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Right off the bat I will let you know that I have been a Thrive Themes member for going on 4 years now (you can read my full Thrive Themes membership review here) and this article you are reading is built with Thrive Architect.
That means I have a unique perspective into their growth over the years as well as their WordPress page builder transition from Thrive Content Builder to Thrive Architect.
Although I have not been using Elementor for near as long - they have only been around a little over 2 years - I’ve discovered some key similarities and differences that can benefit a non-technical WordPress website builder like yourself.
That's why I wanted to pit Thrive Architect vs Elementor since they are my two favorite WordPress front end visual editors that I use on numerous sites.
At first glance you will notice both products look similar. This was not always the case and it is a reason many claimed Thrive Architect just stole Elementor’s code to copy their plugin.
Yes, the interface is very similar, but do remember that Thrive was first to the drag and drop website page builder game first with their Thrive Content Builder offering.
Personally I do sometimes feel like Thrive is playing catch up with Elementor in regards to adding new features to Thrive Architect and it does raise some questions as to why they chose to make their interface so similar to a direct competitor.
The thing is the both serve an important purpose in the WordPress landscape for us non-tech types that want to build great websites and landing pages and they both do it well.
Typically online business owners want to know one thing - price - before learning the nitty gritty details.
What is this going to cost me?
Elementor does have a free version which is ideal if you are just getting your feet wet putting landing pages together.
All of Thrive Themes products are paid for, premium WordPress themes and plugins. This is also the case for the standalone version of Thrive Architect. To use on 1 website it will currently cost you $67 which includes all features, updates, and 1 year of support (after which you can extend your support for a small fee).
Since I am trying to compare apples to apples we will be looking at the Elementor Pro version, which like Thrive Architect, includes all features, updates and support (the free version of Elementor does include support). This will cost you $49 for use on 1 website but is an annual cost so keep that in mind.
In order to keep your plugin and therefore your website updated and utilize Elementor’s support you will need to continue renewing but they do currently offer a 25% discount on renewals.
Both Thrive Architect and Elementor Pro come with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. So you have plenty of time to give one or both a try and determine if it fits your needs.
$67 - 1 site
$49 - 1 site
Even though this article is focused on these two WordPress page builders I do want to mention another option that Thrive offers that could be beneficial in the overall scheme of your online business.
They do have an annual membership - which currently costs $228 per year - that includes ALL of their products. This entails themes (more importantly a soon to be released theme builder) and plugins, like the aforementioned Thrive Architect, that can round out your online marketing needs.
WordPress lead generation is made easy with their Thrive Leads plugin.
If you are looking to break into the online course arena then getting started using their Thrive Apprentice plugin is an economical way to do so.
Recently Thrive announced an integration with SendOwl to receive payments and protect your course content but that might not be the best solution for everyone.
Not sure which blog post headline to go with? Use the Thrive Headline Optimizer plugin to test your choices out.
Quizzes are a great way to interact with your audience and make for an ideal opt-in path to capture leads so take advantage of the Thrive Quiz Builder to do so.
There’s more than just those but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what you get with the Thrive Themes membership as opposed to only getting access to Thrive Architect.
Whether you go with Thrive Architect or Elementor Pro you are going to need to think of the other aspects of your online business and piece together viable solutions.
Ok, back to what you came here for…
I know I just mentioned lead generation and this is one feature I believe EVERY website needs. Even in this era of social media email is still winning out.
Both Thrive Architect and Elementor Pro give you the ability to capture email addresses without the need for a dedicated opt-in plugin.
Don’t get me wrong, a plugin like Thrive Leads will make your life a lot easier and allow you to get very specific with your offers throughout your website, but both of these page builders allow you to capture emails and integrate with most of the major email marketing platforms.
I use ActiveCampaign for my email marketing needs and also have integrated MailChimp with client sites and have not run into any problems doing so in either Thrive Architect or Elementor Pro.
Another important aspect, actually these days probably THE most important, is the ability to design your website and landing pages for multiple screen sizes, known as responsive layouts.
