I'll kick off by letting you know I am a huge fan of Thrive Themes. I have been using their products for the last three years. Thrive Themes sell plug-ins and themes for WordPress that makes creating a WordPress website easy.
Installing WordPress is straight-forward but designing a professional looking website that entices people to subscribe and buy something, that's a bit more tricky.
Thrive Themes have plug-ins for all facets of building a profitable online business, from web pages to opt-in forms, testimonials, making online courses and a whole lot more. In this article, we'll look at how much is it and whether it's worth your hard earned cash?
Let's start by clearing up is Thrive Themes free? No, Thrive Themes is not free. They have two pricing models. One is a subscription which you can pay quarterly or annually. This gives you access the all of Thrive Themes' products. Alternatively, you can buy a one-off license for individual plug-ins.
So, what does it cost? An annual subscription to Thrive Themes, paid in advance, works out at $19 a month. If you pay quarterly, it's $30 a month. This will allow you to install all of Thrive Themes' plug-ins and any of their WordPress templates on 25 websites.
If that is not enough websites, there is also an Agency Membership option which allows you to use Thrive Themes' plug-ins on 50 sites. That works out at $69 a month, paid quarterly, and $49 a month if you pay annually.
Let's also clear up the other common question. Does Thrive Themes offer a free trial? No, Thrive Themes doesn't offer a free trial period on any of their products. Instead, they offer a 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee. You are expected to pay upfront, so it's not a free trial, but it's the next best thing.
I know many people are put off by subscription pricing. Thrive Themes' plug-ins are all available individually for a one-off purchase price. They all come with lifetime updates, so you can be confident your plugin will work with every new version of WordPress. And they all include 1 year email support, that can be renewed and a 30-day no quibble, money back guarantee.
So, let's dive in and take a closer look at each of the plug-ins and what they cost. From here on in I'll refer to Thrive Themes as TT, to save my poor fingers from RSI 🙂 If you would prefer to skip ahead, you can use the Table of Contents to navigate to each plug-in.
To understand just what a revelation this is, you need to try creating webpages without Thrive Architect.
WordPress is an excellent platform, but it was developed 16 years ago or the purpose of creating no-frills blog pages. Because it was such a reliable platform (not to mention free), website owners flocked to it.
However, as technology progressed WordPress began to show it's limitations. The answer to wanting videos, animations, buttons, subscription boxes and landing pages, is to learn how to write code or rely on 3rd party plug-ins.
Not all 3rd party plug-ins are made equal. The typical approach, when just starting out, is to install WordPress and then use Google to find out how to add different elements to your page. You find a plug-in that meets your need, and you like the demo version, so you install it on your site. However, when it comes to customising it for your needs, you find it doesn't quite do what you hoped. So you email the developer.
You solve one problem and move on to the next. You go through the same process. You find another plug-in and trying hacking it to meet your needs - adding code here and there across your site.
What you end up with is a dozen plug-ins, from a dozen different developers, desperately hoping that (a) they all play nicely together and (b) they continue to be supported for years to come.
And while you've made it work for readers accessing your site on a desktop PC, but what about on a tablet or mobile phone?
Thrive Architect solves all of this in one plug-in. It's not even necessary to create your page from scratch. Instead, you can apply one of their ready-made landing page templates. The Faculty of Apps homepage is a TT template. It took me a little over 30 minutes to use the template and change the colours and the content to suit my needs.
At this point, I'm wary that I'm sounding like the Head of Marketing for Thrive Themes, and I don't want this article to look like a sales pitch. But, for people like myself, who have no experience of programming, Thrive Architect is a blessing.
If you choose to buy it individually, a one-off payment for a single license costs $67. Alternatively, you can buy a 5 license pack for $97.
You also get email support for a year, which is renewable. I've found TT's support team to be very efficient and helpful.
Thrive Architect works with any theme, so you are not required to use a specific TT theme. And, finally, if you decide to remove Thrive Architect from your WordPress installation, there is no impact on your webpages. Your site will continue to look and function as expected.
Thrive Architect Key Takeaways...
Next in the TT portfolio of products is Thrive Leads.
One of the most established and successful approaches to making money from a website is to build an email list of subscribers. It's rare someone will buy something without giving the product and the vendor due consideration, unless the price is insignificant.
This is why having the ability to contact someone more than once is essential, and why email marketing is so successful. But, how do you start collecting 'leads' on your website?
You collect leads by creating opt-in forms. An opt-in form can be two fields for a person's name and email address, and a submit button, or it can be more complicated.
