Thrive Architect Review : Build Unique, Creative Sites That Outshines the Competition

How do you capture your website visitors’ interest and turn them into loyal customers or subscribers?

Especially when the human attention span lasts less than that of a goldfish – psst! about 7 seconds!

Well, one of the first places where you can impress is with your website design or landing page.

When you have a unique, creative and functional web page that puts the right information where it matters the most, you’ve hit the jackpot.

When your visitors’ curiosity is piqued, they will:

  • be keen to explore your site and learn more about you and your offerings.
  • interested in bookmarking your site and becoming a subscriber.
  • show an interest in buying your product or service or ones that you offer or recommend.
  • share your engaging articles with their social followers.

Simply put, they will generate a lot of interest about you, your brand and your business.

And that’s a tough thing to achieve in today’s crowded marketplace.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To achieve all of this, you need a powerful platform, which you already have – your blog, website or landing page. But where your platform usually fails is in letting you implement your customer oriented goals in such a way as to deliver maximum impact.

The best way to overcome this problem is to design it yourself. Because only you know the best way to serve your content, product, or service to your customer.

But you’re probably thinking that:

– Designing your own layout can be a daunting affair.

– You don’t know anything about web designing.

– HTML and CSS is downright scary.

– You may have to spend hours to get it done.

– It is going to be expensive.

You can come up with plenty of such scary scenarios like these.

What if I told you that you don’t need to know anything about CSS or HTML, you don’t need to Google search copywriting materials for marketing your product, and you don’t have to spend hours or days to create a great looking web page. Oh, and you certainly don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars or make tons of telephone calls/ skype meetings either.

All you need is one simple, super efficient WordPress plugin.

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is, simply put, version 2 of the Thrive Content Builder plugin from Thrive Themes. I’ve been using this plugin for over 4 years now and with great success. You can read my review here if you like, but its mostly redundant now.

Because Thrive Content Builder has been completely revamped and is packed with better features and better usability as Thrive Architect. This amazing WP plugin can turn any novice into a professional web designer with very little learning curve.

In today’s post, I want to introduce you to Thrive Architect, the new best content builder plugin that I’m sure you’re going to love using.

Getting Started with Thrive Architect

Once you’ve picked up your copy of Thrive Architect and installed it on your website, open up a new page. You’ll see the big green Edit with Thrive Architect button below the permalink. Give your page a name and save it as a draft. Then hit this green button.

Edit with Thrive Architect

This will open up the Thrive Architect layout page. This is where all the magic happens.

Thrive Architect pane

On the left, you’ll see the Thrive Architect pane with all its content building elements.

Thrive Architect Settings

Right at the top is the Gear icon – It opens the Thrive Architect settings and Template setup.

Thrive Architect Search

A search button below the Gear icon lets you quickly search for an element, if you know its name.

Thrive Architect Foundation Elements

Pinned elements

Next follows the Foundation section. Here you have simple content building elements like a text element, image element, a heading, a button, columns, content boxes and so on. If you hover over an element, you’ll see a pin button. If you use an element frequently, you can pin it to the PINNED section.

( A huge time saving feature previously missing in Thrive Content Builder. I had to keep scrolling up and down every time I needed to add a element.) This one is a huge time saver.

Thrive Architect Building Blocks

The Thrive Architect Building Blocks are super powerful elements that are the secret sauce if you will, to unleashing that creative design you want to implement on your site. I’ll quickly run through some of the most popular elements and you can go through all the rest when you get your hands on the plugin.

Click to tweet – When you’ve got something viral to share with the world, hit his button and add an easy tweet section for your readers to share right away with their followers.

Click to Tweet

Countdown Timer – When you’ve got an incredible offer to share with your website visitors, but it is a time-bound offer, you can use this Countdown Timer to give it a sense of urgency.

Countdown Timer - Thrive Architect

Star Rating: For those times when you want to establish the worth of a product or service, this simple element with 4 designs and countless customization options offers a visual stamp of your review.

Thrive Architect Rating

Tables: When you want to showcase content in a tabular format a visually appealing table element like the one below will make it so easy to create and customize table data. No need for an additional plugin either.

Thrive Architect Tables

Responsive Videos: Videos go viral and with more users adopting mobile technology, you wont be left scratching your head on how to get your videos to work seamlessly on smaller displays.

