Long time readers of TheAppTimes will know that we are ardent fans of StudioPress themes. We have used them for over 3 years and have NEVER had any regrets. However, we have hardly seen anything innovative or outstanding from them in years. When we wanted to redesign our blog, we searched far and wide for a theme to emulate eleven40 and Metro theme but nothing seemed to match their style and aesthetics , not even many of their latest releases.
We finally decided to make the switch to Thesis and Sparkez but there were many design elements that stood out like a sore thumb. Customizations took hours and weeks to get done and the end result was less than satisfactory. One day, I was introduced to an unbelievably fantastic list building plugin from Thrive Themes (read the review for Thrive Leads here) that got me checking out their other products as well. Thrive's themes were decent enough but there was nothing that instantly caught my eye until I came upon a plugin - THRIVE CONTENT BUILDER.
I quickly learned about the product and eventually ended up purchasing an entire year’s membership to Thrive. Its only been a week so far, and there have been a few bumps along the way, but I can tell you without hesitation that this is BY FAR the BEST INVESTMENT DECISION I made for my blog since StudioPress. In this post, I want to take you through some of the reasons why I believe Thrive Themes and the Thrive Content Builder is the product of the future.
The Present State of Content Writing and How WordPress and Themes Have Failed Us
As a content writer, you most likely use the WordPress dashboard or Windows Live Writer as your writing board. There's no doubt that neither of them have really progressed much in terms of making content writing /editing easier. With the WordPress dashboard, you often find yourself switching between the Text and Visual editor to enter data and adding interactive elements like columns and tables is tricky and time consuming. It isn’t any better with the Live Writer, which needs to be configured first before adding content. Again adding interactive elements is not intuitive.
There are many themes that have their own content builder drag and drop editors but anyone using such products (me included) will tell you how ridiculously annoying they are to use, especially when it comes to editing tasks. Shane Melaugh’s (founder of Thrive themes and creator of fantastic products like WP Sharely and Hybrid Connect) has finally delivered a brilliant solution that makes every other content editing tool look redundant. Thrive Content Builder is the innovation that was sorely needed in the industry and boy what an incredible creation it has turned out to be!
Thrive Content Builder Review : How it Adds a Wow Factor to Your Content
Thrive Content Builder works on the principle that when you write content you should be able to see how it will display on a live blog instantly. No need to save, reload/upload, switch between tabs and such. Type what you want and see it as you would on a live web page. And that’s precisely what Thrive Content Builder does, but that's not all!
Thrive Content Builder is truly a WHAT YOU SEE IS REALLY WHAT YOU GET (WYSIWYG) editor.
You can add a ton of interactive elements…tables, content boxes, tables, columns, buttons, images, templates, click to tweet options, styled lists, call to actions, icons, pricing table, Google map embeds, lead generation forms, post grids and more, just at the tap of a button! (you can drag and drop too!) In fact, Thrive Content Builder has over 30 powerful content elements that totally does away with the need to install third party plugins. (As a blogger you know what a significant difference that makes!
If you can't wait to see Thrive Content Builder in action, click the button below to get a brief overview.
Another big problem with the default content editor is that it takes quite a bit of time formatting your content. With Thrive Content Builder, you can easily format each paragraph, word, element, or design using the contextual formatting panel. Plus you can move elements around the visual editor using drag and drop actions.
Here's a ready-made testimonial template you can use at the click of a button. You have 4 testimonial options to choose from.
And here's what its image contextual menu looks like:
Also if you have repetitive content you share across posts, you can create a short template and save it to reuse later. Just select the template from the content builder to insert that piece of content on any future post. This particular feature of Thrive Leads alone could save you hours of work.
Thrive Content Builder is perfect for building complex pages. And the nice part - you can have ZERO knowledge about codes and yet create amazing pages that will make you look like a pro. With Thrive Content builder, THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO LEARNING CURVE WHATSOEVER! But, should you need any guidance with any feature, there are plenty of super short, to-the-point video tutorials available in the member's area.
With Thrive Content Builder, there’s no learning curve whatsoever!
I've spoken at length about how you can create amazing content with Thrive Content Builder with little or no effort. Here's one simple example to illustrate my point. I want to display an image/banner in between an article but want to add an interactive element to it. To do this I insert the image, head over to the contextual menu and select the Event Manager. There I choose to show an animation effect when the image area comes into view. And voila!
Adding fun interactive elements with Thrive Content Builder is a breeze...See it to believe it.
This is just one example of how you can add interactive elements with the content builder... there's just so much more you can do to instantly draw your reader’s attention to significant information on your web page.
Content builder elements such as columns, tables, and buttons can be used individually, but if you want to showcase your content more creatively, you can combine multiple elements to create a stunning piece of content, which again you can save as a template to reuse for other posts.
For example, if you are doing a product review and want to highlight its features, assigning a rating for each feature, you can create a column layout, add icons to highlight the features of the product, and then use the Star rating element to give it a rating you want. The whole element will be neatly formatted and presented in an attractive and professional format that is sure to impress the heck out of your readers.
Here's a very simple example of what I'm talking about. Took me about 5 minutes to get this done including downloading the icons.
