Thrive Themes Review 2021 – Pros, Cons and Alternatives

Our verdict

4.5/5

Thrive Themes manages to offer a ton of valuable plugins for marketers, agencies and conversion-oriented site owners, all at a reasonable price. But how good are the plugins?

Should non-marketers buy them?

Find out in our Thrive Themes Review.

Thrive Themes is a collection of WordPress plugins including a page builder, opt-in form generator, marketing campaign manager and other lead generation plugins.

But the platform is not perfect for everyone.

So in this Thrive Themes review, we’ll take a look at all the plugins it has to offer, the pros and cons of each, and whether or not you should buy a Thrive Themes membership.

TLDR: Thrive Themes Review

Thrive Themes manages to offer a ton of valuable plugins for marketers, agencies and conversion-oriented site owners, all at a reasonable price.

But how good are the plugins? Should non-marketers buy them? Find out in our Thrive Themes Review.

PROS

  • A large collection of helpful WordPress plugins
  • Conversion-focused tools and pre-made resources
  • A valuable page builder included
  • Decent pricing

CONS

  • The odd error that makes it hard to design your pages
  • Not worth the investment for most people
  • Some plugins can’t match competitors

Thrive Themes Review

Thrive Themes Subscrition Tools

Thrive Themes has a very attractive offer for marketers and website builders.

Their Membership comes with over a dozen plugins and tools, which all interact together to create a productive website development ecosystem.

And again – Thrive Themes is built with conversion rate optimization in mind.

So today, we’re going to look at all of their tools, analyze what’s included in the package and see if all of this is worth it, in our Thrive Themes review

A short side note – you technically can buy all of these tools separately, and only use some of the plugins, but nobody really does that, since on their own the tools are expensive and not that impressive.

However, together they’re an offer worth looking at, because Thrive Themes can be yours for a decent amount of money.

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is the Thrive Themes drag and drop page builder, and it’s a pretty famous plugin, with a lot of history on the market.

This is, in fact, the first plugin Thrive Themes ever released, and it’s not a bad tool. It has a beautiful interface, seamless navigation, and all the tools you need for successful:

  • Blogging
  • Complex website designs
  • Marketing campaigns

And of course, conversion rate optimization. This is what Thrive Themes is focused on, and it will be a recurring theme in our Thrive Themes review. This company sells plugins built for conversion optimization.

That’s why Thrive Architect, for example, has a lot of conversion focused content modules:

Thrive Architect Conversion Focused Widgets

If you want to find out more, make sure you read our Thrive Architect review.

Thrive Theme Builder

The next plugin featured in the Thrive Themes membership is their Theme Builder, which lets you create a theme from scratch for your WordPress website. 

I did have a problem getting started with the Thrive Theme Builder plugin. It kept showing a weird error in the background of my site:

Thrive Theme Builder Issue

Not really ideal when you’re trying to settle on a style and design for your WordPress website.

But after a few steps in their set-up wizard, the error disappeared, and it’s not something I ran into with other Thrive Themes plugins.

Oh yes – the wizard.

All of the more complex Thrive Themes plugins have a wizard that takes you through the options you have with each of them.

Thrive Theme Builder Interface

That’s amazingly helpful to hit the ground running and start building your website faster.

For me, it was especially helpful because I didn’t have a lot of experience with Theme Builders before I tried the Thrive Themes one out.

The wizard made sure I was never left out of the loop.

If you know a thing or two about websites, it will be very easy to use this plugin.

And if that wasn’t enough – you also get tips along the way.

Thrive Theme Builder Templates

If you didn’t want to settle on specific things from the start – like the color pallete of your website – you can always go through the wizard again at any point in time.

Besides the wizard, you can also make other changes to your theme, like modifying the typography:

Thrive Theme Builder Typography

One thing I got excited for was that Thrive Themes had a site speed tab, which I figured would help with… you know, improving the site speed. Like a plugin would.

Well, it turns out, it’s just a tab that recommends options and other plugins for site speed. Not a bad thing to have, just not as helpful as I expected.

Thrive Theme Builder Site Speed Recommendations

Moving past that, the Thrive Theme Builder is a solid addition to this package, and it will definitely help you make global changes and presets for your websites.

