Thrive Themes Review

Here’s my Thrive Themes Review 2020: It’s awesome! So go get it. Now!

Wait. What? You need more …

I love what Shane Melaugh and company is doing over at Thrive Themes. I’ve been a customer for years because they’ve always had a super solid lineup of beautiful themes and tools to customize them.

I’m totally satisfied paying the recurring fee every quarter for their full membership, and I’m hardly scratching the surface of all the functionality. It’s to my shame, because as you’ll see, if Thrive Themes has a plugin/product for your website you should probably be using it, because it will make it more effective.

Thrive Themes For WordPress

Just to be clear. All of the Thrive Themes products, plugins, themes, and expert instruction is for a WordPress website. It’s not standalone. You have to install WordPress in order to use all that Thrive Themes has to offer.

We started using Thrive a few months ago and are beyond impressed. As the owner of a digital agency I’ve noticed an increase in conversions since we switched and I continue to be impressed with pretty much every aspect!

Philip Shaw


Of course, WordPress is free and ubiquitous, so I can’t imagine this is much of an issue. I just didn’t want you thinking you could hand code something, and slap Thrive Themes on top of it. Or dust off your cracked copy of Frontpage and build a janky site, and then modernize with Thrive.

Don’t talk to me about Squarespace or Wix or any of that other nonsense.

It’s all built for the WordPress platform. You just need to have a self-hosted WordPress website.

Thrive Themes University

The Thrive Themes membership package has all of the marketing must-haves. And they keep adding more features that help business owners, website builders, or marketers excel.

  • SEO-friendly pages
  • Beautiful UX
  • A variety of list building options
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Split testing
  • Offer scarcity
  • Course Building
  • Next level commenting
  • Testimonial collection and display
  • Quiz building
  • Mobile-friendly and responsive
  • Site speed optimization

Why? Because Professor Shane Melaugh, founder, is not just a digital tools builder. He’s a marketing wizard. 

As part of your membership you get access to Thrive Themes University. Shane and his staff are constantly dropping new courses to help you level up your skills, and apply that new-found knowledge to your website with their themes and plugins.

They are on the cutting edge of information marketing. They do online marketing. And, they build tools to scratch their own itch. Then, once stable, they offer them to their members.

Let Me Give You A Tour Of the Thrive Themes Academy

Thrive Themes University

I’m not joking about about the team being subject matter experts. Look at the Thrive Themes blog. It’s loaded.

They have a rock-solid guide for building landing pages.

How about this excellent post reverse engineering Marie Forleo’s use of testimonials. That’s how you squeeze the most value out of social proof.

When you have sophisticated marketers with top-notch UX in mind, you get tools like the  Smart Links feature. Basically, it figures out if your subscribers have seen/acted on sidebar content. If they have, they are shown something else.

Always a good idea to not annoy your mailing list. 🙂 Smart links is a feature in the Thrive Leads plugin.

Thrive Themes Membership Saves You Money

Thrive Themes Membership Saves You Money

If you’re truly interested in building an online business, think about getting the Thrive Themes Membership. It’s a full-spectrum solution with a collection of amazing tools that enable you to build your business with a WordPress site.

If you’re a real marketer, you’re going to have to pay a lot of money, including recurring fees, to make your site function at a high level, generating leads and sales. You don’t want a mishmash of tools that may not function well together. Believe me. It’s a nightmare. You will spend way to much quality time with your IT nerd.

With a Thrive Themes membership you get all of the Thrive Themes products for a low monthly price, which doesn’t go up unless you let it lapse. You get grandfathered in, and all the new stuff they put out doesn’t cost you any more. It’s incredible.

And they are constantly improving the existing stuff. They don’t launch and let rot, like a lot of other less savory companies do.

Perpetual updates! 

It’s at the price point where it’s affordable for anybody, but it’s at the level of quality where it can scale with you and you can build a million dollar business off of it.

Jeff Sauer

Founder of Jeffalytics

The current Thrive Themes pricing is $19/month if you pay for a full year in advance. Or $30/month if you pay quarterly. Either way, it’s a great deal. Plus, you can use it on 25 sites. If you need more they have an agency option.

I was happy with the membership, back when it didn’t have half of what it has now, and the tools weren’t as good.

Now, I’m ecstatic with my membership. Beyond happy. It’s starting to get spiritual.