Although neither get this perfect, because it’s near impossible to input every devices dimensions into a page builder, both allow you to switch between desktop, tablet and mobile editing views. This enables you to fine tune your text sizing and spacing, how any columns are displayed, if certain content should or should not be displayed on a given device and much more.
The important thing is they both give you control.
From a non-technical/non-coder stand point this is amazing.
You are able to design a professional responsive website without having to learn a single line of code.
Beyond responsive editing the possibilities seem limitless. Almost every aspect is customizable.
Early I alluded to an upcoming ‘theme builder’ from Thrive Themes. Elementor has already implemented their version into Elementor Pro.
What this means is that if you use Elementor Pro you have the ability to customize all parts of your website from the header and footer sections, the sidebar area along with the option to use global styles meaning that if you change something in one section it applies that everywhere for you.
Thrive’s theme builder is going to be a little different.
With Elementor Pro you still need to choose a WordPress theme for your website. It can be a free one since you can do the bulk of your customizing through the Elementor interface.
The Thrive Theme Builder (not sure of a specific name just yet) is a theme although it will look just like the Thrive Architect interface. So you will have the familiarity of Thrive Architect to design all of the elements within your entire WordPress website.
This is the direction the WordPress design landscape is heading and these two companies are aiming to be at the forefront of that revolution.
As I mentioned previously it seems that Thrive is playing off of what Elementor is doing, which as a long time Thrive member sort of bothers me.
But at the core, competition between businesses is what us as consumers need and want.
They both want to succeed and provide great products for their customers and if that means taking what someone else is doing and improving it then WE win!
Speaking of wins...
Both Thrive Architect and Elementor are winners because they provide us with valuable page templates - close to 600 different options between the two of them actually!
I cannot stress how much of a time saver having a template to work from is whether you are building a whole website, a sales page or a quick lead generation opt-in page.
Sometimes all you need to spark that creativity is to look at someone else's concept and make it your own.
Before I wrap this up I do want to point a big differentiation between these two page (website) builders.
If you run an e-commerce business and are looking to break free from Shopify and put your store on your own WordPress website then I would lean towards using Elementor Pro.
They provide more customizable features if you are using Woocommerce than what Thrive Architect does.
Yes, you can still use Thrive Architect with Woocommerce but Elementor Pro takes it several steps further.
Thrive members have been asking for a deeper Woocommerce integration for years and although those requests are recognized, so far they have been ignored.
With Elementor Pro you can fully customize your product pages and product archive pages using their Woocommerce specific widgets to add your titles, descriptions, related products, product ratings, customize your ‘add to cart’ button and other features that put this above what you can do with Thrive Architect.
So which one do I say is best?
If I were ONLY looking to add a WordPress drag and drop front-end page builder to the mix, today I would go with Elementor Pro.
The main reason is that as of now they seem to be leading the way in implementing new features and features users are asking for.
Even though their pricing is an annual fee it is a great deal none the less.
If I am looking for a fully featured marketing stack for my WordPress online business empire then the Thrive Themes membership, which includes Thrive Architect, is hands down the favorite.
In recent years I have been looking for a better deal to accomplish what all of the Thrive Themes products do at a better price and I have come up empty handed.
There really isn’t much more you would need on the WordPress side of things than what a Thrive Themes membership provides at $228 per year.
But I can’t argue with the fact that some of you may like to ‘try before you buy’ and Elementor gives you that option and since this is a page builder comparison, the edge goes to Elementor.
And that’s from a 4 year user of Thrive Architect - formerly Thrive Content Builder!
What's your main reason for seeking out a WordPress front-end visual editor? Let me know your thoughts…
Hi, I'm Andrew, your Flight Director at Launch Your Damn Website and I appreciate you stopping by! Just like you, I have no formal IT or technical background but 6 years ago I discovered WordPress and have not looked back. Before that I was an endurance sports coach for over a decade and planned adaptive cycling events/programs around the world. So if I can tackle this then I have plenty of confidence you can too. I look forward to having you on board for what will no doubt be an amazing journey!
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