huge part of my online business success.
So – the burning question is this – is Thrive Architect as good as what it’s predecessor plugin, Thrive Content Builder was?
Let’s find out.
What is Thrive Architect?
If you’re just stumbling on this review for the first time, and have no idea what Thrice Architect is, here’s the low down –
Thrive Architect is a powerful, stand-alone front-end drag-and-drop page builder plugin for WordPress.
So what this means is that you can build any type of page in WordPress using simple drag-and-drop, with all of the design elements and features that you can think of adding to your page. We’ll look at the types of pages you can create later on in this review.
Thrive Architect was created by Thrive Themes, a digital products and services company that creates and offers a wide range of high-quality, conversion optimization tools for WordPress.
You can learn more about Thrive Themes here.
What are the benefits of using Thrive Architect?
Almost everything you dreamed of ever doing with your WordPress landing pages, homepage, product pages, sales pages, lead generation pages, blog posts, and everything else in between, is possible with Thrive Architect.
In short, you can use the tool to design your website content and pages that will validate your online business and make you look like a true professional.
How do I use Thrive Architect in my business?
In the video tutorial below, you’ll see how simple it is, for example, to create a great looking home landing page.
Thrive Architect User-Interface
The UI is a complete transformation from the previous TCB plugin.
Firstly, the new UI boasts a much simpler and cleaner layout. Navigating around the various elements and options is a real pleasure too.
I must say that I love the new Search Elements box at the top, it makes finding an element to use in your page design quick and simple.
In addition to simple layout and navigation, there’s a lot of new options and elements to play around with. However, I have noticed that some elements that were present in the old Thrive Content Builder plugin are either missing or not included in the TA plugin.
If you’ve never used Thrive Content Builder before, you won’t need to worry about the missing elements.
Here is a screenshot of the Thrive Architect UI main page.
So – as you can see the design options sidebar is located on the left hand of the screen by default. You can switch this to the right if you wish by going to Settings > Switch Editor Side.
The sidebar can also be minimized to give you more on-screen space to work around if you need it.
Since I use a 27″ monitor it’s not a problem for me, for users of smaller screen sizes, however, collapsing the sidebar is useful.
Like the previous Content Builder plugin, with Thrive Architect you can click, drag and drop any element anywhere on your page.
When you do drag a new element into your page, or click on an element that’s already in place on your page, the sidebar will change accordingly with editing and customization options for that selected element.
For instance, if I dragged and dropped a Background Section element into my sample page, the toolbar options changes specifically for that element. See below.
You also have navigational breadcrumbs feature at the top of the page to let you know what element you’re working and also where.
This also makes navigating back to the elements homepage quick and easy. See image above.
This feature is especially useful when you have elements inside elements. For instance, an image box inside a 2-column layout element, inside a page section.
Finding an element using the breadcrumbs navigation eliminates unnecessary clicking to try and highlight a specific element.
I really dig what Thrive Themes has done overall with the new user-interface in this plugin. Using it to work on landing page designs just feels more like a professional front-end software for developing web pages. Which it is, without a doubt.
Settings and Template Setup
Before you build any kind of page with Thrive Architect, you have the option to make some changes to the default settings according to your preference.
Under settings, you have some global options which include –
- Setup page events – (For adding a timer to your landing page or Exit Intent event)
- Edit HTML – (For adding custom HTML such as custom CTA buttons, forms, etc)
- Custom CSS (For adding custom code for your own styling)
- Turn Off Save Reminders (If it gets too annoying for you)
- Switch Editor Side (As mentioned above)
Under Template, you have the following options –
- Landing page settings (For changing and adding background style, fonts, custom scripts, etc)
- Save landing page (Useful if you want to use the landing page design on another page on your website)
- Change landing page template (For adding one of the many hundreds of landing page design templates that come with Thrive Architect)
- Import and export landing page (Useful if you want to use the same landing page on another site, or import another design from another site)
- Revert to theme (Reverts back to your default WP theme)
- Reset to default (Resets the page to default design)
Full suite of design options and elements
OK – So before I dive into all of the design options, elements, and features, I want to talk to you about the template library.
Like the previous Thrive Content Builder plugin, Thrive Architect comes with many landing page templates to choose from. Most of these brought in from the old TCB plugin, which is great.
