Thrive Themes Review–One Year On [New Plugins + Extra Features]

Are you struggling to showcase your content in creative and eye-catching ways to your audiences?

Maybe you want a good alternative option to those reliable StudioPress Themes!

Then, I suggest you take a look at Thrive themes.

Having risen from practical obscurity, these theme developers have to date some of the best products that can boost traffic and increase conversions for your website – from themes, landing pages and plugins and other practical marketing tools that derive their functionality from the best marketing tactics applied by the biggest names in the industry.

Thrive themes don’t just tick all the right boxes when it comes to features, they also let you effortlessly create and share content in the most creative ways.

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I’ve been a user of both Studiopress themes and Thrive theme products and I’ve enjoyed using them individually as well as together on my websites. Its been over one year since I became a member and I thought it high time to show you why they are still among the best!

My Frustrating Theme Journey

I have long struggled with finding a great theme for my tech blog and no matter how much I tried to move away from Studiopress themes, I ended up staying with it. Last year, I bought a membership into Thrive themes because I was highly impressed with how I could showcase my content using their themes and plugins. Its not easy to believe anyone who tells you that you can create highly engaging content and deliver it in an interactive and eye-catching manner with very little effort on your part. That was until I tried Thrive themes.

Every bit of the magic it promises holds true. It has been a year since I became a Thrive member and since I wrote my review of Thrive themes and a lot has changed since then. It is only fair then, that I re-review and showcase the leaps and bounds by which Thrive themes has grown since then. Here goes!

Thrive Themes - Then and Now

As far as their theme portfolio goes, they have a collection of 10 themes, but only a couple of them have really caught my fancy – FocusBlog and Rise, but to each his own. They haven’t expanded their catalog since the launch of Rise way back in July of last year and I’d love to see something new on this front.

However, the mundane ordinary-ness of their themes is offset by one brilliant plugin that practically turns the ugly duckling, so to speak into a super graceful swan – (drum-roll please) Thrive Content Builder.

Thrive Content Builder

Thrive Content Builder is the plugin or as I’d like to call it, the “magic wand” that turns your boring looking regular content into something eye-catching. Thrive gives you the opportunity to write a piece of content in as many creative ways as possible!

You open up the Thrive Content Builder page, which is separate from the WordPress editor (to avoid conflicts of course!) and start typing your content on a page that looks like a published web page. You can choose how you want it displayed from the options on the left pane: as a paragraph, as a hidden item that will be revealed on a click, as a clickable button, as custom HTML and so on. All it takes is the click of a button.

Check out this video where I discuss some of the cool features of the plugin.

Thrive Content Builder in Action

Discover the magic of Thrive Content Builder and how you can create beautiful, engaging and visually impressive content & layouts in WordPress easily!

If you haven't watched the video, here are some simple features worth noting:

Simple Content Elements

An example of adding a simple content element is creating a bullet list. In WordPress you'll have something unimaginative as a black button. In Thrive Contnt Builder, you can add up to 6 different list styles, and you can further modify the look and appearance of each of these content elements by clicking on them and selecting from a contextual pop-up menu options to change the color of the style and text.

A WordPress Bullet List

  • Conversion Boosting Buttons
  • Call to Actions
  • Social Proof Testimonials

A Thrive Themes Bullet List

  • Attention Grabbing Boxes
  • Responsive Pricing Tables
  • Countdown Timers

Notice, how I easily created a 2 column box to effectively compare two elements! That's another quick content element in Thrive. If you do a lot of comparing and contrasting, this comes in very handy.

Multi-Style Elements

If that was too simple for you, you could add multi-style elements that are slightly more complex but afford more creativity in content formatting. Some examples are content templates, column, layouts, styled lists, call to actions, testimonials and so on. You could, at the click of a button create 2, 3, 4, or 5 equal columns of content, add a title column, a star rating, and style the lists within the columns. Like this one:

Thrive Themes

  • Clean & Intuitive Designs
  • Designed to Engage

Thrive Plugins

  • Create Awesome Headlines
  • Marketing Magic

Thrive Content Builder

  • Draw Attention to Content
  • Intuitive Writer

Thrive Leads

  • List Building with Ease
  • Various Opt-ins

Creating a complex box like this is next to impossible with WordPress or most other premium themes but its a breeze with Thrive Content Builder.

If you’re just starting out, it might take a bit longer of course, but there’s no learning curve here so you’ll master these elements in no time at all. The cool thing with Thrive content elements, is that they are all capable of being duplicated. If you just hover over the left-corner of a box and hit the green button you’ll have a duplicate piece of any content element you created before instantly ready for customization. Plus, can also save these content blocks as templates for reuse in future posts.