Might be why they have 19,000+ members.

The support is also fantastic. They will not leave you in the lurch.

Thrive Themes Plugins and Products For WordPress

This collection of tools covers most of your critical website needs. I haven’t even had time to use them all. But, I will. And, when I do my blog will be much better for it. You can get the plugins as standalone products, or purchase a membership and get access to everything.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads | Thrive Themes Membership

As they say “build your list faster than you ever have before” with this amazing plugin that helps you create any kind of opt-in mechanism you want. And, gives you the ability to A/B test your lead captures, so you can refine and hone in on the absolute best performers.

Building a mailing list is still the most profitable digital marketing activity, and Thrive Leads makes you much more effective at it.

Here’s a list of the types of email capture forms you can create, just to give you an idea of the power of this plugin (I’m not kidding, these are all in there to choose from):

  • Pop-up lightboxes.
  • In-line forms – insert forms anywhere in your page or post, including automatically at the bottom.
  • Slide-in forms that slip in from edge of the screen.
  • Opt-in Widget – Add a form to any widget area on your site, like your sidebar or footer.
  • Screen-filler overlay – let’s get aggressive and cover the entire screen with an offer.
  • Content lock – reveal content right in the body of your page after someone has opted in.
  • Scroll mat – when someone lands on your page the scroll mat pushes the page content down, and highlights your top offer.
  • Multi-step opt-in – includes Yes/No and multiple choice forms where user makes several choices before being opted in. Now you have more info on your subscribers and can target them with focused messages.
  • Two-step opt-in links – where user clicks a text link or button and a lightbox form opens.
  • Sticky ribbons – those thin opt-in forms that sit on the top of sites.

They also have dozens of professionally designed opt-in templates that are built to convert.

WOW, a 238% increase in conversions when I switched to Thrive Leads. This is the most powerful list building plugin I’ve used and the team behind it is ON FIRE! Absolutely gets a recommendation from me.

John Lee Dumas

Entrepreneur on Fire

You can also choose triggers like time-based (show form once a visitor has been on your site for a certain amount of time), a scroll-based trigger (show form once visitor scrolls a certain depth on your site), or an exit intent trigger (show form if visitor starts to exit the page).

Forms can show instantly or animate into view. You can test one-type of form against another. You can also test different offers.

Find the exact combination that works best with as little work as possible.

Thrive Leads comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect | Thrive Themes Membership

Sales pages, landing pages, home pages, and beautiful blog posts. Architect, a next-level visual editor, helps you build anything on your WordPress site.

Admittedly, I’m not the best web developer in the world. I’ve been doing it for a long time, but I don’t have the natural technical chops to easily grasp web dev tools and page builders.

I spent weeks and weeks trying to build the home page of my website and ended up with something that was barely passable as a website, and I was frustrated to no end. A few hours with this plugin and my website looked a million times better and it was so simple!

Megan Carter

But, even I figured out Thrive Architect, and its WordPress visual page builder, pretty quick. The usual story with me and web builders, is excitement to build something, turns into frustration, then depression, then exasperation, and, ultimately giving up.

With Thrive Architect I didn’t fall into that sad, sad spiral. I was making stuff look like I wanted it almost immediately. Very intuitive and powerful.

If you’ve ever had a vision for a page but your tool wasn’t robust enough to get you there, you’ve known web builder disappointment. You will not feel that with this tool. Easy enough for a beginner. Powerful enough for any seasoned veteran.

Plus, they offer fantastic templates (274 of them!!!!!), which will get you up and running immediately.

Thrive Architect comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Clever Widgets

Clever Widgets | Thrive Themes Membership

Show relevant links in your sidebars using categories, tags, and post types to determine what shows where.

Awesome! I was using the Sidebars plugin which does something similar but your plugin looks way simpler and more powerful. Less work for me as I only have to set the settings on each widget – instead of creating different sidebars which often will have common widgets.

Maricarmen Grisolia

This is super cool. It’s what the digital marketing badasses have been doing to make sure the continuity between post/page content and lead magnet is tight.

You need exact targeting!

Clever Widgets comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice | Thrive Themes Membership

Build an amazing online classroom with ease.

Yes, you can build a slick looking course on your website with this plugin. Something that looks like a course on Teachable, Udemy, or Lynda (except better because you have more customization options).

