Thrive Architect is a WordPress visual editor plugin by Thrive Themes. It has come a long way since it was dramatically transformed from its original, Thrive Content Builder a few years ago. New fascinating features are added every now and again and, to me this already popular plugin deserves even more recognitions. My Thrive Architect review will explain why this is an essential tool to make blogging easier, your site look better, more professional, and more importantly, make it convert better.
When Gutenberg (v. 5) was introduced in late 2018, many WordPress users found it hard to adapt to its "block-based" concept. More users have started to seek for a third-party visual editor plugin and find Thrive Architect (which has always been a block-based editor) easier to use. Ironically the original editor (i.e. Gutenberg) now seems to be in competition with the plugin (i.e. Thrive Architect) which is hard to beat. I hope my Thrive Architect review will help you decide to give it a try, if you haven't.
What Is Thrive Architect?
In case you've never heard of it - Thrive Architect is a conversion-focused drag & drop WordPress page builder plugin. You don't create the content within the WordPress editor, but instead you have a Thrive Architect button, which opens up a new browser tab with WYSIWYG builder.
Formerly known as Thrive Content Builder, it undertook a major overhaul and newly released in 2017. Since then, there have been updates after updates. Initially in my Thrive Architect Review, I listed the features I was impressed with as well as the ones I felt pretty indifferent with. Thrive team takes the users' feedbacks very seriously and continuously improves their products. Especially with Thrive Architect being their most popular plugin.
If you've previously used Thrive Content Builder and wasn't 100% sure of the product, this time it will convince you with its super conversion-focused landing page templates as well as impressive features that no other WordPress users can have.
It has many extra features that WordPress editor does not have (as many as the icons shown in the image above) such as buttons, call-to-action, social share buttons, testimonials, counter, etc. Usually a WordPress user would have to have a separate plugin installed to add such an extra feature, whereas Thrive Architect has so many of them in one plugin.
The plugin is pretty large in size (over 30Mb) with many functions, but because Thrive's first objective is responsiveness, the Architect will not slow down your site speed - how they do it is a wonder!
I'm pretty excited to witness 'more than a few steps forward' in most of the elements but am particularly impressed in the areas such as;
- It's become easier/simpler to customize some extra features
- More options in terms of graphics, size and styles
- Responsive view (desktop, tablet and mobile) within the editor
- Easier "word processing"
Next I'll briefly explain what I mean by each one.
#1 Easier Customization
For example an opt-in form. The width of it was previously not adjustable by itself. In order to insert a reasonably small form in the center of the page, you needed to insert a "Content Container" (now called "Background Section") first, adjust the width of the container and place the form inside it. Otherwise you would have a form that's a full-page length.
Now the process is simplified with Thrive Architect - you can directly adjust the form's width (or any other element's width) and align it left, center or right of the page easily.
Previously: the above form may look fine in a mobile browser, but too wide in a desktop browser, if used on its own.
Now the width is easily adjustable.
Another example is "Event Manager", now called "Animation & Action". In order to have an image, button or icon animated, previously you would click Event Manager, which would open a popup window, then you choose "Animation"... and so on. Now it's all operated within the side control panel, and you can view the animation in the exact location of your page as you choose.
#2 More Options in Graphic / Styles
Example: Background Area
Background section can be in a solid colour, image, gradient like this one, or a pattern. The corner radius can be adjusted in seconds.
And you can set the visibility according to the device. For example this gradient background to be visible only when viewed in desktop or tablet browser, but invisible when viewed in a mobile browser.
Example: Styled List Variation
There weren't many styled list options previously, but now you can use any icon, in any color and size, with any background. You can also have a different icon line by line. You can drop a shadow to the list box or the text, and have it animated within seconds.
The button feature has become more versatile - it's easier to change colors than before, and there are more variations such as rounded, fully-rounded, "Ghost" (transparent with border), elevated, etc. And you can insert any icon inside it (like the heart icon in the button below).
There are a lot more vivid improvements in graphics, and by all means, you can check them in Thrive's website - accessible from the button above.
Example: Google Map
One more example! Placing a Google Map on your webpage has become incredibly easy. Just drag & drop the Google Map feature icon, and type in the name of any area. The map will appear in the editor. Type in another town, and it will instantly pick up the map. You can zoom right in to show the exact location/street address by default, too.
This is extremely useful for a local business (WordPress) site, otherwise it would have needed to install a Google Map plugin, which would set up separately then a shortcode would have to be applied on the post editor.
