Why Thrive Themes Is Now My Top Recommended Solution For Building A Blog-Centered Online Business

Looking to build a blog-centered online business? Then, this is why I now put Thrive Themes in the top 3 list of startup investments I believe you should make.

There are so many tools a blogger could buy, it just makes you wanna puke.

OK, well, perhaps I’m overstating things just a bit. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But, still, there are a LOT of tools and plug-ins you could buy. Everybody says they’re the best. Tons of pros and cons to wade through.

And there’s the typical blog owner, trying to wade through it all.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Being in my position here at Blog Marketing Academy – and especially having been in this business for so long – you can imagine that I’ve used a TON of different tools.

Well, today I want to show you exactly why I now believe that Thrive Themes is absolutely the biggest no brainer out there for blog owners.

In fact, I now think there are only 3 basic tools that you need to really get started with a blog-based business. And they are:

  1. Solid web hosting (and I recommend Siteground for that)
  2. A solid email list host (and I recommend Aweber for people just starting out)
  3. Thrive Themes

So, let me explain…

Blast From The Past: What About StudioPress and OptimizePress?

Up until about a month ago, the Blog Marketing Academy was based on two tools: StudioPress and OptimizePress.


StudioPress is the brand name for the collection of tools built on top of Genesis Framework. The entire Academy site was, until recently, built using a custom child theme on top of the Genesis Framework.

Genesis is about as solid as it gets. It is an AWESOME theme framework and their themes are top notch. So, why is it no longer my top recommendation?

The answer is simple: Complexity for the average blog owner.

If you stick with one of StudioPress’s child themes and modify only what you can do via a plug-in or an options dashboard, then you’re good to go. However, if you need anything more specific or more customized, you are inevitably getting into PHP coding of a custom child theme.

If you have some PHP and CSS skills, you’re good. But, most bloggers don’t. So, the process of really fine-tuning the look and feel of a Genesis site can be frustrating for the average blogger. Since my job here is to help people build businesses, I’m not helping anybody by throwing them into a world that I know will be technically over most heads.

Now, onto OptimizePress…


OptimizePress was one of the first landing page creators for WordPress. And, it is a solid platform. I got to be pretty good with it and could bend it to my will.

However, the Live Editor could be overwhelming to some. And it isn’t a true “what you see is what you get” editing experience. You can see the page in your editor, however there are all these Editor buttons all over the place. And the actual editing takes place inside the Live Editor dialog windows. It requires a lot more clicking, saving and refreshing to get the page to look like you want.

Cost Comparison Of Thrive Themes Versus The Others

Well, first, when I refer to Thrive Themes, I’m referring to an entire package of tools. They have several themes you can use, however what I really recommend is their Thrive Membership because it includes a ton more than just themes.


With a Thrive Themes membership (which I personally have), you are getting full access to:

Now, here’s the thing to consider…

A Thrive Membership will run you $228 for a year. But, with it, let’s look at what you DON’T have to buy anymore…

  • A StudioPress theme will run you about $130. If you want them all, you’re looking at about $500.
  • OptimizePress would run $99. Because, while you could create marketing-focused landing pages with StudioPress, it would be WAY more work than you’ll enjoy. So, you would need a separate tool in order to safeguard your hairline.
  • A opt-in plugin worth your time would run you extra. OptinMonster is pretty solid, but to get the version comparable to Thrive Leads would run you $228/year.
  • If OptimizePress was too complicated, then you may end up looking into tools like ClickFunnels or LeadPages. But, neither of those are cheap. LeadPages will run you minimally $297/year.

So, things are adding up here, aren’t they? A StudioPress theme + OptimizePress would cost $229 upfront, then you’d have the cost of OptinMonster recurring. Or LeadPages.


$228 for the year with Thrive, get the entire collection of tools (which is more inclusive) and be done with it. It is far more cost effective for a bootstrapping entrepreneur working on building up that online business.

Saying Goodbye (Mostly) To Coding Headaches

The difficulty of customizing things is one of the biggest complaints out there. Most of the time, it requires jumping into the world of PHP, CSS and HTML. And knowing your way around a WordPress theme.

“Searching Google for Genesis code snippets is one of the funnest things ever!”, said nobody.

Thrive Content Builder makes it MUCH easier. In fact, it is pretty likely you won’t need to code anything.


All of the Thrive Themes, Thrive Leads, and Thrive Landing Pages…. all of it is based on the core of Thrive Content Builder. This is the editor which makes customizing everything easy.

