Thrive Theme Builder lets you visually design and build your perfect WordPress theme without hiring coders.
In this Thrive Theme Builder review, you’ll discover what this theme builder is about, who should use it, why it’s the first fully WordPress theme builder in the market, and how it differs from Thrive Architect.
If you’re a WordPress user, you must have had your fair share of themes that looked great in the demo but once activated, they looked awful.
For me, it’s a constant struggle trying to customize my theme to look exactly as I wanted, until now.
Thrive Theme Builder is changing the way we customize WordPress themes. It’s designed for the average user.
If you’re a WordPress developer, then it’s a lot easier to do some manipulations on your existing theme. But most people are just content creators, online entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs.
We don’t want to mess around with the headers, sidebars, layouts, single posts, and footers all day. We want to GET RESULTS from our marketing efforts.
Thrive Theme Builder makes WordPress customization simple and fun. This is a WordPress theme that offers a visual front-end editor that will make it easy for you to customize every aspect of your website completely.
Remember that Thrive Theme Builder is a theme, just like another theme but with an added advantage that other themes lack. It’s not a page builder like Thrive Architect. More on this later.
Disclosure: I receive affiliate compensation for some of the links below at no cost to you. However, this is my unbiased review of Thrive Theme Builder, which I believe is the most effective visual WordPress theme builder currently on the market (and what I’m using for the update of this website and blog). View my full affiliate disclaimer here.
What Is Thrive Theme Builder?
Thrive Theme Builder is a WordPress theme with a front-end editor that allows you to visually design and build a functional and professional WordPress theme without hiring developers.
Note: Thrive Theme Builder is NOT a WordPress plugin. It’s not a shortcut to get more out of your current theme.
The truth is that the builder gives you unparalleled control over every section of your WordPress site.
With Thrive Theme Builder, regardless of your experience building sites on the WordPress platform, you can create and customize your header, page layout, category pages, footer, sidebar, 404s, and more.
Interestingly, unlike Thrive Architect (which is powerful as well) that helps you to make changes to a specific page, Thrive Theme Builder is suitable when you want to update your fonts, for example, and see the effect on all your pages (even if you have 1,000 pages).
You’re also going to enjoy the smart color technology that ensures your font color changes are effected on all the pages you want.
There’s more, Thrive Theme Builder gives you pixel-by-pixel control when designing your WordPress theme.
You don’t need to be a web developer or designer to get the results you want, Thrive Theme Builder changes the game for WordPress users — and enables them to customize all their theme-controlled elements using the same intuitive interface in the Thrive Architect page building plugin.
Given that Thrive Theme Builder can be used by even beginners who have no specialized coding or web design skills, this makes it the perfect option for small businesses like online coaches, freelancers, local business owners, consultants, and content creators.
It’s for people who don’t want to waste time figuring out how to tweak and customize a theme.
What Is The Difference Between Thrive Theme Builder and Thrive Architect?
Many WordPress users confuse Thrive Architect with Thrive Theme Builder. The main difference before we dive in is the fact that Thrive Theme Builder is a Theme, Not a Plugin.
On the other hand, Thrive Architect is a plugin and not a theme. You can use it to design an individual page like this:
So when you install Thrive Theme Builder, you can do away with OceanWP, Astra, or whatever theme you’re currently using.
Plugins like Of course, you can still use a plugin like Thrive Architect for your individual page as it complements Thrive Theme Builder.
The reason for using the same editor in both builders is to prevent users from having to learn and master another editor altogether.
However, how you customize your WordPress site is different for both builders. For Thrive Architect, when you make changes it’ll only affect the current page that you’re working on.
With Thrive Theme Builder, though, the changes you make (e.g., changing font size and color) affect several pages, even hundreds of them, on your site.
If you’re looking to create stunning themes without hiring a developer, you should consider getting Thrive Theme Builder. More so, if you want to create content that’s well-designed for users, Thrive Architect is fantastic for that.
Since you want to achieve both results (I guess), you’ll need a theme builder and a page builder. Use Theme builder to manage your site’s structure and layout while “Architect” can be used for managing your content pages.
Eventually, Thrive Theme Builder will be the first fully customizable WordPress theme, editable from the front-end. This will allow users to build entire sites from scratch.
Currently, you can pick a template and use the dynamic content customizer to design your site structure as you see fit.
Dynamic content allows you to edit placeholders, which usually read “Featured image goes here, the heading goes there.”
Is Thrive Theme Builder Right For Me?
I know that most WordPress users want their site to look clean, professional, and well-optimized for search engines.