Advanced Elements

There are more powerful features available if you are a power user. You can add widgets, maybe a grid or two, tabbed content, even Google Maps, all at the click of a button. But I’m not here to talk about the old features of Thrive Themes, which you can find here. Here's what's new.

New Feature Updates

Image Zoom

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you simply had to show an image to your readers that was bigger than the size of the screen, but because of WordPress limitations ended up showing a squished up version of it? With Thrive Content Builder’s new feature called Zoom Image, you can upload the full sized image, pixels et al, and have it display at the usual optimized size in your post.

Then you can set an event to trigger the zoom feature on a click action. So when the visitor reads your post and scrolls over the image, he will see a zoom icon on image hover. Clicking the image will expand it to its original dimension with no extra load time involved.

Zoom Over This Image To See What I Mean!

New and Improved Link Building

Linking to your own posts or that of outsiders has gotten better with Thrive Content Builder. Link building in Thrive has always been a breeze with options to open in a new window and add no follow a link available right next to the URL field.

But here’s the beautiful thing! If you want to link to an older post in your blog, you no longer have to first head over to your blog and search for it, before you can find the URL to copy and add. With the new update, you can search for that post inside the URL field itself.

Thrive Link Building

So after selecting the keywords you want to link to, you simply go to the URL field and type the keyword to find the post you want to link to. Thrive will throw up auto suggestions and you can select the post you want to link to! Piece of cake and plenty of time saved!

With this new feature, you can link to not just posts, but also product pages, podcasts, or portfolio items. That’s great, but there’s more! What if you want to link to an optin form?

Well, why not? Simply select the text you want to link, hit the URL field and search for the Thrive box that contains your optin form. Hit Insert and you’re done! Now your visitor can simply click a link in your post to sign up to your mailing list.

New Video Frame Styles

Thrive themes has always offered a wonderful responsive video feature that optimizes video content for mobile so that readers who visit your web page on a mobile or tablet device are able to watch them conveniently without struggling with size issues. Thrive has introduced 4 new frames to go with those videos: a couple of monitor styles and a couple of tablet frames. They work on Vimeo, YouTube, Wistia and more and are completely responsive and scalable as well.

The amazing thing with many of the new feature updates is that they are so easy and simple to do and yet you wonder why no one ever thought of it before! Not only do these feature updates make a world of difference to your content delivery, they also tend to impresses your website visitors immensely and with such little effort!

Start creating awesome content right now!

Thrive content Builder costs $67 for a single license. You can install the plugin on one website with full access to all the features. You also get unlimited free updates and one year's support.

Thrive Landing Pages Then and Now

Another really exciting feature of Thrive themes is their mind-blowing landing pages. If you’re a web master, chances are you’re not too creative in the designing department! And why should you be! Thrive’s landing page templates are designed for anyone who has little time or patience in creating masterful landing pages that can resonate with audiences and engage them.

Existing Features

Thrive Landing Templates

Thrive landing page templates are tagged and are easy to find! If you’re looking for a coming soon page, you have a handful of options, one of which looks like this: Thrive Landing Templates There are templates for lead generation, podcasts, webinars, course creation, personal branding, downloading and plenty more as well!

New Feature Updates

Thrive Template Cloud

Thrive Landing Pages - 2 second Rule

If you’re not satisfied with the default landing page templates or want some more, take advantage of the new Thrive Template Cloud feature. As you may have guessed, you can download more bad-ass templates directly from the Thrive themes server, saving you the trouble of a struggling with a slow loading plugin. You can preview the template before you download and then just open it to apply it to your page.

There are some gorgeous, stylish, and minimalistic templates currently available including my favorite, Storyteller. Again, everything is totally customizable!

New Plugins Released

Thrive Headline Optimizer

Next up, I wanna show you two of the coolest plugins that the team have released that will help you in your marketing efforts. The first one, my favorite is called Thrive Headline Optimizer. Headlines Generate Views, Headlines Generate Clicks and Headlines Generate Income! I’ll bet you have fantastic posts on your websites with great content, but are they receiving as much clicks as they should?

If the answer is No, then you might be losing out with poorly crafted headlines. When a visitor searches the web, he sees a bunch of results and in a few seconds makes up his mind on what he’s going to click. The factor that decides THAT click is the headline.