This is one of the features that make this plugin a stand-out above its competitors, I think.
Each template is fully customizable to your heart’s content, which will save you hours trying to build a landing page from complete scratch, right?
To add a pre-designed template to your page, you simply click on the settings symbol, then Template Setup > Choose Landing Page Template. See image below.
So let’s now look at the full list of design options and features in the Thrive Architect plugin.
I won’t dive too deep into each of these elements, I’ll leave you to discover them for yourself.
Foundation Elements –
- Paragraph / Text
- Background Section / video backgrounds
- Content Box
- Content Template
Building Blocks –
- Click To Tweet
- Content Reveal
- Countdown Evergreen
- Credit Card
- Custom HTML
- Custom Menu
- Disqus Comments
- Facebook Comments
- Fill Counter
- Google Map
- Guarantee Box
- Lead Generation (Integrates with most major email marketing tools)
- More Tag
- Numbered List
- Post Grid
- Progress Bar
- Social Share
- Star Rating
- Styled List
- Styled Box
- Table Of Contents
- WordPress Content
- Thrive Leads Shortcode (For Thrive Leads plugin)
- Thrive Comments (For Thrive Comments plugin)
As I mentioned earlier, some of the elements that were present in Thrive Content Builder appears to be missing in the Architect plugin.
For example, the ‘Content Container’ is most definitely missing, as so is the ‘Pricing Table’.
Update: Using the Content Box element and Table element essentially replaces the Content Container and Pricing Table.
I loved having the Pricing Table element personally because it saved time. With the Table element, it means you have to create a pricing table from complete scratch. Not a huge bother, it just means you’re spending more time creating a pricing table.
Once again, with most of the elements in Thrive Architect, you have options to customize them even further, giving you complete creative freedom and control over the entire design of your pages.
Custom HTML and CSS
One of the features I personally loved and used the most of in the old Thrive Content Builder plugin was the Custom HTML and CSS options, and I’m so glad this is also available in the new Thrive Architect plugin. In fact, it’s even better than it was before.
As a web designer and developer using WordPress, I love having the best of both worlds – using visual front-end design tools and code. I personally think that every web designer should be able to code their own design, regardless of the tool they are using.
So, both Custom HTML and CSS boxes are now mini Syntax editors. Adding custom HTML buttons, forms, features and applying CSS and snippets are quick and easy. See image below.
Preview screens for mobile responsive design
This has to be one of the features that make Thrive Architect a force to be reckoned with.
When working on a landing page design, one of the things that used to frustrate me a lot with Thrive Content Builder was having to use page inspect tools in Chrome to view the mobile layout all of the time. Just so that I could make sure everything was aligned the way it should be for mobile interfaces.
This is no longer the case with Thrive Architect. In the footer of the Side toolbar, you can now click on Responsive View to view the layout of tablet and smartphone layouts for your page.
Ensuring your page layout is fully mobile responsive when creating custom WordPress content has never been easier. See image below.
Whilst still on the subject of responsive design, many of the design elements come with a Responsive option. In other words, you can switch certain elements off so that they don’t appear on mobile devices. See image below.
What can Thrive Architect be used for other than building landing pages?
You can create more than just a sales or email landing page with Thrive Architect, in fact, you can pretty much create any type of page you can think of.
Thrive Architect works for both static pages and blog posts in WordPress so you can create content-rich blog posts using all of the elements.
Here are just some example pages you can create with Thrive Architect.
- Custom homepage (The front page of this website was created using Thrive Architect)
- Custom blog posts.
- Sales landing pages.
- Product information pages.
- Lead generation pages.
- Testimonials pages.
- Video landing page.
- Course content pages.
- Custom services page.
- Digital product review pages.
- Product download pages.
- Podcast landing page.
- Podcast episodes page.
- Mini squeeze pages and more.
How do you use this plugin?
If you’ve used the Thrive Content Builder plugin before, you should be familiar with most of the design elements and features in Thrive Architect, even though the UI and layout are completely different, and actually using the software takes some getting used to I think.
To create a new page or post, you simply go to page/post > add new > add a title and save draft > click on the green Edit with Thrive Architect button. A new tab will open up and you’ll see the front end of your page – you’re set to go. See image below.
One particular feature that is new in Thrive Architect is the way you can adjust the margins and paddings of some of the design elements.