#3 Responsive View
This is now one of the most essential features for any web editing tools but surprisingly WordPress editor is not equipped with... To be able to check a tablet view and mobile view while working on your page.
For example if you place a small photo around 350px wide, and align it to the right of your paragraph, it will look fine in your WordPress editor (also in Thrive Architect) but will likely to push away the text to the left too far in tablet, make it look awkward for users. You don't have to check all the desktop/tablet/mobile views every time you add something, but you need to check the whole page sometime before you publish the content. This feature is a necessary one for every webmaster, and it works great.
By the way the control panels are all around the screen, and they pop up as you need.
For example if you click anywhere in a paragraph, a paragraph editor shows up on the left (to edit the layout, colors, background, etc). If you click anywhere outside any working areas, the option panel will appear on the right, so that you can drag any of the features to the editor space.
#4 Word Processing Has Become Easier
If I had to pick a weakness with the previous version, I'd say it was a word processing aspect.
Each and every paragraph was in an invisible box (<p> </p> in HTML code). As soon as you pressed Enter, you would jump to the next paragraph - just like any other word processors do. In a word processor, or WordPress editor, if you accidentally press Enter, all you do is to press the Backspace key to go back to the previous paragraph.
Thrive Content Builder did not allow you to do this. If you press Enter accidentally, it will immediately create a new paragraph box underneath. You're already in the new paragraph which you don't want. You'd have to delete the new paragraph box, and actually move the cursor and click the end of the previous paragraph in order to continue writing. Of course, there was an "Undo" button, but it didn't work in this case. Undo button did not always "undo" the last action.
Now the problem's fixed with Thrive Architect. Keep writing as many paragraphs and you're still in one "text box". You can join two paragraphs into one just like you can do with normal word processor or WordPress editor. This is a huge step-forward for me.
Similarly, it was previously almost impossible to copy & paste a few paragraphs from another document. Thrive would create a nested text box and also create a huge gap in between each paragraph. This is fixed also. It can create a big gap (two spaces in between the paragraphs), but it can be tidied up easy with a click & backspace.
Also Read: Thrive Architect vs Elementor Pro
Landing Page Templates [Rapid Implementation]
Thrive's landing page templates are created in line with its "Rapid Implementation" policy - it is the idea of prioritizing the purpose of it and getting it published quickly, without being distracted by other details such as changing images, colors, etc. But of course everything's fully customizable.
New templates are added and, what I like first of all is how they're displayed, makes it easier for me to find what I want. Previously the templates were listed by category, such as sales page, lead generation page, product launch page etc, which was actually pretty confusing. If you had wanted a sales page with lead generation and also a product launch in the same page for example, you would have ended up checking them all. Now the templates are listed by theme - the look - if you click a theme, it expands to show what kind of templates that particular theme offers.
"Atomic" Landing Page Set for Copywriting Challenge
This is a 'challenge' feature set out by the SEO, Shane Melaugh for the users as a free bonus.
The Atomic landing page templates include; video sales page, download page, webinar registration page, webinar streaming page, webinar replay page, lead generation page, confirmation page.
As part of Thrive "university" training element, Shane has prepared a template with very basic elements - header, sub-header, text and call-to-action - where the users can insert what they think the most effective words & sentences using the copywriting technique.
This in my opinion, is truly a bonus, extremely useful for those who want to learn a basic copywriting technique to boost conversion rates.
Not a Fan of Gutenberg? Good News!
If you prefer the classic version of WordPress, you can actually continue to use it AND use all the features that Thrive offers... WordPress editor can be used anywhere within the Architect editor.
This is also useful when you want to edit your old post. It allows you to add Thrive elements and at the same time partially edit your old content, also to partially or wholly delete the old content.
Also Read: WordPress Gutenberg vs Thrive Architect
Content Block (NEW)
One of the new features - at a click of a button, you can add a ready-made "block" such as a product review list, podcast block, quote, product rating block, pros and cons - all responsive on any devices.
I have used this Content Block feature to show you the pros and cons of Thrive Architect below.
Thrive Architect Pros and Cons
Thrive Architect Review Conclusion:
Once you've used it, you cannot go back to the generic WordPress editor - this is what most of the existing users say. Suitable for any online marketers, bloggers, retailers or affiliates. With many useful functions to make a difference to your web space, I would recommend Thrive Architect to any WordPress users.