To improve your chances of having people subscribe, you can entice them by offering something in return for signing up. Once they submit their details, usually there is a second box or page, thanking them and confirming the process was successful. These are called two-step opt-in forms.
You'll see opt-in forms between paragraphs in an article or in the sidebar, beside an article. It is not uncommon for one to pop up just before you leave a page or to be displayed in the header and footer section of a website.
Rather than try and design an opt-in box from scratch and work out where to place the code within the HTML of your webpages, you can use Thrive Leads.
With Thrive Leads you choose the type of opt-in form you wish to create, then select from a collection of pre-designed template, or create your own. If you prefer to create your own, Thrive Leads use the same simple click-and-drag platform used by Thrive Architect. All the templates are pre-optimised to suit desktop, tablet and mobile.
You can link your opt-in form to all the major auto-responders. I use MailChimp, which was very quick to set-up.
Where Thrive Leads excels, however, is in its testing platform. Thrive Leads will tell you how well each of your different opt-in forms are performing. But more than that, it allows you to test different designs and wording to maximise your conversions. You can create as many versions of each form as you wish. Thrive Leads will then display each one randomly to your visitors and record the results. It can be set to automatically start showing the most successful design based on the test results.
This process is called A/B testing, and to someone just starting out, it can be daunting, but the results can be stark. With this type of thing, my preference is to set and forget. I love software that will take the pain out of the process and automate as much of the work for me as possible.
In terms of painless, straight-forward implementation, Thrive Leads ticks the box. With the A/B testing platform included in the price Thrive Leads is a solid choice.
If you wish to buy Thrive Leads as an individual plug-in, you can buy a single license as a one-off purchase for $67. A pack of 5 licenses cost $97 or 15 licenses for $147. As with Thrive Architect, you'll get lifetime updates and 1-year support with the option to extend the support period at a discounted price.
Thrive Leads Key Takeaways...
Thrive Quiz Builder
The featured image on the homepage of Ramit Sethi's website IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com is a quiz.
Rami knows a thing or two about converting visitors to customers. So if Ramit is using a quiz to engage visitors to his site instantly, you can bet there's 'gold in them thar hills'.
People are subconsciously drawn to quizzes for two reasons, firstly because we can't help but answer a question and, secondly, it's fun and feels great if you know the answer.
Even when faced with a question we don't want to answer, we often find it difficult to say, 'I'd rather not answer that.'
Good marketers, like Ramit Sethi, use our fondness for quizzes to their advantage. They set questions that identify exactly what we want out of life and what brought us to their website. Knowing this information makes it far easier to sell products that your audience are actually interested in, rather than just hoping or guessing.
Quizzes can be used to subtlely group an audience. For instance, group A is interested in weight loss, group B in building muscle. When combined with opt-in forms, quizzes are a powerful way to know the aspirations of the people on your email list and attract new visitors to subscribe.
All of the Thrive products use the same step-by-step set-up procedure. Once you learn how to use one of the plug-ins you'll know how to use them all. As with Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads, Thrive Quiz Builder comes with a range of pre-designed templates, so you don't have to spend time designing something from scratch if you don't want to. There are templates aimed at adding more subscribers to your email list or increasing social media engagements. Alternative, if you prefer to design your own, you can do that too.
On completing a quiz, you can display the result as a number (you got 8/10, for instance) or a percentage (you got 80%), or as a personality trait. A personality trait might be - 'You're a Leader', or 'You're an Extrovert', for example. You can then encourage your audience to share their results on social media, thereby promoting your quiz and your website to a wider audience.
Thive Quiz builder uses the same A/B testing platform as Thrive Leads. You can modify the format of your quizzes to see which ones receive the most engagements. You'll also be able to see if people are giving up without finishing, due to a lack of interest, and whether people are sharing their results. Thrive Quiz builder will show you the stats and automatically display your best performing layout.
There are tutorials built into the plug-in that will walk you through the set-up and explain the A/B testing platform.
A single Thrive Quiz builder license is a one-off payment of $67. You can also buy a 5 and 15 license pack costing $97 and $147, respectively. As with all the plug-ins you get lifetime updates, 1 year of email support and 30-day money back guarantee.
Thrive Quiz Builder Key Takeaways...
Thrive Ultimatum is the next plug-in in the Thrive Theme range. Thrive Ultimatum allows you to leverage the marketing tactic of scarcity by creating countdown timers. Interestingly, there is a basic count down timer built into Thrive Architect, so I was curious to know what else, if anything, the individual plug-in had to offer.
