Thrive Theme Builder is the latest offering from Thrive Themes which is a visual theme editor to create your personalized design. The core is backed by the already successful page builder Thrive Architect and extended to use it across every element of your site.
Thrive Themes has launched their new Theme called Thrive Theme Builder. In the latest trend of visual theme builders, it is also a visual editor to design your site.
Since I am already using many of their product on my blogs like Thrive Comments or Thrive Leads, I went ahead and purchased Thrive Theme Builder. I am planning to use it for a few of my future projects.
But since I already have the product, let’s do a detailed review and check how useful this WordPress theme is?
Thrive Theme Builder Review
Let’s start with a video to showcase how easily you can setup a site with the help of Thrive Theme Builder.
In this video, I have set up a basic WordPress site from scratch with the theme. As you can see the theme has most of the basic controls which allow you to customize the visual components on your site.
Currently, Thrive Theme Builder comes with only one predesigned theme called Shapeshift. You need to install both of them together as a package to get it working on the WordPress site.
The installation process is similar to any other Thrive Themes products. You need to install and activate the product manager plugin, from there you can install the Thrive Theme Builder.
Though its a single theme but it gives enough customization options to create many different layouts. You can also create your own themes easily from the visual editor.
The first thing which you will be greeted with after installing the Thrive Theme Builder is a site wizard. It allows you to set up the layout of your site with some easy to follow instructions.
The site wizard allows you to mix and match many different designs to create a personalized layout for your pages.
Site Wizard Elements
You need to follow the screens and update the different sections to define the layout. Here are some of the basic selection you need to make –
Logo – Upload the logo which you want to use for your site. Default size is 250px by 40px, so make sure image follow the similar ratio.
Brand Color – Main brand color for your site. Once you select this color many of the smart elements will automatically start using this color on your site.
Header – You can select the header layout which you want on your site. It comes with around 30 predefined layouts for headers which cover most of the designs. You can also customize the predefined layout once the site is setup.
Footer – Similar to Header, select the layout of Footer. You get around 27 predefined layouts for the footer.
Homepage – You can select the if you want to use your existing page, blog posts, or predefined layouts for your homepage. You get 5 different homepage layouts focused on different work. They are modular and highly customizable in design.
Single Blog Post – Select the single post layout for your blog posts. You get 12 different predefined layouts.
Blog Post List – Layout of the pages which lists the blog posts.
Page – General layout of the pages on your site. These will be starting layout and you can customize pages while creating them.
Menu – Enable the header and footer menus so that it can be managed from WordPress Dashboard. If you have already created menus, you can assign them to location also.
You can also extend the capability by installing Thrive Architect with Thrive Theme Builder. Many of the predesigned elements from Thrive Architect can be used to customize the theme templates.
Branding is the section which is an extension of the logo and brand color in site wizard. Here you can set the light and dark logo so that it can look good on any kind of header layout.
You also have an option to define the favicon for your site. Once these branding colours, logo and favicon are defined, it will be used across the site.
Typography is a section where you define the font and size for different elements on your site. It comes with a default typography set which can be extended to define new sets for your site.
You can click on the Edit icon and change the typography settings for any set. It means that you can save different font sets and change them with a single click from this screen.
The typography edit screen allows you to change all aspects of your HTML elements. Just define them on this screen and it will take effect on your entire site.
If you are not sure about the changes, you can copy the set and make your changes. This way if you are not satisfied with the change, you can always enable the original set and revert your changes.
Its a nice and clean interface to manage typography for your site. Also you will see all the elements together while making the change which makes it easy to visualise how they will look on the site.
Thrive Theme Builder Theme Manager
It comes with a full-featured theme manager which makes it easy to customize and ship WordPress Themes.
It has an option to add a new theme that allows you to import a theme from a file or import it from Thrive Cloud.
Currently, there is only one theme at Thrive Cloud but in the future, there can be multiple themes and this feature will allow you to easily shuffle between them.
The new theme creation process is easy. You can click on Duplicate and it will create a new theme based on Shapeshift. That will be your starting base and you can make customization from that point onwards.
Once done, export that theme and you have a theme file that can be used in the “Add New Theme” option.
Template Editor allows you to edit the site-wide templates for your blog. The theme comes with Predefined templates for most of the site elements but if you want further customization, you can use the Template Editor.
If you have worked with Thrive Architect before, this template editor will be familiar to you. It’s a light version of the same Thrive Architect, just that you have fewer options while editing. Though the editing process is similar.
Once you load the template, you can add new sections or delete the existing section on the templates. Please be careful while editing the templates as it will impact the complete site.