In fact, it can literally take over your standard WordPress post editor and you can just do everything in a visual way. Once you get used to the controls, it is really fast to create very professional pages.

I also really appreciate how you can use Thrive Content Builder even if your main theme isn’t a Thrive Theme.

The Focus Of Thrive Themes

One of the things that makes Thrive stand out is that their entire focus is on CONVERSION. This means they’re not just trying to make “pretty” themes. They’re doing everything specifically for the purposes of blog marketing.

Which, you would probably tell from the name of this site is something I’m keen on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

They understand the needs of somebody who is doing all this for the purposes of leads and sales. Their themes have features built-in that you won’t see on most WordPress themes because those others weren’t designed for marketers.

Their newest addition – Thrive Quiz Builder – makes it super easy to create online quizzes for the purpose of building viral traffic and/or building your list. Quizzes have long been effective as list building tools, but creating them was usually a matter of custom coding. Now, it is pretty easy and all geared toward building your list. And that’s because Thrive understands that’s what you’re trying to do.

Things like split-testing blog post headlines is something that only a marketer would do, really. SumoMe has an option for it, but SumoMe is highly overpriced, IMO. With Thrive, you get the capability built in if you install Thrive Headline Optimizer.

And About Their Support….

I admit that I haven’t yet had to deal with their support folks, but I will say this…

These people stand behind their products. They are constantly issuing updates. They are constantly adapting and improving. In fact, Thrive Quiz Builder was just announced last week (as of this writing) and it wasn’t there when I signed up for their membership. So, they’re just making things more valuable.

Anyway, Not Trying To Be A Brochure For Them, But….

I’m not going to sit here and write some big review post that simply reiterates what you can easily find if you just visit their site and watch some of their product videos.

And I’m not going to sit here and get all salesy about it (more than I have already, anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

The reason for this post is simple…

The entire mission of Blog Marketing Academy is to help people build profitable businesses centered around their blog.

While I have many students who are in the more advanced stages of their business, the majority of people who come here are still in that “getting started” phase. And part of that phase is acquiring certain tools with which to do the job.

I don’t want anybody to go out “tool hunting” and end up buying things they don’t need. I’m all for getting the most bang for your buck. This is why I’m only advocating 3 purchases at the outset:

  1. Solid web hosting (and I recommend Siteground for that)
  2. A solid email list host (and I recommend Aweber for people just starting out)
  3. Thrive Themes

And this is why I do recommend Thrive Themes Membership be one of the top 3 purchases to get started. It truly does make many other of your potential purchases irrelevant and unnecessary.

NOTE: Yes, many of the links in this post are affiliate links. But, I only recommend what I personally use and I tell you why. I am a happy Thrive Member myself and I use it here at Blog Marketing Academy.ย 

About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Ruby C says:

    Thanks for the article on Thrive Themes. I’ve been contemplating on whether or not to make the investment on them. However, now understanding the purpose of my blog and creating my business, I’m definitely gonna make the purchase.

  • Andrea says:

    to clarify, you can’t use thrive for clients with thrive membership?

    • David Risley says:

      No, however I believe they do have an agency membership or license option that would give you that capability.

  • Jamie D says:


    I bought a subscription to Thrive Themes and I have to say that my initial impressions are that I love it. They have excellent training videos and once I actually understood how their support team gets back to you (by you opening a ticket and then checking your membership panel or whatever they call it to see their response to your ticket) I have to say they are quick and helpful so far for anything I’ve had issues with.

    That being said, there is one issue that troubles me about it. And I wonder what your thoughts are about this.

    When I edit a page or post in my WordPress editor, I can edit either with the way I used to do it or by selecting “edit with the Thrive Themes editor.” But what shows in one window (standard editing) doesn’t show in the other window (the thrive themes editor).

    For this reason, I don’t feel like I know how it works. Worse yet, I feel that now that I’m venturing down this road of using Thrive Themes to edit my web site, if I ever wanted to change to a different way of doing it or switch to a different vendor for a similar product, I don’t see how my data is contained or maintained.

    In a worst-case scenario, if Thrive went out of business, is there any feasible way to capture what I developed in the “thrive themes” option and archive it, migrate it, capture it to do in the regular editor or the like?

    And when I update a page or edit or create a page, how does my wordpress site decide which “version” to display? I assume that is controlled by the Thrive Themes plug-in too?