One of the most successful strategies in an internet marketer's income-generating arsenal is to make an offer available for a limited time. It is a tactic that has been used since the dinosaurs roamed the planet and it works. As a species, we can ponder over a set price for eternity, but as soon as that price has an expiry, we jump on it.
Forget the fact that companies mark up the price to compensate for the sale offer. It's on offer for a limited time - we just have to have it!
Count down timers can be poorly implemented. If you are hunting around for a free count down timer plug-in for WordPress, chances are you'll find a bad one. Bad countdown timers reset when you refresh the page or if you delete your Internet History, or the worst kind reset when they get to zero!
In the same way that a limited offer can boost sales, the experience of a lousy timer can have the opposite effect. When people experience a poorly executed timer, they feel like they're being duped, and the credibility of your website goes through the floor.
The other problem with countdown timers is that, once the promotion finishes, your sales drop off dramatically.
Thrive Ultimatum solves these issues. With Thrive Ultimatum you can create timers for almost any purpose. Rather than just using a timer to sell a product. You can create a timer for a temporary item (such as a small eBook) in exchange for the visitor providing their email address and subscribing. You can link the timer to opt-in forms and embed them in sidebar widgets allowing your audience can see them on every page.
Where Thrive Ultimatum excels, however, is that you can set a timer for each individual visitor that comes to your website. 99 percent of timers are set once for everyone. If I visit your site, I'll see the same timer as someone else who visits an hour later. If the timer is working correctly, it should have counted down an hour between my visit and the other person.
With Thrive Ultimatum my timer starts when I first visit your page. For someone else, their timer will start the moment they visit the page. They run independently of each other. You can run the offer for 10 years, and every new visitor will receive a new timer. Your promotions never expire! You continue seeing that sale boost with each new visitor to your site! To my simple mind, that's magic.
TT does not explain how they make this magic happen - I'm an IT guy and I can't explain it either! But, TT state categorically, that regardless of whether your visitor switches devices, deletes their Internet history or tries any number of tactics to reset the timer, it won't work. This gives your promotion and your business credibility, and most importantly, extends your promotion indefinitely for each new visitor. Awesome!
Thrive Ultimatum is more expensive than the other plug-ins. A one-time purchase, single license will cost $97. Same rules apply as before. 30-day guarantee, 1yr support and lifetime updates. 5 license and 15 license packs cost $147 and $399, respectively.
Thrive Ultimatum Key Takeaways...
Whenever you click on an online promotion, you will almost always see a bunch of testimonials. Testimonials are reviews and comments from previous buyers or subscribers recommending the product or service being offered.
They can often be the deciding factor for someone buying a product because they are considered to be independent. An unbiased review from someone not affiliated with the product. You only have to look at the Amazon website to see how critical reviews (or testimonials) are to converting window shoppers into buyers.
The problem with testimonials is simple. They are a pain in the backside to collect. The conventional approach is to email someone after the event, asking them to either reply to the email or follow some steps to their review. It's a pain for you as the business owner and for the customer.
Moreover, it often requires a follow-up email, because the first email got ignored. But if you send a second email, the customer might feel like you're hounding them, which might discourage them from purchasing again in the future. Argh!
Thrive Ovation is the cheapest of their product range because, unlike Ultimatum, it doesn't do anything fancy under the hood. It provides a means of managing and obtaining reviews and testimonials.
At it's most basic level, it allows you to manually add comments by pasting the text into the Ovation plug-in. If you receive a kind tweet or comment on social media you can use the URL and Ovation will add the comment automatically. However, none of this is groundbreaking.
And, yet, there are several useful features. You can create testimonial forms, where you can set specific questions. You can then place these forms anywhere on your website. By setting the questions, you ensure a little more substance in the answers instead of "it's great, would recommend".
Ovation also provides pre-designed templates. You can also tag your testimonials so that you decide which group of testimonials get displayed on different sections or pages of your site.
The difference between Ovation and other free testimonial plug-ins is that Ovation solves the problem of acquiring them. Most free plug-ins provide pretty designs but don't address the fundamental problem of acquiring them.
Ovation is a one-off purchase price of $39 for the single license, $47 for the 5 license pack and $97 for the 15 license pack.
Thrive Ovation Key Takeaways...
Thrive Comments aim to turn your comments into a conversation. Consider just how popular commenting is on platforms like Facebook, Reddit and Quora. And how much of the success of these websites is down to their audience leaving comments and interacting with other visitors?
