My Review of Thrive Content Builder

Thrive Content Builder is a front end editor for WordPress. A tool like this is something valuable for all users. Why? For me, I want to build a decent looking landing page that doesn’t take a lot of time to set up. For less experienced users, it’s a great way to feel empowered over their content. So I saw this mentioned in the Orange County WordPress Facebook Group. I jumped-in and figured it couldn’t be any worse than what’s already out there.

So what was I going to try to build? Something of a landing page like what we see below.

Screenshot 2014-04-28 16.54.18

So what’s the problem?

If you watch the video that Thrive Themes put out for their Content Builder, they hit on the reasons why existing page-builder plugins suck. Specifically they show the awesome content screen with all the shortcodes on it, like this one here:

Screenshot 2014-05-04 23.05.01

Change the color of the borders now… Which is an over simplification of a general problem many have with builders such as Visual Composer. Layouts are achieved via an absurd number of shortcodes. Don’t get me wrong, I think Visual Composer is a good tool and my clients that use it regularly are just fine with it… When it doesn’t break after an update, which has been my frustration with that tool.

How is Thrive Content Builder Different?

Thrive Content Builder says that’s not a problem with their tool. And I guess that’s mostly true. But they still use shortcodes, too. They just present the edited content differently.

Screenshot 2014-04-28 16.30.01

The editing happens on the front end only, so you can’t use the standard editor AND this plugin. When you go to edit that page, there’s no content in the editor at all. It’s like Velocity Page in that regard.

What Does it Look Like?

Screenshot 2014-05-04 23.15.26

Nothing too crazy here. Just a palette/panel, which you can set to the right, if you want. From that palette is how you will build your pages.

You can click an element for it to pop on the screen, alternatively you may drag and drop that element where you need to.

 

How Well Does it Work?

My first impression is positive. It works pretty well, really well, really. I like how easy it is to set a page up. Clicking and dragging/dropping elements as-needed is a snap. It’s fairly easy to change an element’s attributes when you need to…

A few quick hits

  1. Works on any Post Type
  2. Set up simple landing pages easily.
  3. Only affects the Content Area, not the header or footer, of a given page.
  4. Page elements are responsive out of the box
  5. You may use your own classes and IDs on the page elements you create, to better integrate with your site’s design scheme.
  6. You can grab the HTML generated by Thrive Content Builder and paste it into the classic back-end editor if you’d rather not continue editing in the builder. That’s nifty!

 

Clicking any on-page element within the Content Builder pops-up an editor like below…

Screenshot 2014-05-04 23.28.55

That’s all well and good and is about what I’d expect. It’s a positive enough user experience.

Quickly build popular page elements, like Pricing Boxes.

Screenshot 2014-04-28 16.33.13

Yep, I hate the shit out of pricing boxes, but this thing handles them well and changing colors is possible with a single click, or entering the actual hex value. So that’s nice. There’s some other pre-built page elements in there too, such as feature grids, tabs, accordions and a couple other items. Yay!

A couple of things that I see as issues:

  1. The standard Youtube and Video share URLs do not work in Thrive’s content builder at this time. You need to grab the actual embed code, instead. They have mentioned they are working that issue out.
  2. Their editor doesn’t seem to handle existing content. You can design and build elements around existing content, but you can’t otherwise interact with it within Thrive Content Builder. You need to go to the edit screen for that to work.
  3. You will run into issues where certain page elements can’t be clicked on to change. In particular bulleted lists are problematic. You’ll notice that the check mark bullets on the right are blue. I couldn’t change their colors because I simply couldn’t click that element (and they are clickable).

How Did My Landing Page Build Go?

You tell me! http://alexvasquez.wpengine.com/test-landing-page/ — That page took just a shade under 5 minutes to build. If I was building something using real content, I could build this page out in 5 to 10 minutes, just in placing page and text elements. I think that’s pretty good!

All in all, I think Thrive’s a good solution for front-end editing; it’s still got a ways to go, but I think it’s ready for use now and support has been responsive thus far.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. Thrive Content Builder Link.

 

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