One of the latest additions to the builder is the Revision Manager, which is something every content editor must have. The Revision manager makes it super easy to roll back to a previous version if you have made errors in your current editor and saved the changes by mistake.
Thrive Content Builder lets you create pages that rival professional web designers.
And if you are worried about responsiveness (now that Google is turning its guns on mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor) you'll be happy to know that this content builder plugin is 100% responsive and all the elements you add on to your web page adjust themselves beautifully on the mobile version of the site as well.
Thrive Content Builder is more than just a content writing platform. It is a 3 in 1 multi purpose plugin that also lets you create stunning landing pages and two step opt ins (lightboxes) in minutes. The plugin has highly optimized templates built-in that can be customized in less than 5 minutes but you can also create one from scratch.
There's plenty to say about Thrive Content Builder, but this quick summary should highlight what you need to know.
- Note: The negatives mentioned in this post don't necessarily hold true all the time. New updates and improvements remove many of the issues, hence I'm calling the points as irritants rather than cons.
- The easiest and most intuitive content builder you'll ever find in the market.
- Contains over 30 powerful, tap/drag to install elements that can be easily and quickly customized.
- Comes with a comprehensive contextual menu that lets you change fonts, colors, margins, add no-follow links, modify line height and much much more.
- All elements are 100% responsive.
- Dreadfully easy to create interactive content within WordPress.
- Comes with 2 brilliant EXTRA features - landing pages and lightbox opt-ins - 3 for the price of 1.
- Highly optimized performance.
- Reduces the need for 3rd party plugins. It brought down the number of WP plugins on my site from 22 to 15.
- Throws in a reminder every ten minutes to save your work! How many times have you lost your work because of your carelessness or technical failure?
- Lots of constant updates to improve and enhance user experience. In just the first 6 months of launching, the team has released an impressive 20 major new feature updates/releases and 29 minor releases with improvements, fixes and tweaks.
- Works only on self-hosted (wordpress.org) websites, not on WordPress.com sites.
- Tends to clash with other WP plugins. There may be instances where you need to make some compromises. I had some issues with my cache plugin but turning off some options did the trick for me.
- Currently no intuitive way to implement Adsense ads. The only solution that worked for me was installing the GARD PRO plugin and use it in combination with content templates. Adsense solution is said to be implemented in upcoming revisions.
- Does not work with older WP posts. This is something that irks me a lot because seeing what this builder can do, I just can't bear to have my older posts displaying on the WP editor. No fixes for this I'm afraid...but one can always hope 🙂
- Coming from the StudioPress community, which I think has the best support ever! its hard to give anyone else a PLUS. Thrive support has been quick to pick up tickets but not so quick with solutions. I felt that at times, the team was swamped/overwhelmed by the sheer number of requests/issues that they were a little hard up for answers. However, the community members are highly active and you get a lot of solutions from their experiences/experiments.
- Not many promotional offers/coupons/discounts available. But its easily the best thing that money can buy so its money well spent.
If you are getting yourself the Thrive Content Builder, it just makes sense to go for one of their themes beacuse they obviously play nice with each other and if you're making a switch like I did, why not? Thrive Themes are marketing and blog oriented themes that are focused on conversions but you could use them for any project... your creativity is your limit.
Thrive Themes are built with speed in mind and superbly optimized (although Gmetrix might tell you that images have no specified width/height attributes) I have noticed how quickly and cleanly they load on desktops as well as mobile. And YES, ALL THEIR THEMES PASS THE MOBILE FRIENDLY TEST!
The themes are easily customizable for any type of website (there are over 600 fonts, custom colors, multiple header layouts and much much more.) Thrive Theme options are super easy to configure. Its just a matter of toggling options on and off most of the times.
My favorite Thrive themes feature is its in-built image optimization feature. You can automatically set images to Lossy Compression and everything is taken care of by the theme. Thrive makes uses of the popular and best image optimizer Kraken.io. This is a paid service, but as a Thrive user, you get everything done for you for FREE. (No effort involved!)
Thrive Theme members use the services of the best image optimization engine Kraken.io for free...paid for by Thrive 🙂
Plus, there's one click cloning for pages, extended menus, short codes support, social media plugin support, related posts, course creation support via Thrive Apprentice for certain themes, WooCommerce support and more.
Here are some of the Thrive Themes At a Glance
A single site license of Thrive Theme Builder costs $59.
Individual themes cost $49 each.
A Thrive Theme membership like the one I picked up is more economical as you get instant access to all the plugins and themes including the cream of the crop, Thrive Content Builder, ALL Thrive Themes and Thrive Leads for just $147. (Individually purchased this will cost you over $700.)
Plus you get premier access to any future themes /plugins releases before they reach the public. The personal license allows you to use everything on an unlimited number of websites that you personally own and operate. That is a steal for one of the most intuitive and innovative products that WordPress community has ever seen.
UPDATE : Discover New Features, Improvements and Plugins Introduced to Thrive since this review in my most recent review.
GIVE YOUR BLOG A THRIVE MAKEOVER
Check out the impressive features of Thrive Content Builder and Themes by hitting the link below!