Instead of adding px values in boxes like before, you can now just click and drag up or down to increase or decrease the values of either the padding or margin. See image below.
Again, I love this new feature as it means I can place and align elements on my page with better precision.
Pros and cons
Now let me share what I love and hate about Thrive Architect.
Having used the Thrive Content Builder plugin for a good few years now, for me, that plugin was very tough to fault.
When I first started to use Thrive Architect just before it was launched back in August 2017 I believe, there were a lot of things that needed ironing out.
For instance, some elements were missing completely, some features wouldn’t work properly, the page I would be working on would freeze every so often, and so on.
As of February 2018, the date I’m updating this review for you, I can honestly say that I’m completely in love with Thrive Architect.
99% of the things that bugged me have been fixed, it’s responsive, it just works very well.
I can’t really fault it that much, though, there is one feature that seems to be stubborn for me, and that’s the undo feature. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it doesn’t, but I can live with that for the time being.
- So affordable that it’s almost a joke.
- Easy to install.
- Clean, responsive user-friendly UI.
- Fully loaded with tons of installed design elements
- Tons of customization options.
- Built-in HTML and CSS syntax editor for all you code geeks.
- Access to over 120 pre-designed landing page templates.
- Import and export feature.
- Unlimited plugin updates and they’re quite frequent too.
- Thrive Optimize Add-on plugin available to help you do A/B split testing for your landing pages.
- A resource packed knowledge base with tutorials and an active forum for members.
Buggy at times and issues with certain elements and features not working or loading properly.Most of these have been fixed! Some design elements are missing from the Content Builder plugin that should definitely be placed back in the Architect plugin.
- Does not work with free WordPress.com websites. Maybe it’s time to move to a hosted WordPress site.
Price and availability?
If you’re already a Thrive Themes Member or have the Content Builder plugin on your website, you can upgrade to the pre-release version for free.
Here are the pricing options for the plugin –
- Single product License for Thrive Architect – $67
- 5 Product License Pack for Thrive Architect – $97
- 15 Product License Pack for Thrive Architect – $147
For Membership licenses –
- Thrive Membership for individuals and entrepreneurs – $30 per month (Paid quarterly) or, $19 per month (Paid annually).
- Thrive Membership for agencies and web designers – $69 per month (Paid quarterly) or, $49 per month (Paid annually).
Thrive Membership will give you access to not only Thrive Architect but all of the conversion optimization plugins too
And my verdict on Thrive Architect?
This is by far the most promising looking front-end visual editor plugin for WordPress we’ve seen so far.
A lot of folks might disagree, and there are plenty of other alternatives out there to choose from, but speaking from personal experience, none of them offer the complete flexibility and the level of customization and ease-of-use as Thrive Architect.
I’m being totally honest with you. You will seriously enjoy using this plugin to build great looking pages for your WordPress website. You get high-level support and help from the Thrive team and community and more.
One other thing I want to mention is Thrive recently launched an add-on plugin for Thrive Architect called Thrive Optimize. This add-on plugin helps you to do simple but very effective A/B split testing for all your landing pages. You can check out my video tutorial on using this add-on plugin with Thrive Architect here.
Final words on Thrive Architect, it’s great in every way. It’s a tool every smart online business owner should have in their toolbox.
Thrive Architect Tutorials
If you’ve just purchased Thrive Architect for yourself and are in need of some tutorials, check out my YouTube channel as I frequently add new Thrive tutorial videos there.
Past issues and bugs
Thrive Architect appears to have a few bugs and issues that need ironing out, and I know the team over at Thrive are working hard towards fixing those issues. Updates are appearing almost on a daily basis since I upgraded the plugin from Content Builder earlier this week. I’ve noticed myself that some of the features, including elements, are not working or loading correctly. In addition, I’ve had a few issues with the plugin freezing on occasions where I’ve needed to refresh the page to resolve. I will continue to test the plugin on my developer website and report back here with any other issues I’ve personally found.
Affiliate disclaimer: Please note that this post contains affiliate links to the Thrive Architect plugin. Should you use one of my affiliate links to purchase this product I will be paid a small commission at NO additional cost to you. I appreciate your support always, and I want you to know that I never use, review, or recommend tools or services that I do NOT trust. Read my full disclaimer here.