If you have a click-worthy headline, you’re guaranteed to sky-rocket your visitor engagement and lower your bounce rate. If not, you’re history! So how do you write a click-worthy headline? There’s no way you’re going to do complex A/B testing and copious data analysis to figure out a click-worthy headline! Nor do you want to spend money on costly software for this!

With Thrive’s new Thrive Headline Optimizer plugin, all the hard work is done by the developers and your job is to write multiple headlines and hit the optimizer button (on the left pane). It will test all your headlines against each other and lay out the most engaging ones for you to select.

Plus! You can do a bulk optimization for all your previous posts as well from the Thrive Headline Optimizer Dashboard! So if you want to make sure that all the time and effort you put into your site is rewarded, start testing your headlines. With the Thrive Headline Optimizer plugin its no extra work! And the rewards might be enormous.

Thrive Ultimatum

Another plugin that was recently released is Thrive Ultimatum, which is a highly advanced plugin that aims to help marketers and web masters optimize their conversions though a highly effective technique called scarcity marketing.

The idea is that if you have something up for sale on your website, a few visitors might buy the item. But if you had something for sale on your website for a limited time, it would encourage more people to buy sooner. Because anything that is in limited supply is naturally more desirable.

The star attractions of the plugin are the ability to add a countdown timer that ticks away the hours and minutes until the offer is available. Just as with any Thrive product, you have the ability to create dynamic animated countdown calendars and customize it to match your website design and colors.

Here are some of the things that the plugin can do for you:

  • Allow you to advertise your sale across the website by creating floating banners and widgets to place across your web pages to promote the sale.
  • Allow you to create a time limited sign up form to encourage more people to sign up to your mailing list and then show a time limited offer to those new subscribers to get more sales – AND for people who have made a purchase, you can run an affiliate promotion (with a time limit if you so desire!) So as a marketer or someone who is just learning to sell a product on your blog, the Thrive Ultimatum plugin can allow you to do SO MUCH with such ease.
  • If you are a power user, you can even end up running multiple campaigns in different parts of your website.
  • You can also create recurring campaigns easily to do seasonal sales. Just set it and forget it! The plugin will take care of all the details such as starting and stopping the campaigns, displaying and removing the countdowns and so on.

But what happens when the sale time is up? Your visitors and conversions dry up, don’t they? Well, not with Thrive Ultimatum.

That’s one of the reasons why I love Thrive. They don’t just offer Feature 1 that solves a problem for you, they often throw in a Feature 2 or a Feature 3 that does over and above what you expect.

Thrive Ultimatum’s Evergreen Campaign Feature

This feature lets you run a limited offer campaign for every new subscriber for example, so every time a new subscriber signs up, you could set a 5 day limited offer campaign to run automatically for that subscriber. Now if you’re worried with so many campaigns and countdown calendars flying around your website, you may end up with a countdown that displays 5 days on one page and 2 hours on another page, don’t worry!

The plugin’s Lockdown feature offers bulletproof protection against such incidents. So whether your visitors come to your site from a tablet device or a mobile or both, or visit it from Google Chrome on their laptop or Firefox on their iPad, or whether they clear their cookies or sign up with multiple email addresses, the Lockdown feature will keep you and your business protected.

Add Countdown Timers & Run Evergreen Scarcity Campaigns!

Thrive Ultimatum costs $97 for a single license that can be installed on one website. You get free unlimited updates and access to all the features during the time. Support is also free for up to 1 year.

The Thrive team have spent a lot of time and research on studying the concept of scarcity marketing and pooling their skills to create the ultimate WordPress plugin that will drive conversions in a reliable and dramatic fashion. I haven’t used the plugin yet, as I haven’t got anything up for sale on my site, but I’ve used all their products and believe and trust in every one of them and can guarantee that this will be just as good as the rest.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is the ultimate lead generation plugin from Thrive that lets you create and manage all kinds of email campaigns. Whether you want simple pop-ups, floating ribbons, slide-ins or widgets, you can do that in a few clicks. Thrive Leads integrates with some of the well renowned and not so well known autoresponders as well. All forms are totally customizable, from setting where you want them to show up (on exit, after a set time and so on), to adding a display frequency (to avoid annoying repeat visitors) and animations. You’ll find a detailed review of the Thrive Leads plugin on but in this post, I want to show you what’s new since the last update!

New Feature Updates

Thrive Leads Asset Delivery Asset Delivery

Asset Delivery

This feature lets you automatically send links to downloadable opt-in offers (like bonus PDFs, MP3s, video training material and so on) to your new subscribers. Here’s a scenario. You have an optin form on your web page inviting people to subscribe to your mailing list, in return for which they will receive a bonus PDF.