Thrive Leads

The Thrive Leads plugin helps you create opt-in forms and lead generation content. 

To get started with it, you need to go to the Thrive Themes Product Dashboard, and click on Thrive Leads.

Thrive Leads Plugin

After you create a new lead group, you’ll be able to also create opt-in forms.

Thrive Leads Group

Thrive Themes gives you 7 good templates for these forms:

Thrive Leads Templates

And the option to create one with php insert.

After you settle on a layout, you can then choose from an even wider array of pre-made opt-in forms, editable to your liking.

Thrive Leads Optin Templates

These are well made, and they’re easy to tweak so that they fit your business.

Thrive Leads Optin Template Preview

On top, what I really like is that they have a shortcode system for everything you create in Thrive Leads, which means you’ll be able to quickly insert anything you want on a specific page, and mix it with other Thrive Themes plugins.

Thrive Leads Shortcodes Widget

Overall, Thrive Leads is a great tool, with a lot of templates, and very easy implementation.

Thrive Quiz Builder

Before we talk about the Thrive Quiz Builder – a quick side note. I wrote this review days after I created and distributed a massive survey made with Typeform.

So while we’ll judge this plugin individually, I’ll inevitably make some comparisons to that tool. I think that’s for the best, since it’s a popular alternative to a plugin like the Thrive Quiz Builder.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this part of the Thrive Themes membership.

Like most plugins in this article, they have a great set-up wizard, which makes it easy to create something fast.

Thrive Quiz Builder Template

After you settle on an objective for your quiz, you can then choose from a variety of other templates, which include lead generation gates and usually a landing page.

Thrive Quiz Builder Templates Preview

Each has a specific structure you can always modify to fit your needs:

Thrive Quiz Builder Quiz Structure

And I have to say that it does feel like a quiz builder made for marketers thanks to the conversion focused options that Thrive Themes put in.

But it is a quiz builder nonetheless, so let’s focus on the questions themselves.

Unfortunately, you can only add three types of questions:

Thriv Quiz Builder Question Types

Which by comparison with Typeform or other quiz builders is not that much.

Even Google Forms has more question types. A lot of simple quiz WordPress plugins have more question types.

And weirdly enough, using Thrive Quiz Builder feels a lot like using Google Forms, visually:

Google Forms

So the Thrive Quiz Builder does lag behind the market. Thrive Themes should add more question types. However, it makes up for that with the question logic editing:

Thrive Quiz Builder Question Logic

You literally just drag and drop the questions and then tie them based on previous answers. It’s the easiest way to create branching questions and a tailored experience in a quiz. Thrive Themes really pulled this one off.

Thrive Comments

Thrive Comments is a beautiful and centralized plugin that keeps track of all the comments on your WordPress site.

Blog Comment Examples

And I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t’ WordPress already have a decent system for that?

Yes, it does, and that was my first thought as well.

But Thrive takes it a step further by letting you convert users based on their comments, which is not possible with vanilla WordPress.

You can, for example, send article recommendations after someone comments on a blog post from your website, to keep them engaged.

You can also send people down a funnel whenever they interact with your pages.

The plugin is actually quite robust. It has style optimization, conversion options and gamification for user retention.

Thrive Comments Settings

The conversion system works with a set of triggers that can start a sequence of automated responses and actions.

Thrive Comment Conversion Settings

You also get the option to send follow-up messages, which automates your funnels very well.

And lastly, you can engage your audience by awarding badges and prizes for various actions in the comments of your WordPress pages.

Thrive Comments Badge Award

You do this by simply setting a rule and the badge that should be awarded when that criteria is met by any registered user on your WordPress site:

Thrive Comments Badge Award Rules

This plugin can help you engage and retain your community better, so we really like that it’s included in the membership, and it’s definitely an upgrade from the vanilla WordPress comments manager.

Thrive Optimize

This Thrive membership plugin lets you run A/B tests with your pages, or individual page elements.

A/B tests are awesome to get the right message and design across to your audience. While Elegant Themes also offers a similar tool in their Divi Builder at no additional cost, Thrive’s suite of tools pulls it off better.

You can always start a new split test inside your Thrive Architect editor:

Thrive Optimize Inside Thrive Architect

This leads you to a dashboard where you can create new variations of a page:

Thrive Optimize Dashboard

There’s no limit on the amount of them you can publish:

Thrive Optimize Testing Variations

And you can edit each individual variation as much or as little as you’d like. 