Thrive Architect Responsive Videos

Icons: Previously, accessing icons was a pain. Thankfully, the team has done away with the Icon Manager, which required external downloads. Now, you can hit the Icon element and search inside Thrive itself for hundreds of free icons. Again, you can customize any icon by adding a color, opacity, background element and so on.

Thrive Architect Icons

Styled Lists : Styled lists in TCB was great but there were limitations in design and usability. In Thrive Architect, they’ve really transformed the way you create lists. Here are 2 cool things you can do:

  1. Select an icon in the styled list and change it to anything you want from the Icons list above, complete with customization.
  2. Select the style element and then reorder the click by clicking and dragging.

Reordering Lists

Buttons: Previously in TCB, you had a set of button styles to choose from – about 6 in all. In Thrive Architect, you have the freedom to create a button of any size, shape and color with plenty of customization options. Here’s a lovely green button with a soft greenish glow around it.

button

There are plenty more elements like:

  • Custom HTML
  • Custom Menu
  • Content Reveal
  • Disqus Comments
  • Facebook Comments
  • Google Map
  • Fill Counter
  • Lead Generation
  • Post Grid
  • Table of Contents
  • Tabs
  • WordPress Content …and others

Pretty much every element in Thrive Architect is exciting to use. The previous iteration of this plugin has shed many of its stiffness and inflexibility issues to transform itself into the most fluid builder plugin you’ll ever find in WordPress.

With such a varied collection of elements and endless ways in which you can apply them, you have all the power tools you need to create content that stands out from the competition. I doubt any content builder can match up to the granular level of changes that Thrive Architect affords.



Digging Deeper into Thrive Architect Customization Settings

Each Thrive Architect element includes a bunch of properties. When you add an element to the page, the Thrive Architect pane quickly switches to the properties of the element. For example, when I insert a table on my page, the Thrive Architect pane instantly switches to the Table properties.

Thrive Architect Elements

Here, I can customize my table by adjusting cell padding, making the table sortable, setting the alignment, picking a cell or header color and so on.

Earlier, a floating bar at the top of screen displayed the element properties. This somehow wasn’t intuitive at all as it sometimes ended up blocking the writing section. A great plus with Thrive Architect is that the properties are now non-intrusive.

New Thrive Architect Settings & Template Setup

Thrive Architect delivers great feature elements to make your content impressive and easily digestible for your readers. But there’s another aspect where the plugin shines. That is in the Settings section.

The first element, Setup Page Events makes it easy as pie to trigger specific events when a website visitor lands on your page. You can set a specific time to trigger a call to action or use Exit intent to draw attention to the call to action when the visitor leaves the web page.

Page Event Manager

For power users, elements like Edit HTML and Custom CSS makes it super easy to work with codes. A nice grey overlay with color codes makes it so much more easier to work with.

Thrive Architect HTML settings

In the Template Setup section, you have options to import a landing page or choose a template predesigned for you by the Thrive team. You can learn more about their collection of landing pages over here. These pages are fantastic, super customizable and help you create the perfect design for your landing page in minutes.

Take for example, this simple landing page design.

Thrive Architect landing page template

This page is self explanatory. Just click on each element in the page, like the logo, eBook cover, headline, sub heading, paragraph text, button and replace it with your call to action elements. It is that simple.

Plus, you can customize the fonts, colors and background style. And, a nice bonus – adjusting the content width using just a scroll bar.

Landing page options in Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect makes it super easy to create landing pages. But there’s one more nice touch to the plugin that you’ll appreciate.

Responsiveness.

You don’t have to publish a page to see what it will look like on mobile or tablet views.

Just hit the Responsive View button at the bottom of the pane. You’ll be able to see exactly what your landing page will look like on the Desktop, Tablet and Mobile devices. And you can make whatever changes you want accordingly without switching between multiple devices.

Thrive Architect Responsive View

And the good stuff doesn’t end there.

You can continue to edit this landing page in the responsive view. You can apply certain styles so that they only show up on tablet or mobile view but not on the desktop.

Also, certain elements may not show up properly in mobile view or ends up overcrowding the screen. Just select the mobile view in the sidebar and dig into the Responsive Settings of that element. Here you can hide the element you don’t want to show up on mobile.

Hiding Elements

Now I doubt if any content building plugin offers such in-depth customization of elements. Thrive Architect DOES IT and makes its SUPER EASY to use as well.

Creating Layouts Like a Pro

One of the key aspects to a page design is in how you want your content to flow.