On average each month a Facebook user will like 10 posts and make 4 comments. Similarly, YouTube will rank videos based on how many likes they receive and the level of engagement they generate in the comments section.
Building a following is as much about keeping people on your site and convincing them it's worth returning, as it is about attracting new visitors through SEO and Google rankings. Actively encouraging comments, responding to comments and turning comments into a conversation, is one method of achieving this.
Moreover, in the same way, you can convince subscribers to become customers over several emails, the same is possible in the comments section. The downside of this is that you cannot automate your comments; it is the opposite of 'passive' income. That said, replying to comments and having a conversation is far more convenient than writing a 3,000-word article. They each have the same goal - turning visitors into subscribers and subscribers into customers.
There are several annoyances with managing a comments section. The first is actually 'managing' them. Knowing what you have or haven't responded to and keeping up to date with new comments. Then there's comment spam, where nefarious types who are just plain rude or clutter your comment section with advertisements for their affiliated junk products.
The Thrive Comments plug-in comes with a management dashboard on the back-end allowing you to see what comments need responding to.
You can set-up email notifications to alert you of a new comment or reply.
And if you work in a team, you can delegate comments to other team members to respond to. Equally, you can allow your readers to enable email notifications for when someone replies to their comments.
On the front end, Thrive Comments have several features that improve the experience for your audience. Comments can be up-voted and down-voted. Comments can be liked and shared on social media, together with the article. Your audience can receive badges and awards for their contributions. And you can link comments submissions to opt-in forms, so if someone comments who is not a subscriber, you can recommend they subscribe.
You can set featured comments, enable lazy loading to delay comments until after your article is displayed, and you have full control over the design of the comments section.
Thrive comments include a spam filter, and it applies all your existing WordPress Discussion settings so you can block commentators from adding links, you can set-up blacklisted words and enable manual approval of each comment.
Thrive comments is $39 for the single one-off purchase, 5 licenses cost $47 and 15 licenses $97. Nothing will happen to your existing comments when you install Thrive Comments and, equally, if you choose to uninstall Thrive Comments, your existing comments will not be deleted. As with all the plug-ins, you get 1yr support, 30-day money, no-quibble guarantee and lifetime updates.
Thrive Comments Key Takeaways...
Thrive Optimize in an A/B testing plug-in specifically for testing the performance of landing pages created in Thrive Architect. As such you cannot use Thrive Optimize without first installing Thrive Architect.
As we touched on earlier with Thrive Leads, A/B testing can be slightly daunting, and the idea of creating several designs for each page seems like a luxury only people with spare time can afford. However, Thrive Optimize does make the process as simple and painless as possible.
Once installed, Thrive Optimize works from within the Thrive Architect visual editor, so there's no need to switch between pages or screens. Having created your land page, you can click on the Thrive Optimize icon, duplicate your page, and make adjustments as you see fit. Change the Call-To-Action text or the placement of your sign-up button. When you're happy, choose the goal of your test from either: Increased Revenues, Increased Visits or Increased Subscriptions and wait to see the results. Set and forget.
Thrive Optimize will work in the background testing your Landing Page variations and displaying the one that performs best. You can run as many tests as you wish, with an unlimited number of variations. You could run a Revenue test, Visits test and Subscriptions test all on the one landing page with variations for each. Although this might be slightly excessive! 🙂
Like with all TT products, the beauty of this little app is in its simplicity. It makes, what could be a complicated task, straight-forward and potentially financially rewarding for your business. There's no HTML coding required and no need to add code snippets to the pages of your website.
A/B testing doesn't affect your Google rankings or SEO because the original page is the only page that is indexed. All the test pages are set to no-index. If you want to get more technical, you can manually adjust the traffic for each test. For example, if you have 3 variations, rather than have 33.3% of the traffic go to each, you could adjust the percentages manually.
It should be noted that Thrive Optimize only works on WordPress pages, not posts. When you create a Landing Page in Thrive Architect, in essence, you are creating a WordPress page.
You can purchase Thrive Optimize and Thrive Architect together for $127 one-off payment. Considering Thrive Architect is $67, you're paying $60 for the Optimize extension. If you already use Thrive Architect, you can purchase Optimise for $67. The 5 and 15 license packs are $97 and $147, respectively. The Architect and Optimize combo deal is also available in a 5 license pack at $177.
Thrive Optimize Key Takeaways...
We're nearly there summarising the Thrive products and their costs.