The left sidebar shows the specific options for the selected elements and allows you to customize it.
One small tip – I find it very easy to navigate between elements by using the top breadcrumbs, It lets you know which element you are working with and allows you to easily jump levels.
Page element is not selected while you load the Thrive Architect screen but if you click on it, you will get global settings to adjust the width, background and typography.
Thrive Theme Builder comes with Smart Landing page templates. All the Shapeshift theme templates are smart and can be easily customized.
What Is Smart Template In Thrive Theme Builder?
Smart Templates are predefined sections that make the editing process easy by enhanced color management, global fields, and global settings. You can edit the page to match the layout and design elements of your site.
These smart templates automatically inherit the colors from Site Wizard. You can also manage them from the Central Style Editor and easily change it across the page.
Another thing which you get is Article Components which can be used to define the dynamic page layouts. So if you design a blog post layout, you can add components like Post Title, Post Title, or Featured Image. The content will automatically change based on the post displayed on the page.
Though it is a light version of Thrive Architect, its good enough for editing most of the theme templates. It also provide most of the basic elements which you will need to define sections in your templates.
Smart Site allows you to define global fields that can easily be used across templates. You can access the Smart sites from Thrive Dashboard and edit the Global field values.
Here you will enter the values like your Company Name, Address, Facebook Page ID, Twitter ID, etc. Once entered, you can easily access them while editing the page templates.
Thrive Theme Builder also comes with a one-click configuration for many of the speed aspects of the site. They have provided setup for some of the most used plugins to be used with this theme.
For Minification and Caching the support is provided for W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache plugins. Just click the button based on which plugin you are using and recommended settings will be installed on your site.
The same is true for Image optimization and CDN integration. You can install the plugins or setup the recommended settings from the Site Speed settings.
AMP is something where Thrive Themes support needs to catch up. The official AMP plugin doesn’t play too nice with it since they use fonts and icons which are not AMP optimized. The AMP support in Site Speed supposed to take care of that.
It does a decent job but AMP support is still in BETA and needs some work before it can be used with production sites. So if AMP is a must-have for your site, you may need to make some effort while setting this theme.
Though, with each update, the feature and support are getting better. Hopefully, it will soon come out of the BETA tag. Till now, I would not recommend it for your live sites.
Thrive Architect Integration
As I mentioned Thrive Theme Builder comes with Thrive Architect Light. It allows you to edit the templates, posts, and pages. Though you have the basic editing capabilities and theme templates, Thrive Architect comes with a huge library of pre-built layouts.
You can integrate Thrive Architect with Thrive Theme Builder to unlock the huge library and editing potentials. Since I am a long time customer of Thrive Themes and already have Thrive Architect license, lets see how this integration works.
We just need to install Thrive Architect on the site and all the additional layouts will be unlocked. Thrive Architect will get additional smart layouts with legacy layouts that can be used on your pages.
We can use any of the smart layouts and it will behave in a similar manner as Shapeshift smart layouts. Once you select the smart layout, you get most of its section as page layouts and you can use them to alter the page design.
These page blocks are specific to smart layouts and open a library of pre-defined sections for that layout. You can easily insert or remove the complete section with the help of page blocks.
You also get access to legacy page templates which can also be used to change the design of the homepage. Considering they are not smart templates, you will need to change the colors manually, remove header and footer, and adjust sections accordingly. Little bit more work than smart templates but in no means a show stopper.
Thrive Theme Builder Pricing
Pricing is one of the key aspects of Thrive Theme Builder. Thrive Theme still comes with one-time lifetime pricing with a small tweak.
You can either subscribe to Thrive Theme Membership to gain access to all of their themes and plugins. Thrive Membership gives you access to all of their product for 25 licenses for a monthly price which you can use on any of the sites. If you use more than 2-3 products, this license will make sense as you won’t have to spend a lot of money upfront.
Their one-time lifetime license will come with free updates and 1-year support. So once you buy the license, you can get the product updates free for a lifetime without any additional payment.
If you are like me who raise very little support issues, this license will make sense. You can get lifetime updates with a one-time payment. If later on, you need some support, you can add the support with a small one time fee for a year.
Since most of the other Visual Editing Themes are using yearly fee schedules, this sets Thrive Theme Builder apart. The only limitation is that you can only buy 5 site license in this mode. So if you need more than that licenses, you need to go for Membership plans.
So that’s all about Thrive Theme Builder. It makes life a little easier but will be suitable for personal blogs. If you have a WooCommerce store, you need to wait as the support is still in the roadmap. Personal Blogs will appreciate the conversion-focused layouts and smart templates.