Thrive Architect makes this process super intuitive. You simply have to drag columns and other elements around the screen like you are putting pieces of a puzzle together. Everything is smooth and fluid.

You can create columns of text simply by selecting an option from the Columns element. And once you’ve added one, you can click and drag it to the left or right to adjust its length. So just by dragging the borders of the columns, you can create complex elements as well with ease.

Plus, you have the added benefit now of stretching the columns to completely fit the screen width.

Columns

Content Templates in Thrive Architect

One of my favorite features in Thrive Content Builder is Content Templates. For the uninitiated, Content Templates is a section that lets you save an element you created for reuse later.

For example, if you created a 2 column layout with styled elements added some star ratings to it and jazzed it up with some striking borders, you can save this content element with a specific name. If you ever have to create the same element again for a future post, you can simply bring this up and with a click, add it to the page.

Thrive Architect Content Templates

 

Thrive Architect also makes it easy to organize these templates. When you drop the Content Template element in a page and click the title, you will see a pop up menu listing all templates. A Search Box right at the top makes it easy to search for a template you created.

Thrive Content Templates Library

Now, if you want to preview the templates, you have to head over to the Thrive Dashboard and navigate to the Content Templates menu in the Thrive Architect section. Sadly, this way of previewing makes no sense whatsoever. Why would anyone navigate to a completely different page just to see a preview of a template they are hoping to use on another page?

Thrive Architect & Compatibility Issues

One of the biggest problems with most content building plugins is compatibility. Compatibility with other plugins, themes and even backward compatibility with the present theme. The previous iteration of this plugin had a lot of compatibility problems – some fixable and some not so much.

Thrive Architect is definitely looking a whole lot better. The plugin is backward compatible. That means it will work with pages you’ve created in the old builder. You may, in some instances need to migrate some of the elements on your page. For the most part, I haven’t had any big transition problems.

In a perfect world, transitions would be seamless, but we don’t live in one. So do expect a few bumps along the way when you’re migrating to the new elements. Its not all bad, just a bit of an inconvenience.

What Happens on Plugin Deactivation

Most content builder plugins create a mess of your content if you deactivate them. Clearly, one of the HUGE reasons website owners hate builders.

The previous iteration of Thrive Architect wasn’t doing a better job either although you had the option to copy the HTML of the post and then clean up the shortcodes to retrieve most of the content. If your website is big with hundreds and thousands of pages, your content would be one HOLY MESS! Like this:

Content in other plugins

If you use Thrive Architect to create content and then decide you don’t want to use it anymore, you’ll still be in good hands.

The plugin does a pretty good job of retaining a clean copy of your content. Wherever WordPress does not support certain elements, like a button or a content box, the elements revert to the closest WordPress element. In the case of the button, it appears as a link, and in the case of the content box, the box and its colors disappear leaving you with text inside.

There is no mess and your content is definitely not littered with shortcodes. That is PRETTY IMPRESSIVE!

Thrive Architect The Good and The Bad

Well, I’ve run through quite a bit of Thrive Architect’s features and I hope that gave you a decent idea of what to expect with the plugin. There’s plenty more great stuff, but I’m not getting into every juicy detail. I’ve been using Thrive Content Builder and many of its creative landing pages for many years and LOVE creating content with it.

Thrive Architect has been redesigned from scratch but I’m happy to see all the familiar elements that I’ve enjoyed using in the previous edition still there. A few of them are still being upgraded and the team has promised to bring some new ones as well. Exciting stuff that I’m looking forward to!

Thrive Architect has indeed improved in leaps and bounds. But there are also plenty of areas where Thrive Architect can improve. That said, here are the good and bad user experiences with Thrive Architect I’ve seen so far.

Thrive Architect – The Good

Plenty of options

– Thrive Architect offers plenty of elements to improvise your content. There are buttons, icons, boxes, CTA’s countdown timers and just more elements than you need to provide the perfect pitch to your audience.

Better customizability

– Every content building element in Thrive Architect can be customized at a granular level. Whether you want to add a glow to your buttons, align elements at specific locations on the page or apply a gradient effect to a section of your page, you’ll find it easy to do it with Thrive Architect.

Distraction free

– All the content building elements are now displayed in a sidebar, away from the WordPress page. This offers better access to all the elements while giving you better view of the content you are working on.