Since the WordPress platform functions primarily with a theme, you’ll need the Thrive Theme builder.
Thrive Theme Builder Is Right For You If:
- You’re a WordPress user
- You’re a content creator
- You’re a blogger
- You’re an online marketing entrepreneur.
Thrive Theme Builder Is Not Right For You If:
- You’re not a WordPress user
- You’d rather hire a WordPress developer for your site (although we’re using it and I work with designers and developers and it works really well for us).
- You don’t care about the design and feel of your site.
How Does Thrive Theme Builder Work?
Thrive Theme Builder is a powerful theme that will make your online marketing journey a lot easier, especially if you’re using WordPress to run your website.
So how does it work?
Well, there’s a 3-step process you need to follow:
Step #1: Upload Thrive Theme Builder to your Site
After downloading the Thrive Theme Builder from your Thrive theme member dashboard, simply log into your WordPress account like you normally do, then upload your theme builder like you’d any other theme.
Here’s the path to follow:
Appearance> Themes > Add new.
Step #2: Follow the Site Creation Wizard
Once the Thrive Theme Builder has been installed successfully, you’ll need to follow the Site Creation Wizard. It’s a ‘wizard’ so it makes the job of site creation child’s play.
Step #3: Add Content and Publish Your Site
After you’re done customizing your headers, sidebars, single posts, footers, navigation, and more, simply add content (if it’s a new site), then publish your site and start using it.
Thrive Theme Builder and Shapeshift Theme
The truth be told, building a theme from scratch sounds daunting and boring to the majority of WordPress users. Again, if you’re a professional developer, then it’s quite easy. But are you?
If you don’t want to build a theme from scratch, you don’t have to!
Thrive Theme Builder comes with Shapeshift, a companion theme that enables you to design your first custom, professional, clean, and conversion-centric WordPress site in 15 minutes or less.
The Shapeshift theme looks good out of the gate, but you can still customize it into the website you’ve always wanted.
Here are some of the features of the Shapeshift theme:
- Clean and professional
- Lightweight and mobile-optimized
- Homepage templates to choose from
- A library of pre-built design templates for your posts, page sections, and more.
- Customize your author box, 404 pages, and category pages.
The objective is to give you a real WordPress theme builder that has full WYSIWYG front-end editing functionality (the same flexibility you have with Thrive Architect and even more site-wide).
New features will be added regularly to Thrive Theme Builder. For example, the builder will have Woocommerce compatibility and unmatched SEO features to help both online creators and eCommerce entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Thrive Theme Builder Review: An In-Depth Look Inside
hrive Theme Builder is designed with a lot of helpful features that will enable you to design your WordPress theme exactly how you want it to look — without hiring a developer or taking an online course to learn to code.
Let’s dive into the features:
1. Design Your Core Page Templates
To speed up the process of designing your WordPress theme using Thrive Theme Builder, you’ll need to establish a set of Core Page Templates. This will control your pages displayed on your site.
That’s why the development theme has made available core templates that manage your web pages with a single design. You’ll be using dynamic content to effect changes on repeating page templates (such as the title, excerpt text on your blog reel pages, featured image, etc).
The core page templates that are available on Thrive Theme Builder will have:
- Blog list page
- Standard post
- Blog archive page
- Default page
- 404 page
The screenshot below shows the group of Core Page Templates you’ll set up in Thrive Theme Builder to design every aspect of your theme.
The first step to using Thrive Theme Builder is to customize each of these core template pages. This will take care of the basics across your website.
Once that’s done, you might be concerned about how to get each of these core page templates designed fast using Thrive Theme Builder?
You can use the intuitive, drag-and-drop visual editor and the template libraries available on Thrive Theme Builder to make your theme design a lot easier.
If you want to create multiple instance pages on your WordPress site, there are a variety of page section templates to use as well. These include:
- Top area
- Sidebar area
- Content area
- Bottom area
When using Thrive builder, simply click on the page section area you want to tweak (you can do this in the actual Thrive Editor window or the left sidebar’s Main Options tab diagram as shown above) to access the dedicated page section template library lightbox:
This makes it easy to design and customize each one of your core theme template pages very quickly.
The moment your template loads on the page, you know it’s time to begin customizing it using the same intuitive Thrive Editor interface you’re used to — if you’re a Thrive Architect user.
Being able to customize any area of your core page templates is an added advantage of using Thrive Theme Builder. That’s also the reason why you can quickly design a unique theme that looks awesome both on mobile and desktop devices.