You know those courses that look awesome. Information is organized clean and intuitively. It tells you what sections you’ve completed. There is text, video, and audio instruction. Yeah, you can build one of those with this plugin. It’s crazy.

Wow! A brilliant intermediary step between general content and a full membership site. I see this as enhancing engagement and getting more people into my paid courses. Thank you!

Scott Stroud

I mean, you need to actually have something to teach, but if you do, this is fantastic.

Now, don’t get confused. This is not membership software. You can’t take money for your course with this plugin. Nor can you create a membership site. But, if that’s what you’re looking for Thrive Apprentice integrates seamlessly with SendOwl, so you can handle paid course technicalities, including payment gateways, an affiliate program, access gates, and more.

You can also integrate with membership plugins like MemberPress, Wishlist Member, and Member Mouse.

Thrive Apprentice comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Quiz Builder

Thrive Quiz Builder | Thrive Themes Membership

Ever since Ryan Levesque put out his fantastic book, Ask, marketers have been building quizzes to segment people into different audiences, determine what their wants are, and offer them the right product at the perfect time.

Quizzes are amazing for audience engagement, and market research.

I’m not talking about those ridiculous, “what type of bread are you” quizzes on the social channels, that you take for a little mind-numbing escapism. I’m talking about quizzes that build businesses.

This is so powerful! Seriously guys, this is worth the membership cost alone!


Yes, there are standalone tools to use to make this happen, but for much less you can get the quiz builder from Thrive Themes that works perfectly with your WordPress site.

And, you can make the quizzes you build complicated with branching logic, text and images, dynamic content, scoring, and even a badge builder to encourage people to share the quiz.

You also get powerful analytics. Plus, three different types of quizzes: number results, percentage results, and personality results.

You can build a list by requiring an email address to get the results.

You can even weight the questions as you develop your scoring model.

Let’s not forget A/B testing.

It’s so helpful to find the best questions and/or results best suited to keep participants moving through the quiz.

The quizzes are easy to build (includes a wizard), and they are mobile friendly.

I can’t really believe how powerful this thing is.

Thrive Quiz Builder comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Optimize

Thrive Optimize | Thrive Themes Membership

This is an add-on to the Thrive Architect plugin. You’re not going to be able to test elements of your landing page, unless you can build a landing page. And you can’t build a landing page that works with Thrive Optimize, unless you use Thrive Architect.

Thrive Optimize is saving me over $400 per month in split testing expenses and I can now kick VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) to the curb. You guys rock!

Derek S.

The smart marketers know that A/B Testing is the best way to improve conversion rates. Testing different elements like header images, headlines, offers, and form length can really help you zero in on your best landing page.

Of course, I see “split-testing” and “optimize” and a little PTSD bubbles up inside. I purchased a two-year subscription to Optimizely on the recommendation of a member of my day job’s ownership team, only to totally fail at implementing it.

It was way too complicated for our young marketing staff member. Hell it was complicated enough to confuse our frontend developer, and he’s a badass.

Once he sort of got the hang of it, it still took forever to build the tests. And, several times we thought we were gathering data, but it was set up wrong and our results were useless. Pain. In. The. Ass.

And really expensive.

Thrive Optimize is not complicated. It’s user-friendly and intuitive. It doesn’t have all the features of Optimizely, but for a solopreneur or small business you really don’t need them. You just need a very solid bit of software that tests the important stuff.

Thrive Optimize comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Comments

Thrive Comments | Thrive Themes Membership

What the hell is the big deal about a comment plugin. That was my first reaction to Thrive Comments. Yeah, yeah, nested comments, Facebook comments, whatever. Some are better than others, but, really, is it going to move the needle?

Well, after further research, I discovered that the big dogs in the space all take special care to make their comment sections top notch. When they post a piece of “pillar content” they make damn sure that they’re in there responding to the comments.

Thrive Comments is a fantastic new plugin, and I really appreciate how you focus on long-term fundamentals (that also provide immediate value). Elegant and powerful, based on strong marketing fundamentals as ever.


I’m sure it’s just part of their content posting standard operating procedure (SOP). But, why? Well, because constructive engagement and reader acknowledgment is good. It builds better connections with visitors. It gives you a chance to flesh out points that weren’t fully explored in the post. And, you get real time feedback. Was the work good? Are there spinoff topics that will also make good posts?