Moreover, you can decide the traffic spread for each variation:

Thrive Optimize Testing Variations Results

So this system is amazing for landing page optimization, to an extent I’ve yet to see in other WordPress plugins.

However, we don’t recommend you use it with blog posts or other pillar pages of your website. We don’t know what this split testing can do to your URLs, so if you want to rank your articles, it’s better to only use Thrive Optimize for other pages on your WordPress website.

Thrive Ovation

Thrive Ovation is a testimonials system to create social proof on your pages. It’s one of the most important conversion elements for a lot of people, so this WordPress plugin seems like an important addition to any business.

If it was a simple testimonials system, it wouldn’t have been revolutionary. 

But besides your average testimonial display block, Ovation also has a testimonials capture widget:

Testimonial Caption Widget

And it comes with three templates for capturing customer feedback:

Thrive Ovation Testimonial Capture Templates

Which is great to streamline testimonials collection if you have a large customer base.

The testimonials display block also has a lot of templates to show off what people say about your business:

Thrive Ovation Testimonial Display Templates

So again, you can see how Thrive Themes is heavily focused on helping business owners convert more with their WordPress website.

The system may seem a bit disjointed, since you have to add testimonials manually from the Ovation dashboard if they’re not submitted directly by users:

Thrive Ovation Testimonials Dashboard

But it’s not that bad, and it’s definitely not worse than anything else available on the market. You’ll see this over and over with Thrive Themes products – they’re usually slightly above the market.

Thrive Ultimatum

Thrive Ultimatum is a campaign management plugin, which you can use to create offers, product launches or special themed content.

You can use it by first setting up a new campaign, and again, they have a lot of templates to choose from:

Thrive Ultimatum Templates

Once you settle on a campaign type, you’ll get to a dashboard overviewing your entire campaign, such as page designs, metrics and campaign type:

Thrive Ultimatum Campaign Dashboard

You can also choose to add conversion events to further enhance your campaign:

Thrive Ultimatum Conversin Events Timeline

And you can manage the rest with the classic Thrive Architect Builder. All in all, it’s a good system if you want to run a special Christmas sale, a new product launch, or just maintain an evergreen landing page.

However, it can be improved upon.

First, we’d like a bit more templates for the campaigns. You can create one from scratch, so it’s not like you’ll be stuck in a corner, but it would come as a massive time saver if you have to run dozens of campaigns for multiple clients.

Second, Thrive Ultimatum doesn’t have the complex integrations you’d expect from other campaign management tools. The first example that comes to mind is Kartra:

Kartra Campaign

Which has way more templates, and advanced integrations with things like Google Ads for retargeting purposes.

If you want to find out more about that, read our Kartra review.

Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice is a LMS (learning management system) to create, host and market your online courses.

Thrive Apprentice Dashboard

The system is not very complex. You can add video, audio or text lessons:

Thrive Apprentice Adding Lesson

And you can edit some design options for your course platform:

Thrive Apprentice Template Settings

Overall, it’s not a bad plugin. It can even go toe to toe with fully fleshed online course platforms that cost a bit more upfront than the Thrive membership.

However, it does lag behind famous competitors.

For example, as far as I could tell by using the platform, you don’t get access to gamification features to keep your students engaged, and there’s no way to test their progression through your courses.

Some quizzes, assignments, and student interactions would be welcomed.

But overall, it’s still a decent plugin.

And on top, it comes as part of the entire Thrive themes membership, so you can still use Thrive Architect for building a successful landing page for your course, and plugins like Thrive Comments to engage your audience.

I just wished these plugins had a more streamlined integration with each other.

Maybe that’s just a side effect from reviewing a lot of all-in-one LMS platforms. If that sounds interesting, make sure you read our roundup of the best online course platforms.

Thrive Clever Widgets

Widgets appear in the sidebar whenever someone navigates your website.

For example, when you’re reading a blog posts, some websites will recommend their other, newer articles or podcast episodes:

Ah Latest Seo Podcasts

Thrive takes the conversion approach and makes widgets work together with Thrive Leads to target specific widgets to specific people.