You can add the link to the PDF right inside Thrive Leads without having to create them in your autoresponders. The Asset Delivery dashboard is where you can upload your PDF (you can create as many as you like and group them too) and they will become available to the subscriber at the click of the link on the Thank You Email.

Thrive Content Upgrade Template

One of the most powerful list building methods – content upgrades – has become easier with Thrive Leads. If you are not familiar with content upgrades, here’s an example. You have written a detailed, definitive post on how to use SEO for content marketing that’s got tons of informative and actionable strategies. Instead of just letting your readers see the entire content, you lock down a portion of it (making it impossible for them to read further!) unless they sign up to your mailing list!

Now what makes it super easy for you to create these content upgrades is the templates that Thrive has made available in its Leads plugin. So you simply select a multi step template and add details of your optin and you’re done! A super-easy way to get more done in less!

Optins in the Menu Menu

Have you ever considered using an optin form as a menu item? With Thrive Leads you can set up a Thrive box as a menu item and even highlight it with a brand color ( if you are using a Thrive theme) to get people to click a menu item and sign up to your mailing list! How about that for ingenuity! New Email Delivery Service Integration: Mailgun If you’re a Mailgun user (or never heard of it before!) you now know that Thrive Leads is integrated into it allowing you to send all your email messages to your subscribers via Thrive Leads without a hassle.

Build Your Mailing List Today Easily!

This powerful list building plugin costs $67 for a single license. Just as with other plugins you get free updates and access to all features. Support is free for 1 year.

New Thrive Dashboard

Lastly, I’m going to finish off this post by saying that if you find all of these features and products overwhelming, don’t worry. It isn’t! Thrive has come out with a nice dashboard that reduces clutter and puts everything in a well organized place – the new dashboard. So all the marketing tools you need for your website or business from Thrive will be easily accessible always from one central location!

If you enjoyed reading this post, I can tell you you’ll enjoy using Thrive a hell of a lot more! However, I must warn you that Thrive is not perfect. I have encountered compatibility issues with some plugins and many a times the support group has let me down with their inability to fix them or even offer a turnaround time.

If you’re a big Adsense user you should be very very wary of using the Thrive Content Builder, because it plays hell with the ads, which keep appearing and disappearing at will! The team says that they are looking into solutions for better Adsense integration but I’ve been hearing that bullshit for over a year now and NOTHING has been done yet!

One more grouse you may have with Thrive Content Builder is that should you decide to move themes a few years later, moving content from the builder to a WordPress editor ain’t gonna be easy. In fact, its a downright crazy (don’t-even-think-about-it) ugly, idea. With all those special effects you’ve plugged into your content, you may find it next to impossible to get rid of the shortcodes.

There are the usual tedious little bugs and beetles that will annoy you along the way but I found these to be my biggest pain points with Thrive.


However, if you’re in it for the long haul and want to exploit some of the best marketing techniques to grow your blog, website or business, Thrive themes does have the tools to make that happen. Despite the quirks, I truly appreciate and enjoy the efforts they have taken with image optimization, site speed, mobile compatibility and ease of use of complex features.

I love writing building my website, creating content and experimenting with new ways to deliver content using Thrive themes. Its potential is limitless and the backend analytics and performance reporting is easy to understand (even for a novice).

Thrive Theme Membership

    • Build Your Mailing List Faster with Thrive Leads
    • Boost Your Product Sales and Promotions with Thrive Ultimatum
    • Create Attention Grabbing Content Easily with Thrive Content Builder
    • Create Headines That Generate Clicks with Thrive Headline Analyzer
    • Get Conversion Optimized Pages with Thrive Landing Pages
    • Get Readers to Sign Up with Attention Grabbing Opt-Ins
    • Get Clean, Intuitive and Page Speed Optimized Themes
    • Control Where Widgets are Visible with Clever Widgets

    Become a Thrive Member and Reap the Benefits of These Marketing Tools to Grow Your Blog!

    If your website is lacking that spunk and, your painstakingly-created awesome blog posts are not getting their due, its time to do a website revamp with Thrive Themes. They may be a tad expensive now, but they are definitely well worth every single cent!


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    • Updated April 17, 2017
    Adeline Gear

    Adeline is a tech enthusiast who loves exploring the latest tools and applications in the marketplace. She also loves her Android and spends time reviewing apps and playing games when she has the time.