    Not knowing how it works leaves me feeling like I am now at their mercy. In other words, if I don’t like bluehost (and I”m getting iffy about them) I can have siteground help me migrate my site to their hosting and all would be good.

    But what do I actually “have” with the thrive themes setup and how safe/transportable/alternative-friendly is it?

    Hope I didn’t over-explain. But that is a concern for me. Thoughts?


    • David Risley says:

      It is a valid concern, but my understanding is that it isn’t a problem. You are correct in that the Thrive editor isn’t going to display anything you do inside of the main WordPress editor. This is, in fact, a good thing because the WordPress editor would inevitably screw up anything you built with Architect. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, essentially, Architect has a little switch in there that tells WordPress what the editor is for the content. And, you can flip back and forth. You either use the WP editor… or you use Architect. But, not both.

      Inside the database, though, I believe the content is all stored in the same place. So, if you ever stopped using Thrive, the content would still be there. Of course, if you de-activated Architect, while the content would still be there, any stylesheets and stuff likely wouldn’t be so it would probably look really weird, but you wouldn’t lose content. Secondly, even if Thrive went out of business, it isn’t as if the plug-ins will just stop working. They are installed locally to your website.

      Hope that makes sense.

  • Justin says:

    Great reviewโ€”thanks David! I have already signed up for Thrive but haven’t started doing anything with it.

    My main reason for switching is that my WordPress database is pushing 4 years old, and has junk data from dozens of of old plugins that we no longer useโ€”yet that still cause conflicts and errors even after being deactivated and deleted.

    Eager to start fresh with an integrated suite! And yes, to stop needing obscure Genesis code snippets to do anything ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michael S says:

    Do the rest of the Thrive features work if you don’t choose to use a Thrive Theme on your site?

    • David Risley says:

      Yes. This very site is an example. This theme isn’t a Thrive theme, yet I use Thrive on all my landing pages.

  • Michael B says:

    First off. Thanks David for sifting through a lot of this overwhelming information and products for website business development. I have a question though, are Thrive Themes, the themes themselves easy to use? Is it a type of drop in, visual setup? Programming? I am completely green with all this website. web marketing, and all of it.
    I have surely been dragging my feet, but at least learning some each day and trying to have a solid base to start. I want to do the products things, but also a membership type deal that is a long the lines of interaction between me an the members. Oh, my focus here is photography. @Tony

    • David Risley says:

      All Thrives products, including their themes, come with their Content Builder. It’s like an editor on steroids which gives you full “what you see is what you get” ability to edit anything. So, yes, it is a very visual setup.

  • Just a quick note on the price comparison, the Genesis/StudioPress themes can be used on client websites on the condition that the developer provides the support, which is great for me when I create client sites because I can access the entire StudioPress library and just get on with it.

    Thrive’s Agency Membership for $228 per year is only for use on your own sites.

  • Ricardo V says:

    Thrive is awesome. I’ve tried leadpages, 10 minute funnels, click funnels, optimize press, and instapage.

    While it isn’t a “funnel builder” per se, you can definitely create funnels with it.

    For everything it does, customer support, and constant innovations in staying up to date with trends, its VERY reasonably priced.

    Awesome software!

  • Sarah Arrow says:

    I love Thrive Themes. They’re the longest I’ve ever stayed with a theme. I swapped to Divi because I was building a client site in it, and I wanted to use the theme to get a feel for the quirks. 2 months later and I’m itching to get back to Thrive. I miss it so much! The ability to deploy a sales funnel in 45 minutes, all fully branded is just a-mazing. I cannot imagine using anything else

    • Andrew Finkelstein says:

      I’m currently using Divi & have not used Thrive Themes. So I’m really curious as to what made you switch to Divi and why you’re itching to switch back to Thrive Themes.


      • Sarah A says:

        I swapped as I’m building a site for a client in Divi. If the client has questions about the site functionality I want to be able to answer them. For example I can have category based optins in focus areas on Thrive in 2 clicks, maybe 3. To have the closest thing in Divi I need to add the single post php file into the child theme, then create a layout and then add the layout IDs to the file. This gives me a custom header on a single post where I can add an optin, but I can’t segment them at source like I can with Thrive. Thrive has it’s moments where I can’t make it look as good as I could in Divi, but the advantages Thrives gives me far outweighs the prettiness aspect. The speed advantage it gives me is hard to compete with.

        • David Risley says:

          Yep. That’s the thing with Thrive… you’re getting a lot more than just some themes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thrive Leads is a highly flexible opt-in form manager.

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