Seamless functionality

– Whether its adding elements to the page or customizing them, Thrive Architect offers a clean, natural content building experience. You won’t find yourself scratching your head about what you need to do next or how you can create something you had in mind. You can also create complex web pages or replicate popular website designs with ease with no learning curve.

Compatibility

– Thrive Architect is backward compatible and should you ever have to deactivate the plugin in the future, you wouldn’t be stuck with a website full of shortcodes and misaligned materials. Though some rework will be required, for the most part, your content is safe and readable. That’s an extremely important aspect for users and its good to see the team has made this compatibility possible.

Cost Effective

– Thrive Architect is one of the best plugins you can buy for the price because you don’t just get a high quality, well supported product, you also get a huge collection of well designed landing page templates that you can use right away.

Atomic Landing Pages

Thrive just offered this stunning Atomic Landing Page Collection for Thrive Architect users. It has a – lead generation landing page; – email confirmation page; – download page; – video sales page; – webinar registration page; – webinar streaming page; – webinar replay page; – and a special bonus landing page..

Less Plugins

– Thrive Architect’s functionality also reduces your need and dependence on other plugins. For one, you don’t need to buy a landing page plugin. And if you’re using a plugin to add a Call to Action, that one throw that one out the window too.

Good Community

– The Thrive Themes community is full of friendly, helpful people. I am still not a big fan of the support team…. they simply cannot fix some problems, but I have never had the need to reach out to them for over 2 years now.

These are just some of the highlights of using Thrive Architect. Now on to the bad stuff.

Thrive Architect – The Not So Good

Cluttered sidebar

– The Thrive Architect sidebar holds all the elements and its properties. I have a couple of gripes with this.

  1. This makes all the properties extend right down, which means scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and more scrolling.
  2. When you navigate away from a property page, you don’t go back to where you left off previously. You end up right back at the top, which means more scrolling again.

Small Bugs

– For the most part, Thrive Architect works fine. But sometimes you find that an element gets stuck in the middle of your work. And you have to delete the element and start over again. There are some small bugs like that here and there that can be annoying. However, you can put that down to teething problems. These issues eventually get ironed out sooner or later.

Content Template Management

– I don’t like the fact that I have to navigate away from my builder page to preview or organize my content templates. Bah humbug.

So those are some of the issues with Thrive Architect that I find irksome.

Is Thrive Architect for You?

Now that we’ve weighed the pros and cons of using Thrive Architect, the question that needs asking is: Is Thrive Architect the plugin for you?

Well…

Thrive Architect is not for everyone.

If you’re happy-go-lucky:

Maybe you don’t want to create eye catching content to market your product or service. Maybe you just run a blog for the pure joy of it. In that case, you don’t really need a content builder.

If you are on a really tight budget:

And you cannot afford the $67 needed to buy Thrive Architect, you’d be tempted to go for other plugins that come free. But, remember, most content builder plugins can mess up your content when you deactivate them. You’d rather save up some money first and invest in Thrive Architect rather than switch between 2 builders and end up in a mess later. The time and effort involved in migrating is not worth your time. Thrive Architect is, in the long run, the most cost effective plugin you’ll find in the market.

If you’re a newbie:

Newbie bloggers with a good budget will be making the right investment if they choose Thrive Architect. It is cost effective, requires very little skill to adapt to and the huge list of video tutorials available on the Thrive website (Thrive University) will help them get acquainted very quickly.

If you are a marketer:

If you want to market your blog like a pro and need powerful marketing tools to boost your landing pages, call to actions, content and have a high converting web page, Thrive Architect will fit in perfectly with your demands. It integrates with most popular email automation tools, offers great landing page designs, and lets you set up marketing campaigns like a pro. In less time and minimal effort.

Final Thoughts

Thrive Architect is in the early days of its launch. Still, its content building elements give you complete freedom to explore your creativity and design a truly unique website that will match your goals, whatever your niche.

This is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) at its best. Like a palette to an artist, Thrive Architect is a palette every content creator craves for.

Pair it with a Thrive theme and the all powerful Thrive Leads plugin (see review here), you have a marketing package that beats the competition hands down – both in terms of features and pricing.

If you are serious about building a high converting, profitable website, you don’t have to look further than the Thrive Themes. And if you’re on a lean budget, Thrive Architect will give you enough tools to impress your visitors and boost conversions.

All in all, I highly recommend Thrive Architect. It does come with a 30-day guarantee so you can definitely see for yourself if it is your money’s worth.


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