Of all the TT plug-ins, for me, this one is the least convincing and I put my hand on my heart and say, if I didn't get it as part of my Membership, I probably wouldn't buy it as an individual plug-in. The reason for my pessimism is because it optimises the widgets in your sidebar, and I've never been convinced of the usefulness of the sidebar.
As you can see I use the sidebar to give a brief 'About me' description, to highlight to you that I collect affiliate income, and for placing ads. That's it. I don't think it can serve much more of a purpose than that. Maybe I'm being slightly naive.
Clever Widgets works by allowing you to dictate what you want to show in your sidebar based on the subject or nature of your post. For example, if I'm writing a piece recommending Wealthy Affiliate, I can use Clever Widgets to ensure that a Wealthy Affiliate banner ad with my affiliate link is shown in the sidebar. I can do the same for Thrive Themes, for example.
Rather than just an affiliate link, I could use a Call-To-Action opt-in form to promote my affiliate marketing course on all the pages where I discuss affiliate marketing. You get the idea.
I can see the usefulness of this plug-in and because it's included in the membership I use it, but do people really bother taking much notice of the sidebar? I'm not so sure.
If you're sold on the idea of Clever Widgets, you can get it for a one-off payment of $39. That's pretty good value.
Clever Widgets Key Takeaways...
As the owner of a blog-style website, one of your most profitable ways to earn an income is to create something you own, from which you can take the lions to share of the money. Courses are an excellent way to do this because (A) they're popular, (B) they only require your knowledge and (c) they're cheap to produce.
The final plug-in that TT offer is called Thrive Apprentice. Thrive Apprentice allows you to create courses directly from within your website. Apprentice is a type of Learning Management Systems - LMS's.
LMS' tend to fall into two categories.
In the first bucket, you have Teachable and Thinkific that offer a complete box-and-dice solution. You host your course on their platform, and they take care of everything else - the sign-up process, member access, payment processing, and integration with your email system/auto-responder. For an additional fee, you can use your own domain name rather than the Teachable.com or Thinkific.com address, which gives a more seamless experience for your audience.
These all-in-one solutions use a subscription model and may also charge a per-transaction fee to boot. The payment gateway will then add on their charge, so it's quite a chunk out of your earnings.
Thrive Apprentice falls into the second category of LMS solutions, which are basically WordPress plug-ins for your own website. LearnDash and Lifter are two other popular LMS WordPress plug-ins.
This approach is a lot more hands-on. You host your courses on your own WordPress platform. But, you'll need to set-up your own payment gateway integration and sign-up to a video platform to playback your course videos.
YouTube is not viable for paid courses because unfortunately, it's far too easy to share YouTube videos, even if they're not publically listed. All your hard work and, not to mention, your integrity will be wasted if you find your paid course is being shared for free on the Internet. Vimeo or Wistia are popular alternatives to YouTube for locking down your video content.
So that's three separate integrations that all need to work in harmony, to ensure your paid-up course members get a seamless experience. It's a bit messy and, like with the all-one solutions, it starts to get costly.
The benefit of Thrive Apprentice and LearnDash over all-in-one solutions like Teachable and Thinkific is that they are one-off payments rather than subscriptions services. However, the payment-gateway and video hosting providers are generally subscription-based, so you're still locked into monthly payments, regardless.
If you're not a TT subscription member (therefore you don't get Apprentice as part of the subscription) you'd be wise to consider the other associated costs before purchasing it as a single plug-in.
However, where Apprentice is really useful is if you are offering free courses. You can use free courses as a strategy for growing your email list and recommending affiliate products. With this approach, you no longer need a payment gateway, and you can use YouTube to host your videos because having your links shared is no longer a big deal.
As an individual plug-in you can buy an Apprentice license for a one-time payment of $67. That's a terrific deal. LearnDash, by contrast, is $159USD and you only receive updates for 1yr. With Apprentice, you get the usual, lifetime updates and 1yr support offering. Just be sure to do the math and include those other associated costs before hitting the buy button, if you intend using it for paid courses.
Thrive Apprentice Key Takeaways...
That completes our round-up of the Thrive Themes range of plug-ins and their associated costs. I'll leave you with a helpful summary of costs. What you'll notice without too much persuasion is that Thrive Membership is far and away the best value for acquiring the complete range of Thrive plug-ins.
If you're interested in Thrive Themes membership, the button below will take you straight there. (Not an affiliate link)
Single License, One-off Payment
Membership - All Plug-ins
$228 (per year)
Thrive Quiz Builder