2. Setting Up Your Theme’s Basic Typography
Typography is an important aspect of your WordPress site. If your font face, font size, and font placement are awful, your target audience will hardly care about your ‘engaging’ content.
Setting up your theme’s basic typography has been a continuous struggle for site owners until now.
Thanks to Thrive Theme Builder, you can now modify your theme’s typography settings with a few clicks.
So how do you edit your basic theme’s Typography? It’s simple. Simply click on the Typograph box in your dashboard, then click on “edit.”
Next, you’ll be taken to the Typograph section of your Theme Builder Dashboard, where you can easily edit any of these features:
- Paragraph text
- List text
- Hyperlink text
- Plain text
- Blockquote text
- Preformatted text
You can also use the Thrive Editor interface to quickly set the font type, size color, height, spacing, and hover effects (for the hyperlink). As you’d expect, these new edits will dynamically update across your WordPress theme.
There are so many powerful features you’re familiar with in Thrive Architect, these features are also directly related to the development of Thrive Theme Builder.
This is good news if you’re already a Thrive Architect user. Why?
It’s because when you add Thrive Theme Builder to your site — you’ll gain access to these powerful features at your disposal anywhere you need them.
These powerful features include:
- Shared Styles
- Custom Menu Tool
- Smart Color Technology
- Post List Element
Note that these popular features are also included in Thrive Theme Builder. There’s no additional cost whatsoever, start using them today if you’re already a Thrive Theme member.
3. Build Your Perfect WordPress Theme With Zero Coding
This feature makes Thrive Theme Builder a must-have for online creators, internet marketers, and site builders who don’t want to waste time writing codes to customize their site. Just pick one of the templates and get started.
4. Lightweight and Mobile-Optimized Theme
We’re operating in a Mobile-First World. It’s not just Google that cares about mobile users, even online brands do. That’s why you need a lightweight and responsive theme for your business website.
It’s not enough to buy a theme that promises to be mobile-responsive, isn’t it better you do it yourself to be double sure?
You can easily preview your WordPress theme while customizing it. You see exactly how it’ll display on your customer’s smartphone and tablets.
The Shapeshift companion theme that comes with Thrive Theme Builder is mobile-friendly and lightweight. That means your website will load quickly, within 3 seconds.
5. Site Creation Wizard
If you’ve never designed a WordPress theme before (most of us can’t even imagine it), then you’ll find the Site Creation Wizard very helpful.
The wizard shows you how to visually build your custom theme in 15 minutes. It’ll show you what and where to click, and how to take advantage of smart color technology, and other innovations that Thrive Theme Builder brings.
6. Drag-and-Drop Design Experience
If you’ve had an experience with drag-and-drop tools, then you already know how much flexibility they offer.
Thrive Theme Builder offers a better drag-and-drop design experience, which allows you to modify every section of your site. Other tools that offer this feature have limitations.
Some allow you to edit the content area, but when you try to do the same in the sidebar, you mess the content area up. Something isn’t adding up, that’s why Thrive Theme Builder is changing the status quo.
7. Conversion-Focused Homepage Templates Library
Apart from being the first page of your site, it’s also the most important. If you’re in doubt, check your Google Analytics and you’ll realize that the majority of your site visitors land on your homepage first.
This is true with my website, at least.
Thrive Theme Builder was designed by a team of online marketers who understands that what online creators care about is:
- Generating website traffic
- Acquiring qualified leads
- Making sales and growing revenue.
Every other goal is secondary and ties into these three core goals. That’s why you need a pre-built conversion-focused homepage template for your website. And the flexibility of customizing your homepage as you want is another added advantage of using this theme builder.
8. Central Font Management
If you want to control your fonts across specific pages, you can do so in Thrive Theme Builder. You can choose to have different font sizes for your homepage, while the single posts will have different font colors and styles.
This feature will be beneficial to you if you don’t want to have the same font properties across your pages. Use the Central Font Management settings to control it.
9. Customize Author Box Designs, 404 Pages, Search Results Pages, Category Pages
When users land on your 404 error pages, they’ll feel disappointed. But it’s inevitable to not have 404 pages because pages can break without your knowledge or effects.
Here’s my own 404 customized page. It doesn’t look like an ‘error’ page because I have designed it for conversions.
Thrive Theme Builder allows you to choose a high-converting 404-page template and customize it as you want.
You can include specific links, images, or simply redirect the page to another functional page. The choice is all yours!
You might be wondering why I talked about 404 pages before author box designs and other sections of your site. The truth is that error pages offer a poor user experience on your website. So you should fix that first.