For example, let’s say you write content about laptops and tablets. If a user is reading your newest tablet review, clever widgets will know if that user is part of the tablet lead group and they’ll recommend tablet articles in the sidebar.

That’s a massive oversimplification of the system, but it’s more or less how Clever Widgets work.

And they’re wonderful, because they let you show relevant content to your users.

To use Clever Widgets, you’ll need to go to the WordPress Widgets dashboard, not the Thrive Product Manager:

Wordpress Widget Dashboard

And then choose what widgets to display, and where.

As you can see, if you have the entire Thrive Themes membership, you’ll be able to find even more widgets to place around your website.

So now that you’ve seen what the themes and plugins of the Thrive membership are, let’s talk about actually signing up for the service.

Should you buy Thrive Themes?

To answer the question of whether or not you should buy Thrive Themes, let’s first talk about price.

If you pay for an entire year in advance, you’ll spend $19/month for Thrive Themes:

Thrive Themes Monthly Subscription Price

Which sounds cheap, but remember that that number comes up to $228/year.

Granted, it does come with a WordPress page builder and a dozen of other themes and plugins, but it’s still an amount you’d want to think about before spending.

If you just want to give Thrive Themes a shot, you can pay for only a quarter, which will cost you a total of $90.

Thrive Themes Subscription Quarterly Price

So it’s not the cheapest online marketing package out there.

But it’s definitely not the most expensive one either. By comparison, a funnel optimization tool like Kartra can cost you more than a thousand dollars per year.

A WordPress page builder plugin like Elementor can cost you more or less the same amount, with a bit less fully fleshed out plugins.

But that doesn’t mean Thrive Themes is right for everyone, so let’s talk about who this membership is made for.

Budget Bloggers

If you’re just getting started building an online business, or if you’re working with a tight budget, Thrive Themes might not be exactly what you need. 

Sure, $200 is not a lot of money to invest in your business.

But the purpose Thrive can accomplish for you doesn’t justify the investment.

Think about it: Even if you knew exactly how to use each of these themes and plugins to their full extent, you probably won’t have time to do it.

Rather, a page builder like Elementor can fit your needs much better. And the best part? You can make due with the free version.

Read our Elementor review to find out more.

Experienced Bloggers and Authority Hackers

If you know your SEO, have a few successful websites under your belt and want to take things to the next level…

Then Thrive Themes might still not be the best choice for you.

Sure, the flashy countdowns and opt-in forms can help you build an email list a bit faster.

But if you’re focused on building authority sites and getting mostly organic traffic, you don’t need to use Thrive Themes.

Elementor will still do, it will be slightly cheaper, and it will even be a bit more flexible.

Agencies

Whether you run a generic marketing agency, or a website development agency, a Thrive Themes membership might be perfect for you.

You have a lot of tools at your disposal to build simple, yet beautiful and functional websites.

And if a client needs something a bit more special, like a learning platform, a place to engage with their audience, or opt-in forms for a Google Ads campaign, you get all the tools you need in the same place.

Moreover, the amount of templates Thrive has on offer for all of the types of website or campaigns you may create make it very easy to adapt to client expectations and demands.

So if you’re looking for a WordPress page builder plugin for your agency, Thrive Themes may be the membership you need.

However, if your customer is usually a small business, it might not be the right choice, since you can’t make the best out of all Thrive Themes products.

And you know what would really seal the deal for agencies? A shop builder. Just something to keep in mind, Thrive.

Marketers

You might have guessed this from our review, but if not, I’ll state it clearly: the Thrive Themes membership is wonderful for marketers.

Thrive Architect alone is the best page builder for conversion rate optimization.

But when you add all the other marketing-savvy tools, like their Thrive Leads, Ultimatum, or Optimize.

When you factor in flashy tools like the headline optimizer.

When you take into account regular tools, like a comments section manager, that have a conversion optimization twist to them…

Well, then you know you’ve got the perfect tool for a marketer.

And that’s what Thrive Themes is.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an all-in-one WordPress set of plugins for marketers, a Thrive Themes membership is what you need. Same goes for agencies.

However, if you’re a beginner, budget, or organic-traffic oriented blogger, Thrive Themes might not be right for you. 

If you want to study the matter a bit more, and see what the best option is for you, read our roundup of the best WordPress page builders.

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