Once cultivating comments is part of your process, you want to give users the best commenting experience. That’s where this plugin comes in.

Thrive Themes is so damn smart. They figured out what makes commenting and interaction on massively popular sites so addicting, including gamification, validation, badging, and sharing.

This amazing WP plugin enables all of this on your site in just a few clicks. Plus, you get stats on all the activity so you can see who’s a comment rock star and what ideas, thoughts, and feedback are getting the most positive feedback.

And, I haven’t even mentioned the comment dashboard, which is your little command center for orchestrating engagement.

Very powerful! You won’t look at website comments the same again.

Thrive Comments comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Headline Optimizer

Thrive Headline Optimizer | Thrive Themes Membership

This one was also a head scratcher for me at first. This isn’t paid ads, where split-testing the language in your headline can make all the difference in your CTR, and ultimately, conversions. This is a headline on your site. What are you testing?

Well, Shane brings up a good point. Visitors take an average of 2.6 seconds to decide if they’re going to stick around on a webpage. What are they basing their decision on?

The Headline.

I am a Brazilian publisher and I just bought your headline optimizer product. I normally don’t write feedback because I don’t have time but your product is so FU*…GREAT. All the best and keep up the good work!

Michael S.

You know all those viral content sites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Refinery 29? They all test headlines like crazy. It can be the difference between 1,000 views and 100,000. The reason is the social sharing component. Oftentimes, the headline and, maybe, the main image, are all a potential visitor sees.

Upworthy (check out slide 14 … yeah, the one with the toilet) generates 25 headlines for every post, then has a team pare that down to the top handful for testing. Damn!

So, to get better dwell time, and to get your stuff shared and clicked on the social web, you need to have the best headlines. And, testing is the only way to get there.

Thrive Headline Optimizer tracks Click Through Rate (CTR), Time on Content, and Scrolling. Let the software find the headline that optimizes all three, or whichever is most important to you. So cool!

Of course, this doesn’t do squat if you don’t already get traffic, so you need to work on that first. Can’t get to statistical significance when it’s just your two friends and your mom visiting.

Thrive Headline Optimizer comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Ultimatum

Thrive Ultimatum | Thrive Themes Membership

You know those timers that count down, giving your visitor a deadline for when they can take you up on an offer? That’s what this plugin does.

You might ask: “How does that work when you don’t have a shopping cart?”

Good question.

You can use it for different lead magnets too. You just have to get creative on why it’s availability is scarce. Maybe it’s a time-limited bonus opt-ins receive when signing up for your mailing list.

Not a bad idea!

But, really, the magic comes when you have a paid product that you promote on your site. It could be actual physical limitations of inventory, or number of seats in a webinar, or limited number of customers (because you want to give everybody the best customer service), or just have a time limit on a special deal, because it’s Flag Day or your birthday week, or whatever.

Brilliant! You have taken “scarcity” to a whole new level. Love the fact that potential customers will not be able to cheat the countdown. Next time I have a sale they will think twice. I also think that it adds a lot more credibility to what you say overall on your site. No B.S.


This beautiful plugin allows you to display your countdown deadline in any widget on your website. Imagine having a sales page with the offer, and highlighting that offer on every important page on your site. Then, being able to turn it off when it’s done. Amazing.

It also has the capability to restart a campaign with new deadlines, so that it runs continuously.

And, finally, with evergreen campaigns, you can show each individual visitor a countdown clock that starts ticking once they hit the page. It’s different for each user. They each get, say, 48 hours, to act on the offer from the time they first visit the page. This is brilliant. Plus, there’s a lockdown feature, which seems like wizardry to me, but Thrive Themes figured out how to prevent people from refreshing their browser, and using a different device in order to restart the clock.

Be careful. You don’t want a scarcity play to sound like BS. If done right conversion rates increase … a lot.

Thrive Ultimatum comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Thrive Ovation

Thrive Ovation | Thrive Themes Membership

This is a consistent theme with me. I see a Thrive Themes offering like Thrive Ovation, and say to myself, “yeah, testimonials are super important, but don’t I just need to email people, or give them a text link asking for the feedback? What’s with the whizzbang plugin dealio?”

And, Shane pats me on the head like a wise, caring uncle, and says, let me tell you a story my boy …

You need a system in place to collect, store, and display feedback. Something that encourages people to do it.

The opportunity now to direct them to a dedicated page with a customized capture form specifically for each of the services I provide is bloody AWESOME! It is so simple to integrate Thrive Ovation into each site and the level of customization is off the charts.

Chris Varnom

Testimonials are perfect at overcoming objections. And the right words, from the right customer/subscriber, in the right spot, can nudge a potential buyer or subscriber to take the action.

Social Proof!

Thrive Ovation makes this process easier. Of course. You can pull them in from anywhere, including social media. Store them in a convenient repository.

Tag them, so you easily find just the right one. And display them any number of ways with beautifully designed templates.

Plus, you can build testimonial capture forms on your site that are designed to get your fans to spill the good stuff, like success stories that get interested prospects saying to themselves, “hell, if they can do  it, I can too!”

Thrive Ovation comes with your membership subscription, or you can grab it as a standalone plugin for your WordPress site.

Most of this functionality is available with different software and plugins, but Thrive Themes is just better. They pay OCD-like attention to the details that make all the difference in presentation, ease of use, and effectiveness (God it’s nice to have master marketers putting these tools together!). Plus, their stuff works in unison … flawlessly.

You don’t have to make a Sophie’s Choice on which feature you want for your site, because the plugins are incompatible (believe me … this happens a lot).

If you’re a legit marketer applying multiple marketing principles to optimize your effectiveness, you need to get the Thrive Themes Membership. It totally makes sense.

And, we haven’t even talked about the newest addition to this incredible sweet of website tools: Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Themes still offers themes to their members (I list them below), but in March 2020, they are launching Thrive Theme Builder, which is going to be awesome. It will enable you to design your own them with simple drag and drop functionality. There’s nothing like it in the WordPress world. 

Game changer! But, don’t worry. If you’re like me and not super technical, they have a companion premium theme called Shapeshifter, which will provide the bones for a solid theme. You just have to customize to fit your needs. 

I’m not sure how long they’ll continue to support their existing themes, but if past performance is any indication, they’ll keep them updated for a very long time. So, current members don’t have to worry about updating their site with Thrive Theme Builder if they don’t want to. 

Here’s all the stuff you get with this new addition to the Thrive Themes suite:

  • Build your perfect theme with zero coding.
  • The themes are lightweight and mobile optimized.
  • Visually build your theme in 15 minutes with the help of the site creation wizard.
  • Drag-and-drop design experience on every section of your site.
  • Pre-built design templates for all your pages, posts, and page sections.
  • Conversion focused homepage templates included.
  • Smart Color Technology lets you change site-wide brand colors with one click.
  • Central font management.
  • The best custom post list builder on the market.
  • Custom author box designs.
  • Customize your 404 pages from the ground up.
  • Customize search results pages.
  • Customize category pages.
  • Smart Dynamic Templates lets you build dynamic content anywhere.

Thrive Themes Integrations

Okay, maybe you’re a marketer, who has favorite tools you refuse to part with. I get it. You’ve been using your favorite email service provider (ESP) for years and there’s no way in hell you’re going to switch.

Good news! Thrive Themes integrates with an impressive list of software and services.

Thrive Themes Integrates With These Software & Services

  • ActiveCampaign
  • Amazon SES
  • ArpReach
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Constant Contact
  • ConvertKit
  • Drip
  • Facebook
  • GetResponse
  • Google
  • GoToWebinar
  • HubSpot
  • iContact
  • Infusionsoft
  • KlickTipp
  • MadMimi
  • Mailchimp
  • MailerLite
  • MailGun
  • MailPoet
  • MailRelay
  • Mandrill
  • Mautic
  • Ontraport
  • Postmark
  • reCaptcha
  • SendGrid
  • SendinBlue
  • SendLane
  • SendReach
  • Sendy
  • SparkPost
  • Twitter
  • WebinarJam Studio
  • WordPress Users
  • Zoom

To wrap this up this Thrive Themes Review 2020 let me repeat myself …

When it comes to building powerful WordPress websites that convert, there is no better option. Get a membership today!

You know that feeling of gratitude you have for people that recommend an awesome restaurant, or effective remedy for chronic bad breath, or deduction on your taxes? 

You’re going to have that for me if you take my advice on this one. 🙂

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