But don’t forget to customize your search results pages, category pages, and author box designs to look like your brand.
Thrive Theme Builder Pros and Cons
It’s exciting to know that you don’t have to worry about learning any complicated code to build a unique website. That means you can spend more time on your actual business!
Since Thrive Theme Builder enables you to create and launch a custom site within 15 minutes, I think it’s the right tool for your online business. But it may not be the perfect tool for everyone.
Let’s look at the pros and cons:
- You can build a WordPress theme from scratch.
- You can easily customize an existing theme as you want.
- You will stop struggling to customize a complex and inflexible WordPress theme.
- You can design a theme that can convert readers into subscribers or customers.
- You can build conversion-focused websites for clients.
- You need to have an understanding of WordPress to use the theme builder.
- You don’t want to mess with a ton of custom code on your website
- You’re an eCommerce entrepreneur who relies on WooCommerce (however, Thrive Theme Builder will become WooCommerce compatible in the future!)
Thrive Theme Builder Pricing
The only way to get Thrive Theme Builder is with Thrive Themes membership. It’ll be available as a standalone product in the future — but they’re releasing it to Thrive theme members who have supported them in the past years.
You can choose a plan below to get started with Thrive Theme Builder and other products.
If you’re already a Thrive Member, then you can access Thrive Theme Builder in the “Themes” section of your Thrive Product Manager (within your WordPress dashboard):
However, if you’re not signed up as a Thrive Member yet and you’d still like to use Thrive Theme Builder, there’s still time.
You can sign up or upgrade to a Thrive Themes Membership today and you’ll get instant access.
Thrive Theme Builder Alternatives
If, for any reason, you’re not entirely excited about the prospect of using Thrive Theme Builder to design your theme and make it look exactly the way you want, here are some alternatives for you.
There are quite a few alternatives to Thrive Theme Builder.
Let’s take a look at some of the platforms that can potentially rival Thrive Theme Builder:
Elementor is a visual drag-and-drop page builder plugin that allows you to add layout, design elements, and advanced styling to your WordPress content — and you don’t need to write a single line of code.
You get even more control with the Elementor Pro version, which allows you to design your entire WordPress theme without knowing how to write codes.
There are two aspects of Elementor visual builder you need to know:
- Visual: This feature allows you to design your content and see exactly what your visitors will see in real-time. You’ll be sure of how your page will look once you publish it.
- Drag-and-drop: This popular feature enables you to move around various design elements such as images, buttons, forms – by simply dragging and dropping them. There’s no need to code anything!
- Loads of pre-built page designs
- Choose from a ton of different content modules
- Responsive design elements and Mobile previews
- Easily change texts with Inline text editing
- It’s easy to use for beginners.
- The default widget styles look quirky out-of-the-box.
- There’s no white label option for developers
Here’s the current pricing of Elementor Pro:
These plans are paid annually. You’ll get 24/7 support and updates as long as you’re a member.
You can download the Elementor plugin via the WordPress repository here. No registration is required, and there are no additional costs.
The Pro edition has some interesting features that power users will enjoy:
- 50-plus extra content elements.
- Theme Builder that allows you to customize theme headers and footers.
- Visual Form Builder allows integrations with commonly-used marketing tools.
- WooCommerce Builder module allows you to customize your WooCommerce product pages.
- 300-plus extra page templates.
- Popup Builder module makes building high-converting pop-ups easy. This is integrated with an opt-in form.
- Deploy Elementor elements in sidebars and widgets.
- Create Global Widgets that you can reuse throughout your site.
- Add custom CSS to any Elementor block.
2. Divi Builder
Divi Builder is another popular page builder tool for website owners. Although it’s primarily a back-end page builder tool, it’s now a true front-end visual editor.
With this transition, there’s no need attempting to make changes in the back-end or WordPress Dashboard area of your website, just make changes in the Live Editing editor through a WYSIWYG interface.
Divi Builder Pros
- It’s a drag-and-drop Visual Page Builder
- It’s easy to customize
- Pre-built Layouts to choose from
- It’s easy to use.
- Supports 32 Languages
Divi Builder Cons
- Divi must be activated before Layouts can work.
- Some features are not beginner-friendly.
Divi Builder Pricing
The only way to get the Divi Builder plugin is to join the Elegant Themes club. It costs $89 per year and offers a ton of benefits.
Aside from the main Divi Builder plugin, you can also download five other plugins, including Bloom, a powerful email opt-in form builder as well as a featured social media sharing plugin Monarch.
Here’s the pricing module: