Why I’ve Switched To Thrive Themes
I spent the morning changing the design of my site. I changed the theme from the Studiopress “Magazine Pro” to Thrive Themes’ Performag.
There was nothing terrible about my site previously. It looked okay and it worked most of the time, so you’d be forgiven for wondering why I made the swap.
This article will tell you why – but because it’s unlikely that you’re going to care about that as much as I do – I’m going to also give you some truths about WordPress, theme and plugin choices and how to develop a site with an eye to the future in mind.
Firstly, let’s talk a little about this website and theme change in particular before we get on to the useful stuff.
This Website Is A Test Subject
JamieMcSloy.co.uk has evolved in a funny way.
Originally, I was just going to have a portfolio website where people could contact me about hiring my copywriting services.
Then I decided I was going to create case studies about building websites and writing books and the like as a form of proof and a way to gain traffic.
Then in December, I decided I was going to use the site to host a daily writing project about my business. Since then, I’ve written about something every day.
At the moment, the diary aspect is useful on its own, but the site also serves another purpose: It works as a test subject for various ideas I have. It’s an authority site, but traffic isn’t huge. I don’t rely on the money that this site generates – though it does make money.
As such, I feel free to try out new things; I’ve added plugins, changed layouts and written about subjects under the sneaky guise of not only giving you readers helpful info, but also testing things to see if they work before I put them on other sites I run.
I’ve learned a huge amount from this, and one problem has continually proved true.
Most WordPress Issues Come From Incompatible Plugins
WordPress is honestly one of the best things to happen to the Internet.
WordPress is the difference between websites being a pain in the backside to create and websites only taking a couple of clicks to create.
The range of plugins, themes and extensions for WordPress mean that whatever site you’re hoping to create, it’s 99% likely to be possible. (Obviously, you can’t create the next Google on a WordPress site, but if that’s your goal… you’re probably reading the wrong article.)
However, the sheer range and scope of WordPress offerings mean there are bound to be problems.
Across all the sites I’ve run, I’ve found that without a doubt the biggest problem with WordPress is that when updates happen, WordPress/Themes/Plugins start to contradict each other.
A few weeks ago, WordPress updated and I had to go through every single one of my sites and disable every single plugin so I could access the site, before reactivating and updating the ones that weren’t causing the sites to crash.
My sites, until recently, have all been on StudioPress themes. These run the Genesis framework, which requires different plugins to do different things.
Are Studiopress Themes Terrible?
I love StudioPress themes. I’ve used them for years. I have a Developer license and have used probably twenty of their ninety-or-so themes.
I like how they look. They perform well in terms of site speed and performance. I like their functionality.
In fact, I’m probably going to keep using the Genesis framework for my niche sites and other simple projects. For anything that doesn’t require a lot of plugins and additional functionality, I’m happy to keep using StudioPress themes for a long time to come.
But for authority sites, business projects – and specifically projects which require spit-testing and email capture – I’m going to use Thrive Themes.
Why Did I Buy The Thrive Themes Membership?
Sometime last year, I became aware of Thrive Themes. More specifically, I was interested in the WYSIWYG Website Editor called Thrive Content Builder.
I bought it and reviewed it here.
Since then, I’ve used it to create over a thousand pages on various websites. It’s a fantastic tool that works without any problems, and produces great looking pages.
But I wasn’t interested in changing themes. I liked the look of my site, and messing around with web design isn’t a favourite pastime of mine. That’s why I bought Thrive Content Builder in the first place.
My friend James switched from Genesis to a Thrive theme though and had nothing but good things to say about it. So I kept it in the back of my mind.
A few months back, I wanted to expand some other projects I have.
I looked at Thrive Plugins again based on the success of Thrive Content Builder.
I initially wanted Thrive Leads. Email capture is essential for the changes I’m making. Then I thought that Thrive Ultimatum would be pretty handy for when I release products. Thrive Headline Optimiser jumped out at me as well. Then Thrive released Ovation as well – another plugin which takes away the need for another third party plugin.
I don’t tend to like monthly commitments, but when I added up the cost of all the things I wanted to buy, getting the Thrive Membership made sense – especially seeing as you get everything including future plugins – for the price.
Also… run an expected value calculation. If a membership costs $20 a month and you stand to make hundreds if not thousands from the tools – it’s a no-brainer.
(If this sounds like something that goes on in your head… then get the Thrive Themes Membership Option. It’s worth it.)
Why Have You Gone For Thrive Themes Specifically?
None of the above explains why I’ve changed the theme though. After all, I could use the plugins above and keep my old StudioPress theme.
The reason I haven’t done is one of the most overlooked reasons in all of business: customer support.
When you have a WordPress website with a theme from one company and plugins from another, if your website stops working, it can be one of several things:
- WordPress has a problem
- WordPress has a problem with your theme
- Your WordPress has a problem with your plugins
- Your Theme has a problem with WordPress
- The Theme has a problem with your plugins
- Your Plugins have a problem with your theme
- The plugins need to work with an updated version of WordPress.
If you have the problem I did a few weeks back, you won’t be able to tell if it’s one of the above or something else entirely. You’ll just go to your website and find a blank page or an error that says something completely unhelpful. Maybe, “Error Establishing A Database Connection.”
The problem isn’t WordPress or the themes or plugins themselves. It’s the fact that they have to work in sync.
What does this have to do with my theme change? To avoid spending hours trying to figure out what’s responsible for any site errors I have.
Ultimately, I’d like to never have to have a problem with my site again, but these things happen. In previous instances, I’ve spent days going between different support forums with every software company blaming everyone else’s products for my issues.
With the theme I’ve currently got, I’ll just have to log in to Thrive Themes’ incredibly populated support forum and see what the issue is. I’ll know within a few hours and have it fixed within another few.
The above basically explains my reasoning for switching themes. Let’s recap:
- When your website expands, it’ll need to do different things
- Those different things are covered by plugins, extensions and themes
- When those are all created by different parties and update at different times, it all gets complicated and your website can suffer
- Having one company that provides as much functionality as possible is ideal because they’ll make sure their software is compatible with all the other software they create
- For you, this means added functionality without added headache
I’ve got a lot more to write on various topics – like why I chose the Performag magazine theme, and what exactly it is I’ve been doing with all those plugins. This post has gone on long enough though, so I’ll talk about those another day.
P.S. That said… if you want to get access to all of the things I’ve talked about in this article before I explain why they’re awesome, feel free to grab your Thrive Themes Membership through this link.
It’ll probably be handy because I’m probably going to write some tutorials using all this awesome software in the near future.